Are you feeling sluggish or lethargic? Have you gained a few pounds lately? Is your skin blemished? Should you invest in a detox program?
We are constantly exposed to toxins from food additives, medications, pesticides, insecticides, chemicals, pollution, heavy metals, and even things our intestines create. These toxins are referred to as xenobiotics together. The neurological, immunological, endocrine, cardiovascular, pulmonary, musculoskeletal, hepatobiliary, and renal systems can all be negatively impacted by xenobiotic exposure.
WHAT IS DETOXIFICATION?
Our diets play a significant role in the detoxification process, which is how our bodies respond to xenobiotic exposure. The “total load” of xenobiotics determines how effectively the body can handle cumulative exposure to toxins. Toxicology can result if the body’s capacity to handle and remove xenobiotics exceeds its “total load” (Bland, 1995).
TYPES OF DETOXIFICATION
The main organs connected to elimination are assumed to play a role in detoxification. These include:
- Hepatic (liver)
- Renal (kidneys)
- Digestive system (gut)
- Respiratory system (lungs)
- Integumentary system (skin)
Detoxification has become a buzzword among celebrities, and some alternative healthcare providers who promote various products and protocols claim to detoxify and cleanse the body.
These products include botanical laxatives, diuretics, and herbs supporting liver function. These compounds can stimulate the organs responsible for detoxification and excretion.
Consider looking at the foods you eat and the toxins you are exposed to rather than buying a detox kit from your neighbourhood supplement store, online, or through an infomercial (all of which can be expensive and of dubious efficacy and safety). Utilize this knowledge to lower your toxic load by changing your food and lifestyle to promote continuous detoxification.
Approaching detoxification through food and lifestyle has the added benefit of reducing inflammation, the underlying mechanism of many diseases.
The detoxification of xenobiotics by the body is an extremely complex process. There are two stages of detoxification within the liver. Phase I takes place in the cytosol and involves oxidation, reduction and hydrolysis to reduce the chemical’s toxicity.
Conjugation results from the second step (Phase II) of detoxification, carried out by the cytochrome P-450 enzyme system in the endoplasmic reticulum membranes. Various compounds are attached to the chemical during this process, changing its size, polarity, and solubility to enable removal from the body (Rogers, 1992).
THE BENEFITS OF PHYTOCHEMICALS FOR DETOXIFICATION
Phytochemicals in colourful plant foods have been shown to support detoxification. The main ways that phytochemicals work is through their antioxidant properties, modulation of detoxification enzymes, platelet aggregation reduction, changes in cholesterol metabolism, regulation of steroid hormone concentrations and endocrine metabolism, blood pressure lowering properties, and antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Dark green leafy vegetables (such as kale, spinach, and chard), cruciferous vegetables (such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli), berries, garlic, ginger, onions, and the phenolic compounds in green tea are among the foods high in phytochemicals (Ferrari, 2003). (Kensler, 2005).
As a component for numerous antioxidants and in mitochondrial activity, a potent antioxidant known as glutathione is also essential for detoxification. Unfortunately, glutathione can be depleted by eating conventional foods high in pesticides, insecticides, and alcohol consumption.
Alpha lipoic acid and N-acetylcysteine are two substances that can help raise glutathione levels (NAC). Interestingly, people who meditate have 20% greater levels of glutathione, confirming the link between the mind and body and how stress affects the body (Pizzorno, 2014).
You lose water daily through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. It would help if you, therefore, refilled your body’s water supply by consuming water-containing beverages and foods in order for it to function effectively.
There is not enough scientific research to support the conventional advice to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 litres (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and 2.2 litres (about 9 cups) of liquids in total every day for ladies. Therefore, it is important to assess each person’s demands in light of their health, nutrition, exercise, and surroundings.
Water is thought to aid in detoxifying by keeping your bowels, kidneys, and other organs in better working order (Valtin, 2002). (Mayo Clinic, 2011). In addition, optimum fluid intake has been shown to prevent certain types of cancer, heart disease and other conditions. A healthy fluid intake also contributes to weight loss, improved bowel movements, and improved glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which translates to improved kidney function.
THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
For those conducting a cleanse, the gut has been a primary focus. Continuous detoxification and gastrointestinal health depend on fibre. Unfortunately, the average person only consumes roughly half of the suggested 30 to 35 grammes of fibre daily.
A university of Illinois study showed that dietary fibre promotes a shift in the gut toward different types of beneficial bacteria, such as acidophilus (Hooda, 2012). Short-chain fatty acids and other metabolites are formed due to these microorganisms’ fermentation of fibre in the intestine, which has several positive health effects, such as a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, and autoimmune disorders.
The Four R Program was created by Jeffrey Bland, PhD, of the Institute for Functional Medicine, to manage digestive health. The Four R Program includes:
Remove: In this phase, one removes the common allergy-producing foods, which for some include gluten and dairy products. The next step is to follow a hypoallergenic rotating diet that consists of foods made from rice, beans, fruits, vegetables, fish, and chicken.
Replace Phase: The body naturally secretes digestive enzymes and acids to break down food. In this phase, digestive aids, such as enzymes, must be taken with meals.
The phase of reinoculation: Probiotics and a prebiotic supplement, such as inulin, fructooligosaccharides, or arabinogalactans, are advised to enhance intestinal function. Prebiotics are certain food fibres that helpful probiotic organisms use as their “food” in the intestinal tract to increase the effectiveness of their medicinal effects. Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus acidophilus are two types of probiotics.
By enhancing the body’s Phase II detoxifying enzymes, probiotics may aid in detoxification. Yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi are a few foods that contain probiotics (Brudnak, 2002).
Restoration Phase: To aid in the appropriate repair of the intestinal lining, nutritional supplements are employed in this phase. L-glutamine, pantothenic acid, zinc citrate, omega 3 EPA/fish oil, and mixed tocopherols of vitamin E can all be found in these supplements.
Under the guidance of a licenced healthcare professional, the Four R Program should be followed.
One of the most crucial nutrients for human health is oxygen. The health of tissues and organs might be jeopardised by ineffective respiration. Shallow breathing (chest breathing) reduces waste removal, nutrient delivery to tissues, and oxygen flow.
Contrarily, diaphragmatic breathing increases tissue oxygenation and causes the body to relax. Additionally, it aids in the removal of hazardous chemicals by the lymphatic system, your body’s waste removal mechanism.