Liver Detox

What the liver does

Almost 4 liters of blood pass through the liver every minute for detoxification. An adult has about 5.6 liters of blood, so say, every 1.5 minutes all your blood runs through your liver. Every 1.5 minutes!

The body protects itself from toxins with the help of the liver. Everything we ingest via the mouth is passed to the stomach and then to the colon. From the colon particles are absorbed into the blood. The first destination of this blood is the liver. The liver tries to take out all the toxins before sending the blood to the rest of the body. This way, if everything works well, the liver can protect us from poisons.

You can also absorb toxins via your skin. These will eventually (after 1.5 minute) pass the liver, but could do some damage before that.

What happens inside the liver

Toxins are first passed to phase I liver detox. This phase makes the toxins smaller and by doing so releases free radicals. These smaller parts by the way, can be more harmful than the original toxins. The free radicals are also dangerous.

If everything works well, the smaller parts are then passed to phase II liver detox. This phase encapsulates the smal parts into save packages, making them ready for release into the bile or, if they’re water soluble, to be excreted via the urine or sweat.

The liver uses the bile to dump fat soluble waste products.

What can go wrong

  1. Phase I might be too slow. If you ingest more toxins than the liver is able to pass to phase I, your blood will hold too many toxins. Part two of the site show a list of symptoms you are then likely to develop.
  2. Phase I can also be too fast. If Phase I breaks down toxins faster than Phase II can make them harmless, the broken toxins and also the free radicals can do damage. Again, you’ll have symptoms of a struggling liver.
  3. Phase II can be too slow. This is the same situation as nr 2 really.
  4. Excessive amounts of toxic chemicals such as pesticides can disrupt the P-450 enzyme system by causing over-activity, or what is called “induction” of this pathway. This results in high levels of damaging free radicals being produced as explained above. Substances that may cause induction are caffeine, alcohol, dioxin, saturated fats, organophosphate pesticides, paint fumes, sulfonamides, exhaust fumes, heavy metals and barbiturates.
  5. If your digestion is slooooooow, the toxins that were just dumped into the bile by your liver and by your gallbladder into your colon, could be re-absorbed. Obviously that is not the preferred route. The preferred route is to get them out of your body.
  6. You drink too little, and your pee is really yellow and sticky.
  7. Your poop is white or yellow or orange.
  8. Detoxification costs energy, check is your energy production is running along smoothly.

What do do

The trick is to find out what is the problem: Phase I, Phase II or both?
  1. Phase I is too slow: People with underactive Phase I detoxification will experience intolerance to perfumes and other environmental chemicals and are at an increased risk for liver disease. In addition, these people will experience caffeine intolerance, while those with an overactive system will be relatively unaffected by caffeine.
  2. Phase I is too fast in relation to Phase II.
    • One way of objectively determining a person’s Phase I activity level is to measure how efficiently his or her body detoxifies caffeine. If you have no problem with caffeine, then your Phase I and phase II are ok. If you do have a problem with it, then your Phase II can not keep up. Stimulate Phase II.
    • This also causes too much free radicals to come into the blood stream. Antioxidants, such as reduced glutathione, vitamins C and E, carotenoids, flavenoids and selenium reduce the damage caused by these free radicals.
  3. See nr 2.
  4. Get rid of any toxins in your environment. Get rid of toxic household cleaners, nail polish, etc. Then, detox your system by stimulating Phase II.
  5. You should be having a bowel movement every day at least. Speed up your metabolism. Are you eating enough fiber? Are you drinking enough? Is your thyroid working properly? Are you sitting around a lot? All these things and more effect the rate of your metabolism. There are also a few nutrients that speed up the process: magnesium, vitamin C and NAC for instance.
  6. Well, eeuh, drink more. Drink water with some electrolytes added to it. An easy way to this is to add a little real sea salt. Or add a few drops of this.
  7. Your bile is not being excreted from you gallbladder. Read “gallbladder“.
  8. See ATP production.

Supplements vs Whole Foods

If you’re going for supplements rather than whole foods to get the nutrients you need, make sure you get the active forms of the vitamins. For instance: get B6 as p5p, don’t take folic acid but take folate, take the right kind of B12.

Take real vitamin A (= retinol) as supposed to beta-carotenes (take the beta-carotenes as well, but not to provide you with vitamin A). The worse your health is, the worse you’re going to be at converting beta-carotenes into retinol. Always take all the fat soluble vitamins together to prevent toxicity and calcification.

If you’re going for whole foods, consider these:

  • Brewer’s yeast (both Blue Bonnet or Lewis Labs are good ones) for your B-vitamins (including folate, but not B12!) and selenium
  • B12 as methylcobalamin. I use either lozenges (these dissolve under the tongue) or B12 in DMSO.
  • Maybe extra B6 as p5p. It still helps me a lot. It gives me energy and keeps my edema down.
  • Cottage cheese or eggs (especially the yolks!) or meat for your amino acids and sulfur.
  • Fish oil for A and D and omega-3 fatty acids (Sonne’s is reasonably good, see Weston Price. Take care, there are a lot of poor ones)
  • Vitamin E capsule, mixed tocopherols. Usually, foods that contain vitamin E do so because they contain unsaturated fats that need that vitamin E to prevent oxidation. So it’s hard to get enough vitamin E via food.
  • Vitamin K2 supplements. Either MK4 (15 mg) or MK7 (100 mcg).
  • Onions, garlic and the cabbage family (broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc) are all good suppliers of sulfur. Alternatively, you can take MSM, take at least 1 gram = 1000 mcg a day.
  • Molybdenum 500 mcg, for processing sulfur. If you have problems with sulfur (you now the smell of those farts) then this nutrient might be the solution.
  • Vitamin C with bioflavenoids multiple grams a day. I take the cheap ascorbic acid.
  • Magnesium, for energy, detox and to help vitamin D do its work
  • Q10
  • Zinc
  • Lots of veggies of all colours for all kinds of nutrients, too many to mention
  • Consider taking the nutrients in this supplement, or simply take the supplement
  • … and generally a good diet. Don’t eat too little. I’m noticing a lot of people eating very little these days. Especially women. A small cracker with a bit of lean cheese is not a good lunch. Get your nutrients! Besides, a meager meal makes for a meager and slow digestion: making you conserve energy = fat reserves. What makes you fatter is high insulin levels combined with high amounts of fat in your blood. Simply avoid that combo by monitoring your carb intake. Eat about the equivalent of one slice of bread with each meal. This way, your insulin levels stay low and you can eat quite a lot without gaining weight.

How to stimulate Phase I

Most people wouldn’t want to do this, but there is a group of people where this applies: search “NUTRITIONAL NEEDS AND SUPPORT FOR DETOXIFICATION” on the site.

Foods/nutrients that inhibit Phase I

Substances known to inhibit Phase I detoxification include drugs such as benzodiazepines, antihistamines, cimetidine and other drugs that block the secretion of stomach acids, ketoconazole, and sulfaphenazole.

In foods, naringenin from grapefruit juice, curcumin from turmeric, capsaicin from chili peppers, eugenol from clove oil, and quercetin from onions all diminish Phase I activity. Some botanicals are also known to have the same effect, such as calendula, kava kava and possibly St John’s wort, as do toxins from inappropriate bacteria in the intestine.

The activity of Phase I detoxification enzymes decreases with advancing age and deficiencies of vitamin B2, B3, copper, magnesium, and zinc – the latter two being deficient in most Western diets. Ageing also decreases blood flow through the liver, further aggravating the problem. Lack of physical activity necessary for good circulation, combined with poor nutrition commonly seen in the elderly, add up to a significant impairment of detoxification capacity in ageing individuals. This helps to explain why toxic reactions to drugs are seen so often in the elderly.

How to stimulate Phase II

  • Keep glutathione high. Either take it or take the building blocks or take nutrients that recycle glutathione in the body. Nutrients that stimulate glutathione levels are the ingredients in this supplement. Also see the site for an extensive list. I’ve been using the aforementioned supplement for a couple of years and it’s excellent. But if you want to use something else, just use the list of ingredients to help you further along in your quest.
    I cannot emphasise the importance of glutathione enough. It is needed throughout  the body for protection against heavy metals, free radicals, etc.
  • Vitamin A as retinol. The worse your health is, the worse you’re going to be at converting beta-carotenes into retinol. So eat your cod liver oil like a good girl/boy. Or eat liver.

Source: Healthscope Practitioner Manual

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