What you can do to help support healthy detoxification
Detoxification has become a buzzing topic amongst health-conscious people today. I have witnessed the term “detoxification” take on a much broader meaning over the past few years. Detox was once simply refraining from drugs, alcohol, and processed foods, and now we see detoxification as the body’s way of eliminating and reducing the environmental toxins that we are exposed to every day.
There are many extreme detoxification practices from raw juice fasts, water fasts, bone broth fasts, to the most extreme of all, dry fasting. What is it with our cultural obsession with detoxification? My belief around detoxification is, and will always be that the body was designed and has evolved beautifully to detoxify efficiently and effectively if given the proper raw materials. The body knows how to identify toxins, bind them, and excrete them.
We discussed in detail in my previous post that environmental toxins that permeate our air, food, personal care products, homes, clothes, and even our bedding and furniture, may all, if in sufficient and additive amounts, negatively impact the way our bodies function. We know that the body has an innate ability to take care of toxins when we are not over burdened by them, but what else can we do to support our detoxification pathways?
Phases of Liver Detoxification
It’s important to have a grasp on the phases of detoxification that take place in our liver. In a healthy person, most of the toxins in the intestine are excreted through our stool. Only a small amount of those toxins that are unable to be excreted will get transferred over to the liver. Once in the liver, these toxins which are originally all fat-soluble are converted in a process named phase one detoxification, through a series of enzymes, to intermediate substances. Next, those intermediate substances are metamorphosed in a process called phase two detoxification into water soluble compounds and are excreted from the body via the urine and stool. These processes are highly dependent on your genetic makeup and your nutrient levels as the enzymes and raw material needed to make these processes efficient are largely dependent on dietary intake of macro and micro molecules. Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? Before you think you’re home free, you need to remember a few pivotal things. First of all, most people do not have healthy enterocytes, (the cells that make up the lining of the gut) many people are severely nutrient depleted, which compromises our ability to detoxify - not to mention that most people are completely unaware of the myriad of toxins that infiltrate their environment. So, what happens to the people that fall into those groups?
The phases of detoxification described above is the operation of events that occurs in healthy individuals. In people who have unhealthy cells, are nutrient depleted, or exposed to a higher toxic load that the body can handle, the toxins don’t go fully through phase one or phase two detoxification. Toxins don’t entirely get transformed to intermediate substances, or into water soluble compounds that can be excreted in the urine. In unhealthy people, toxins are more likely to enter the bloodstream, circulate in the blood, and get stored in tissue like fat, the brain, and the central nervous system.
Support Detoxification with Phosphatidylcholine
We definitely can’t talk about this topic without highlighting the most important nutrient of all when it comes to detoxification, and cellular health for that matter. The one and only phosphatidylcholine (PC). PC is the most prominent building block in both plant and animal cell membranes. Without healthy cells, it’s impossible to be healthy, or have healthy detoxification pathways. Most of us know that cells make tissues, tissues make organs, and organs make humans. Our cells are the foundation of our health and so starting detoxification at the cellular level is prudent.
The modes of action that PC has in the liver carries a lot of weight. PC restructures damaged cell membranes, normalizes cell permeability, stimulates hepatocyte regeneration, mobilizes cholesterol and facilitates its removal from the arterial walls*.
The impact that PC has on our gut health should not be ignored either. PC makes up roughly 70% of our gut mucosa. It supports the repair of damaged membranes in the gastrointestinal mucosa, helps emulsify fats and oil soluble food compounds, improves fat absorption via chylomicron formation, protects the stomach wall from gastric acid, and strengthens the stomach mucosa*.
PC also enhances glutathione production, which is a major intracellular antioxidant and is necessary to detoxify the liver, fight against free radicals, and reduce oxidative stress. PC replenishes the glutathione pool by correcting hepatic oxidative stress by restoring S-Adenosylmethionine. (SAMe) Adequate levels of SAMe are necessary to produce enough glutathione by a process known as transsulfuration. SAMe is also an essential precursor for glutathione production and liver detoxification. PC acts like an antioxidant in the liver by reducing toxic free radicals and by replenishing the glutathione pool.
While we always recommend working with a qualified HCP to detoxify your body from specific toxins, PC can help support detoxification at the cellular level. To learn more about BodyBio PC, check out this blog post which details how PC works at the cellular level.