Today, there are many promising ways to detox, from short-term diets like Keto, to popular Juice cleanses brewed with sea greens & superfoods.
But, is it possible to achieve long-term results from short-term results?
An even better question, how do these nutrients serve our body's natural detox system?
Today, our blog aims to highlight the key metabolic pathways and nutrients associated with the body's natural detox system.
What is a Detox?
Conventionally, a detox can be considered as “short-term dietary interventions practiced to eliminate toxins from the body.”
It's a desirable movement for industrial and modern societies because of the prevalence of processed foods, endocrine disruptors, and environmental pollutants.
But the truth is,
The landscape of detox is evolving, and what was once a short-term incentive for weight-loss, or achieving an A-list glow, is now a commitment toward sustainable practices that foster continuous self-improvement.
What are Detox Organs?
Detoxification is most commonly associated with cleansing the liver. However, detoxification is a systemic process involving multiple organs, and metabolic pathways in the body.
The Liver: The liver serves as the body’s primary filter that support metabolizing minerals such as Copper and Zinc (via metallothionein’s), it also neutralizes a variety of harmful metals including: lead, cadmium, and mercury. It also produces a cluster of cells that help metabolize pharmaceuticals.
The Kidneys: They kidneys are an intricate network of filtration systems that help remove excess waste, drugs. and metabolites from the body.
The Digestive System:
- The Gallbladder: One important feature of the Gallbladder is its ability to produce bile, which helps in the breakdown of fat-soluble substances, and nutrients.
- The Intestines: A cluster of cells called Peyer’s Patches are lymph nodes located on the small intestine help filter out foreign parasites and substances before any nutrients are absorbed into the body.
The Immune System: Our immune systems work daily to keep foreign bacteria, virus, and their toxic byproducts from infiltrating the body.
The Lymphatic System: The lymphatic system helps circulate to remove / filter foreign bacteria / viruses from the body.
The Respiratory System: Fine hairs in your nose help protect against particles that can be inhaled, especially environmental pollutants.
The Skin: Your skin is your bodies first shield of defense against foreign substances from entering the body.
Our bodies natural detoxification system is a series of networks, and was designed to work in synergy with each other for best performance.
Detox Metabolism: Easy as 1 2 3
Before you can dive into detox nutrition, understanding its metabolic pathways, and co-factors will help guide you in determining which foods are best for your concern. Having a diet high in all of these nutrients (unless otherwise contraindicated), could help replenish your bodies natural detox system.
Detoxification consists of three main metabolic pathways, which include the Activation, Binding, and Elimination of toxic / foreign chemicals from the body.
- Phase 1: Bioactivation
- Phase 2: Conjugation
- Phase 3: Transport / Elimination
Each phase requires key nutrients to serve as co-factors in the metabolic processes of detoxification. A diet lacking in these key nutrients, can impair the process.
Phase 1: Bioactivation
Phase I reactions transform toxins, drugs, and substances into their active forms via a superfamily of enzymes like cytochrome P450 (CYP450). Activating a toxic substance causes a series of reactions resulting in oxidative stress, which destroys health and vitality of the body.
Nutrients to Support Phase 1 Detoxification
P450 (CYP450) Super Family Foods:
Cruciferous vegetables such as: Spanish Black Radish, Broccoli (frozen or raw), cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and fresh daikon radish are amongst the many cruciferous vegetables that help expedite this process.
Since phase 1 of detoxification puts toxins into their bioactive form, it is essential to consume antioxidants to combat the presence of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that harm out detox organs.
Popular antioxidants to include:
- Carotenes (Vitamin A):
- Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) + Bioflavonoids
- Tocopherols (Vitamin E)
- Minerals: Copper, Zinc, Manganese
- Thiols: Garlic, Onion & Cruciferous Vegetables
Detox Phase II: Conjugation
Conjugation means putting two things together. In this stage, the objective is to bind and neutralize reactive toxins, and transport them out of the system via excretion or bowel movements.
There are 6 Main Super Pathways that support our natural detox system:
What do I detox
|Glutathione s-transferases (GST)||
|Amino acid transferases||
Figure 1. Six Essential Metabolic Pathways for Detoxification. Co-Factors. and Toxin Breakdown. Created by KIPOS NUTRIMART.
Phase 3 Detox: Elimination
The final stage of the detoxification process is called elimination, where the toxins are removed from the cell. Organs with highly dense transport systems include:
At this point, transport-systems carries the toxin(s) from the cell to either be flushed / excreted from the kidneys (water-soluble metabolites), or removed via the bowls (fat-soluble metabolites).
Foods that support Bile production are beneficial for the healthy digestion of fat-soluble toxins such as:
- Xenobiotics (Drug Metabolites)
- Endobiotics (Hormone Metabolites)
- Inflammatory Mediators
A history of gallbladder removal / decreased bile production can impair the body’s natural detoxification system. Listed below are herbs that have been traditionally used to improve bile secretion from the gallbladder.
Nutrition for Bile-Production
- Ox Bile
- Bile Salts
Best-Selling Bile Enzyme: NOW: Super Enzymes with Ox Bile for Gallbladder Support
Vitamin & Mineral Recap
The body requires nutrients to bind against heavy-metals, and serve as co-factors for each stage of the natural detoxification system.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B (B2,B5,B6,Folate, B12)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Minerals: Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, Calcium & Selenium