Detox is more than a marketing buzzword and most, to a certain extent, understand that it is a great way to help us feel better – whether we part take in a detox program for weight loss, more energy, or better skin. But not many understand how the actual process works. In my last post, I laid out 5 detox practices that everyone should try. In this article, I want to dive a little deeper into the actual detox process along with ways to optimize the process within the body!
Let me start by saying that our bodies have set detox systems in place. We detox in 4 main ways – breathing, sweating, urinating, and pooping, and the organs involved are lungs, skin, kidneys, liver, and the digestive system.
Humor me for a second here! If you think of these organ systems coming together like a ‘nuclear power plant’, then think of the liver as the main centerpiece of the plant that has the most important functions – Phase 1 and Phase 2 detox. Each of these phases is important in packaging toxins in a way that is acceptable to excrete via the kidney or the colon.
Phase 1 Detox:
During phase 1 detox, the liver uses a team of enzymes to convert substances into detox-ready compounds. These phase-1-detox substances may include medications, alcohol, caffeine, or any entity that the body deems as toxic. We can easily support the phase-1 ‘machinery’ with some nourishing nutrients such as:
Herbs such as milk thistle
Cruciferous veggies such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale
These above-mentioned nutrients are crucial as they activate and support the phase 1 detoxification process. So it is a good idea to make sure we get an adequate amount of these nutrients for optimal liver function during phase 1 detox.
Phase 2 Detox:
Once the phase 1 processing is finished, the prepped-up toxins get sent to the phase 2 ‘machine”. During this process, the toxins are further prepped and packaged so they can be shipped out via urine or stool! In order for phase 2 functions to happen smoothly, the liver needs the following nutrients:
Glutathione – The master antioxidant that soaks up toxins like a sponge!
Amino acids such as N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) – this nutrient is a precursor to glutathione. Along with NAC, other amino acids include methionine, glycine, and taurine.
Vitamin B12 – The detoxing process is very energy demanding. The liver absolutely needs B12 to optimize its energy production process.
So, why is detox important?
In order for the body to process toxins, the liver needs to function optimally. When we lack essential micronutrients, it is easy for the liver to get sluggish and not work efficiently to get rid of all the unwanted goop! An increase in toxic burden can lead to fatigue, brain fog, skin conditions like acne, hormonal imbalance, sleep disturbances, and more complex gut issues. So from an optimal health standpoint, liver function and its detox processes must be in tip-top shape!
Therefore, in order to make sure our body detoxes properly, a good place to start would be with all the 5 detox practices I had mentioned in my previous article. Along with incorporating these tips, adding nutrients mentioned above to support Phase 1 and Phase 2 detox can really help the liver thrive and function optimally!