Jessie Lan, HK BioTek Intern Nutritionist
Detoxification means cleansing the blood. This is done by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are usually processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through other organs and systems such as kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin. Therefore, a detox can help the body’s natural cleansing process by:
- Resting the organs through fasting;
- Stimulating the liver to remove toxins from the body;
- Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys, and skin;
- Improving blood circulation
- Refueling the body with healthy nutrients
Liver is the most important organ of detoxification. It continuously processes all forms of compounds in your body throughout the day including very toxic ones and others which are beneficial. Your liver is proficient in deciding what needs to stay and what needs to be removed. It functions like a massive chemical plant that manufactures certain compounds, detoxifies dangerous compounds, and directs substances all over the body for use, storage or excretion.
Your liver uses two different pathways so as to carry out this detoxification process – phase I and phase II respectively. Phase I is responsible for breaking things down. During phase I pathway, toxin chemicals and metals (from food, water, and air) are converted into less harmful chemicals through with the help of P-450 enzyme. If even the smallest sip of caffeine can keep you wide awake at night, you phase I detox might have a longer reaction time than normal. However if you have two cups of coffee in the afternoon and can still sleep just as fine, your phase I detox might be overly active.
After going through phase I these smaller compounds are sent to phase II, where new substances are built from the raw material by adding molecules to them. The phase II detoxification pathway is known as the conjugation pathway which converts the fat-soluble toxic chemical and transforms the toxins into water-soluble chemicals. They then leave the body via body fluids as such as the bile or urine. For people who are on a diet low in protein and fat, they may experience a dramatically slow phase II as amino acids drive this process. This is because proteins and fats attach to the toxins, neutralizes them and make sure such toxins leave the body.
A healthy diet and healthy liver play an essential role in detoxification. Therefore by eating healthily and food that supports detoxification you would be promoting what is the best for your body.