The word DETOX usually brings to mind things like juice cleanses, colon cleanses, diet pills or prolonged fasting. Commercial detox diets make it seem like detoxing is simple and easy to achieve, all you have to do is not eat or eat very little for a week to 10 days. The truth is that truly effective detoxification is a bit more complicated....
The detox process is a systemic process and it should be individualized and done with caution. Taking into account the person, their environment, lifestyle, and genetics, is very important to avoid increased free radical release that cannot be handled by the body.
Take reduced calorie diets that are less than 800-1000 calories per day for a prolonged period of time. This type of diet definitely will cause weight loss due to the severe calorie restriction. But did you know....Lipid soluble toxins are stored in fat tissue and contribute to increased toxin load with rapid weight loss. Hence, rapid weight loss or starvation diets can actually make you sick by causing a release of large amounts of toxins from fatty tissue. The toxin release can overwhelm our bodies and cause free radical damage.
WHAT ARE TOXINS?
Toxins are all around us. Toxins actually come from living organisms like mold, mycotoxins, or bacteria in our guts that produce endotoxins. Toxicants are man made toxins like dioxin and insecticides. The total body burden of these toxins and toxicants is what is most important. Total body burden is affected by environmental exposure (ongoing or past), genetics, lifestyle, stress, and microbiome balance aka gut health.
WHAT IS DETOX?:
To effectively detox, the body has to be able to excrete both hydrophilic (water compounds) and lipophilic (fat compounds) from the body. Hydrophilic compounds are more readily and easily excreted in the urine or bile because they do not have to be chemically altered, but in contrast lipophilic compounds must be chemically altered to facilitate excretion. Lipophilic compounds (compounds dissolved in fat) must go through bioactivation and then conjugation. The majority of the reactions occur in the liver but still require a properly functioning gut and kidneys. In this study by Jeong. H.G. et al, they found that the bacteria in our guts play a major role in biotransformation and detoxification and differences in the bacteria make up in our guts may explain some of the differences in detoxification of different compounds between individuals.
Hence, the importance of supporting the liver, kidneys and gut when trying to detox.
PHASES OF DETOX:
Phase 1 detoxification occurs mainly in the liver and uses the Cytochrome P450 enzymes to perform oxidation (loss of electrons), reduction (gain of electrons) and hydrolysis (adding water) of varying toxins to ease elimination and produce metabolically inactive compounds that can further be metabolize and bound by phase 2 enzymes. Phase 1 detox is influenced by: