Throughout our lives we are exposed to many substances that are harmful to our body, although our own body is capable of treatin and eliminating them on a daily basis. The liver is the organ in charge of keeping our body safe and clean from these harmful substances that can accumulate in our body. Fran Ballesteros, pharmacist and Vitae educator, explains everything we need to know about a detox plan for our well-being
What does it mean to detox the body?
On many occasions, when talking about detox, diet and food restrictions come to our mind. It is important to mention that when we talk about detoxification, we usually think that it only takes place at the moment we take something that helps us cleanse the body, however, the detox process is something that our body physiologically performs on a daily basis. In fact, it is the main job of our liver, which is the main detoxifying organ, along with the kidneys and intestine (although the liver and intestine are the ones that detoxify the most).
When we talk about a detox treatment, we will combine foods and supplements that will promote these physiological processes.
When is the best time to detoxify the body?
According to the traditional Chinese medicine, the best time to detoxify the body is before spring and fall, approximately the previous 18 days. Another appropriate time to perform a detox would be when we go on a diet, not because it helps us lose weight, be careful! but because if we encourage our body to improve its detoxification processes, we will get more benefits. On one hand, with a correct diet we will improve our physical condition and by eliminating toxins and metals from the body we will increase resistance and improve our well-being. We will be able to shine from the inside out!
What can we feel when we have an excess of toxins in the body?
When we accumulate a large amount of toxins in our body, symptoms such as:
- Physical and mental fatigue
- Dullness and poor mental clarity
- Difficult to focus
- Difficulty to properly rest and sleep
- Skin allergies, eczema, etc.
Being toxified can also affect other aspects of our health, such as the formation of dopamine. Dopamine is considered the neurotransmitter of happiness and is physiologically generated in the intestine through a process of metabolization of certain liver products. For this reason, if we have a saturated liver, not enough dopamine will be generated at the intestinal level and then we will not have as much release of this neurotransmitter. A dopamine deficiency will cause us to be in a state of decay and in general a ” gray ” state of mind.
The importance of the liver
The liver is a fundamental organ and we can’t live without it. We have to imagine it as a processing plant since everything that enters the body is processed in the liver. Useful things come out of this process, such as sugars that will help us have more energy or fat, which will also give us energy. On the other hand, within this process we are also going to eliminate substances, either because our body does not need them or because we already have enough. That is, for example, if we already have enough fat it is possible that it passes into the circulation and we begin to have cholesterol problems, etc. This occurs because our liver “does not know what to do” with the excess fat and cannot keep it, since this would generate a fatty liver.
Everything that I have left over because my body already has enough reserves, the liver eliminates it even if this causes us other problems. All that toxins, dioxins, metals, etc. my liver is responsible for eliminating it through the bile ducts which then end up in the stool.
What happens in the two phases of liver purification?
When we talk about the two purifying phases of the liver, we are referring especially to the purification of medications. These two phases also occur at the level of nutritional substances such as fats, sugars and proteins, but as they are normally usable by the liver, they do not end up undergoing the same reactions. The only real purpose of the two purification phases is to remove toxic substances such as drugs, heavy metals, toxins etc.
The first phase, also called the oxidation phase, works as follows: a substance gets inside the body, then is oxidized in the liver and finally it becomes reactive for the second phase. If this oxidized substance cannot pass correctly to the second phase, because it is a reactive substance, it will have the same effect on our body as if it were a free radical and, therefore, it will promote ageing process. The problem is that this oxidation will occur internally.
For this reason, it is important to promote the first phase, although we must not forget about the second phase, since if it does not work well, we will accumulate free radicals generated in the first phase.
In the second phase of liver purification, or conjugation phase, what happens is that these substances that the liver produces binds them to the oxidized substances in the first phase so that their elimination is safe.
When we talk about detoxifying ingredients, we are referring mainly to antioxidant components. In phase 1 of oxidation, if we incorporate antioxidant ingredients, we will compensate the oxidation process that occur.
Some of the most detoxifying ingredients are:
- Green tea. Almost all detox products incorporate it since it is one of the most antioxidant ingredients that exists.
- Pine bark
- Grape seeds
- Aged garlic, which also has a great antioxidant power and promotes detoxification in phase 1.
If in phase 1 of the liver we needed antioxidant compounds, during phase 2 we will need to provide our body with compounds that bind to other oxidized products in a way that makes their elimination safe.
The quintessential compound that our body uses to make this conjugation is glutathione, a compound that exists in our body naturally and that the liver itself is responsible for producing and using it.
Important! Whenever we take glutathione we have to do it together with selenium since otherwise it is not activated correctly.
And what happens to our intestines?
The liver carries out its elimination through the blood and the kidneys (another cleansing organ) and through the bile ducts that flow into the small intestine. All waste products from the liver travel the same route as food, so absorption can occur. For this reason, when we perform a liver detox, it is important to follow it with a bowel cleansing.
What is one of the best ingredients to cleanse the intestine?
Chlorella, very rich in fiber, speeds up all transit and encourages what we are eliminating through the liver to pass quickly through the intestine and be eliminated. In addition, this algae is very rich in nutrients and ” traps ” toxins and heavy metals.
As we said, this cleansing process would only be necessary when we carry out a specific detox plan, otherwise this process is carried out naturally.