Search
  • Nathalie Curabba

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH DETOXING?

Updated: Aug 20


Photo by Vegan Liftz on Unsplash


Like many things in health and wellness, some terms and concepts are misunderstood, misinterpreted, and altogether misused. Some say there’s no need to detox because the body already does it on a regular basis. But, others say otherwise. So, what’s the deal behind a detox? Is it a gimmick or is it a way to both love and support your liver?

What does DETOX mean anyway?

Detox (detoxification) in its simplest form means the elimination of foreign and toxic substances from the body (Mahan & Raymond, 2017).


Biotransformation is another term for detoxification.


The process is when an exogenous (outside source) or endogenous (the ones from within our bodies that come from everyday metabolic actions) substance is changed into a less toxic version of itself that is then more easily excreted in urine. Fat-soluble compounds need to be biotransformed (or detoxified) in the liver, in something called Phase I and Phase II liver systems (Lipski, 2019).


Below, you’ll see a simplified version of what goes on in the liver and what it needs to help eliminate toxins from the body.


Why is your liver special?

It’s not just because your liver can regenerate itself, though that alone is pretty cool (Abu Rmilah, et al., 2019).

Believe it or not, there’s so much more your liver does. It is the “critical hub” where the following physiological functions take place:

  • Macronutrient metabolism (protein, fats, and carbohydrates are broken down into usable parts and distributed throughout the body)

  • Makes and stores glycogen (glycogenesis), the storage form of glucose (when our cells don’t need any more glucose)

  • Makes glucose FROM glycogen (glycogenolysis) when our body does need more glucose, i.e. energy, and isn’t getting it from food (if we’re fasting, for example)

  • Makes NEW glucose from OTHER sources like proteins, fatty acids, etc.

  • Maintains balance in cholesterol and fats

  • Is a protein-making factory (proteins are the molecules that make up everything we are and provide actions for everything our organs do!)

  • Provides immune support by clearing the blood of leftover pathogens

  • Regulates blood volume

  • Is a FUNDAMENTAL organ in ridding the body of toxins (of course, I mean detoxing)

(Trefts, Gannon, & Wasserman, 2017), (Abu Rmilah, et al., 2019)

…………………………………………………………………………………………........................................................................................

But why do I NEED to detox?

Unfortunately, we live in an increasingly toxic world. In addition to the endogenous toxins, we are bombarded by exogenous ones. These include medications, alcohol, drugs, and environmental pollutants such as pesticides, heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, aluminum), PCBs, phthalates and many more, at least 90,000 more (Grigg, 2004), (Lipski, 2019).

These environmental toxins are in:

  • our air, water, and soil (Grigg, 2004)

  • non-stick cookware, aluminum pans, (heating foods in) plastic containers

  • cosmetics, shampoo, deodorants, moisturizers

  • household cleaning products

  • clothes, our furniture, brand new cars.

They’re inescapable and there are many more to contend with which leads to an overburdened liver and detox system.


This matters because these substances, built up over time in our systems, known as “cumulative exposure”, have deleterious effects on our health (Sexton & Hattis, 2007). From endocrine disruption to cancer, changes in DNA, to autoimmune responses, neural and hormonal signaling to cardiovascular disease, and more (Sexton & Hattis, 2007).


Kids, as usual, are at greatest risk (Grigg, 2004).

………………………………………………………………………………………….........................................................................................

Taking care of your liver...

So, another way of interpreting detoxification is really just taking care of your liver and the detox pathways that help it do its ridiculously difficult job.


What can you do?


Well, the first and best place to start is your plate. Specifically, cruciferous vegetables have demonstrated positive effects on detoxification systems (Hodges & Minich, 2015). These are watercress, garden cress, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, arugula, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard greens, and more. Glucosinolates are one of the superpowers that cruciferous veg possesses. These beauties stimulate Phase II detoxification enzymes (Boddupalli, Mein, Lakkanna, & James, 2012). Sulforaphane, a phytonutrient in cruciferous veg, has been shown to specifically modulate P450 enzymes (needed in Phase I) plus all its other functions (Boddupalli, Mein, Lakkanna, & James, 2012). Additionally, the synergy between sulforaphane and vitamins A, C, and E (also found in these veg), play a significant protective role against oxidative stress (Boddupalli, Mein, Lakkanna, & James, 2012). This is good news for your liver!

Lastly, these veg also have AMAZING antioxidant capability, stimulate the immune system, and are anticarcinogenic.

https://www.naomiwhittel.com/cruciferous-vegetables/

………………………………………………………………………………………….........................................................................................

Interactions

Very high consumption of cruciferous vegetables may cause hypothyroidism in animals (Linus Pauling Institute, 2019.). However, it seems that already having an iodine deficiency can contribute to this action. There are no dietary guidelines for how much is too much. Please reach out to your health care professional with questions.

………………………………………………………………………………………….........................................................................................

More Info!

Familiarize yourself with the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen from The Environmental Working Group (https://www.ewg.org/)


This is a great read with some useful tips for avoiding “toxics”. https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2017/06/407416/toxic-exposure-chemicals-are-our-water-food-air-and-furniture


Now, GO and LOVE your LIVER! (And thank it once in a while!)


#Detox #Detoxification #Liverhealth #Biotransformation


References

Abu Rmilah, A., Zhou, W., Nelson, E., Lin, L., Amiot, B., & Nyberg, S. L. (2019). Understanding the marvels behind liver regeneration. Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Developmental biology, 8(3), e340. doi:10.1002/wdev.340


Boddupalli, S., Mein, J. R., Lakkanna, S., & James, D. R. (2012). Induction of phase 2 antioxidant enzymes by broccoli sulforaphane: perspectives in maintaining the antioxidant activity of vitamins a, C, and e. Frontiers in genetics, 3, 7. doi:10.3389/fgene.2012.00007


Grigg, J. (2004). Environmental toxins; their impact on children’s health. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 89(3), 244-250.


Hodges, R. E., & Minich, D. M. (2015). Modulation of metabolic detoxification pathways using foods and food-derived components: A scientific review with clinical application. Journal of nutrition and metabolism, 2015, 760689. doi:10.1155/2015/760689


Image. Liftz, V. (n.d.). Detox tiles on blue ceramic plate. Retrieved November 11, 2019 from

https://unsplash.com/photos/uPFoQjYHFu8


Image. Detox Pathways, (n.d.). Retrieved November 11, 2019 from https://odomhealthandwellness.com/research-based-natural-detox-ingredients-research-findings-for-natural-detoxification-support-system/

Image. Whittel, N. (n.d.). Cruciferous vegetables. Retrieved November 11, 2019 from https://www.naomiwhittel.com/cruciferous-vegetables/

Linus Pauling Institute. (2019). Cruciferous Vegetables. Retrieved November 12, 2019 from https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/food-beverages/cruciferous-vegetables

Lipski, E. (2019). NUTR 636: Module 4 Lecture. [PDF document]. Retrieved from Lecture Notes

Online Web site: https://learn.muih.edu


Mahan, L. K., & Raymond, J. L. (2017). Krause’s Food and the Nutrition Process. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Inc.


Sexton, K., & Hattis, D. (2007). Assessing cumulative health risks from exposure to environmental mixtures - three fundamental questions. Environmental health perspectives, 115(5), 825–832. doi:10.1289/ehp.9333


Trefts, E., Gannon, M., & Wasserman, D. H. (2017). The liver. Current biology: CB, 27(21), R1147–R1151. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2017.09.019




10 views
 

©2020 by Nathalie Curabba Nutrition. Proudly created with Wix.com