Cleansing the Body (Detoxifying the Liver & Beyond)

One of the ways I help my patients overcome their long-term health issues is to give the body an opportunity to “clean ship” so to speak.  I’ve studied with the best of the leading-edge nutritionally minded doctors over my 30 years of practice and there are some common threads I want to bring forward in this 4 Element Nutrition article.

Detoxification is based upon the clearing of harmful biochemistries from your body – mostly by your liver.  Not only do you need to rid your body of drugs, it’s important to detoxify environmental toxins, cleaning supplies, air fresheners and food additives.  In fact, in the US we allow over 10,000 food additives in our food supply. Each year most people consume 14 pounds of additives.

Just like a hangover, toxins can trigger many symptoms. Some are frequent headaches, mental fogginess, and chronic mucus production, recurrent infections, allergies, joint pains, sleep problems. Others are weight gain, food sensitivities, fatigue, edema, anxiety and stress, hormonal problems, skin rashes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure. 

How do you reduce all this? 1 – Replace toxins in your home, yard, skin care products and food products with things that have a more natural origin. 2 – Perform a whole-body detoxification at least once a year. 

A purification, or body cleansing program helps the body eliminate this burden of nasty chemicals. As it has been said, “The solution to pollution is dilution”: the body fills up with more fluid (puffy eyes, legs, face) and more fat cells to store it. The body will not dump this excess water or fat until it finds a way to get rid of its accumulation of toxins. High blood pressure comes as the heart has to pump harder to push through all this.

Truth be told, the body creates its own assortment of toxins. These come as it breaks down its hormones and various other biochemistries that must be controlled for healthy body function. However, the body was never meant to deal with the levels of toxic exposure we have today; there is a good chance your body is being overwhelmed by these toxins entering you.

Let’s discuss the liver.  1½ quarts of blood move through the liver each minute. More happens metabolically in the liver than anywhere else in the body. Further, it regulates metabolism of fats, carbs, proteins, hormones, some vitamins and minerals. 

The Liver’s Detoxification process

All too often there is a foo foo, or unscientific notion of what detoxification is all about.  Interestingly much of the science of these detoxification processes has been learned by drug companies that must determine the safety of their drug, and how the body gets rid of it. Dosage and side-effects relate to how well and how quickly the liver can break them down. 

Drug research has shown there to be two phases of detoxification. Phase 1 can be thought of as separating your household garbage into a few different categories – paper, plastic recyclables and then “trash”.  Phase 2 is the actual garbage pickup. 

Interestingly, the 4 Elements can be seen to fit into Phase 1 detoxifications: reduction, oxidation, hydrolysis, and acetylation relate to Fire, Air, Water and Earth – but that is for another article. The goal of this phase is to make a chemical more water-soluble, so the body can either release it into your urine or into the bile that goes from your liver-gall bladder into your feces. Unfortunately, in this process an even more toxic intermediary “free radical” is created.

This is where Phase 2 comes in. Here another set of four element-based processes are involved: glutathione, sulfate, amino acid and glucuronide conjugations. These important liver processes “conjugate” the dangerous Phase 1 toxins onto something – those blue bins, paper bags, garbage pail – so they can now be removed from the premises – that garbage pickup.  

Now here are the important practical parts. Different foods can help in this process. One of the best is the cruciferous vegetables – brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli…. One of the distinctive parts of this family of vegetables is its sulfur components – which gives them great sulfate conjugation detox properties. This family of sulfur compounds has been found to help fight cancers.

Many female problems arise from estrogen being conjugated with glucuronides.  Here, an imbalance of colon bacteria gets in the way. Increasing fiber, fermented foods, curcumin, rosemary, flax seed, reishi mushrooms, milk thistle, green tea and brussels sprouts can all help.

This is the important thing to know: health problems often occur when Phase 2 detoxifications are not able to occur fast enough to keep up with Phase 1 detoxifications. Known as “pathological detoxifiers”, or imbalance detoxification, the accumulation of free radicals formed during Phase 1 are strongly thought to create such conditions as Chronic Fatigue, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Migraines, Cancers, all types of endocrine-related disorders. 

This imbalanced detoxification occurs most often when you are constantly being exposed to toxins, without the ability to remove the toxic intermediaries by way of Phase 2’s four main conjugation processes. 

The Cleansing, or Liver Detoxification products 4 Element Lifestyle offers will supply the various nutrients that help to ensure your body can get rid of the toxins being stored in your fat cells.  I recommend doing each of them for a month or more; each adds something to the detox process. And it’s not just detox that is being supported. You are strengthening your body against inflammatory processes, hormonal imbalance, immune system weaknesses, mental fogginess, and future brain problems.