How Detox Works

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Natural detoxification in our body goes through two systems. The first is the anti-oxidation system that involves preventing free radical damage and oxidation (also called oxidative stress). The second detoxification system occurs in the liver and involves certain enzymes that are responsible for breaking down and eliminating the toxins. Both the anti-oxidation system and the liver detoxification system work hand in hand with our circulatory and elimination systems to protect us.

The anti-oxidation system

All our cells need oxygen to survive and function; but oxygen can react with other substances causing oxidation. In our body, this process is known as biological rancidification. When we are exposed to toxins, activated forms of oxygen (reactive oxygen species) are produced in huge numbers in our body in response. These forms of oxygen are also known as free radicals – unstable molecules that are lacking an electron, which they steal from another molecule causing oxidative damage. This sets off a chain reaction with the new molecule stealing an electron from another molecule and so on. To offset this, our body has an anti-oxidation system made up of antioxidant nutrients and enzymes. Together, they work to replace missing electrons and make molecules stable once again. When for example the antioxidant vitamin C gives an electron to a molecule, it must replace its missing one from another antioxidant nutrient, say vitamin E. Vitamin E is now missing an electron and must get one from another antioxidant and so on. This is why it is so important to have sufficient supplies of all antioxidants; if you are deficient in only one, oxidative stress will still occur as antioxidants are unable to work alone.
The liver detoxification system

The detoxification system in the liver takes place in two phases:

Phase I: When toxic substances enter the liver through the blood, enzymes break down and transform the toxins into intermediate forms (often free radicals). Some free radicals can be eliminated in phase I, but others must be further processed in phase II.

Phase II: In this phase, another set of enzymes bind to the free radicals from phase I and create non-toxic water-soluble compounds – most toxins are fat-soluble – that are then excreted through the kidneys (urine) or bile (feces). These specialized enzymes are produced from different vitamins, minerals and amino acids contained in proteins. So, if we do not have enough nutrients in our body to make these enzymes, the toxins (which may be more harmful now than when they initially entered the liver) are stored in the liver or fat tissue and begin to cause oxidative stress, which in turn leads to chronic illness.

What supplements help the body detox?

Our detox systems rely on an ample supply of nutrients to flush out toxic substances from our body. Due to rapidly increasing global pollution, neutralizing and excreting the growing amounts of toxins is no longer possible, even with a healthy diet. Getting enough of these nutrients solely from our diet, no matter how healthy, is not possible. We need to turn to nutritional supplements that will provide us not only with an adequate supply of essential nutrients, but also provide us with their right combination for the best effect. The following nutrients are scientifically documented to help the body detox (please see treatment options below that contain these nutrients):

– Vitamin C
– Vitamin E
– Vitamin B2
– Vitamin D
– Beta-carotene
– Chlorella
– Alpha-lipoic acid
– Folic acid
– Grape seed extract
– Green tea
– Glutathione
– Selenium
– Zinc

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