It is no coincidence that the root word of liver is live as it is an incredibly important organ and plays a key role in maintaining your wellbeing.
People speak of 'doing a liver detox' however, the reality is, your liver is involved in detoxification processes every second of every day.
What's more, everyone detoxifies at different speeds, kids are particularly slow, making them more vulnerable to toxin exposure.
Liver Detox 101! The what, why and how of liver detoxification.
Toxins come from two places- inside AND outside the body.
Exogenous toxins- refers to toxins entering from outside the body
Endogenous toxins- refers to toxins produced inside our bodies.
These days, we are exposed to a cocktail of different chemicals, pesticides, flame retardants, plasticisers and heavy metals. Research tells us that small amounts of single toxin exposure can be well tolerated but once a few different chemicals or heavy metals are combined then their impact can be far more damaging, the total being greater than the sum of all parts.
Too much Heavy Metal, and I don't mean AC/DC!
Heavy metals are found to reduce brain weight, increase brain cell destruction (Alzheimer's Disease), cause liver cell damage and kidney cell death. They can be found in cigarettes, diesel fumes, industrial waste, medical products, dental amalgams and the food chain, e.g. fish.
Unless you do a specifically targeted detox these heavy metals settle themselves deep in bones, organs tissue such as the brain, kidneys & liver as well as fat cells. Different metals have different preferences,for example, lead likes to settle in the bones whilst mercury prefers to deposit in the brain.
Hormonal Havoc!! Endocrine disruption right under our noses!
Endocrine disruptor's are abundant in our environment and interfere with hormone function in various ways. They have the potential to;
mimic our own hormones, potentially resulting in over stimulation of hormones
block our hormone 'docking stations' resulting in under stimulation of hormones
change the way the liver handles our hormones
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) can be found in everyday products such as toiletries, plastic bottles, tinned food, detergents, food, toys, cosmetics and pesticides. They have been linked with thyroid & reproductive abnormalities as well as some forms of cancer.
Would you have guessed???
Your liver processes SO many substances each day, below are some, not all.
Pesticides, Herbicides, Insecticides
Heavy Metals e.g. Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic
Penicillin, Antibiotics, NSAIDS,Paracetamol
Steroid hormones, internally and externally derived
Sex hormones, natural & synthetic
Phenols, Amines (chargrilled foods)
Neurotransmitters (brain chemicals)
Preservatives, sulphites, flavours & colours
Gut derived toxins- directly from food or produced in our guts
Endocrine disrupting chemicals
Tools of the Trade
If you suspect a significant toxic burden then a specialised detox is recommended, with the assistance of a trained health professional. It can be potentially dangerous to mobilise stored toxins without ensuring they are bound and excreted safely.
General detox foods & nutrients include:
Brassica family vegetables
Sulfur rich foods-eggs, onion family
Green leafy veg
Vitamins C, B12, B6, B5
Minerals such as Magnesium, Zinc, Molybdenum & Selenium
Prebiotic fibre and probiotic organisms.
Like we service our motor vehicles so we should service our bodies. I recommend yearly 'grease and oil change' for most people with more frequent detoxs' suggested for cancer survivors, those with chronic fatigue, people with chronic gut issues, hairdressers, motor mechanics and individuals on a weight loss program.
Your liver is one of the hardest working organs in your body, love it and it will love you back!