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For many years, before I started my holistic practitioner training over six years ago, I thought our major organs (liver/gallbladder, colon, and kidneys) cleaned themselves out. However, with our physical environment we live in and the choice of foods we choose, we become clogged up, especially in the liver and colon. There are over 500 functions the liver does everyday, 24 hours a day, where all the blood is cleaned before it is circulated to all of our other organs. If you are not having at least one bowel movement for each meal you eat, every day, there may be a problem and your body is storing these toxins in your colon. And the longer it is in your colon, it will reabsorb the toxins back into your blood supply.
First, and most important, remove as many toxins from your immediate environment as possible. This means no further pesticide treatments (including bug bombs and contracted pesticide services) inside your house, no bug sprays used indoors on plants, and using only safe, natural insecticides outdoors. Very important!
As for foods, you avoid canned, packaged and other forms of processed foods. Prepare as many of your meals as possible from fresh ingredients. Resort to canning and other forms of safe food storage. When you buy vegetables and fruits, buy organic. Even better is to grow your own or buy them from a farmer’s market. Be sure to ask about the use of pesticides and herbicides.
For non-vegetarians, buy meat locally from people you know. If that is not possible, buy minimally processed meats, and avoid the meat of animals that were injected with antibiotics and hormones or that were fed animal feces. Meat from wild game is probably the safest to eat. It is low in fat, and because game animals graze on grasses, berries, and other healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Some smaller farms still graze their cattle.
We have known for a long time that people with powerful detoxification systems can tolerate exposures to many toxins that make people with weak detoxification systems very sick. For example, mercury poisoning (think dental amalgams) can be very bad in our system. However, if you have higher selenium and zinc levels you are far less likely to suffer toxicity.
Detoxification systems exist in most cells, but the body’s major detoxification apparatus is the liver. It consists of two parts. The first part, called the phase I system or MFO (mixed function oxidases), utilizes a p-450 enzyme system to alter normally lipid-soluble toxins to a water-soluble form that can be easily excreted in the urine. The kidney is the major organ for the urine and needs to be clear to be able to releasing the toxins from the liver. The phase II system uses various molecules, primarily glutathione, to bind these altered toxins so they can be safely excreted.
This cleansing system depends on a good supply of detoxification chemicals, such as sulfur, glutathione, taurine, and selenium to successfully accomplish its task. Several plant flavonoids and vitamins have also been shown to possess an ability to stimulate both phase I and II detoxification. This is especially true for the carotenoids, indole-3-carbinol (from broccoli), and curcumin.
Besides the above mentioned supplements that aid in the phase I and II liver detoxification, certain vitamin deficiencies are particularly common with chemical toxicities. For example, vitamin B6 deficiency has been observed in 60 percent of all chemically sensitive individuals. When B6 is low, taurine is deficient too. Taurine plays a major role in detoxification and deficiencies result in extreme sensitivities to chlorine, hypochlorite (bleach), aldehydes, alcohols, solvents, and ammonia. It is preferable to take pyridoxal 5-phosphate than pyroxidine, since the former is the active coenzyme form. Those with chronic disease or extreme toxicities cannot metabolically convert pyridoxine to its active form.
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) also plays a major role in detoxification, as it is a component in the phase I detoxification process. Riboflavin is especially important in detoxifying Azo dyes, which are known to produce cancer.
Magnesium (magnesium’s job has over 300 functions in the body) deficiency is very common with heavy metal toxicity and toxic chemical exposure. Both of these toxicities cause increased excretion of magnesium in the urine. Magnesium deficiency impairs the phase I detoxification process and has been shown to decrease hydroxylation of aniline and demethylation of aminopyrine, both carcinogenic compounds. Magnesium supplementation reverses this effect.
During my 26 day intense detoxification, I have already lost four pounds in five days (my stubborn body wants to hold on to that 5-10 pounds) and I haven’t even started the kidney or liver part of the cleanse yet! What I am doing is a more intense concentrated cleanse that will release some excess bile/stones from my gallbladder/liver and scrub the kidney skin of “salts.”
Each and everyday there are things we can do to preventing our body from being overburdened. It is important to pay attention to your environment and up to you to start today.
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