In the world of medicine there are two ways to approach health. Both have a place in all of our lives. One approach is to be proactive. This means to do everything we possibly can to enhance our quality of life (and most likely quantity).
Proactive effort includes optimizing nutrition, minimizing stress, exercising smarter not harder, sleeping a minimum of 8 hours each night without interruption, replacing declining hormones in a safe way and keeping our bodies clean (detoxification/cleansing) in this ever changing world with more and more industrialization.
The other approach is to be reactive. This means to react to a condition with a treatment that is most often suppressive in nature so that the symptoms go away. We can approach health conditions without suppressing, but it takes time, awareness and self commitment to be successful.
I have heard some physicians who practice reactive (with drugs and surgery) medicine say “the body naturally detoxifies itself and that cleansing the liver is all hype.” They are correct on one hand – the body does naturally detoxify itself – if it has the proper nutrients and if the colon is functioning well (having three bowel movements a day).
As we age, nutrient status depletes for a few reasons:
• Our food chain is becoming more deficient with over cultivation of the soil (unless you eat organically)
• Our load is increasing. “Load” refers to substances that pass through the liver every minute that need to be broken down and eliminated. The load is increasing because;
• The food industry allows ridiculous amounts of processing, which introduces dyes, preservatives and toxins to our body.
• The air that we breathe accumulates more pollutants daily. In fact, each year, 2,000 new chemicals are released on the market. Not all are fully tested for their effect on the human body.
• As we age, we also don’t digest as well, absorb or eliminate as efficiently. This puts us behind the 8-ball with eliminating waste and instead, we accumulate it. This accumulation opens the doors to our weak spots and we see degeneration and suffering unnecessarily with age – as well as unnecessary symptoms and suffering when we are young!
To go a little bit further, there is one diagnosis not uncommon to many Americans called “fatty liver.” It affects 50 percent of people over 50. On ultrasound or through biopsy, the liver has fatty infiltrates (almost like when you lose muscle mass and gain fat mass, you lose functional liver mass!) In addition, cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder) is the most common surgery performed in America.
The job of the gallbladder is to store the bile that the liver makes in order to emulsify fat – break fat down. Without the storage of bile, the liver has more work to do on a daily basis and will either over or under produce bile, based on your biochemistry. Most people, even physicians who don’t understand or respect Functional Medicine would have a very high respect for keeping our liver and other elimination organs as efficient as possible.
Nutrients needed for phase I detoxification (oxidation, reduction, hydrolysis, hydration, dehalogenation) are listed below with the food sources they are most commonly found in.
• B2, B3 and B6 – legumes, nuts, eggs, lean meats, green leafy vegetables, whole grains and dairy products (destroyed by exposure to light)
• Folic acid – legumes, citrus fruits, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, poultry, pork, shellfish and liver
• B12 – eggs, meat, poultry, shellfish and dairy
• Glutathione – asparagus, broccoli, avocado, raw eggs and garlic.
• Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine – dairy, red meat and eggs
• Flavonoids – colorful fruits and vegetables
• Phospholipids – soybeans and eggs
Nutrients needed to shuttle intermediary metabolites through to phase II are:
• Carotenes and Vitamin C – fruits and vegetables
• Vitamin E – wheat germ, nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables and fish oil
• Selenium – fish, shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken and garlic
• Zinc – meat, seafood, liver, eggs, dairy and whole-grain products
• Manganese – pineapple, legumes and nuts
• Coenzyme Q 10 – fish and red meat
• Thiols – sulfur containing foods that are vital for the catalytic function of several body enzymes; garlic, onions and cruciferous vegetables (arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, watercress, bokchoy, turnip, mustard and collard greens, rutabaga, daikon radish, turnips and kale)
On the contrary, grapefruit will decrease phase I detoxification, which is sometimes needed to enhance the bioavailability of certain drugs yet is contraindicated during the use of other drugs. So, overall, grapefruit will slow down detoxification of the liver. I suggest focusing on increasing phase II metabolism through the use of nutrients listed below.
Nutrients needed for phase II detoxification (Oxidation, reduction, hydrolysis, hydration, dehalogenation) require amino acids that come predominantly from proteins – fish, meat, beans and dairy:
To be specific, I think it would be great if we all took better care of ourselves by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables for phase I and to metabolize intermediary metabolites. In addition, if you are a vegetarian and lack the nutrients in phase II, consider taking them as a supplement. I personally take both antioxidants and detoxification powder on a daily basis and do an aggressive detoxification at the turn of each season.
If you would like to be guided on a protocol for an intense detoxification which means that you are not eating and are rather taking in the nutrients necessary to enhance your liver and intestine to eliminate more aggressively, please see the protocol below that is a common and successful seasonal cleanse that many patients do. I respect this cleanse as it contains a multitude of nutrients (all of the ones listed above) for both phases of detoxification to push the liver/gallbladder dumping, provides enough bulk so that elimination of waste through the intestines is enhanced, includes nutrients specific for intestinal rebuilding, and contains enough water to make sure the kidneys are shuttling water soluble wastes out.
6am - Water – 10 ounces
7am - Fiberlicious - 2 scoops in 8-10 ounces of water
8am - Complete Detoxification (1 scoop) + HMF (¼ tsp.) + Permeability Plus (1 scoop) mixed into water or a milk alternative (Rice, Soy, Oat, Almond, Hemp, Hazelnut milk)
10am - Water – 10 ounces
11am - Complete Detoxification (1 scoop) + HMF (¼ tsp.) + Permeability Plus (1 scoop) mixed into water or a milk alternative (Rice, Soy, Oat, Almond, Hemp, Hazelnut milk
1pm - Water – 10 ounces
2pm - Complete Detoxification (1 scoop) + HMF (¼ tsp.) + Permeability Plus (1 scoop) mixed into water or a milk alternative (Rice, Soy, Oat, Almond, Hemp, Hazelnut milk
3pm - Water – 10 ounces
5pm - Complete Detoxification (1 scoop) + HMF (¼ tsp.) + Permeability Plus (1 scoop) mixed into water or a milk alternative (Rice, Soy, Oat, Almond, Hemp, Hazelnut milk
6pm - Water – 10 ounces
8pm - Fiberlicious - 2 scoops in 8-10 ounces of water.
9pm - Water – 10 ounces + Herbatox (if necessary) – 4-6 capsules before bed
In an ongoing way, if you need a healthy breakfast alternative, the detoxification powder is perfect as a shake with added fiber if necessary. If you eat well and simply need to support your systems to protect your micothondria from oxidative stress and preserve aging, Antioxidant Defense and Detox II are excellent food source supplements that can be alternated between or taken together. I’ll post another recipe here that helps cleanse every cell that you can consider to do without food for several days or to add to a healthy diet which comes from The Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs: Mix the following ingredients together and enjoy with meals:
2 T lemon or lime juice
2 T maple syrup or xylitol
1/10 tsp cayenne pepper
10 oz water
Remember to drink your water and get lots of rest and to respect that your physical and emotional bodies are interconnected and will release together.