In today’s blog post, we are going to be talking about Toxins, specifically Toxins and Your Liver. The liver is a very good indicator of one’s health and having a healthy liver is a major factor to avoiding a myriad of illnesses, diseases and because of it’s vital importance in our health; a strong, healthy liver makes you, yourself feel healthy.
Toxins accumulate, and no matter how healthy the individual, the environment today in the modern age is constantly exposing us to various toxins that we either A. Flush Out – because we are healthy — or B. Accumulate because our body is not healthy enough to flush them.
So we would like to talk a bit about that today!
Toxic World — “The Bucket Analogy”
Toxins are detrimental to the proper functioning of all the cells in our bodies and can lead to many types of illness. Toxins can be found everywhere in our environment and stress, a poor diet, lack of exercise, and poor water quality can contribute to toxin accumulation in our bodies.
Decreasing the number of toxins in the environment and minimizing exposure to them are key, however, these strategies alone are not enough. We are bombarded with toxins on a daily basis and since we cannot escape all the toxins in today’s world, we should protect ourselves by supporting and enhancing the body’s natural detoxification systems.
Here is an easy way to envision how the body’s detoxification systems work. Think of your body and its detoxification systems as a bucket. At the bottom of your bucket is a drainage hole representing your organs of excretion (skin, bowels, lungs, lymphatic system and kidneys).
A filter that precedes the drainage hole will represent your liver as it regulates what stays in your bucket and what is drained out. Now, when you are very young, your bucket is filled up with to a certain level due to your genetic make-up, vaccinations, childhood illnesses, etc…
Then, as you age, your bucket continues to fill up in the form of environmental toxins, allergens, life stressors (relationships, work, etc…), poor diet, drugs and alcohol, or a lack of exercise (just to name a few).
In a normal healthy person, the hole at the bottom of your bucket will drain out the “toxic water” faster than it can be put it. Thus, the bucket will never overflow!
However, when we are not living a healthy, balanced life or there is something wrong with our drainage hole or filter, our bucket will start to fill and fill until it eventually overflows.
When our bucket overflows it usually presents as musculoskeletal pain, skin problems, and/or fatigue (physical or mental). This is our body’s way of telling us that it is not happy and that things are not going well.
As you can see the skin, bowels, lungs, lymphatic system and kidneys are all involved in the detoxification process. However, since the liver (filter) decides how quickly and efficiently that toxins are drained from our body, it is critical that we support the liver while we detoxify.
How Do We Support Our Liver?
Now we can better understand how the detoxification process works and that a healthy liver is Key to a successful detox. A healthy liver requires energy in the form of certain vitamins and minerals along with supportive herbs in order to function properly.
Therefore, popular water or juice fasts are not beneficial because they deplete the body of the essential nutrients required for healthy detoxification.
In fact, these fasts can have many adverse health effects, including decreased energy production, breakdown of muscle instead of fat, increased oxidative stress, and unbalanced detoxification.
Instead of decreasing nutrient support during detoxification, we should eat a diet full of high-quality proteins, which will provide the amino acids needed to run the detoxification process smoothly.
A few nutrients and herbs that will help the liver work properly:
- Cruciferous Vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, watercress, bok choy, broccoli and similar green leaf vegetables) contain Indole-3-Carbinol, which helps remove toxins and excess hormones from our system.
- B-Vitamins support energy production and help to break down toxins.
- N-Acetylcysteine helps to create Glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that also helps in the detoxification of heavy metals.
- Good Protein Powder will provide you with all the amino acids used during detoxification, especially Glycine and Glutamine (which are also used to create Glutathione).
- Vitamin B12, Folate (B9), Methionine, and Choline support chemical processes in our Liver that are essential during the excretion of toxins.
- The herb Milk Thistle has been known to protect the liver as well as improve its overall function. Milk Thistle also increases glutathione production and is, therefore, a strong antioxidant.
- Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is another liver-protecting herb, which also provides a strong antioxidant effect and helps to drain toxins from our system.
Detoxification and the removal of accumulative toxins from the body is a very good way of defending and combating against ailments and disease. It should be done correctly, not through fasting or medications but Naturopathic herbal supplementation, healthy habits such as exercise and having a diet filled with nutritious, antioxidant-rich foods.
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