The first in a series of articles to help you understand your body –
Natural Detoxification – The Body’s Innate Process Of Self-Cleansing
By Dr. Jack Tips (N.D., Ph.D., C.C.N.) edited by Craig Lane, www.healthalkemy.com
First and foremost, the word “detoxification” is a natural health term in the public domain and common usage refers to the body’s innate process of removing toxins and debris from inside its cells, through drainage systems, and out of the body terrain. This way, the body can perform its life processes unencumbered by detrimental elements, molecules, and compounds.
Simply, detoxification is the body’s own processes to “take out the trash.”
It can also refer to the body’s innate, cellular process of alchemically converting toxins to useable substances—a process that, for those who wish to know, can involve methyl molecules, electron donors and acceptors, and use of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) – the body’s chemical energy of life. The body is “The Great Recycler!” It endeavors to do the most work with the least amount of energy.
Note: Not Medical Detox. In medicine, the term“detoxification” is also borrowed from common usage and used to describe methods of chemically helping people who are addicted to drugs (narcotics, alcohol, prescription medicines) to reduce the toxic effects and neurotransmitter dependency upon such drugs. Often these procedures are called “rehab” or “rehabilitation.” Also, “detoxification” is a term used in medicine to help save lives of people who ingest life-threatening poisons (chemicals, lead paint, chlorine vapors, medications). These acute and chronic medical procedures are NOT what we are talking about.
There are two types of toxins: 1) metabolic wastes, 2) exogenous elements, (molecules, and compounds.)
• Metabolic wastes are produced by the cells as a result of using food nutrients to make ATP energy and other processes. Metabolic wastes occur in both the body’s processes of anabolic building as well as catabolic breaking down of substances. So metabolic detoxification is a nutritional issue.
• Exogenous elements are metals, molecules and compounds that do not, and cannot, serve the cells or the body’s life processes, or are detrimental (toxic) to the body. This includes chemicals (chlorine, fluoride), plastics, pesticides, food additives, partially-hydrogenated fats (trans fats), air pollutants, water pollution, etc., as well as metabolic wastes from pathogens (bacteria, parasites, fungi, virus and mycoplasmas.) It’s everything else other than the cells’ metabolic wastes.
Dumpsters in your body. Waste products are mobilized and transported through the body to exit portals. Along the way, the body has a choice to drop toxins off at a storage depot if its innate wisdom determines that it cannot properly dispose of the load which is called a “toxic burden.” A handy place for the body to “lay its burden down” is in the fat cells.
For example, if the body’s chief detoxification organ—the liver—does not have enough nutrients (things like methyl molecules, sulfur-bearing amino acids, antioxidants, and enzymes available) to handle
the toxic burden while performing its myriad other duties, the toxins may be stored in the adipose cells (fat cells) for future detoxification when the nutritional resources are available. In essence, the body just sets the work aside. The storage of toxins in fat cells is one reason why the fat cells enlarge or become water-infiltrated (water retention around fat cells) as the body uses the lymph fluid to protect itself from the inflammation associated with the stored toxins.
Note: Since the breasts are largely composed of many adipose cells, researchers surmise that if the breasts become storage depots for exogenous toxins, that the resulting free-radical damage might be associated with the reason that breast cancer is a primary concern for women (and also a concern for men.)
This, coupled with the fact that the breast cells have numerous hormone receptors on their membranes, if these cell membranes become inflamed due to toxins, then they do not receive the hormonal messengers (e.g. estrogens) and the homeless hormones become “toxic” and can become linked to abnormal cellular proliferations.
The body has established “drainage” pathways or “portals” that are used to “take out the trash.” Toxins processed by the liver can exit the body through the gall bladder and the kidneys. The gall bladder generally gets the high molecular weight fat-soluble toxins, and the kidneys get the water-soluble toxins.
The body can use every “exit portal” to get rid of toxins and some are used more than others depending upon how the body decides to conduct business. Some tissues and processes that have “exit” signs posted are: gall bladder (moves toxins into the intestines), kidneys (urination), lungs (gaseous toxins exhaled), skin (sweat), lachrymal glands (tears), sinuses (mucous drainage), menstrual period, colon (bowel movements), ears (wax), and hair (toxins exit as the hair grows out).
As cited, the liver is the chief detoxification organ for the body at large, but inside most every cell are organelles called lysosomes, peroxisomes, golgi bodies, and endoplasmic reticulum that use a powerful antioxidant and detoxifying molecule called glutathione (GSH) as well as methyl groups (CH3) to transmutate toxins and help eliminate them from the cells. So really, the cells collectively are the largest detoxification organ in the body.
Inside the cells we find thousands of power plants called mitochondria that manufacture ATP—the energy of life. The other organelles have critically important functions such as transcribing RNA, making enzymes and proteins to conduct life-business, and they have a clear preoccupation with detoxification. Nature shows us by the organization of the cell’s organelles that detoxification is critically important to healthy cells, and healthy cells are the foundation of a healthy body.
Inflammation: The real price of toxins. Like our cities, our bodies have an elaborate waste disposal system in place. But like a city caught up in a garbage strike with mountains of reeking refuse piling up on the sidewalks, our bodies can become overburdened with toxins and the dire need to detoxify. All the body needs are the tools and directives.
In February, 2004, Time Magazine’s cover article was, “The Secret Killer: The Surprising Link Between INFLAMMATION and Heart Attacks, Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases.” Here, the public was alerted to the inflammation process as a common link to all autoimmune and chronic-degenerative diseases.
But what causes the inflammation? The answer is “toxins,” for the most part. There may be other reasons that stem from damaged genetics (perhaps due to electromagnetic frequencies, cell phones, wifi, etc. as well as ionic radiations from radioactive particles in the air, food, and water), but the elephant in the middle of the room is the correlation between the gigantic rise of inflammatory diseases and the gigantic rise of environmental toxins in the air, water, food (pesticides, GMO alterations of plant genetics), as well as chemicals in our garages, on our lawns, in our mouths, on our skin (cosmetics), and in the carpets and walls of our homes.
Obviously the immune system is responding to something affecting the cells with an inflammatory response. Toxins are the chief likely suspect. It’s easily proven that pesticides, mercury, lead, chemicals, plastics, trans fats, etc. damage cells and the body responds with inflammation.
It doesn’t take a leap in logic to arrive at the bucket concept—the simplistic idea that when the bucket gets filled, it overflows. Different people have different sized toxin buckets, so some people handle the environment better than others before a genetic switch is thrown and disease results. The body can only store so much, and when toxins overflow they damage cell membranes, energy processes, and genetics. Here is the body’s perceived need for inflammation and even cellular destruction (apoptosis).
So the inflammation that is causing all the big diseases can stem from molecules that the body does not want or use, but struggles to get rid of—particularly if a person’s diet is contributing even more toxins, and/or lacking in the marvelous phytonutrients that fight cancer, quench free radicals, and build healthy tissue.
Cell Membrane Damage. Toxins damage cell membranes by binding with the membranes or by causing free radical damage that excites the inflammation response. Damaged membranes no longer have hormone receptors that work right. This is the issue with the hormone-resistant diseases e.g. diabetes (insulin resistance) and hypothyroidism (thyroxin resistance and failure to convert T4 to T3), also the inability of the brain’s hormonal command center—the hypothalamus—that must properly communicate with the pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, and gonad glands. It’s not so much a hormone problem as it is a cell membrane issue.
When the cell membranes (outer cell wall, mitochondrial membranes) are inflamed and don’t work right, the nutrients have a hard time getting inside the cells. Scientists have cited that “a lack of ATP is a root cause of all diseases” because when cellular energy is low, the cells cannot repair their DNA (genetic code).
Inflamed membranes and free radical damage to DNA is cited as a root cause of why a person’s genetics would express a dread disease. The body needs access to its life code (called transcription) to maintain optimal cellular health. Ultimately our bodies need optimal cellular health in order to have optimal body health.
Further, the lack of the body’s chief antioxidant, glutathione, and other antioxidants—catalase, superoxide dismutase (SOD) — can allow the mitochondria to engage in a perpetual cycle of free radical destruction labeled by Dr. Pall as the “NO/ONOO cycle” in reference to the molecules involved. This vicious cycle inhibits proper ATP production (low energy), and also damages chromosomes—damage directly linked to unleashing diseases from within the body.
Okay, we’ve bit off a huge chunk of molecular, nutritional biochemistry. Let’s get back to detoxification and how it’s a fundamental, inherent, innate, God-given body process. Actually, detox is really a nutritional process because the body uses the molecules from whole food, especially vegetables and herbs, to provide both the fuel (ATP) and the tools (nutrient molecules) to maintain itself in optimal health with a minimal amount of toxins fouling up the metabolic processes.
Detoxification is chiefly a nutritional issue. If you have the nutrients, the body will use them to detoxify itself. This is also why unrestricted access to nutritional supplements such as antioxidants is a basic human right. They help counter the onslaught of cellular damage of living in the 21st Century. This is why nutritional “detox” programs are critically important to the national health quotient. It’s a simple equation: supplements help the body live in good health = less spent on drugs and disease treatments.
The Best Way To Detoxify. Since the body already has its own innate detoxification processes, from a natural health perspective, it’s absolutely best to work with the body’s own systems. This is really the essence of natural health—working with the body rather than inflicting chemical demands on the body.
Here is a plan to BUILD the body nutritionally so it can detoxify itself. A sequential approach to building whole-body nutritional health is the essence of a proper detoxification program.
1. Support the liver with phytonutrients (organic fruit & vegetables, and herbs). Build liver function nutritionally and the liver will detoxify itself and the body according to the body’s innate processes. There are herbal formulas that excel in supporting the liver to function at its best.
2. Assist the body to remove toxins from the storage depots (fat cells and extracellular matrix) by increasing its overall nutritional health (organic fruit & vegetables, and herbs) using superfoods such as chlorella and chelating herbs. There are wonderful supplements to this effect. See me for specifics for you.
3. Support the cells nutritionally for optimal health–membrane health, anti-inflammatory nutrients, antioxidants, methylation donors, ATP processes. Ensure that adequate Vitamins D, K, & A are provided as all three of those fat soluble vitamins promote cellular health as recognized by the huge number of cell membrane receptors for those vitamins. This phase is cutting edge and there are marvelous supplements to help cellular health and healing.
Such a brilliant, three-phase plan for whole body nutrition exists. It’s a plan that simply works with the body to do what the body wants to do anyway. When we supplement to boost the body’s nutrition, the body rewards us with its self-directed removal of offending, disease-causing toxins, and maintains itself with less inflammation and better energy.
Today, more than ever, we all need good detoxification programs that are that nourish the body, so the body is unshackled to do what it does best—adapt, survive, and maintain its cells in optimal health.
links to good website explanations of detoxification – coming soon