Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Detoxification: Is Your Inner World a Toxic Jungle?

Millions of People Suffer with Allergies, Arthritis, Asthma, Fatigue, Diabetes, Heart Disease and a Host of Other Debilitating Diseases and Ailments - Can Any of This be Prevented?

Toxic substances are all around us. Most cities are now steep in a plethora of poisons -- industrial solvents, toxins, exhaust fumes and other chemical compounds -- all percolating in our surrounding air, soil and water.

The assault on our body, specifically our liver, doesn't stop there. We then need to contend with a food supply that contains preservatives, pesticides, residues and other agents known to be carcinogenic.

Each year the average American is exposed to fourteen pounds of preservatives, additives, waxes (used to preserve produce), flavorings, colorings, pesticides and herbicide residues!
An unhealthy diet can also burden the liver. Too much alcohol, too much processed foods, artificial sweetener, and trans fatty acid can be toxic substances that spell trouble. That is, if your detoxification system is not clearing toxins from the blood. Recurrent toxic overload can induce acute headaches, PMS, joint pain, fatigue, malaise, digestive symptoms, skin disruptions, recurrent infections, immune deficiency, respiratory distress, decreased vitality, more rapid aging and other long term consequences.

What's a Liver to Do?
Besides the toxins we take into our body every day, our body also generates toxins internally as by-products of metabolism. So, even the most dedicated among us, who eat only unprocessed, organic foods, engage in exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle, cannot entirely escape environmental and internally produced toxins. While a healthy diet and lifestyle can certainly lessen the toxic load, they by no means eliminate it.

How Do You Get Rid Of These Toxins?
We need to detoxify. Detoxification is the process of neutralizing or transforming substances that would normally be poisonous or harmful, and eliminating them from the body. Without proper detoxification, toxic substances would accumulate within the body and impair our health by interfering with the normal functioning of all our vital organ systems.

When toxins are taken into the body, and are not properly eliminated, they are stored in the cells, particularly in fatty tissue. They can be stored for months and even years. When they are finally released into the bloodstream, the toxins can trigger unwanted symptoms as the body reacts to these poisons, such as tiredness, dizziness, nausea constant headaches, etc. It can also trigger chronic and deadly diseases such as heart disease, diseases of the nervous system, liver, pancreas and other vital organs.

The Liver: The Primary Organ of Detoxification
The liver is an amazing organ, which performs thousands of tasks each day. It's the largest organ in the body, weighing 4 pounds. The liver is so valuable an organ, it is the only organ that can regenerate itself when part of it is removed or damaged. One of its tasks is to clean your blood of toxins that accumulate that would otherwise buildup in your body.

It also helps the body regulate hormone levels. That's because, through its detoxification function, the liver helps to modulate the amount and control the type of estrogen circulating in the body.

Yet, the liver must also be cleaned or these chemicals will accumulate and damage the liver. Liver supporting herbs plus a liver-supporting diet and lifestyle can enhance the liver's ability to break down and eliminate toxic waste products, helping to detoxify the body.

Lifestyle Tips

Manage Your Response to Stress
Too much stress can interfere with the body's cleansing process and actually contribute to toxic buildup.

Move Your Body
Aerobic type exercises help the body to detoxify as it enhances circulation so toxins are more efficiently eliminated from the body.

Stop Smoking
Cigarette smoke creates free radicals and more toxins in the liver.

Sweat Toxins Away
Research shows that any therapies that promote perspiration help to detoxify the body. The skin is the largest organ in the body and is also a route for excretion of waste productions. The more toxins released through the skin, the less work the liver has to do. A sauna or steam bath can help you accomplish this.

Dry Brushing
Dry brushing stimulates the lymphatic system. This system helps to move fluid through the body and carries toxins to the liver for breakdown and excretion.

Eat a Nutritious Diet

  • Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage... and fruits, such as oranges and tangerines. All these help to stimulate detoxification of the liver.
  • Decrease your alcohol intake. Too much alcohol can result in inflammation within the liver. As many as a million liver cells can be destroyed by a single alcoholic drink.
  • Increase your intake of fiber rich foods, found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fiber rich foods quicken the transit time of waste elimination, absorbing toxins along the way.
  • Don't overdo it with animal sources of protein or fat. Too much of either of these nutrients makes the liver work overtime.

Our body needs a certain amount of protein. Poultry, meat fish, eggs and other high quality protein sources provide a critical amino acid, cysteine, which is a precursor to glutathione (an important antioxidant enzyme). Yet, too much protein can place an added burden on the liver.

That's because when you eat more protein than the body needs, once the cells have been filled to their limit, the extra amino acids (the building blocks of protein) are broken down by the liver. Ammonia, a toxic by-product is then released.

The liver metabolizes this toxin into a harmless substance, urea, that is then eliminated from the body. A problem occurs when a persons diet is very high in protein, resulting in a large amount of ammonia being generated, putting an extra load on the liver.

With too much fat, the liver has to work harder to process it. Because the liver is the organ that produces bile, a substance that breaks down fat, the more dietary fat, the more work the liver has to do to produce more bile.

  • Eliminate foods that stress the liver. Refined white flour, sugar, and caffeine stress the liver. That's because the breakdown of these products leaves toxic residues that the liver must detoxify, taking it away from its regular job.
  • When you select fat, stick to the unsaturated fats. Too much saturated fat found in meat, dairy products, butter, etc. can cause inflammation, which the liver is specifically prone to, due to its exposure to toxins.
  • Increase your diet with Omega 3 fatty acids (found in fish oil, cold water fish, flaxseed oil) which has an anti-inflammatory effect on the liver, not to mention, a profound positive effect on your heart.
  • Don't eat too late in the evening. Since the liver repairs and restores itself during the night, go light on your dinner, and eat it early. This allows the liver to do its job, rather than trying to metabolize the residues of a heavy meal.
  • Up your intake of water to 6-8 glasses a day. Water flushes toxins from the system. How many times have your read this?
Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs
There is a broad spectrum of potent, safe and effective nutrients that have a long history of supporting the liver's detoxification process.

  • Milk Thistle Seed extract. This powerful antioxidant scavenges free radicals that can damage liver cells. Silymarin, the active component, protects against toxic chemicals entering the liver, helps to remove any toxins from the liver cells, as well as stimulates the liver to regenerate injured liver cells plus new liver cells. Milk thistle also inhibits the depletion of glutathione, one of the liver's most important antioxidant enzyme that actually attaches itself to toxins and facilitates its excretion from the body.
  • Grape Seed extract. This powerful antioxidant is more than fifty times more potent than equivalent amounts of vitamins C and E. It helps to scavenge free radicals produced during the livers detoxification process.
  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)... is a form of organic sulfur which is needed by the body for healthy connective tissues and joint function, proper enzyme activity and hormone balance, along with the proper function of the immune system, including the stimulation and growth of healthy skin, hair and nails.
  • MSM supports liver detoxification, improving the liver's ability to neutralize toxins and pollutants. Sulfur creates stamina in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, so they can withstand the cold. It has a marked influence on the liver, promoting bile secretions. It is a powerful toxin repellant, and the skin shows sulfur's action with eruptions of toxic materials.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid. This antioxidant improves liver function. It helps to protect an important water soluble antioxidant enzyme, glutathione as well as fat soluble antioxidants, including vitamins C and E and coenzyme Q 10. These antioxidants help to mop up free radicals produced during the liver's detoxification process. Alpha-lipoic acid also participates in the cleanup of toxins and other by-products of fat metabolism.
  • Artichoke Leaf extract. This herb helps to stimulate the liver to perform its detoxifying tasks and promote liver regeneration. Double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies have demonstrated artichoke extract's ability to increase HDL (the good cholesterol) and prevent oxidation of LDL (the bad cholesterol), a dangerous process that results in build up of plaque in the arteries, contributing to heart disease.
  • Dandelion. This well-known nutrient powerhouse is rich in Vitamin A, C, D, various B vitamins, iron, zinc, manganese, and magnesium. Acting as a mild and safe diuretic, it helps to eliminate toxins from the body via the urine. It also increases bile flow from the liver, facilitating the detoxification process.
  • Essential Fatty Acids. Since toxins cause an inflammatory response, the liver is prone to inflammatory disease. Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oils from deep sea coldwater fish such as salmon), or flaxseed, help to decrease inflammation.
  • PhosphatidylCholine (PC). This nutrient is the basic building block of the membranes of every cell in the body. It helps the liver perform many of its functions. By enabling the liver to convert estradiol, the strongest form of estrogen, to estriol, a more beneficial form of estrogen, it helps alleviate many estrogen-related problems including PMS, uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breast disease, and endometriosis. PC helps to lower plasma homocysteine levels, which, when elevated can increase our risk of heart disease. It helps the body make acetylcholine, one of its most important chemical messengers essential for helping the liver process fats.

When the liver's ability to process fats are impeded, cholesterol and trigylcerides accumulate in the liver, leading to liver disease if left untreated. PC also helps the liver eliminate toxins, accumulated as the result of exposure of chemical agents in air, water, food, the environment and drugs.

  • Schizandra Berry extract. This powerful antioxidant benefits the entire body, including the liver. Scientists have discovered that the active ingredient, schizandrin, promotes regeneration of the liver. It helps to lower blood levels of serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT), a marker for infective hepatitis and other liver disorders. This herb also aids the production of glucose and stimulates the build up of protein, both processes that are essential to proper liver function.
  • Turmeric. The medicinally active compound in turmeric is curcumin, which has been traditionally used in Indian cooking. Curcumin increases bile secretion and the contraction of the gallbladder (the organ that stores bile), thereby facilitating detoxification and potentially lowering cholesterol. It has been shown to increase levels of 2 liver enzymes, gluthathione-S-transferase and UDP glucuronyl transferase, enzymes important for the promotion of liver detoxification.
  • N-acetyl cysteine helps to raise glutathione levels, the most abundant antioxidant enzyme that the body produces. Glutathione quickly quenches free radicals that the liver produces in the detoxification process.
  • Antioxidants. Vitamin A, C, and E as well as beta-carotene and selenium deactivate free radicals, preventing them from doing any damage.

Don't let your inner world become a toxic jungle. By taking the proper precautions now, you can drastically reduce your chances of being a statistic!

Say good-bye to allergies, arthritis, asthma, fatigue, diabetes, heart disease and a host of other deliberating ailments and diseases.


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