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How do we ‘Detoxify’ our Organ of Detoxification..?

‘Liver detoxification’ has long been the mantra of most Natural Therapists – and sometimes rightly so – but HOW does one detoxify our organ of detoxification – i.e.: the liver? The question is rhetorical of course, and in some ways is a contradiction in terms. Additionally – by implementing a ‘liver detoxification’ program – are we treating the symptoms or the cause?

My point here is ‘sluggish liver detoxification’ may not always be as it appears. It could be the result of iron deficiency resulting in insufficient – or quality Adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) production. Or it could be the individual consumes too much alcohol, caffeine; illicit drugs or a regular cigarette smoker – and taking some form of hormonal therapy. The metabolites from these drugs (they are all regarded as drugs) will tend to overload Phase I of the liver’s detoxification pathway.

There are numerous other causes such as liver disease or diseases that affect the liver or thyroid-metabolic disturbance. I note when the teachers whose work I follow see a patient with elevated Cholesterol – they generally treat the patient’s nutritional-metabolic-(thyroid-adrenal) hormone disturbance in place of prescribing Cholesterol-lowering medication.

They’ve also always taught me that “things are not always as they appear” – meaning that the necessary preliminary testing should always be undertaken before any treatment regimen is embarked on.

This is where some ‘Natural Practitioners’ fall short in my opinion: they provide supplements or herbal remedies for almost every symptom the Client expresses without the essential baseline pathology testing to assess ‘where’ these sometimes disparate symptoms are originating from. This tends to be very costly for the Client and ‘often misses the mark’ in diagnosis. Again – “things are not always as they appear…..”

Also a few times per year I am consulted for Telogen Effluvium scalp hair shedding from people who’ve undertaken a self-imposed or prescribed ‘liver detoxification’ program.

Symptoms of under-functioning liver detoxification pathways may be: continual chronic fatigue and malaise, recurring headaches, hormonal imbalance, intolerance to – with feelings of nausea for – fatty/fried foods and/or alcohol, GIT discomfort or bloating, recurrent infections, increasing skin and respiratory sensitivity to multiple chemicals smells or perfumes/creams applied to the skin; low-grade febrile temperature, muscle or joint pain – often mistaken for Fibromyalgia.

The experienced Practitioner will immediately realise the above plethora of symptoms overlap many potential diagnoses, so it’s particularly important that baseline diagnostic testing be undertaken as a first step. This should begin with the common nutritional-metabolic blood pathology, followed by a Functional Liver Detoxification Profile (FLDP)* if required.

Moderating or ceasing the aforementioned lifestyle drugs is a simple measure to ‘take the burden off’ one’s liver detoxification pathways. Juicing of fresh fruits and vegetables and their daily consumption will help ‘cleanse’ detoxification pathways.

Glycine amino acid supplementation corrects an out-of-balance Phase II ‘Glycination pathway’ – this has a tendency to restore the other Phase II pathways to more optimal parameters also. Naringenin – found in grapefruit juice can normalise an ‘up-regulated’ Phase I – but its use should be taken under medical supervision if taking essential medication.

Once a disturbance in liver detoxification pathways has been established – a ‘less is more’ intervention is advised to prevent the patient feeling more unwell than they previously were. Overweight or obese people sometimes complain of foul body odour as some liver toxins are excreted through the skin. This may be amusing to some but very embarrassing to the sufferer – usually leading to treatment non-compliance.

The ‘wholistic philosophy’ in me loves treating sluggish liver detoxification pathways as NO patented drug can help; instead simple, natural solutions such as Grapefruit juice to down-regulate Phase I detoxification: Green tea, Turmeric or B + E Vitamins to up-regulate Phase I; Glycine amino acid for Phase II Glycination or Calcium d-glucurate**, Zinc, Curcumin, Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) or B-group Vitamins for Phase II Glucuronidation.

*Note:  A blood pathology ‘liver function test’ does NOT test liver ‘function’ but rather reflects liver cell enzyme death.

** Calcium d-glucurate is metabolised to glucare lactone GL (d-glucaro-1, 4-lactone). GL is a direct inhibitor of beta-glucuronidase. By inhibiting beta-glucuronidase activity, GL increases the net elimination of carcinogens, toxins and steroid hormones via Glucuronidation (Healthscope/ARL Practitioner Manuel: 2011)

Copyright – Anthony Pearce (Trichology) 2015