In Part I of How To Detox Your Body I covered two approaches for detoxing your body. The first, and in my opinion the best way, is to reduce your exposure to toxins. This is important because your detox system can become overwhelmed by exposure to toxins.
When this happens your detox system doesn't function properly. This can cause or make worse a range of chronic conditions and diseases. Plus, as you get older your detox system slows down.
I also covered detox programs, which are short-term solutions that work to eliminate some toxins. A few of these programs work to remove some toxins, but most don’t, according to current research.
In Part II I cover proven ways to detox with diet and supplements that support your liver’s ability to break-down toxins. And the focus of this approach is glutathione and the enzymes that help this master detoxifier do it's job.
Imagine that you spent all day riding around in your new car (that new car smell emitting heptane, hexane, benzene, toluene, xylene) in the sun with the windows rolled up. While you were driving around sipping water from your plastic water bottle (BPA), you stop to pick up your dry cleaning (perchloroethylene). Then you had canned tomatoes for dinner (more BPA) with nonorganic strawberries for desert (a dozen or so pesticides, including bifenthrin, captan, malathion and pyrimethanil).
Yikes! Your blood is pumping this mother lode of toxins to your liver to break it down and get it the heck out of your body through your urine and/or feces. And these are just the toxins that you inhaled (called VOCs). Your body is also dealing with the toxins you ingested in your food and water and absorbed through your skin.
When all these toxins get to your liver, your detox enzymes stand their ground - at first. Beating the toxins down, breaking them apart.
But there’s so many toxins competing for their attention. Glutathione, and the detox enzymes that help it function, get used up and making more requires raw materials (amino acids) like glutamate, glycine and cysteine. And there just never seems to be enough cysteine.
What happens to the toxins that aren’t broken down by your liver? Some float around in your blood, some land in organs and others sublet your body fat. The longer toxins hang around in your body the greater chance they have to make you sick.
So what can you do? Well, I’m going to say this again - the most important thing is to reduce your exposure to all those toxins! But you can also add things to your diet that will boost your body’s glutathione detox process (so it's more efficient at breaking down toxins).
Glutathione is a protein produced by your body and found in all your cells. It plays many important roles in your body.
It functions as:
Changes in your body's glutathione levels have been linked to cancer, HIV, lung disease, autism, Parkinson’s disease and Altzheimers. And of course, more good news for us Baby Boomers, levels of glutathione decrease as we get older, especially after age 60.
Unfortunately, because glutathione is a protein you can't just take it in pill form. Your digestive system would break it down just like it does with other proteins so it wouldn't get where it needs to go.
But there are proven ways to boost your body's glutathione levels. These approaches include providing your body with the building blocks it needs to make glutathione and supporting the enzymes that help it do it's job.
Glutathione is made up of the amino acids (define) glutamate, glycine and cysteine. Cysteine is the amino acid that usually limits the amount of glutathione that is made. So providing this to your body has been shown to increase your glutathione levels.
Dietary Sources of Cysteine
According to WebMD - N-acetyl cysteine is LIKELY SAFE for most adults, when used as a prescription medication. It can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea or constipation. Rarely, it can cause rashes, fever, headache, drowsiness, low blood pressure, and liver problems.
For more info on cysteine and NAC check out this article by The University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/cysteine
you ever grown your own sprouts or thought about sprouting? Well, I can give
you a very good reason to get started. Broccoli sprouts. Since I am not a fan of taking lots of supplements I was happy to locate research on the value of eating broccoli sprouts for your detox system.
This research found that broccoli sprouts contain much, much higher levels of sulforaphane than mature broccoli, especially 3-day old sprouts. So what the heck is sulforaphane? Sulforaphane is a phytochemical that is released when you chew your broccoli and other cruciferous plants.
And it's not just any old phytochemical - it is the most potent naturally occurring inducer of phase II detox pathways, like glutathione and it's enzyme helpers. What that means is it makes the enzymes more active and it also stimulates your liver to make glutathione.
There are 2 things you need to gro broccoli sprouts, organic broccoli sprout seeds and a sprouter like the Easy Sprout Sprouter. I grew sprouts in trays for many years and this sprouter is easier to use.
However, this is a plastic sprouter, which I hate. But it's hard to find a sprouter that isn't made of plastic and this one is easy to use, which means you’re more likely to keep sprouting. Just keep it away from heat. Once you get the hang of it you can switch to a Mason Jar Sprouter.
Here's a video that shows you how to use the Easy Sprouter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UV7xK-MW32A
Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) is an odorless (yeah) liquid product created from prolonged extraction of fresh garlic at room temperature. It contains water soluble organosulfur compounds, flavonoids like allixin and selenium, saponins and essential macro- and micronutrients.
Studies have shown that takign AGE increases glutathione levels in a variety of cells, including the liver. It is also an important antioxidant, improves heart health and protects your cells from cancer-causing toxins. AGE may also help protect against loss of brain function in aging and possess other anti-aging effects.
And because it doesn't cause the gastrointestinal side effects and garlic breath that come from eating raw garlic - what's not to love?
The best known and most highly recommend AGE is Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract. It's what I use. Just take 1/4 teaspoon twice a day with food.
There are several vitamins and minerals that also support glutathione and its helper enzymes. These include vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, folate (B9), and minerals like selenium and magnesium.
These vitamins and minerals help your body use cysteine to make glutathione, they induce or stimulate your glutathione system, help the gluta enzymes function and supports your body’s ability to make glutathione. Folate and vitamins B6 and B12 are especially important to help your body make glutathione.
The best way to get adequate levels of these vitamins and minerals is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes lots of fruits, veggies and whole grains. The best food sources for these vitamins according to Health are:
Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that plays a role in your body's energy production, blood sugar control, brain health and detoxification. It supports your detox system by helping your body make glutathione.
Your body typically makes all the alpha-lipolic acid it needs, which is good because only very small amounts are found in food. But levels can go down when your toxin exposure goes up. Taking alpha lipoic acid has been scientifically proven to increase cellular glutathione levels. The most common dosage is 100-250 mg a day.
I've never taken this as a supplement but from all the research I read I think I might start.
Even if you follow all the advice on this website, your body will still have plenty of toxins to deal with. And the master detoxifier glutathione, needs the proper tools to do the job well.
Also, as you'll read in Part III of How To Detox Your Body, these foods and supplements are also antioxidants. They will help you rid your body of another source of toxins - those nasty free radicals.