Detoxification (detox for short) is the physiological or medicinal removal of toxic substances from a living organism, including, but not limited to, the human body and additionally can refer to the period of withdrawal during which an organism returns to homeostasis after long-term use of an additive substance(Wikipeidia).
In the world of alternative medicince detoxification can include a variety of therapies including but limited to contrast baths, detoxification foot baths, infrared saunas, water fasting, enemas, Gerson therapy and metabolic therapy.
As our society becomes increasingly exposed to toxic compounds in air, water and food, an individual's ability to detoxify substances becomes increasingly important to health. From a functional perspective, assessing relationships among toxins, toxic load, and clinical manifestations is critical. At the core, patient management is decreasing toxic exposure while increasing toxic removal.
Who needs DETOXIFICATION of their bodies? The simple answer is EVERYONE!!!
Toxic agents are everywhere in our world. The food we eat, the air we breathe, the household cleaners we spray, the electronics we use on a daily basis… However, toxic free radicals are formed in the body too. Stress hormones, emotional disturbances, anxiety and negative emotions all create free radicals as well. Living without toxic buildup is virtually impossible, which is why our body has built in mechanisms to deal with toxic overload. Crying, sweating, urination and defecation are all natural protocols employed by the body to rid itself of toxins.
Because toxins are part of our daily life, both inside and out, it may seem that they are a natural part of living and that additional measures to deal with them are unnecessary. This, in part, is true. Free radical exposure is part of life, however, with the overabundance of chemicals and pesticides in our foods and environment, and the increasing levels of stress in our society, our body is overwhelmed with toxic buildup and needs additional help in expelling unnecessary waste material.
Here at Functional Chiropractic we address detoxification in a unique way.
First we improve GUT (Gastrointestinal) function by implementing a 4R program.
Second we improve LIVER (and gallbladder) detoxification pathways
STEP ONE-IMPROVE GUT FUNCTION
Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are one of the leading causes for visits to the primary care physician and the emergency room. In the United States alone, there are millions of people suffering from GI symptoms, which range from mild symptoms to those more serious to interfere with normal daily activities. Some of the more common GI symptoms related to disease are inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), gastritis, peptic ulcer, colon cancer and diverticulosis. Even more common are the “functional” disorders, which include chronic constipation, diarrhea, bloating and flatulence.
When people of think of GI disease they think of symptoms related to the stomach, small intestine, large intestine and colon. What is surprising is that GI dysfunction can be the underlying cause of many conditions we normally do not relate back to the GI tract. A condition called intestinal permeability or “leaky gut” can be implicated in rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, eczema, chronic urticaria and other autoimmune conditions.
So what is a leaky gut? Leaky gut is a compromised GI lining which will allow marcomolecules to slip back into the body rather than be eliminated during normal bowel movements. Leaky gut along with other GI dysfunction has been associated with a long list of chronic conditions including celiac disease, chronic yeast infections, chronic fatigue, food allergies, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, pernicious anemia and others. The ability of the body to maintain healthy GI function, and to heal the GI barrier when its integrity is breached, is integral not only to healthy aging but to protection from many diseases and disorders. What most people don’t know about the GI tract is that approximately 60% of the total immune system is located in the mucosa of the GI tract. So how important is the GI tract to the overall immune response to viruses and bacteria? Very important.
In our office we apply the 4 Rs to restoration of normal gut
function and improving detox pathways.
- Remove all pathogens. Pathogens include “bad” bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and foods.
- Replace digestive enzymes and restore normal pH of the stomach
- Reinoculate with “good” bacteria or probiotics along with prebiotics.
- Regenerate by providing nutritional support for healing and growth of normal GI mucosa.
The 4R program has been an integral program within the natural healing community to help tens of thousands of patients across the country.
DeAnn J. Liska, PhD, Lukaczer, ND. Gut Dysfunction and Chronic Disease: The Benefits of Applying the 4R GI Restoration Program, Advanced Nutrition Publications, Inc. 2001
STEP TWO-DETOX THE LIVER
The liver is the primary detoxification pathway responsible for processing all of the endogenous and exogenous chemicals within the body. Each minute, nearly one-third of the total body blood flow is pumped through the liver. The liver filters the blood and removes harmful substances such as drugs, bacteria, toxins and foreign proteins. There are two primary detoxification enzymatic pathways in the liver in which chemicals are eliminated or neutralized, known as phase I and phase II reactions. Ensuring that both phase I and phase II are optimally fueled with critical nutrients is vitally important to prevent potential destructive toxic build up and cellular damage. When educating patients in one’s clinical practice on this critical balance, one can compare this process to a relay race and the passing of a “toxic baton” from one runner to another. If either phase I or phase II is inefficient at passing the baton, the race is lost for optimal wellness. It is only through the maximum effort of each member of the team that ultimately yields the best results and ultimate victory.
Phase I reactions primarily process chemicals to undergo phase II reactions. Phase I converts toxins via oxidative, hydrolytic and reductive reactions. The most common reactions are oxidation, utilizing the microsomal cytochrome P450 monooxygenase family of enzymes. The cytochrome (CYP) family of enzymes plays an important role in the detoxification of drugs, as well as drug interactions. Some drugs, as well as natural substances such as grapefruit juice, can modulate the transcription of the CYP genes resulting in altered metabolism of drugs or other chemicals. The phase I metabolites are highly reactive and may cause damage if not properly removed from the body in phase II reactions.
Phase II reactions involve several pathways in which molecules undergo conjugation in the liver. The substances being metabolized are attached to endogenous molecules such as acetate, glucuronate, glycine or sulfate to form water-soluble metabolites. These water-soluble metabolites are then excreted from the body in the urine or in the bile.