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The what and why of guiding patients through a metabolic detoxification

metabolic detoxification

For patients who cannot get on top of their health issues, a metabolic detoxification removes stored toxins and can reduce inflammation and other chronic health problems

Our bodies are constantly being bombarded by both endogenous (internal) and exogenous (external) toxins. We may not realize it, but our liver is busily working overtime to clear out these toxins. Unfortunately, the liver cannot purge every single toxin it encounters, so it ends up storing those toxins it cannot clear out, which is where a metabolic detoxification comes in.

Over time, storing all those toxins in various body organs and tissue will take its toll. This storage of excess toxins can lead to inflammation and chronic health conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as more serious life-threatening illnesses such as cancer.

Flush out the bad

A metabolic detox can help flush out those endogenous and exogenous toxins but can be rather challenging for a patient undergoing one for the first time.

What is involved with a metabolic detox, and how can you guide your patients through one?

Toxins are all around us. Every time we take a breath, eat processed foods, or work around industrial materials, we are taking in a certain amount of toxins, often without even realizing the source. In some cases, our own bodies may even be producing these toxins, such as from a bacterial illness. Some common sources for toxins include:

  • Preservatives and additives in food
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Dyes, paints, plastics, and industrial chemicals
  • Heavy metals
  • Pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides
  • Industrial chemicals
  • Bacterial endotoxins

What is a metabolic detoxification?

A metabolic detox removes the toxins that the body has stored up overtime. These toxins can be stored in a number of areas of the body, including fat cells, bone marrow, joints, muscle, blood, liver and the central nervous system.

These toxins are lipid-soluble molecules and can cross the cell membrane, which is how they adversely affect cell activities. A metabolic detox converts toxins into water-soluble form, which are then excreted through urine, sweat, or stool. The entire detox process is done in three phases, as outlined below.

Metabolic detoxification: Phase 1

Phase 1 of a metabolic detox mobilizes the toxins into a more water soluble state, in order to prepare them for removal from the body. This mobilization process is catalyzed by various enzymes, mainly from the cytochrome P450 (CYP450) family.

Because this mobilization process can reactivate the toxins, your patients may experience a recurrence of symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, or stiff or sore joints. This is why it is vital to do a gut function analysis, as well as check vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin B12 levels. This is particularly important for your vegetarian or vegan patients, as they may have low vitamin D levels.

Phase 2

Phase 2 of a metabolic detoxification neutralizes the toxins and prepares them for removal. This is referred to as the conjugation phase.

The amino acid enzymes glycine and glutamate play a large role in this conjugation process, so a diet rich in plant phytonutrients will provide excellent support during this phase. Milk thistle in particular helps as an antioxidant and guards against liver damage.

Phase 3

Finally, Phase 3 eliminates the toxins. As you might expect, soluble dietary fibers are crucial for helping with stool elimination of toxins, as well as acting as a prebiotic for gut health.

Fiber will also help support regular bowel movements and prevent toxins being recycled back into the bodily system. Patients should be drinking enough water to guard against dehydration during this phase, which will also improve both bowel and kidney function.

There’s no escaping from toxins in the world around us. However, a metabolic detoxification can help the body flush out excess toxins, reduce the chances of developing chronic health conditions, and help support proper liver function.

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