Strait Nutrition : Detox time, part III
Last updated 2/7/2008 at Noon
There are essentially six Phase II detoxification pathways: glutathione conjugation, amino acid conjugation, methylation, sulfation, acetylation and glucuronidation. This union or conjugation reaction either neutralizes the toxin or makes the toxin more easily excreted through the urine or bile.
As we spoke before, glutathione is an important antioxidant. Our bodies can make it or we can ingest it in our diet. Fresh fruits, vegetables, cooked fish and meats are absorbed well by the digestive processes.
Note: Vitamin C raises glutathione by increasing its rate of synthesis and decreases the cellular damage caused by glutathione deficiency.
Amino acids are used to combine with and neutralize toxins. Of these, glycine is the most commonly utilized in phase II amino acid detoxification. Glycine and the other amino acids used for conjugation become deficient on a low-protein diet.
Note: Vegetarians need to ensure their protein intake by selecting complete protein combinations like beans and rice.
SAMe is able to inactivate estrogens through methylation. Its effects in preventing estrogen-induced cholestasis (stagnation of bile in the gall bladder) have been demonstrated in pregnant women and those on oral contraceptives.
Sulfation detoxifies drugs, food additives and toxins from the intestinal bacteria and environment including thyroid, steroids and neurotransmitters. Amino acids cysteine, methionine and taurine activate sulfation.
Sulfa drugs are eliminated with acetyl-CoA. While not much is known about how to directly improve acetylation, it is known that thiamin (B1), pantothenic acid (B5) and vitamin C support this detoxification path.
Glucuronidation detoxifies many of the commonly prescribed drugs and aspirin, menthol, vanillin (synthetic vanilla), food additives and some hormones. Foods rich in the monoterpene limonene (citrus peel, dill weed oil and caraway oil) support this activity.
So what are the bottom line nutritional support factors for liver detoxification? Antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene and vitamin E are important.
Even simple nutrients like B vitamins, calcium and trace minerals are critical in the elimination of heavy metals and other toxic compounds from the body.
A high-fiber diet including fresh vegetables and the essential fatty acids promote the flow of fat and bile to and from the liver.
If you would be interested in knowing more about a specific area or approach in natural health or nutrition, send me an e-mail at [email protected] I’m open to your suggestions on topics of interest.
1. This article is for educational purposes only and contains information that is the opinion of the columnist.
2. Your individual health status and any required health care treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional of your choice.