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There are two major liver detoxification pathways, phase one and phase two, each requiring a unique set of nutrients. A limited supply of nutrients will slow down the whole liver detoxification process and toxins can build up.
In practice I often observe sluggish symptoms as a result of an excessive overload of toxins coming into phase one with an inefficient phase two. Here's a wish list of living loving tasks to help you (or your clients) support the liver.
Phase one detox support rules
Boost B vitamins
In phase one toxins are oxidised in to water soluble compounds. A number of co-enzymes are needed these include vitamins B2, B3 and B6. Folic acid, an important member of the B-complex family, is particularly beneficial if there is ongoing oxidative damage.
Don’t get anaemic
Iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum and zinc are also needed in phase one. If you are new to a vegan diet ensure you are getting enough iron.
Get off the couch
A healthy liver is important in regulating the amount of cholesterol produced and how it is directed in the body. Help lighten the load by getting active. Lack of exercise or physical activity can increase your level of "bad cholesterol" (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL).
Avoid grapefruit juice
Grapefruit juice contains a substance that slows down phase one enzyme activity. That’s why grapefruit juice is listed as a contra-indication on certain medications. You don't need to avoid it unless you are taking certain medications though - just drink a through a straw to protect your teeth if it's your morning juice.
Boost vitamin C intake
Vitamin C has protective effects against liver oxidative damage, particularly when used in combination with vitamin E. Yet another reason to ensure you get between five and eight servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Depletion of vitamin C can impair the detoxification process.
Phase two detox rules
A high fibre diet helps to ensure toxins are not re-absorbed. The liver's phase two detoxification process involves the synthesis and secretion of bile. In the intestines, the bile and its toxic load are absorbed by fibre and excreted. A diet low in fibre results in inadequate binding and thus the potential reabsorption of the toxins.
Digestive problems such as leaky gut syndrome mean that undigested food particles can go directly to the liver through the bloodstream. Ensure you boost your intake of digestion friendly foods. Beneficial bacteria cultures can be consumed daily in a more natural state with kefir or sauerkraut. (Rhythm brand do this).
Have a palm sized serving of protein at dinner
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, play vital roles in the Phase II pathway. Don’t got all out on meat though. Plant-based diets that are healthy and varied can easily provide enough protein.Around 1 calorie in every 10 needs to be from protein.
Try milk thistle (Silymarin)
Special compounds in this medicinal herb (in the picture) are thought to help protect the liver from damage as well as enhancing detoxification processes by acting both as an antioxidant and increasing the synthesis of glutathione, the liver's natural antioxidant.
Get back on Brussel's sprouts
If you thought they are only for Christmas dinner think again! Brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage and kale contain natural sulphur compounds which are needed to enhance phase two detoxification.