Detoxification is like is a team sport, with the objective of keeping our bodies free of toxic substances that simply are not supposed to be there. If one member of the team is injured or not on their game, the team whole team suffers. Meet the three key players – liver, intestines and kidneys. The supporting players include the lungs and the skin. It’s a small team, but so incredibly powerful and crucial to overall health!
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Love your liver,” and by golly you better do just that because this organ is the head honcho, the big enchilada, the king…you get the picture. The liver is responsible for transforming toxic substances into less harmful versions that can easily be excreted from the body. One of its primary functions is to filter the blood of larger toxins, such as endotoxins, that are produced from bacteria in our gut. It’s secondary function is the synthesis and secretion of bile. Bile acts as a carrier, bringing toxins to the intestines where they are absorbed by fibre and secreted. The liver’s third function in detoxification involves a two-phase enzymatic process for the neutralization of unwanted chemical compounds, such as pesticides and prescription drugs, but also for normal body chemicals like hormones and immune complexes.
Next up, we have the kidneys. They filter the blood of toxins and are one of the final pathways to eliminate harmful substances via the urine. If the body’s pH is too acidic, this last phase in detoxification cannot be complete.
The last key player, and one of the most common areas of difficulty for people, is the intestines. Our internal waste products and toxins end up in the colon to be excreted through the feces. All that talk about getting enough fibre is valid – if we don’t have enough fibre to bind to the bile coming in from the liver, toxins can easily be reabsorbed and/or converted into more dangerous toxins by the bacteria in the colon.
Excess toxins will try to leave through our skin, the largest organ of the body, and can lead to acne. This is especially the case when we have toxic overload and/or one or more of our key players are not able to perform their role effectively.
The lungs are the last organ of detoxification, where we release small amounts of toxins via the breath. Any exercise that moderately increases the breath will help the lungs process more toxins and increase our metabolism, which helps the entire detox process.
There you have it! A quick overview of the detoxification team.