There are so many fundamental properities that we often overlook when it comes to optimal health.
Here’s two of them:
1. How important stomach acid is for our digestion
2. The huge role the liver plays in our health
I’ve already done a video on stomach acid, so now it is time to talk about the liver. The liver has a role in many functions, but seeing as you hear the buzz word ‘detox’ so much, I thought I would tell you how it actually works in your body (3:14).
So to recap:
The liver. Under appreciated and often abused.
The liver plays a major role in many of your digestive processes, and yet it doesn’t get talked about as much as it should.
It has many roles. It stores certain vitamins and minerals, performs many functions in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats and plays a starring role in the filtering and clearing out of toxins that you have in your body (just to name a few).
It’s a pretty impressive organ.
Detox – it’s a common buzzword that gets thrown around a lot these days and is interpreted many different ways. I want to talk more specifically about how your body detoxifies the toxins you are exposed to every day.
As you might expect, detoxification happens in the liver, and it is called the detoxification pathway.
The purpose of the detoxification pathway is to convert toxic substances that are fat-soluble into water-soluble molecules. When the substance is water-soluble, you can excrete them from your body (through urine or stool).
The liver does this in two phases: Phase I and Phase II.
When a toxic substance enters the liver, it will first go through Phase I. During Phase I, the toxic substance reacts with an enzyme from the cytochrome P450 enzyme group.
When the substance reacts with one of those enzymes a couple of things can happen.
1. Some substances are detoxified at this stage and are eliminated from the body. These substances include caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, ibuprofen, histamine, steroids among others.
2. The substance gets converted into an intermediate.
If the substance is converted to an intermediate it is now ready for Phase II.
During Phase II a molecule is added to this substance (called conjugation) which now makes it water-soluble. There are a number of different pathways that the substance can take in Phase II depending on the toxin that is being neutralized.
When this process is complete the substance can now be excreted in either urine or stool (through bile).
Phase I and Phase II work hand in hand in order to remove the toxins from your body and it is important that both phases are working well (and together).
Believe it or not when some of the toxins finish Phase I the substance can actually be more unstable (i.e., toxic) than the original substance. So……if these toxins don’t get shuttled right away into Phase II, free radicals are produced, and they can damage the liver.
Bottom line, you want the Phase I and Phase II pathways to work together so that your liver functions optimally.
Your body is pretty smart. It knows how to do its job….we just need to provide the proper nutrients, so it has the tools to be able to do them.
That is why next week I am going to talk about nutrients that your liver needs to perform all of these functions – it doesn’t just happen by chance.
In the meantime, for more tips on how to live a healthier life, sign up and download my free checklist – 7 simple swaps for a healthier home.
Thanks so much for watching.