Systems of Detoxification
The body’s five major systems of detoxification are the liver, gastrointestinal system, skin, lungs, and the kidneys. These systems work in concert, and are all supported by the protocols of the detox.
The liver is the major organ for elimination of toxic wastes. It processes all the foreign chemicals to which we are increasingly exposed to every day. Many chemicals are lipid-soluble. Liver cells have lipid membranes through which these foreign chemicals can enter. These cells can store toxins for months, even years. Using a complex system of enzymes, the liver transforms these toxic chemicals into water-soluble compounds. They can then be released and eliminated from the body through the kidneys and GI tract. Hormones such as estrogen and testosterone are also metabolized in the liver. Dysfunction of the reproductive cycle and changes in mood can result if the liver is unable to process hormones properly. Signs of a poorly functioning liver are lowered immune response, poor digestion, gas, constipation, frequent headaches, skin problems, and irritability. In Chinese Medicine, the liver is the home of the emotion, anger. Some believe that detoxing can rid the body of excess ang-grrrrrr!
The GI system has various defense mechanisms against bacteria, viruses, yeasts, parasites, and toxins. It is protected by enzymes, mucus, normal intestinal bacteria and intestinal secretions. A diet rich in organic vegetables, fruits, fermented foods and other superfoods help the gut microbiome to stay healthy and ensure proper elimination.
A good exercise program consisting of at least 30 mins. Per day of an aerobic workout assists in the elimination of toxins through perspiration and increased circulation. The regular use of dry skin brushing and saunas are a great way to achieve similar results. It is also hugely important to choose only natural, organic skin care products as we absorb toxins into our blood stream and lymphatic system.
The kidneys filter blood and drain wastes and are important in eliminating water soluble chemicals. In addition, they regulate ph balance, calcium metabolism, electrolyte balance, and extracellular volume. Drinking plenty of filtered water is necessary for proper elimination through the urinary system.
The lungs have the greatest exposure to the environment. Gases, small solid particles, and liquid aerosols can easily enter the lungs and be deposited. The lungs have immune responses and antioxidants to protect them against inhaled organisms. They secrete mucus and contain enzymes to metabolize harmful substances. We can often get stressed and forget to breathe slowly and deeply for not only relaxation, but for detoxification.