Phase I & II Liver Detoxification

Phase I & II Liver Detoxification

Support Your Body in Phase I & II Liver Detoxification!
Mint Condition Reading Phase I & II Liver Detoxification 5 minutes Next Phase III Detoxification

ūüßĻ Cleansing and Detoxing

Continuing on with the theme of Loving Your Liver this month, I wanted to bring more attention to the phases of liver detoxification.

If you're anything like me - and depending on when you started your journey into alternative foods and whether you jumped into some of the 'trends', you're probably no stranger to concepts like cleansing and detoxing. 

If you're new to this concept, then hopefully you can avoid some cleansing pitfalls.

ūüĎ£ Supporting Physiological Needs

I'm SO passionate about this topic because historically I had gotten very attached to specific dietary dogma that really touted the importance of cleansing and the need to detoxify for well-being.

However, these flashy concepts were really not grounded in physiological and biochemical function. 

I will say the results spoke for themselves, and were rather catastrophic for my health and well-being, resulting in a lot of nervous system chaos and hormonal imbalance. 

While eating clean absolutely does support liver health and decreases toxic burden, many of us are already walking that path.

ūüėļ Current Observations

What I'm observing now in the more well-being forward folks, is that a lot of the restrictions and limitations some individuals have put on themselves (often in an attempt to improve well-being) are actually impacting digestive function and assimilation, starving the microbiome, impacting bile flow, straining kidney function, and radically reducing the diversity of nutrients needed to fully complete liver detoxification (versus in the general population with the imbalances and toxic burdens that come from eating a standard American diet.) 

While this a nuanced and complex topic that I will only cover in a generalized way and cannot speak to any specific circumstances - I have found that understanding how a robust, nutrient rich diet really supports liver health and detoxification to be foundational in considering what we consume.

ūüĎĺ Liver Detoxification in a Nut Shell

Long story short, enzymes and nutrients are used to transform toxins (hormones, caffeine, alcohol, pesticides, meds, food additives etc. etc.) into water soluble compounds so that they can the leave the body via the bowels, urine and sweat. 

This happens through a number of biochemical processes which hinge on nutrient availability and biochemical and metabolic function.

ūüćí Phase I Liver Detoxification

Phase I can be likened to a pre-wash cycle - soaking the clothes, loosening up the grit. It's the preparation stage for the dirt to actually be removed!

In this phase, toxins are in the beginning stages of being neutralized into water-soluble molecules that can be eliminated. However, at the end of phase I detoxification, toxin reactivity increases if the toxin can't continue into phase II right away.

Phase I stages:
  • Oxidation
  • Reduction
  • Hydrolysis¬†
  • Hydration
  • Dehalogenation
Some of the key Phase I nutrients needed are:
  • B vitamins & Folate¬†
  • Fat soluble A & D
  • Silymarin¬†¬†
  • Calcium¬†
  • Glutathione¬†
  • Flavonoids

Big picture, think roots and fruits for this category with some add ons of animal sources for B vitamins, and high-quality dairy if tolerated for Vitamin A and calcium. Milk thistle is very rich in silymarin, and reishi is incredibly high in glutathione.

ūüõ∂ Phase II Liver Detoxification

Phase II can be compared to the primary wash-cycle that would be used to wash your clothes - where the suds, water and the spinning really synthesize their magic to get things cleaned up!

Phase II is where the toxin becomes fully transformed into a water-soluble molecule that is ready to be excreted from the body. What largely drives phase II are amino acids. They attach to toxins to neutralize them, and actually get them primed to be able to leave the body.

Phase II stages:
  • Sulfation
  • Glucordination
  • Glutathion conjunction
  • Acetylation
  • Amino acid conjugation
  • Methylation
Some of the Phase II nutrients needed are:
  • Glycine
  • Glutamine¬†
  • Taurine
  • Cysteine¬†
  • Glutathione
  • Sulfur

Big picture, think protein sources for phase II. Really great sources for phase II nutrients are bone broth, gelatine, eggs and wild, well sourced fish. The inclusion of small amounts of organ meats can be great here as well.

Collagen also contains high amounts of glycine. 

Also, adequate sulfur from sources like cruciferous vegetables (if tolerated), and onions and garlic are vital to sulfation and glucoridination pathways of phase II as well.

Phase III Detoxification

Phase III detoxification can be likened to the final rinse cycle and actually getting those clean clothes into the dryer so you can wear them after they've been washed.

Phase III is when the water-soluble toxins are actually eliminated via the gallbladder, bile and the bowels, or the bloodstream, kidneys and urine. 

I'll dive into supporting phase III detoxification in an upcoming post - found here!

ūüĆĽ Holistic Approach

I recommend everyone do their own research to find a diverse range of whole foods, superfoods and botanicals that work for you and to regularly incorporate them into your diet.

If you sense that you've been neglecting getting some of these nutrients into your day, the support of a whole food supplement like the berry smoothie booster or cacao smoothie booster are great, as these blends tick off a number of the nutrient requirements for phase I & phase II - including taurine and glycine. 

Additionally, supporting the phase III detoxification pathways of the gallbladder, kidneys, and tending to the microbiome and gut health are all part of a holistic approach to supporting detoxification.



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