Unclogging the liver’s detoxification pathways by supporting the liver with nutrients required for liver detox is essential for optimal liver function.
The liver detoxifies harmful substances, drugs, environmental toxins, and endotoxins via a 3 step process known as:
Phase 1 liver detox
Phase 2 liver detox
Phase 3 liver detox
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For optimal liver detoxification, it is essential that all three phases are open and working in harmony. Problems in liver detoxification occur if phase 1 is too fast, yet phase 2 detoxification pathways are too slow or if phase 3 detox is clogged.
Dr. Kelly Halderman coined the term phase 2.5 detox, which is where toxins from the liver enter into the bile. Excess inflammation can cause the 2.5 detox door to close.
Many people will feel worse if they do a liver detox program yet have inflammation or a sluggish gallbladder that is involved in phase 3 detox. Toxins get reabsorbed into the bloodstream instead of exiting out of the liver and gallbladder.
To effectively detox the liver and eliminate toxins, all the detoxification pathways need to be open to safely detox. Inflammation needs to be reduced, and the gallbladder needs to be functioning optimally. The liver also requires an ample supply of nutrients for the liver’s detoxification enzymes to detox.
There is a lot to know about liver detoxification. When you support your liver with the right nutrients and detox the right way, your body will be thanking you. A healthy liver is necessary for a healthy body!
For optimal liver detox, phase 1 and phase 2 detox need to be in balance with each other. The products coming out of phase 1 detox are often more toxic than the original substance.
Phase 2 detox needs to keep up with phase 1 detox to conjugate the toxins coming out of phase 1. Often phase 1 detoxification is efficient, yet phase 2 detoxification pathways are slow. In this case, it is helpful to slow down phase 1 detox with foods such as grapefruit juice and curcumin for turmeric root.
It is also crucial that conjugated toxins can get through the 2.5 detox door and out of the gallbladder. Reducing inflammation and supporting a sluggish gallbladder are essential first steps involved in opening up the liver’s detoxification pathways.
When implementing a liver detox protocol, work backward by starting with:
• Phase 3 – gallbladder support
• Phase 2.5 – reduce inflammation so toxins can get out of the liver and into the bile
• Phase 2 – support sluggish phase 2 detoxification pathways
• Phase 1 – ensure the liver has nutrient to support phase 1 detox
The best liver detoxification program has all three liver detox phases working together at the correct speed. Not too fast and not too slow…. Just right.
Phase 1 Liver Detoxification
In phase 1 detoxification, substances go through the P450 enzyme system, where enzymes break toxins down into intermediate forms. At this stage, some toxins are ready for elimination, but most toxins need to be conjugated through one of the phase 2 detoxification pathways.
• Phase 1 liver detox uses oxygen to form a reactive site on a toxin
• Phase 2 liver detox adds a water-soluble group to the reactive site on a toxin
This two-step process is known as reduction/oxidation and conjugation, which enables a toxin or substance to be ready for escort out of the liver.
Phase 3 liver detox is the elimination of the water-soluble toxins through the bile and out of the gallbladder. Alkalinity promotes phase 3 detox, which is why alkaline-forming fruits and vegetables are fantastic foods for liver detox.
Nutrients required for phase 1 liver detox include B1, B2, B3, B6, choline, vitamin C, and vitamin E, along with the minerals magnesium and selenium.
There are both foods, herbs, drugs, nutrients, and environmental toxins that can speed up or slow down phase 1 detox.
Depending on if your phase 1 liver detox is too fast or too slow, you can use foods to speed up or slow down phase 1 detox.
If you are taking any medication or drugs, you will want to consult with your doctor before making any changes to speed up or slow down phase 1 detox. Many medications are metabolized through the P450 enzyme system.
Foods that speed up phase 1 liver detox include cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, charcoal-broiled meats, high protein diets, oranges, and tangerines.
Foods that slow down phase 1 detox include naringenin from grapefruit juice and curcumin from turmeric root along with red chili pepper, clove oil, and quercetin.
These foods can be helpful to consume if phase 1 liver detox is too fast, and phase 2 detox is too slow.
Phase 1 detox will often produce highly toxic metabolites that can damage DNA and wreak havoc if not conjugated through phase 2 liver detox in a timely matter. For this reason, all phases of liver detox need to be functioning optimally.
Phase 2 liver detox
Phase 2 liver detox has six detoxification pathways to further conjugate toxins.
• Glutathione conjugation
• Amino acid conjugation
Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant to protect the body against free radicals produced through phase 1 detox and oxidative stress.
Glutathione is used to detox environmental toxins, carcinogens, and is very versatile in its ability to conjugate and bind many different types of toxins.
Optimal liposomal glutathione plus is a superior supplement to support phase 2 glutathione conjugation. Liposomal Glutathione Plus by Seeking Health is easily absorbed and utilized by the body and contains nutrients to support the recycling of oxidized glutathione.
Glucuronidation is one of the most important detoxification pathways. This pathway is responsible for metabolizing drugs, estrogens, and also conjugates bilirubin.
Calcium D-glucarate supports the glucuronidation pathways and metabolism of estrogen. Hormones are cleared through the glucuronidation pathway, such as estrogens. When this pathway is slow, the risk of hormone-related cancers can increase.
If someone is estrogen dominant and has a sluggish glucuronidation pathway, calcium D-glucarate helps to support liver detox of estrogen.
The supplement calcium D-glucarate also helps to ensure toxins stay conjugated and get eliminated from the body.
The acetylation pathway works on amines and endogenous substances such as histamine, caffeine, choline, and tyramine.
Vitamin B5 is an important nutrient for the acetylation detoxification pathway. Slow acetylators can have an increased risk of bladder cancer.
Amino acid conjugation uses amino acids to combine with toxins to neutralize them. Glycine and taurine are amino acids used for this pathway, along with glutamine, arginine, and ornithine.
Obtaining enough glycine and taurine protein-containing foods is essential for the amino acid conjugation pathway. Taurine and glycine are also important for the formation of bile acids. These amino acids are found in gallbladder nutrients to support a healthy gallbladder and liver.
The sulfation detox pathway is needed for the detoxification of food additives, toxins from intestinal bacteria, and the environment.
Sulfation is the main pathway for the elimination of steroid and thyroid hormones. Neurotransmitters and estrogens are also eliminated through the sulfation detox pathway.
Sulfite is a common food additive added to dried fruits and wine. Molybdenum is the co-factor for the sulfite oxidase enzyme, which converts sulfites into sulfates. Sulfates are much safer.
If you notice that wine gives you a wicked hangover, then molybdenum is your best friend to help detox sulfites found in wine.
Sulfur-containing foods such as radishes, onion, celery, kale, watercress, broccoli, cauliflower, eggs, fish, and meat are excellent sources of sulfur for the sulfation detoxification pathway.
The methylation pathway is responsible for methylating histamine. Slow methylation or SNPs in the MTHFR gene can cause symptoms of histamine intolerance. Methylation is also needed to process neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.
SAMe is the primary methyl donor used in the body. Nutrients such as methionine, B2, folate, B12, B6, and magnesium are required for optimal methylation and production of SAMe.
Vitamin B2 and B12 are highest in animal protein. Folate and magnesium are abundant in leafy green vegetables.
A whole-food nutrient-dense diet is essential to provide the liver with all the nutrients required for optimal function of the liver’s detoxification pathways.
When you know where your weakness lies, you can then support specific detoxification pathways with nutrients and foods to improve liver detox.
Before optimizing phase 1 or phase 2 liver detox it is essential to ensure phase 3 detoxification of the toxin out of the gallbladder via the bile.
Gallbladder nutrients help to support both bile production and flow so toxins can be escorted out of the body.
Liposomal curcumin helps to reduce inflammation to ensure that the 2.5 detox door is open so that toxins can get out of the liver and into the bile.
Phosphatidylcholine is a critical nutrient to prevent bile from getting thick and sludgy. Bile flow is crucial for the elimination of toxins out of the gallbladder.
Optimal detox contains vitamins, minerals, and herbs to support overall detoxification, including phase 1 and phase 2.
An effective detoxification program ensures all the liver’s detoxification pathways are open. The detoxification pathways need to be working together in a timely matter. Food that cleanse the liver should be eaten daily to provide the liver with the nutrients it needs to detox.