Have you ever done a juice cleanse to lose 5 pounds before a wedding? Or drank nothing but lemon water for 3 days straight to de-bloat before a beach vacation?
The idea that you can eat or drink a concoction of specific foods that aid in your body’s natural ability to detox is nothing new.
And many of these methods are based on the truth that certain foods do aid in digestion and elimination of toxins.
However, while these popular cleanses are seemingly harmless and easy enough – who can’t drink tasty juice for 2 days in order to lose some extra weight?? – what the girl behind the juice bar isn’t telling you (and probably doesn’t know) is that you could be doing more harm than good by doing one of these cleanses if your body’s detoxification processes aren’t working optimally.
My new YouTube video is all about the detoxification process, and the different lab markers I use to determine if your body is detoxing effectively.
In this video and post, you’ll learn:
- The different phases of the detox process, and where most people are deficient.
- The different labs I use to determine how well the body is naturally detoxing, and whether or not supplementation is required for support.
- Why it’s dangerous to start a cleanse on your own without knowing these markers.
Unfortunately, the lab markers I’m talking about are rarely tested by doctors, even though optimal detox is essential, not just for de-bloating and losing weight, but for:
–> hormone balance –> gut health –> heart health –> cancer prevention
What’s more, if these markers are off and you try to detox on your own using the latest pop cleanse, it can actually lead to a build up of toxins your body can’t properly excrete – the exact opposite of what you want!
Phases of Detoxification:
So let’s jump into the science! Here’s a crash course on the 3 phases of the detoxification process.
Phase 1. Mobilize toxins “Biotransformation” – The process of biotransformation is when the body mobilizes its fat-soluble toxins.
Phase 2. Bind toxins “Conjugation” – Conjugation is when the fat-soluble toxins are bound to specific molecules that make them more water soluble so that they can be transported through the body, and excreted.
Phase 3. Excrete toxins – The toxins are finally eliminated from the body, whether it’s by stool, urine, sweat, or even breast milk.
Now, most of the problems typically occur between Phase 1 and Phase 2.
If you go through Phase 1 and don’t have adequate Phase 2 activity (meaning you can’t properly bind the toxins released during biotransformation) you are now mobilizing toxins that will be redeposited in different tissues through the body, causing damage.
This is why I focus most on the lab markers that tell us how well the Phase 2 detoxification system is working.
The 1st 5 Detox Lab Markers I Recommend
Now for the lab markers. These are actual tests that you can request from your doctor in order to determine how well your detoxification processes are working.
One of the main detoxifiers in the body, and glutathione is involved in both Phase 1 and 2 detoxification. It is made up of three amino acids: glutamine, glycine and cysteine. Because cysteine is one of the main precursors to glutathione, people who are deficient in glutathione will often supplement with N-acytelcysteine.
#2 Vitamin B12 and folate
Both of these B vitamins are involved in methylation, the process by which a small molecule (called a methyl group) is added to DNA proteins or other molecules in the body, such as toxins.
Methylation changes the chemical composition of toxins and allows the body to bind and remove them.
This is an enzyme that is produced when there is a dysbiosis, or an imbalance of “good” and “bad” bacteria, within the gut. High levels of beta-glucuronidase will undo a specific detoxification process called glucuronidation.
The end result is that the body will begin to reabsorb toxins (one of them being estrogen) making beta-glucuronidase a key lab marker for treating gut or hormonal issues.
#4 Zinc and selenium
These minerals are precursors to zinc and selenium metalothionine. The metalothionines are responsible for binding heavy metals, such as mercury, lead, and cadmium.
However, if you are low in these minerals, blindly supplementing (especially with zinc) can lower your copper to unhealthy levels. Testing is the only way to accurately know how deficient you are, and how to supplement appropriately.
#5 Plasma amino acids
Specific amino acids provide function in specific parts of detoxification. For example, taurine, glycine and glutamine are involved in amino acid conjugation, which is a Phase 2 detoxification process. Glutamine, glycine, and cysteine are precursors to glutathione, one of the main detoxifiers in the body, as noted earlier. And cysteine and methionine are the two main sulfur-based amino acids within the body, and are part of a Phase 2 detoxification process called sulfation.
Always opt for plasma amino acids levels, as opposed to urine amino acid levels, because urine is not nearly as accurate.
Now, there is much more to the detoxification process than what I’ve described here. There are numerous ways to quantify how well these processes are working within the body. But the specific lab markers I’ve just laid out are a good place to start to see if your body needs support.
Once you know what you are deficient in, you can start eating certain foods and supplementing where applicable in order to bring those levels up to optimal.
And remember, improving your body’s natural detoxification capacity is essential, and should be done before considering any detox program or cleanse.