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Detoxification organs – what are they and what do they do?

Fact: Our modern world is filled with man-made toxicants!

Toxicants are defined as harmful substances, which have been introduced into the environment, while toxins may include endogenous metabolic byproducts or naturally occurring compounds.

Our environment has changed considerably from that of our ancestors due to the introduction of thousands of man-made chemicals used in agriculture, industrial applications, household goods, and pharmaceutical medicines.

While humans are capable of a certain level of adaptation to our biochemical environmental, there is a growing concern about the relationship between detoxification functions and chronic disease.

An ever increasing volume of synthetic chemicals is being introduced into our lives on an ongoing basis. Chemicals, which are assumed to be safe, have not been studied sufficiently – either individually or in combination.

Most of us can agree that sunshine, exercise, clean food and water and a positive mindset play vital roles in our well-being. However, illness can affect anyone if our input of toxicants significantly exceeds our capacity for output through elimination or detoxification. Each of us has a unique cumulative load, with a different capacity to remove these elements. This capacity depends on many factors such as genetics, environment and lifestyle.

Once we begin to recognize that our exposure to synthetic chemicals has the potential to negatively impact our health, we must actively work to protect ourselves from exogenous toxicant exposure and accumulation in the body.

Examples of exogenous toxicants include: synthetic food additives, pesticides, larvicides and herbicides, heavy metals, PCBs and plasticizers, flame retardants, solvents and pharmaceutical drugs.

Examples of endogenous toxins include: organic acids, carbon dioxide, metabolic byproducts of bacteria, molds and fungi. 

The process of detoxification is defined by the elimination of toxicants and toxins from cells, tissues and organs via six different systems:

  • Cardiovascular System – Responsible for blood flow and transport of nutrients and toxins around the body.
  • Digestive System – Comprised of major organs including the liver, gallbladder, and gastrointestinal tract.
    • Liver – primary detoxification organ used for filtering and neutralizing toxicants through a two-phase process that involves conjugation, sulfation, glucuronidation, and methylation.
    • Gall bladder – produces bile which carries liver toxins into the gastrointestinal tract for excretion through the bowel.
    • Gastrointestinal tract – acts as a barrier to certain toxins and houses microbes that assist in metabolic processes.
  • Lymphatic System – Lymph nodes and channels clear metabolic byproducts and cellular debris
  • Respiratory System – The lungs eliminate carbon dioxide and other toxic gasses.

  • Skin – Eliminates excess toxins through sweat, sebaceous glands, and tears.
  • Urinary System – Acts as another blood filter, removing cellular wastes and water-soluble toxins processed through the liver and kidneys.

Supporting the metabolic detoxification processes requires sufficient co-enzyme substrates including antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Phytonutrients are also used to modulate and enhance detoxification pathways. Many herbs and spices are powerful detoxifiers and should also be used as part of a healthy lifestyle. Examples include: milk thistle, green tea extract, cilantro, dandelion, turmeric, red clover etc. AOR recognizes the importance of providing single nutrients and food derived substances such as antioxidants, amino acids, minerals and phytonutrients to support individual requirements. We also offer many well-designed therapeutic products. Some of my favourite detoxification support formulations include: Liver Support; Triphlax-750; and Antioxidant Synergy.

Antonina Bureacenco

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