Zinc is an essential micronutrient required for many enzyme and body functions. It is essential for growth and physical development, and for the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Approximately 12% of people in the US do not consume enough zinc in their diets, and this number is closer to 40% in those over 65 years of age. In older adults it is most likely a combination of eating fewer zinc-rich foods (meat and shellfish such as oysters) and the inability to absorb it from the digestive system. For proper absorption zinc requires vitamin B1, B6 and adequate stomach acid.
Most people don’t successfully carry out and maintain a detoxification program. It is difficult to stick with a strict diet or drink an unpleasant tasting powder. Most commercially available detox kits contain herbal supplements that are little more then a laxative. A good detox will stimulate multiple elimination pathways with the main focus on the liver and intestines.
Diet – Adequate fluid and fibre from whole grains, fruits and veggies are extremely important to help keep our bowels moving. Fibre provides bulk for the stool, binds fats, prevents blood sugar elevations and stimulates elimination of toxins. Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are crucial for maintaining both phases of liver detoxification.
Probiotics – Beneficial bacteria have numerous beneficial effects and in the gut they make the digestive lining less leaky so it doesn’t absorb potentially allergenic and toxic molecules. A specific strain of bacteria called Bifidobacterium longum (BB-536) has been shown to help promote detoxification and to promote normal cell growth. It has the specific action of reducing beta-glucuronidase activity in the colon, which prevents the reactivation of toxic and cancer-causing compounds. Evidence has shown that this bacteria acts to enhance the immune system, suppress the growth of harmful bacteria that secrete toxic substances, bind and eliminate these, and secrete protective compounds.
Vitamins, minerals and amino acids – play a major role in liver detoxification, acting as cofactors for many enzyme systems. B-vitamins and methyl donors such as vitamin B12 and methionine are a key part of both phases of liver detoxification. N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) is an amino acid that acts as an antioxidant and is a precursor to glutathione. Numerous studies have shown that NAC powerfully enhances glutathione levels and protects the liver from toxic damage.
Herbs and Botanical extracts have been used as a traditional remedy for over 2000 years. Milk thistle is an herb that protects the liver against toxins and has been used successfully to treat chronic liver diseases. Silymarin prevents damage to the liver through several mechanisms: by acting as an antioxidant, increasing the synthesis of glutathione, preventing viral infection and by increasing the rate of liver tissue regeneration. It also helps prevent inflammation and may have metal-chelating effects on heavy metals like arsenic.
Cruciferous vegetables contain a group of natural compounds called glucosinolates that support liverdetoxification and hormone elimination pathways. One of the most promising glucosinolates with anti-cancer, antioxidant and detoxification activity is sulforaphane. It has the unique ability to stimulate the phase II liver detoxification system which is the key step in toxin elimination. Sulforaphane precursors are abundant in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale with the highest concentration found in broccoli and broccoli sprouts.
If you include all of the above points into your detox plan you will be stimulating all the key pathways of elimination in the body. Combine these principles with adequate hydration, sleep, physical activity and a healthy diet to take this year’s detox to the next level.
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