Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wisdom Wednesday: Toxicity in Everyday Life

The liver is our major organ of detoxification. Eighty percent of the blood entering the liver comes directly from the digestive tract. So it’s not any surprise that that is where most of our toxins enter the body. Toxins can enter any orifice and through the skin, but the mouth is, by far the most common avenue.

Liver detoxification is divided into two phases. Everything that enters the liver goes through Phase I liver detox. Phase II liver detox is reserved for spent hormones (the ones made in our body) and alcohol only. At least that was the case until we started manufacturing chemicals in the 20th century.

Today a vast majority of manmade chemicals must go through both phases of liver detox to be rendered harmless and expelled from the body. This massive list includes most medications, the pesticides and hormones sprayed on our food, antibiotics in our drinking water and 800 plus bisphenols that are known estrogen disruptors.

This landslide of artificial chemicals overwhelms Phase II liver detox in each and every one of us. Its negative effects grow exponentially with each new generation. When my new patients complete a Symptom Survey, the liver invariably shows up as the organ responsible for the largest percentage of symptoms, regardless of their history.

Recently one of my patients asked me to write a blog about a specific form of air pollution. I suggested that a blog on how to minimize the effects of our toxic environment might be more aligned with the purpose of my blog.

Water quality is arguably the most important factor and the easiest to control. I use distilled water. I purify it myself in a little gallon distiller that costs just over $100. It distills a gallon in about three hours and I generally make two gallons a day. This is the only way I can insure my water source is clean and it is inexpensive as well.

Food is a lot more problematic. The regulation of organic food is suspect and the cost is prohibitive for most. I recommend you spend the extra money on the “dirty dozen” and purchase organic. But the “clean 15” you can eat conventionally because they are not spayed as heavily with pesticides:

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Sweet Bell Peppers

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (watch out for GMO)
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Sweet Peas
  • Eggplant
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Honeydew Melon

Air quality is a regional issue. If possible move away from urban areas where pollution is quite high. In addition to the cities, the Mississippi Valley holds air pollution from other parts of the country.
Support your liver by eating more of the cruciferous vegetables:

  • Arugula
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Chard
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Collard greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Radishes
  • Rutabagas
  • Turnips
  • Watercress

All these foods are high in sulfur. Sulfur is needed for five of the ten pathways in Phase II liver detox. Cruciferous food supplements can also be very effective in support of the liver.

The Bottom Line:
If you feel you are in need of liver detoxification despite following these guidelines. Please seek the help of a qualified nutritionist. Liver detoxification is step 19 in my protocol. There is a lot of ground work necessary prior to attempting a successful liver detox. Often, reducing inflammation, balancing metabolism, the immune and endocrine systems will resolve most toxicity issues.

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