Detoxification: The INSides

Two weeks ago FHW ran a detoxification seminar alongside Madilyn Wolens, The Functional Nurse at the wonderful City Cave Ipswich. During the seminar we covered detoxification, how your body does it, when and why (internal and external liver loaders), as well as how you can support your body’s natural detoxification pathways with the food you eat and the topical products you use. The evening was a huge success and Maddy and I loved having the opportunity to share our passion for holistic health and wellness with those in attendance.

To continue spreading the message, below is a summary of the main points from the evening for those that weren’t able to get tickets to the sold out event. Be sure to keep an eye on the FHW and City Cave Ipswich social media pages for more events in the future! If you have a topic you would like to hear more about it, let us know by sending FHW an email.

Detoxification is your body’s method of removing toxins from your body, which if allowed to build up would start causing a negative effect on your body (think fatigue and decreased immunity). Your body does this with the help of our powerhouse liver which transforms toxic substances into less harmful toxins to be excreted by your body. To transform toxic substance A into less toxic substance B to be excreted, your body moves through two detoxification pathways. Phase I involves oxidation, reduction and hydrolysis to start changing the structure of the toxin. Then Phase II, where the substance goes through conjugation, sulfation and methylation – once Phase II is complete, the substance is ready to be removed from your body. Your body excretes the (slightly less toxic) toxin through bowel motions (poop), urine and/or sweat.

EVERY. SINGLE. DAY – not just after a boozy night out on the town. The reason your body has to move through the above detoxification pathways on a daily basis is because most people expose themselves to toxins on a daily basis. If you expose your body to a large amount of toxins on a daily basis, your body has to work harder to get rid of them. This can cause an imbalance in the Phase’s above and/or an overload of toxins trying to enter the liver (there’s only 1 road into the liver) resulting in your body’s ability to perform detoxification reducing. When our detoxification pathways aren’t working efficiently, or have to much work to do, symptoms such as fatigue, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases can present.

Some of the toxins (liver loaders) that your body is exposed to on a daily basis include:

 •       Alcohol

•       Caffeine

•       Trans Fats

•       Refined/Processed Sugar

•       Intolerances/Allergies

•       Synthetic products


            Topical products

•     Stress

The above list is not comprehensive but it’s the most common things that everyday people in constant exposure to, can cause to too much traffic onto the highway into our liver. Balance and moderation are key.

If there are more than three things from the list above that you know you expose yourself to everyday, start considering how you can make some swaps to healthier alternatives. If you’re stuck for ways you can replace your daily coffee and croissant, ask!

Alcohol: Your liver can only metabolize 1 standard drink per hour (100mL white wine = 1 standard drink. 1 can of 5% beer = 1.5 standard drinks.). If you are drinking more alcohol than your liver can metabolize, your body will circulate the alcohol through your bloodstream until it can enter your liver for detoxification. Any other toxins you consume at this time can’t reach the liver and are therefore put into storage.

Stress: When we are stressed, our body releases our acute stress hormone adrenalin – fight or flight. Adrenalin causes your body to promote the use of slow burning glucose as a quick fuel source to get you out of the physical danger your body perceives you of being in. Your body can’t distinguish between the stress of a wild lion trying to eat you and the stress of a work deadline. If you don’t use the slow burning glucose to leg it away from a stray lion, then your body has to either excrete it or store it. If you have a bunch of other toxins in your body, like caffeine to help you meet that work dead line and a fast food lunch because you didn’t have time to make something at home with the kids running around, then into storage it goes.

The first step to supporting your body’s detoxification pathways is by reducing your exposure to the liver loaders listed above.

The next is to ensure you’re eating a diet rich in the vitamins and minerals your body needs to perform the process of detoxification.

Where possible, try to choose organic options as they won’t have the same exposure to pesticides (which your body will recognise as a toxin).

Phase I

•       B Vitamins – folate                Wholegrains

•       Glutathione                           Eggs, Onion, Garlic, Brassica

•       Vitamin C                               Broccoli, Leafy Greens, Tomatoes

•       Vitamin E                                Nuts, Seeds, Leafy Greens

•       Carotenoids                          Kale/Leafy Greens, Carrots,

•       Antioxidants                          Blueberries, Goji Berries, Kale, Dark Chocolate

Phase II

•       Sulphur                                   Eggs, Onion, Garlic, Brassica

•       Selenium                                Brazil Nuts, Mushrooms, Seafood, Beans

•       Taurine                                    Meat, Eggs, Seafood, , Soybeans,

•       Glycine                                    Nuts/Seeds, Gelatin, Collagen

•       Cysteine                                 Sunflower Seeds,

•       Glutamine                              Legumes 

Another big one – water! Water is absolutely essential to detoxification, it helps dilute toxins and push them through the pathways as well as ensuring your digestive system is functioning optimally to then excrete the toxins.

When our detoxification pathways are working to their optimal ability, it makes a huge difference to other areas including our digestion, metabolism and skin.

 If you feel like you want some further support with detoxification, or just general health and wellbeing, get in touch.