How Metabolic Detoxification Can Help You Live a Healthier Life
What Is Metabolic Detoxification?
You may be asking, What is metabolic detoxification and why would I need it to support my health? Metabolic detoxification is your body’s natural process of removing toxins from your cells, ultimately eliminating them from you body. This complex process has three phases that convert fat-soluble toxins to water-soluble molecules, and then eliminate them. Key nutrients and phytonutrients are needed to support these three phases of metabolic detoxification. You and your healthcare provider may decide to do an annual detoxification, or to detox more frequently, based on your specific exposures. To help determine which approach is most appropriate, your practitioner may have you complete the Standard Process Detoxification Questionnaire, which also tracks your progress pre- and post-detoxification.
Signs of toxins can contribute to a wide range of conditions:
• Stuffy head
• Fatigue or difficulty sleeping
• Indigestion and other temporary gastrointestinal upset
• Food cravings and weight gain
• Reduced mental clarity
• Low libido
• Skin that’s not looking its best
• Joint discomfort
Toxins: Where Are They Coming From?
The human body has exposure to both endogenous (from our own body) toxins and external toxins on a daily basis, which can put pressure on the body's natural metabolic detoxification capacity. The environment contains close to 80,000 novel chemicals that are registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, so we encounter many potentially harmful exposures every day. These include pollutants, pesticides and other household chemicals. Improperly removing these toxins can put stress on multiple body systems.
• Air and water pollutants
• Cigarette smoke
• Certain personal care products
• Heavy metals
• Certain household cleaning products
• Preservatives and additives
Consideration must also be given to the types of foods that we are consuming, as many may contribute to toxin exposure. It is likely that the Standard American Diet (SAD) may be contributing to your toxin load. SAD has been defined by highly-processed foods, high in omega 6 fats, high in sugar and high in salt. Food in the SAD diet may also be high in artificial flavors, colors and pesticides, all contributing to toxin load. When starting a metabolic detox program, you should work on limiting your exposure to food toxins. Focus on nourishing your body with clean, well-balanced, and nutrient-rich food. Eat whole, unprocessed foods and when possible, consume organic options. If you do elect to use a metabolic detoxification program, be sure it utilizes whole foods to support your body’s own natural process.
Defining the 3 Phases of Metabolic Detox
Phase I: Unlock
Stored toxins transform to an “unlocked” state that is more water-soluble and toxic than its original form.
Phase II: Neutralize
The highly toxic substances produced in Phase I convert to non-toxic molecules and become even more water-soluble.
Phase III: Eliminate
Water-soluble toxins leave the cells for excretion from the body.
Find a health care practitioner that utilizes functional and integrative nutrition processes to support metabolic detoxification and support your body’s own detox on a daily basis. Work with your practitioner to consider a guided detoxification on an annual basis or more frequently, if needed. Additional important steps you can take include:
· Remove toxins from your environment: Eliminate toxic or chemical substances, such as paints, insecticides and dyes, from home and work. Wear protective gloves and gear when handling harmful materials.
· Remove toxins from your diet: Continue to make healthy, whole food and drink choices. Avoid foods high in refined sugar or preservatives. When possible, opt for organics.
· Stay hydrated! Water keeps cells hydrated, helps maintain a healthy balance of body fluids, and, most importantly, supports the elimination phase of your detoxification.
· Keep Moving! Exercise not only facilitates the removal of toxins, but it also helps you maintain a healthy weight. Incorporate 30 to 45 minutes, targeting 10,000 steps or more, per day.
· Find ways to relax to reduce stress and inflammation! For example:
○ 10 minutes of deep breathing
○ Self-guided meditation
○ Yoga classes
○ Face-to-face social interaction
○ A quick walk with a friend or animal companion
Get the Guide!
We’ve teamed up with Standard Process to give you an in-depth guide to a metabolic detoxification. Sign up to get the guide!
Blog written and researched by the awesome experts at Standard Process!
1. Hodges, R.E. & Minich, D.M. Modulation of Metabolic Detoxification Pathways Using Foods and Food-Derived Components: A Scientific Review with Clinical Application. J Nutr Metab 2015, 760689 (2015)
2. Myles IA. Fast food fever: reviewing the impacts of the Western diet on immunity. Nutrition Journal. 2014;13:61. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-61.)
3. NIH. (2015). National Toxicology Program, US Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved February 14, 2018, from http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/about/
4. EPA. (2011). Pesticide Industry Sales and Usage, 2006 and 2007 Market Estimates. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-10/documents/market_estimates2007.pdf, and
5. Myers, J. P., Antoniou, M. N., Blumberg, B., Carroll, L., Colborn, T., Everett, L. G., … Benbrook, C. M. (2016). Concerns over use of glyphosate-based herbicides and risks associated with exposures: a consensus statement. Environmental Health : A Global Access Science Source, 15(1), 19.
6. References: Thornton, J. W., McCally, M., & Houlihan, J. (2002). Biomonitoring of industrial pollutants: health and policy implications of the chemical body burden. Public Health Reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974), 117(4), 315–23. Retrieved from http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1497458&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract
7. Cline, J. C. (2015). Nutritional aspects of detoxification in clinical practice. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 21(3), 54–62. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26026145
8. Handout_elimination_diet_patient.pdf. UW Family Medicine & Community Health. http://www.fammed.wisc.edu/integrative/. Accessed February 16, 2018.
9. Popkin BM, D’Anci KE, Rosenberg IH. Water, Hydration and Health. Nutrition reviews. 2010;68(8):439-458. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x