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Minimizing breast cancer risk

May 2010

Time to move beyond salt ?

Salt hypothesis vs. reality

Is sodium bad?

April 2010

Salt studies: the latest score

From Dahl to INTERSALT

Salt hypothesis' story

March 2010

Salt war

Do bone drugs work?

Diabetes vs. drugs, 3:0?

February 2010

The MMR vaccine war: Wakefield vs. ?

Wakefield proceedings: an exception?

Who's afraid of a littl' 1998 study?
 

January 2010

Antibiotic children

Physical activity benefits late-life health

Healthier life for New Year's resolution

 

December 2009

Autism epidemic worsening: CDC report

Rosuvastatin indication broadened

High-protein diet effects

 

November 2009

Folic acid cancer risk

Folic acid studies: message in a bottle?

Sweet, short life on a sugary diet

 

October 2009

Smoking health hazards: no dose-response

C. difficile warning

Asthma risk and waist size in women

 

September 2009

Antioxidants' melanoma risk: 4-fold or none?

Murky waters of vitamin D status

Is vitamin D deficiency hurting you?

 

August 2009

Pill-crushing children

New gut test for children and adults

Unhealthy habits - whistling past the graveyard?

 

July 2009

Asthma solution - between two opposites that don't attract

Light wave therapy - how does it actually work?

Hodgkin's lymphoma in children: better alternatives

 

June 2009

Hodgkin's, kids, and the abuse of power

Efficacy and safety of the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's:
behind the hype

Long-term mortality and morbidity after conventional treatments for pediatric Hodgkin's

 

May 2009

Late health effects of the toxicity of the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

Daniel's true 5-year chances with the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

Daniel Hauser Hodgkin's case: child protection or medical oppression?

April 2009

Protection from EMF: you're on your own

EMF pollution battle: same old...

EMF health threat and the politics of status quo
 

March 2009

Electromagnetic danger? No such thing, in our view...

EMF safety standards: are they safe?

Power-frequency field exposure
 

February 2009

Electricity and health

Electromagnetic spectrum: health connection

Is power pollution making you sick?

January 2009

Pneumococcal vaccine for adults useless?

DHA in brain development study - why not boys?

HRT shrinks brains

NEWS ARCHIVE
2009
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YOUR BODY    HEALTH RECIPE    NUTRITION    TOXINS    SYMPTOMS
 6                                    

Detox nutrients

Body & toxins - Oxidation - Detox system - }Nutrients - Protocols

Clearly, your detox system requires specific set of nutrients for proper functioning. It is difficult to say, though, where is the line separating key detox nutrients from those that are less important. In fact, there is so many nutrients needed for proper body detoxication, and in such a complex matrix of interrelations, that no one could come up with a definitive "list". And that is not a surprise; just as with the overall health,

the body can maintain proper detox function
only on a variety of healthy foods.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at some of the nutrients directly involved in body's detoxication process.

Most detox nutrients are not separate entities that randomly neutralize toxins within the body; rather, they are used by the body for a complex set of chemical reactions neutralizing toxins, functionally forming body's detox system. These chemical reactions are carried out by:

special detox enzymes synthesized inside the cell,

protective amino acids, and

antioxidant enzymes and nutrients, protecting the cells - as well as detox enzymes - from oxidative damage by both, the original toxins, and from intermediary compounds created during the process of detoxication.  

On the macro level, the most important detox nutrients are proteins and water. Proteins supply amino acids that are the back bone of body's detox and protective enzymes, and water, which does much more than providing medium for detox reactions, and needed flow efficiency. It is an active agent for degradation of a number of toxins, before they can be either eliminated or further metabolized by the detox system; in addition, it also provides key chemical agents needed for detox reactions - oxygen, hydrogen and hydroxyl group.

Despite satisfactory dietary protein intake, as a consequence of inefficient digestion, absorption and/or assimilation, it is possible for the body to be amino-acid under-nourished at the cellular level. Such amino acid deficiency would negatively affect all vital body functions, including your detox system. If you have a reason to suspect amino acid deficiency, taking appropriate lab test (such as urine and plasma amino acid tests) is the first step in finding out if that is the case and, if it is, pinpoint the cause and have it corrected.

In addition to amino acids, detox enzymes often require a mineral or vitamin co-factor in order to be effective (absence of the co-factor doesn't necessarily inactivates the enzyme entirely, but will certainly make it less efficient).

Among the main mineral co-factors in Phase I detoxication are copper, zinc, magnesium and molybdenum. Vitamins B1, B2 and B3, as well as vitamin C are also involved in enzymatic processes at this level.

The main Phase II detox pathway is glutathione conjugation. Glutathione is tripeptide synthesized by the body from three amino acids: glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine. Glutathione is widely present in fresh foods, but is mainly destroyed by cooking and processing (including pasteurization). At present, it is not quite clear how effectively dietary glutathione raises cellular glutathione levels; indications are that oral supplementation doesn't have much of an effect. However, vitamin C does elevate glutathione levels by recycling it.

To ensure efficient amino acid conjugation - another Phase II detox pathway - make sure your amino acid levels (especially glycine, taurine, glutamine and cysteine) are adequate. For methylation (adding methyl groups to toxins and their metabolites, so that they can be eliminated), most important nutrients are methionine, vitamins B6, B9 and B12; for sulfation (adding to toxins sulfur compounds, for the purpose of elimination), sulfur, for acethylation, C and B-vitamins; for glucuronidation and for sulfoxidation (metabolizing foreign sulfur containing molecules) it is important, among other nutrients, to have adequate level of zinc and molybdenum18.

Following table lists some of the main detox nutrients and functions they are needed for.

PHASE I DETOXICATION: SOME OF THE MAIN NUTRIENTS AND FUNCTIONS

ZINC

activates alcohol dehydrogenase, the enzyme needed for transformation of hydroxylated toxins from their alcohol form to an intermediate (often more toxic) aldehyde form

MOLYBDENUM

activates aldehyde oxidase enzyme, needed for conversion of aldehydes into a water-soluble acidic form (detox pathway end for vinyl chloride, formaldehyde, chemicals from industrial and auto exhaust, etc.)

COPPER, MAGNESIUM

needed by a number of MFO enzymes

IRON

needed for alcohol dehydrogenase, also in hydroxylation and reduction (dehalogenation); fundamental in the P-450 cycle

PHASE II DETOXICATION: SOME OF THE MAIN NUTRIENTS AND FUNCTIONS

GLUTAMIC ACID, CYSTEINE, GLYCINE

amino acids needed for the synthesis of the main Phase II conjugator, glutathione

TAURINE, CYSTEINE, ARGININE, GLYCINE

carrying out amino acid conjugation

CYSTEINE, METHIONINE

amino acids needed for the sulfation detox pathway

CYSTEINE

needed for one of the main transferases (Phase II conjugators), 3'-phosphoadenosine, 5'-phosphosulfate (PAPS)

SULFUR

needed for PAPS and other sulfotranferases in the sulfation detox pathway

ZINC

needed for glucuronyl transferase (UDPGT), conjugator to glucuronic acid (detox pathway for thrichloroethanol, metabolite of thrichloroethylene, and bisphenol A)

MANGANESE

activates glutathione synthetase enzyme, needed for glutathione synthesis

ANTIOXIDANT PROTECTION: SOME OF THE MAIN NUTRIENTS AND FUNCTIONS

SELENIUM

needed for glutathione peroxidase enzyme, neutralizing hydrogen and lipid peroxides

MANGANESE, COPPER, ZINC

needed for superoxidase dismutase (SOD), the main cellular scavenger of radicals created by metabolism and detoxication

COPPER

needed for ceruloplasmin, antioxidant plasma (bloodstream) enzyme, partly overlapping with Cu-Zn SOD

MOLYBDENUM

needed by xanthine oxidase enzyme, which oxidises purines into uric acid, a protective plasma antioxidant assisting in neutralizing radicals, including those formed during detoxication

VITAMIN C

antioxidant protection in body fluids, also helps recycle glutathione

VITAMIN E

antioxidant protection of the lipid structures; assists glutathione peroxidase in protecting the lipids in the cell membrane; at the membrane surface forms a antioxidant synergy with vitamin C

VITAMIN A/β-CAROTENE

 protect lipids from oxidation

METHIONINE, CYSTEINE

amino acid antioxidant protection in the blood stream

VITAMIN B1

needed for G6PD (Glucose-6-phosphatase dehydrogenase) enzyme, a factor in maintaining reduced glutathione for neutralization of peroxides

VITAMIN B2

needed for glutathione peroxidase enzyme, in neutralizing peroxides formed during detoxication; also needed for G6PD

OTHER DETOX NUTRIENTS: VITAMINS B3, B5, B6, B12, choline, tryptophan, threonine, heme, flavonoids, thiols...

This is only a small fraction of the reactions taking place during detoxication, but already shows that a multitude of nutrients are directly involved in it. Many more are indirectly involved, being needed for the absorption, metabolism or assimilation of detox nutrients, or affecting them in some other way.

Not seldom, intermediary chemical forms are as toxic - or more so - than the original toxin. Such as the case with alcohol, nicotine, toxins from grilled and barbequed meats, exhaust fumes, pesticides, paint fumes, etc. (for instance, an aldehyde intermediary metabolite of alcohol in drinking beverages is thirty times more toxic than alcohol itself, and accounts for most of its unpleasant - or dangerous - side effects).

Thus, for the efficient protection from toxins,

you need detox system that functions well at all levels,

from the initiation by detox Phase I, to conjugation by Phase II and disposal through elimination channels.

Inefficiency in any of its pathways leaves you vulnerable to a toxic damage. Not only that the original toxins may not be neutralized, they also can be modified and remain in a more - or much more - toxic form in the body.

Insufficient antioxidant protection alone could make your detox system inefficient, by exposing detox enzymes themselves to oxidative damage.

Some foods substances have stimulating effect on Phase I and/or  Phase II detoxication enzymes, without creating dangerous intermediaries in the process (unlike alcohol, nicotine, pesticides and other substances that stimulate Phase I, but create very toxic intermediaries). Such as the brassica family (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, turnip, mustard), oranges and tangerines, caraway and dill seed (containing phytochemical limonene).

Turmeric's compound curcumin inhibits Phase I and stimulates Phase II detoxication, a formula that has been proven to be very effective in neutralizing toxins that can be transformed in even more toxic forms during Phase I detoxication.

Another important nutrient necessary for proper functioning of the cellular membranes, and thus the detox function as well, is phosphatidyl choline (PC). Although the body can synthesize PC, it is often lagging behind in satisfying demand for it, and many people are in effect PC deficient. Best natural source of PC are beans; best supplemental source is lecithin.

Plant extract sylimarin, obtained from milk thistle, has shown exceptional liver-protecting capability. It prevents depletion of glutathione, and by that toxic accumulation in the liver that can lead to its permanent damage.

And, don't neglect dietary fiber: it is an important line of defense against toxins. It absorbs toxins excreted with the bile into intestine, and takes them out with the feces. If the fiber is not there, toxins are simply reabsorbed.

There are many other nutrients supporting your detox system. If your diet is based on processed foods, supplementing at least the DRI level intake for all the essential nutrients - preferably more, especially those like vitamins C and E - is certainly a step in the right direction. However, it can not replace the benefit of a wholesome healthy diet.

The only way to make reasonably sure that your detox system is getting what it really needs is to test for your basic nutritional status, and your detoxifying capacity profile.

The former will indicate significant nutritional deficiencies and imbalances, while the latter will indicate if some of detox pathways are inefficient. Those are the main starting point in determining what is it that you need to do.

It is evident from the above that the

optimum functioning of your detox system requires
an overall healthy diet and lifestyle.

Some folks can tolerate more of unhealthy deviations than others - liver detox capability, for instance, vary up to several times in healthy individuals, and hundredfold, or more, in those with compromised liver function - but you certainly don't won't to test your limits.  

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