How Do Toxins Leave the Body?
We are exposed to toxins on a daily basis. Many people assume toxins are strictly chemical or man-made – such as car exhaust or cleaning products – but toxins also include mold, alcohol, over-the-counter medications and heavily-processed foods. Our bodies also produce toxins as part of their normal functioning: for example, carbon dioxide is a by-product of breathing and urea is produced when the body metabolizes protein. The body has natural processes to flush toxins from our systems, but those processes can be impaired by stress, poor sleep, over-exertion, and underlying health issues such as digestive or sinus problems. This can allow toxins to build up in our bodies and create health problems, such as skin irritations, breathing trouble, digestive issues, weight gain, fatigue and more. Because toxins inhibit the body’s ability to function normally and can lead to disease, it is important to understand how toxins leave the body and support your body’s natural detoxification processes.
How Do Toxins Leave the Body
While organs such as the lungs and kidneys play a role in removing toxins from the body, the main organ responsible for detoxification is the liver. Once the digestive system has broken down food, small particles enter the bloodstream and pass through the liver. The liver then filters the blood, separating useful nutrients from toxins and waste products. The nutrients are synthesized into biochemicals and proteins the body needs to function, while the toxins are converted into either bile (which passes to the small intestine) or urea (which passes to the kidneys) and are expelled from the body.
Breaking down toxins is a two-step process: first, the liver uses enzymes and oxygen to make toxins (particularly fatty ones) more water soluble and thus easier for the body to eliminate. Next, the partially processed toxins are combined with sulphur or amino acids so that they can be removed through bile or urine. If either of these processes is out-of-balance, it can create a toxic build-up. If toxins can’t be broken down fast enough in the first step, they will be recirculated through the bloodstream until the liver has enough enzymes to break them down. Conversely, if the toxins are broken down but the liver does not have enough amino acids to package them for expulsion, the partially-processed toxins will build-up in the body.
When you’re exposed to a heavy load of toxins through the environment or diet, especially over a long period of time, the nutrients needed for the second stage can become exhausted, preventing your liver from handling the load.
Signs Your Liver Is Overwhelmed
- Allergic reaction to smells
- Bad breath
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Chronic fatigue or lethargy
- Difficulty concentrating (brain fog)
- Digestive problems (including bloating, constipation and poor absorption of nutrients)
- Elevated cholesterol levels
- Hormonal imbalances
- Rashes and skin problems
- Wakefulness at night, especially between 2-4am
- Weight gain, especially around the abdomen
How to Support Healthy Liver Function
A healthy liver begins with good digestive health. A healthy gut is the key to a healthy body. Digestive problems put extra strain on liver function and can weaken your immune system. Improving your gut health allows all your body’s system to function more efficiently and provides the liver with the nutrients it needs to function properly. Also be sure to drink plenty of water, as this helps with digestion and eliminates toxins through urine production.
There are also several foods that support healthy liver function, including:
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage)
- Green tea
- Leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach)
- Olive oil
There are also certain foods you should avoid as they are difficult for the liver to process. These include fatty foods, sugar, salt and alcohol.
Looking to Detoxify? Call Anchor Wellness Center Today
Dr. Minni Malhotra, MD, FAARM, ABAARM, can provide you with a personalized treatment plan to support your body’s natural detoxification processes and help you eliminate toxins from your body. Dr. Malhotra is Board Certified in Family Medicine as well as Board Certified with the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. To schedule a consultation, call us today at (832) 246-8437.