Promoting Detoxification and Elimination
Exposure to foreign chemicals, or xenobiotics, in the environment is virtually universal. The body even produces its
own toxins as a normal part of its everyday metabolism and others are produced as waste products by the bacteria
that inhabit the GI tract. In a healthy gut, these waste products are detoxified by the liver and eliminated via the
bowel, supporting the health of tissues and organs throughout the body. A healthy intestinal mucosa also supports
detoxification by screening what substances pass into the bloodstream and thus limiting the liver’s total xenobiotic
processing. Lifestyle and environmental factors can play a significant role in reducing exposure to xenobiotics. Toxic
chemicals, including volatile organic compounds, such as solvents and formaldehyde, are found in a wide range of
products from automotive fuels to household cleaners and building materials. Food represents the most common
source of exposure to xenobiotics. Numerous studies have found pesticide residues in a significant percentage of
food samples. Thousands of chemicals are used in food processing and packaging materials. Use of organic and
minimally processed foods can help to reduce exposure to toxins from the diet.
Nutritional factors can also play an essential role in supporting healthy detoxification and elimination. Phase I and
Phase II detoxification pathways in the liver require many cofactors and conjugating agents supplied by the diet.
Other nutrients such as lipotropic factors are able to mobilize fat from the liver, facilitating the hepatic metabolism
of hormones and other compounds.