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Ways to Improve Phase 1 and Phase 2 Liver Detoxification


Liver Detoxification is one of the most important healthy living tips you can do for yourself.


Because the liver is a primary organ of detoxification in the body, and as such, it filters the blood of harmful chemicals and bacteria.

The liver also creates bile (which is stored in the gall bladder until needed) which is used to break down fats that carry away toxins.

Without frequent liver detoxification strategies, the liver gets overloaded and congested. When this happens we feel tired and cranky and eventually we become angry, a primary emotion stored in the liver.

Although crankiness is no fun at all, it is really the least of our problems, because when the liver detoxification systems are not working at peak capacity, the fat-soluble toxins will lodge in our fatty tissues. One of their favourite homes is our breasts, which is why I am so passionate about teaching healthy breast yoga programs.

(Photo compliments of Gray's Anatomy, expired Copyright from 1918)

Understanding Phase 1 Liver Detoxification

Liver Detoxification occurs in a two step process:

  1. Phase 1 - chemicals and hormones that are fat-soluble must first be converted to water-soluble molecules and are processed via a group of 100 different enzymes, collectively known as the cytochrome P450 system.

  2. Phase 2 - the enzymes used in this step bind to the water soluble toxins to neutralize them and prevent them from doing further damage. Once they are processed into small enough bi-products that are water-soluble, they can be eliminated through the kidneys, and any larger ones are excreted in the stool.

The important thing to understand about this two-step liver detoxification program is that it is the Phase 2 enzymes that do the real clean-up, as most of the Phase 1 bi-products are highly reactive and can have up to 60 times more toxic activity than the original fat-soluble toxins and are highly carcinogenic.

BUT, many people have fast Phase 1 and slow Phase 2 liver enzymes, which essentially leaves them at high risk of cancers, tissue injury, inflammation and cell membrane damage due to the reactive intermediates produced from Phase 1 detoxification.

Slow Phase 2 Liver Detoxification Dangers

The reactive intermediary products are called epoxides and superoxide radicals which are neutralized by various antioxidants like glutathione and Vitamins A, C, and E, and other nutrients, minerals and herbs.

The key is to slow down Phase 1 detoxification, while also speeding up Phase 2 liver detoxification, and you can do this by following some of the dietary guidelines below and eliminate the negative influences, while maximizing the positive influences.

Substances that Positively affect Phase 1 Detoxification:

  • Brassica Vegetables (or a cruciferous plus supplement)
  • Oranges/tangerines
  • Caraway Seeds
  • Vitamin B, C
  • Limonene (found in essential oils of lemon, orange and celery)
  • Rosemary
  • Schizandra

Substances that Negatively affect Phase 1 Detoxification:

  • Alcohol
  • High Protein Diets
  • Char-Broiled meats
  • Coffee, chocolate and cola which contain methylxanthines
  • Saturated Fats
  • Nicotine
  • Various drugs like valium, antihistimines, steroids, benzodiazepines, drugs for stomach ulcers
  • Paint fumes and exhaust
  • Pesticides
  • Dioxins and Carbon Tetrachloride

Substances that Positively affect Phase 2 Detoxification:

  • Brassica Vegetables (or a cruciferous plus supplement)
  • Soy and Whey (found in a natural protein powder)
  • 40 grams of protein daily
  • Legumes
  • Oatmeal
  • Limonene
  • Milk Thistle
  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • Kidney beans and black beans
  • Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Magnesium
  • Probiotics containing bifidobacterium
  • Green Tea
  • Whole Grains
  • Omega 3 Supplement
  • Ellagic acid (found in red raspberries)

Substances that Negatively affect Phase 2 Detoxification:

    Deficiencies of Vitamin C, B1, B5, selenium, zinc, magnesium, choline, folic acid or vitamin B 12 Inadequate balanced protein Aspirin or other NSAIDS

As an aside, grapefruit and grapefruit juice contains a flavanoid called naringenin that can slow down Phase 1 enzymes by 30%. This is why you are not allowed to eat grapefruit with certain medications, as it alters their effectiveness.

To understand more about liver detoxification, please visit some of these other pages. You will see the link highlighted when they are ready for your viewing:

Liver Flush: take a look at this quick and easy liver flush recipe

Liver Detox Diet: Aside from the list of dietary changes you can make above, take a look at a sample liver detox diet that you could do for 10 days each Spring.

Liver Detox Foods: Get a sampling of different foods you can add to your liver detox Spring cleaning!

Lecithin Benefits: Lecithin is an important nutrient in the prevention of liver disease. Find out more hereā€¦

As always, if I can be of assistance, please feel free to contact me.

Yours in Wellness,

Dr. Lisa

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