The word ”DETOX” is gradually starting to be misused – one detox and diet product after another hits the shelves nowadays. Some time ago, I discovered a supplement that was called exactly that: a DETOX supplement. But when I read the list of ingredients I realized that the product contained a lot of laxative herbs.

The word DIARRHOEA probably isn’t a big seller ;)

Personally, I prefer the word: “biotransformation”. Because that’s actually the kind of work your liver does, when transforming toxins into non- dangerous substances and excreting them again via the lungs, skin, lymph, kidneys and intestines. Biotransformation is also the word used in functional medicine.

In summer of 2015, I was at a conference held by the Institute for Functional Medicine in the United States on this subject.

Is detox a myth?

Anyway. So is "detox" really just a scam?

You can’t ignore the fact that detox / cleansing is very real. The body is in a detoxing process all the time. And you can actually be more or less burdened with detoxing.

As you age, the body’s detoxification organs become too “tired” to handle the amount of chemical substances and metabolites that we constantly bombard the liver with. It is also your liver that has to inactivate your hormones. It’s essential that the oestrogens’ in your body decompose properly, which primarily happens in your liver – via a system called CytochromP450.

Decomposition of the oestrogens' in your body

In the first phase of the decomposition the oestrogen get hydrolysed and actually become even more toxic than they were to begin with. Fortunately, they are bound to other substances afterwards, which make them more harmless, so that they are excreted from the body more easily.

This for example happens through a process where the hydrolysed oestrogens get tied to sulphur, glucuronic acid or glutathione. It is actually quite essential for your health, which nutrients the liver has available, when the oestrogens get tied to harmless substances.

Reducing risks of oestrogen sensitive types of cancer

If your body synthesizes more of “the good” metabolites called “2 hydroxyl estriol” and “2-hydroxy ostron” compared to “the bad” ones, “6-alpha-hydroxy-oestrone” and “4-hydroxy-oestrone”, then you reduce your risk of developing oestrogen sensitive types of cancer.

(You can actually measure this ratio via a urine sample, which you e.g. can order through our lab when doing our HormonKuren – a hormone diet we provide at our Institute in Denmark)

You can do a lot to increase the synthesis of the good metabolites and inhibit the formation of harmful metabolites:

- Larger amounts of fat in your food inhibit conjugation – the factor that binds the metabolites and excrete them from the body.

- Lots of fibres increase the conjugation.

- The nutrients that supply glutathione, glucuronic acid and sulphur to the conjugation: kombucha, asparagus, avocado, cabbage (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts), limonene-containing foods (E.g. the whites of citrus peel and oil from caraway seeds), walnuts, fish and meat.

- Vitamin C enhances the body's own form of glutathione by 50% by the administration of 500 mg.

- Vitamin E and selenium are also co-factors in the process of glutathione and vitamin E and vitamin C are synergists.

- In addition, the process needs and benefits from supplements such as B2, B6 and zinc.

Even in otherwise healthy individuals the effect of Cytochrome P450 vary and it is estimated that about 80% of all, have a reduced effect. Pesticides destroy the enzyme activity of cytochrome P450.

A great way to start increasing the formation of the good metabolites and inhibit the formation of harmful metabolites today is to try this Super Power Cabbage Smoothie recipe.