Let’s Talk Detox
We are exposed to hundreds, if not thousands of chemicals each day – in the air we breath, the furniture we sit on, food we eat, medications, skin care, hair care, perfumes and air fresheners. So, let’s explore
- How does our body deal with these chemicals? (Detox!)
- How can we help our bodies deal more efficiently with them?
- Special considerations for those with thyroid issues.
- How can we reduce our chemical exposure/toxic load? (is there a priority?)
How does our body deal with (detox) chemicals?
We often talk about ‘detoxing’ our but the scientific term is biotransformation.
Keeping it pretty simple, our body has to convert a chemical into a metabolite to get rid of it. We ‘get rid’ of these metabolites via urine, sweat, faeces or if our body can’t do that it stores it in fat or in bones. eg obesogens (chemicals that basically make us obese) are hard to excrete and are stored in body fat.
Our liver converts chemicals into metabolites in 2 phases. These mostly occur in our liver (look after your liver) and gut (hello gut health).
PHASE 1: Oxidation reduction. – the chemical structure changes so they can go through phase 2. They can become ‘free radicals’ and cause oxidative stress if phase 2 pathways are not healthy.
PHASE 2: There are a number of pathways but key ones are methylation and sulfation pathways. NB 20-25% of people genetically don’t have good methylation pathways so will need extra supplementary support.
Once they’ve been through these 2 pathways they become metabolites (water-soluble) and head for the gallbladder which produces bile to combine with the metabolites to excrete.
Dangers of not eliminating chemicals properly:
- Get fatter (obesogens)
- Bad for bones
- Free radicals -> make you sick.
- Can cause immune response – antibodies
- Can trigger AUTO immune response – one of the root causes of AID eg Hashimoto’s/Graves.
BOTTOM LINE: We need healthy biotransformation (detox) pathways for a healthy body.
How can we help our bodies deal with (detox) chemicals?
In general terms we want to make sure our organs that deal with detoxification (liver, kidneys, gut, gallbladder, lungs, skin) are healthy.
PHASE 1 SUPPORT.
Here are some sources of glutathione/stimulate glutathione production:
- Citrus essential oils (eg lemon, tangerine, mandarin, orange)
- Milk thistle/silymarin
- Sulphur rich foods (eg garlic, onion)
- A. Lipoic Acid.
- Black seed oil
PHASE 2 SUPPORT
Methylation support – you may need the help of a health professional if you have issues with your methylation pathway.
- folic acid
- B vitamins.
Exercise – will help with gut motility (how food travels along and out!), antioxidants and sweating.
Diet – eat superfoods, take supplements, have a diverse gut microbiome (each a wide range of fruit/veg). Fermented foods are excellent.
Reduce chemical exposure. Especially plastics. Be as diligent at removing plastics as you are with removing gluten.
Supplements – VitB12, Taurine, GABA, Resveratrol are all worth investigating.
Special considerations for those with Hashimoto’s.
According to Dr Datis Kharrazian, there are 3 main ways chemicals impact Hashimoto’s
- They can act as goitrogens.
- They can interrupt thyroid signalling pathways
- They can promote an autoimmune response.
It is really important to support the liver and gut because these are main places our bodies convert T4 to T3. So this will be important for those on T4 medication (the most common Hashimoto’s medication) and also for those who have had their thyroids removed and are on T4 medication.
How can we reduce chemical exposure?
Note this takes time.
Here are a few ways we can reduce exposure:
- Drink filtered water.
- Remove plastics- don’t eat food stored in plastic (esp acid food), don’t drink from plastic.
- Eat organic or spray free food. Check out the Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 for your country to see what is most important to eat organic.
- Avoid processed food and drinks.
- DIY/buy clean skin care, personal care, cleaning products, use essential oils. Cleaning – bicarb, vinegar, liquid castille soap + essential oils. Check out the app Think Dirty to check how ‘clean’ your products are.
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