Liver detoxification, also known as hepatic detoxification, refers to the complex biochemical processes that the liver employs to neutralise and eliminate toxins from the body. These processes are often divided into two phases: Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification.
Phase 1 Detoxification:
During Phase 1 detoxification, enzymes in the liver known as cytochrome P450 enzymes modify and prepare toxins for further processing in Phase 2. This phase involves several reactions, including oxidation, reduction, and hydrolysis, which aim to transform fat-soluble toxins into more water-soluble forms. While these reactions make toxins more accessible for elimination, they can also generate intermediate products that might be more reactive and potentially harmful if not quickly processed by Phase 2 enzymes.
Phase 2 Detoxification:
Phase 2 detoxification involves conjugation, a process in which the intermediate products produced in Phase 1 are bound to specific molecules to make them less harmful and more easily excreted from the body. There are several pathways of Phase 2 detoxification, including:
Glutathione Conjugation (Glutathione S-Transferase Pathway): Glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, is used to neutralise and bind to toxins, making them water-soluble and easier for the body to eliminate. The Chlorophyll and B12 found in Chlorella and Spirulina help to produce glutathione.
Amino Acid Conjugation: Toxins are bound to amino acids (glycine, taurine, or glutamine) to form water-soluble compounds that can be excreted in urine.
Sulfation: Toxins are combined with sulfur-containing molecules (such as sulfate) to create water-soluble compounds that can be excreted in urine
Sulforaphane is a sulfur-rich compound found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and particularly rich in Broccoli sprouts.
Methylation: This pathway involves adding a methyl group (CH3) to toxins, which can modify their structure and make them more water-soluble. Dark green vegetables and Cruciferous vegetables, including kale, broccoli, broccoli sprouts cauliflower, and cabbage can help methylation
Acetylation: Certain toxins are combined with acetyl-CoA to increase their water solubility and facilitate excretion.
The liver detoxification process is a coordinated effort between Phase 1 and Phase 2 enzymes. The goal is to convert toxins from fat-soluble forms that are often stored in tissues into water-soluble forms that can be excreted through urine or bile. Once toxins are made water-soluble in Phase 2, they can be easily eliminated from the body via the kidneys (urine) or the digestive tract (bile and faeces).
It's important to note that while the liver plays a central role in detoxification, other organs and systems also contribute to eliminating toxins, including the kidneys, lungs, skin, and digestive tract.