One of considerations in evaluating health is the level of toxins in the body. The problem of toxic overload has grown significantly as the number of toxic compounds in food, water, and the environment has increased multiple times. Overall health is influenced by the volume of these toxins taken in and the body’s ability to get rid of them.
Every year in the U.S., manufacturers, power plants, transportation vehicles, and other polluters spew out some of the most toxic chemicals known. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that just in the food supply some 24.5 million pounds of antibiotics were fed to farm animals. Humans who are above these animals on the food chain ingest the residual medical toxins with each meal. There is no one alive today without polycyclic hydrocarbons in fat tissues Research suggests that up to 90% of all cancers begin when the amount of environmental carcinogens overwhelms the body’s ability to deal with them.
Inside the body, waste products and cellular debris can cause significant alternations in body functions. These toxic substances, the continual buildup of antibodies, and the bacteria, viruses, and yeasts present in the colon are linked to illnesses such as diabetes, colitis, thyroid problems, allergies, asthma, liver disease, pancreatitis, and auto-immune problems such as lupus.
Toxins are dealt with in two ways: they are excreted through elimination organs - the intestines, skin, kidneys, and lungs - and they are neutralized by the macrophages (members of the white blood cells). The key to effective elimination lies in all these systems working up to capacity.
The major player in the process is the liver for it copes with the myriad of chemicals that pass through it on a daily basis. A healthy liver goes through two phases in the detoxification process. Phase 1 employs a group of 50 to 100 enzymes referred to collectively as P450. Each one of these enzymes is selective about which target chemical it goes after, but there is considerable overlap. How diligent and thorough these enzymes work depends on genetics, the levels of toxicity already present, and the body’s nutritional status. A body in which these enzymes are working efficiently is unlikely to succumb to major health problems. In contrast, a body with under-active enzymes will have an intolerance to environmental chemicals, show symptoms of allergies, digestive disorders, and organ system disease.
There is a catch to Phase 1 detoxification. Each time the liver reduces a toxin to a water-soluble substance and neutralizes it, the organ eliminates one threat but causes another, called free radical by- products. An important requirement for the P450 phase is the presence of the amino acid glutathione. Glutathione is a protein produced in the liver from three other amino acids - cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. Glutathione protects at the cellular level defending the body from exposures to radiation and cigarette smoke, toxins such as alcohol, and cancer chemotherapy. The amino acid plays a big role in preventing liver cancer through converting cancer causing toxins into water-soluble substances and eliminating them from the body.The rate at which a body ages is directly correlated with glutathione concentrations in cellular fluid.
Certain foods enhance Phase 1 detoxification; these are members of the brassica family - cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, and oranges and tangerines which break down to the active chemical called limonene.
Phase 2 continues the process. This phase depends on the body having an adequate supply of amino acids from good quality protein foods. Phase 2 however is greatly inhibited by health problems such as hepatitis, cancer, arthritis, hyperthyroidism, and respiratory disease.
When both phases are completed, the neutralized toxins need to be excreted. Bile, the fluid secreted by the liver and stored in the gall bladder, helps this process. But the flow of bile is affected by the presence of gall stones, gravel, inflammation, and lesions; the amount of bile and its availability to the intestines is markedly absent.
During day-to-day detoxification, bulk fiber and lots of water are important to help clean properly without damage to either the liver or other organs. Bulk fiber is very valuable to the digestive process. Because it is indigestible material, fiber helps scrap along the intestinal walls pulling out long standing fecal matter, and pushes all this debris out with the stool. Fiber comes from fruits and vegetables and gummy foods such as oatmeal and oat bran.
A human or dog with hepatitis, liver or kidney disease, digestive problems, skin allergies has a compromised body. Such a case needs a liver flush. This is made from carrots, beets, and a very small amount of celery juiced together, used daily for a week, and then stopped. Bulking agents such as mucilaginous herbs, along with a small amount of Aloe vera and daily probiotics should also be used.
Herbs are a great way to clean organs and body systems. In the case of the liver, members of the thistle family with the active ingredients of silymarin and silybin, are singularly effective in treating liver damage.
Milk thistle herb and/or artichoke herb can stop liver damage by acting as free radical scavengers and stimulating liver cell regeneration. A series of studies found that silymarin fosters regrowth of cells when part of the liver is surgically removed. Biopsies have shown that this herb is effective in treating both acute and chronic viral liver disease. These thistles are very low in toxicity and are tolerated well. They need to be used for very long periods of time in severe liver damage. Milk thistle herb and artichoke have to be used with glutathione because large number of free radicals will be generated. These by-products will be dumped into the intestines and they will use up available amounts of glutathione. Supplementing with additional glutathione is a must.
Artichoke is the choice of herb if digestion is poor because the liver is not producing enough bile. This herb helps with dyspepsia, severe constipation and colic. It will stop vomiting, diminish abdominal pain, improve appetite, and reduce gas. Artichoke also relieves irritable bowel, altered bowel functions, excessive secretion of mucous in the colon and general low-grade nausea, and malaise.
Bitter herbs such as dandelion can also boost a sluggish liver and can be incorporated into a plan for a month or two.
Oregon grape root herb helps control bile production and slows the transit time of bile through the intestines. This ensures good breakdown and absorption of nutrients as well as safer and more thorough elimination through the colon.
Whether human or canine, any body benefits from a detoxification once or twice a year. Here how it works.
First no food for a short period of time, usually one to three days. The fast has to be helped with plenty of water, fruit drinks, or vegetable broth. Add glutathione because the depletion of the body’s store of amino acids will lead to free radical havoc. After the initial fast, the next step is a modified food fast for approximately three to five days. A three-day program is enough for a healthy body. A longer program is appropriate for one who has never been on a detox or has allergies or skin issues. Food intake consists of a whole grain, cooked organic chicken, a vegetable and a fruit. A high quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement without iron but with selenium, zinc, and copper is a good addition. An aggressive approach would be to add extra vitamin C and a multi-carotene supplement. It is very important to include an amino acid mixture with extra glutathione and herbs. Milk thistle, dandelion, artichoke, Parsley root, Burdock herb, and Horsetail herbs are excellent additions as is SAM-e- S-adenosylmethionine - a sulfur derivative helpful in treating bile stagnation and increasing the flow of bile.
The last part of the process is the re-colonizing of the intestines with beneficial flora or friendly bacteria. These are called probiotics, special strains for humans and for pets. Replenishing or re-colonizing both small and large intestine has to be done daily before meals. Benefits from probiotics include promotion of regularity, relief from constipation or diarrhea, serum cholesterol reduction, control of blood sugars, immune function enhancements, improved calcium absorption and B vitamin synthesis. Probiotics changes the pH balance making the environment slightly more acidic discouraging the growth of unfriendly bacteria. Supplementing with a good probiotic is mandatory to raise the baseline of health.
Once cleaned out and repaired, the body will start rebuilding itself. The question is: what will determine the quality of that body? The better the nutrition, the better quality new body you and your dog will have!
For supplies and further information consult Marie Cargill.