Inflammation can be helpful when we have an acute injury however when inflammation becomes chronic it can cause havoc. In today’s post I wanted to talk about how to reduce chronic inflammation and how the Liver plays a major role A perfect topic after the July 4th weekend right?
Tending to liver function and liver detoxification is a vital part of functional lifestyle medicine protocols to address chronic health issues. In most of my cases I suggest a targeted 3- 4 week protocol to help patients get back on a healthy track and then almost always suggest a 21 day Liver Detox Program to reduce inflammation.
Liver detoxification involves making fat-soluble compounds water-soluble so they can be eliminated in urine, feces, or sweat. Examples of compounds the liver metabolizes are hormones, drugs, toxins and chemicals that are foreign to the body but still pass through liver detoxification pathways.
The liver has two different detoxification pathways that make fat-soluble compounds water-soluble for elimination: Phase I and Phase II.
Phase I Liver Detox Pathway
When a fat-soluble compound comes into the liver it first enters the “Phase I pathway.” The Phase I pathway changes the structure of the compound for the sole purpose of having molecules attach to it in the Phase II pathway to prepare it for elimination.
Phase II Liver Detox Pathway
Phase II has several different functions that metabolize the compounds in different ways: methylation, glucuronidation, sulfation, acetylation, and glutathione conjugation. Once molecules are added to the compound in Phase II it is heavy and stable enough to be eliminated from the body safely.
When liver detoxification pathways don’t work
When a compound goes through Phase I it becomes more immune reactive and pro-inflammatory. Theoretically this is not a problem as Phase II is there to sweep in and stabilize these immune reactive compounds.
However, inherited genetic traits like the MTHFR mutation may cause variations or defects in how these pathways work, which is one reason medications affect people differently. Just because you have a genetic predisposition does not necessarily mean that gene will express itself, but factors such as poor diet, stress, medications, alcohol or lifestyle can trigger these genes.
When a person’s liver Phase II pathway is hindered, two different possibilities exist. One is that an already inflammatory compound, such as an environmental toxin, is made more inflammatory in Phase I. because the Phase II pathway is not capable of completing the job. The more toxic compound goes back into circulation, where it may activate the immune system and create systemic inflammation.
The second possibility is that compounds that normally wouldn’t react with the immune system are metabolized into immune reactive compounds.
Increased toxicants due to failures in detoxification increase your risk of developing inflammatory conditions and autoimmunity. A special note to add here. The Liver is also responsible for clearing excess hormones like estrogens from the body. Have a Liver that works well is critical fro prenatal health and pregnancy. If you have been struggling to conceive a Liver Detox is a very good first step to potential reset hormones.
What nutrients support healthy liver detoxification?
Different nutritional and botanical compounds support the liver’s detoxification pathways. I have included the Methylation Pathway here as this pathway must work to ensure a health pregnancy and healthy baby.
Phase I and Phase II support:
- Milk thistle seed extract
- Dandelion root extract
- Gotu kola extract
- Panax ginseng
Phase II methylation support:
- Betaine HCl
- Methylated Folate
If you want to go it alone and do your own Liver Detox, look for reputable brands. You can also go to our products link on www.drpia.com for options. Start slowly to avoid the unpleasant side effects of detoxifying too quickly. Lastly if you want help and support we are available to help. We hope you have found this post educational?
Have a healthy week