Stressor Spotlight: Detoxification System
From pesticides and herbicides to heavy metals and electromagnetic fields, the amount of harmful substances we’re exposed to today is unprecedented. Toxic substances exist not only in much of the food and water we consume, but are also prevalent in the air we breathe.
Our detoxification system is incredibly efficient at disposing of the harmful substances we encounter. However, the more toxins we are exposed to, the more difficult the detoxification process becomes. And eventually, too much exposure can lead to this system becoming compromised, which can have disastrous consequences for our health. It is for these reasons that we need to be particularly vigilant regarding toxins in the environment and the consequent health of our detoxification system.
Structure and function
The detoxification system consists of a number of different organs working together to purge toxins from the body. The chief detoxification organ is the liver. Located to the right of the stomach just above the belly, the liver filters and reduces toxic substances in the blood into chemical compounds that can then be expelled through the skin, lungs, and digestive tract.
Various nutrients are needed for the liver to carry out its two-stage filtration process. Phase I nutrients include Vitamin B6, B12, and glutathione, while Phase II nutrients include Vitamin C, glycine, glutamine, and several more. A lack of any of these nutrients in the body can inhibit liver filtration, so it’s important to make sure you are consuming enough of them from foods and supplements if needed.
Another key player in the detoxification process is the lymph nodes. Found throughout the body, lymph nodes filter a clear fluid called lymph, which comes from blood plasma. Lymph may contain harmful pathogens such as viruses and bacteria, which the lymph nodes then eliminate. In addition, lymph nodes also filter out cellular waste and cancerous cells.1
The detoxification system encompasses a number of different organs. As such, this system is energetically connected with all the teeth, as well as most of the vertebrae and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) meridians.
The emotions most strongly associated to the detoxification system are anger and frustration. Thus, an excess of these emotions may indicate toxic buildup in the body. Conversely, anger and frustration may be the catalyst that inhibits your detoxification system from effectively doing its job.
Looking at the body’s principal detoxification organ, the liver, through the lens of traditional Chinese medicine reveals additional energetic relationships. For instance, the condition of the liver often manifests in the nails and sinews, which are tendons or ligaments. Dry, brittle, spotty nails and rigid, inflexible sinews are an indication of deficient blood in the liver. Additionally, symptoms such as dry eyes and floaters may also indicate a liver issue.2
Diet and the detoxification system
A healthy diet is key for optimal detoxification system function. Ideally, your diet should consist of organic foods to limit your exposure to herbicides and pesticides. The amount of food you eat and when you eat also effects the detoxification system. Overeating is especially troublesome because it not only burdens the body’s ability to break down and absorb nutrients, but also its ability to eliminate waste.3
Just like overeating, undereating can be a problem as well, because the body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs in the right amounts. However, a growing number of people are turning to the practice of intermittent fasting for its detoxification benefits. The concept is that the body will turn to its fat reserves when food isn’t entering the digestive system. Fat reserves store harmful substances, and these are metabolized and then eliminated during fasting.4 Of course, though fasting can be beneficial, overdoing it can starve your body of the nutrients it needs to function effectively in the long-term.
When it comes to supporting the detoxification system, certain foods are more beneficial than others. At the top of the list are fruits such as cantaloupe, bananas, avocados, and blueberries. Vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, artichokes, and tomatoes are also said to be beneficial to detoxification, as well as to other systems in the body. Other beneficial foods include wild salmon, turmeric, almonds, and legumes.5
Also, the effect of water on detoxification cannot be emphasized enough. Water flushes toxins out of the liver and also allows the kidneys, another key organ in the detox process, to filter properly.6 Unfortunately, much of our water supply contains toxic chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine. That’s why its important to drink the purest water possible. Reverse osmosis and artesian water are two good pure-water options. But at the very least, make sure to use a water filter for your tap water.
A healthy diet can do wonders for your detoxification system, but you may also benefit from taking supplements as well. Supplements that are used often for detoxification support include:
- Milk thistle
- Alpha lipoic acid
Lifestyle tips to promote detoxification
In addition to diet, your lifestyle plays a major role in both reducing toxic exposure and supporting the detoxification process. One particularly effective method for the latter is exercise. Moving your body improves circulation, which benefits liver function as well as the function of other organs. Exercise also increases lymph flow, a key element of detoxification.7
Certain exercises such as yoga, for example, are said to be especially beneficial for detoxification. As fitness expert Shirley Archer says, twists in yoga “squeeze the organs, which push blood out so fresh blood can rush in.”8 Additionally, the deep breathing in yoga and other similar practices empties carbon dioxide from the lungs and allows more oxygen in, which improves circulation and cellular health.
Some experts argue that sweating is meant for cooling the body and does little to remove toxins. However, studies show that harmful toxins are indeed expelled from the sweat. One such study found that sweat induced by sauna and exercise contained notable amounts of lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic.9
Jeffrey Morrison, a functional medicine doctor, acknowledges that while the liver and kidneys process most of our toxins, the skin becomes an outlet when toxic load becomes too large. Interestingly, he also suggests that you should wash your body off after you sweat so those toxins don’t re-enter the body through the pores.10
On the other side of the spectrum are lifestyle habits that reduce your exposure to toxins. We mentioned eating organic food and drinking pure water. But you should also consider what you’re exposed to in the air and from electromagnetic fields. EMF pollution from Wi-Fi and cell phones is especially problematic. Limiting their use as much as possible and removing them from the bedroom can go a long way in reducing your toxic load.
One other thing we can’t forget is the impact of stress on toxicity. Our fast-paced world is conducive to stress, and this is another major contributor to the toxic environment we live in. The good news is that there are ways to effectively manage stress. Yoga was previously mentioned, but other methods for relieving and reducing stress include:
- Deep breathing
- Being grateful
- Sharing feelings
Detoxification system stressor Virtual Item
With the ZYTO Balance, Select, and Elite, you can scan the Detoxification System category as well as the items within that category to determine whether they are in range or out of range. Some of the key digital signatures of items you can scan for within this category are:
- Heavy Metals
- Lymph nodes
- Toxic stress
- Water Contaminants
The detoxification system is also one of the 4 core systems scanned in the ZYTO Balance, along with the endocrine/hormonal system, immune system, and gastrointestinal system. Together, these 4 systems have a profound influence on your health.11
Additionally, anger is an emotion closely associated with the detoxification system. The ZYTO EVOX allows you to address these potential issues, as anger is one of the 12 perception index zones that are mapped when you speak about a specific topic that may be holding you back.
Detoxification system balancer Virtual Items
Digital signatures representing balancers are typically scanned after stressors are scanned. Balancers that bring the detoxification system and other out-of-range stressors back into range may include supplements, essential oils, wellness services, and foods. The Balance scan focuses on supplements and/or oils from a single product line in addition to wellness services such as acupuncture, far infrared sauna, and heavy metal removal.
Available as an add-on to the ZYTO Select and Elite, the Lifestyle Biosurvey scans the detoxification system as one of the core 4 systems, but also allows for the option to scan more stressor and balancer Virtual Items, including general balancer categories that aren’t tied to a specific product company such as Chinese herbs, antioxidants, and vitamins.
The Foods for Wellness scan is included in the Select and Elite, allowing you to scan for foods that can support the detoxification system and benefit general overall wellness.
And as mentioned, the EVOX gives you the opportunity to work through anger, frustration, and other emotions that may be holding you back in life. By addressing the emotions along with the physical component of health, you can support the detoxification system and other body systems more completely.
1. Bailey, Regina. “Lymph Nodes: Function, Anatomy, and Cancer.” ThoughtCo. Thoughtco.com.
2. Suttie, Emma. “The Liver.” Chinese Medicine Living. Chinesemedicineliving.com.
3. Weger, George. “Marvels of the Body’s Internal Cleansing System.” Foundation for Advancement of Cancer Therapy. Rethinkingcancer.org.
4. “Fasting for Detox.” Pure Inside Out. Pureinsideout.com.
5. “The 25 Best Foods for Instant Detox.” Eat This, Not That! Eatthis.com.
6. Garvin, Christine. “What Are the Benefits of Water on Liver Detoxification?” LIVESTRONG.com. Livestrong.com.
7. Chiu, Titus. “5 Best Lifestyle Tips for Detox.” Dr. Titus Chiu. Drtituschiu.com.
8. “Can exercise detox your body? It’s not about the sweat.” Today. Today.com.
9. Sears, M.E., K.J. Kerr, & R.I. Bray. “Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Sweat: A Systematic Review.” Journal of Environmental and Public Health (2012).
10. Held, Lisa E. “The Science-Backed Way to Detox That No One Talks About.” Well+Good. Wellandgood.com.
11. “Core System of Function.” Core One Health. Coreonehealth.com.