Detoxification: Abbreviated

There are toxins among us! We ingest, inhale, absorb them as well as create them. To ensure our net exposure to toxins doesn’t effect our health, the following is highly recommended:

a) Avoid toxic exposure as best you can

b) Support your organs of detox!

c) Detox


A) Avoid Toxic Exposure

What you can do: check out the environmental working group’s website Under consumer tips you can find ways to choose foods and products that reduce exposure to:

  • Heavy metals: lead, nickel, cadmium, manganese, mercury, aluminum etc
  • PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyl)
  • Pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides

Calgary has many environmentally conscious stores that provide organic, non-gmo foods to reduce your exposure to these toxic elements. Try buying your groceries at  Community Natural Foods, Bridgeland Market or Luke’s Drug Mart. You can also investigate buying into a CSA, for more information on CSA’s click here. 

B) Support Your Detoxification Organs  

liverPlease note, all organ systems work together for the mutual benefit of the whole – the whole you, that is. For the purpose of this newsletter we’ll further narrow our discussion to the liver, but for the record – the organs of detoxification and their routes of elimination are:

  • Skin via sweat
  • Kidneys via urine
  • Lungs via breath
  • Intestines via feces
  • lymph system via lymph
  • Liver via bile & blood

The Liver 

The Liver has 3 phases of detoxification:

  • Phase 1 – uses enzymes (cytochrome p450) to transform fat soluble substances into a form that phase 2 can receive.
  • Phase 2- conducts conjugation on substances to make them water soluble for phase 3
  • Phase 3 – elimination via bile, blood (kidney -> urine) and blood (skin -> sweat)

Clear? Now imagine that each phase is contingent on the other and at the same time is independently processing its’ own substrates. Now also imagine that for these processes to run smoothly they need:

1)     The right co-factors such as : Vitamin B2, B3, B12, Folic Acid, glutathione, glysine, amino acids… the list goes on!


2)    To be unimpeded:  What do I mean by this? Well if there’s any process along this pathway that can’t function it can cause a backup or a breakdown in the process.


Here are a few examples:

1.  If phase 2 doesn’t have what it needs (co-factors) to operate then it can’t run products from phase 1.  This can lead to a build up of Phase 1 products in the system that can be irritating to the body, causing damage to tissue via free radical oxidation (bad).

2.  If your digestion isn’t moving then elimination pathways for toxins (bile -> feces) can get backed up, also leading to breakdown of your feces which can leads to liberation of the toxic compounds that you’ve just neutralized and sent for elimination (aka enterohepatic circulation)!  This is tantamount to taking all your freshly washed and folded clothes and dumping them in mud.

3.  Your genes!  There are certain genes associated with your body’s ability to detox. Assessing how these are coded and the corollary effect on detoxification can be imperative to supporting your own specific needs for detoxification. Using nutrigenomics individualized support can be delivered to these pathways.

4.  Assessing heavy metal exposure and treating it using chelation therapies can be an effective way to overcome blockages to enzymatic pathways needed for detoxification.

C)  Last, but not least, Detox

By supporting your organs of elimination, reducing toxic exposure and ensuring elimination through regular bowel movements, urination and sweating – your detox will be on! To further enhance this process always look to support liver function and work with your naturopath for an optimized individualized treatment plan.


Dr. Sarah Kent, ND

Sarah Kent Naturmend Naturopathic DoctorDr. Sarah Kent is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor specializing in your health.  She blends traditional knowledge with current scientific understanding to generate wellness within her patients. She has received specialized training in naturopathic sports medicine, applying the principles and tools of naturopathic care in treating athletes.


  • Sarries, J and Wardle J. Clinical Naturopathy An Evidence – Based Guide to Practice. Churchill livingstone. Elsevier: Australia 2010.
  • Gaby A MD. Nutritional Medicine. Fritz Publishing Concord NH. 2011.


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