Detoxification is the process through which toxic substances – environmental pollutants, medications, byproducts of metabolism, and more – are removed from the body. This process is one of the major functions of the liver, lower gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, and skin, with the liver being the most important organ of detoxification. Studies have shown that each individual has a different ability to break down toxins.
Detoxification in the liver is largely accomplished in two phases. In Phase I, enzymes change toxins into intermediate compounds. In Phase II, the intermediate compounds are neutralized through the addition of a water-soluble molecule. The body is then able to eliminate the transformed toxins through the urine or feces.
When the body is unable to properly detoxify, the resulting toxic accumulations can, at a low level, cause chronic fatigue, loss of concentration, and poor memory. When toxic accumulations reach higher levels, more serious problems can result. Because the detoxification process is very nutrient dependent, a number of vitamins, minerals, and other supplements can help ensure that toxins are quickly removed from the body.
Supplements for Phase I Detoxification
• Folic acid
• Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
• Vitamin B3 (niacin)
• Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
• Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
• Vitamin C