Health Topic

How your Body Removes Toxins

There are many bizarre ideas about detoxification. Everyone hears ads for stripping pounds of debris off the lining of their colon or doing a liver flush or doing a two week juice fast detox program at which point you are supposed to be free of all toxins. While I'm sure there are people who think they have benefited from such approaches, by and large such strategies are nonsense and are actually hard on your body.

I've yet to hear of any physician finding pounds of toxic waste lining anyones colon. The stones seen on the olive oil liver flush turn out to be made of soapified olive oil that was just consumed (they are not typically liver stones or gall stones). Fasting for more than a day or two without protein in your diet can shut down primary Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detoxification function which can stay impaired for months. Detoxification is important, but lets understand the common sense basics.


You are constantly exposed to toxins, which is worse if you live near heavy pollution, pesticide spraying, eat poor quality food, drink unfiltered water, or live in a moldy house. Your body also produces toxic trash metabolites that must be cleared, which is worse if you have digestive problems, sinus problems, are under high stress, are fighting a bug, are recovering from surgery or an accident, do not sleep enough, or physically wear yourself out (including exercise).

In other words, every day there is a certain amount of housecleaning you must do depending on a number of different variables. This means your need to employ various detoxification strategies may vary on different days depending on what is going on and how you are doing.

Since your sleep time is a primary housecleaning time, exactly how you feel when you wake up in the morning and how long it takes you to get your energy systems up and running are fairly good measures of how your detox systems are working. There is nothing worse than waking up and feeling like you did not sleep at all, a real toxic backlog.

In general there are four primary toxin removal systems that must all be working in harmony with each other. These involve:

  1. The disposal of cellular waste products, especially lactic acid.
  2. The removal of larger waste products through your lymph (smaller waste products go into your veins and are exhaled or sent directly to your liver).
  3. The processing of toxins by your liver, most of which then go into bile and then into your digestive tract for final clearance (some are made water-soluble and go to your kidneys to be excreted in urine).
  4. The final clearance of waste products by your digestive tract.

These four systems tend to flow from one to another. Any glitch in any one of these major systems of detoxification will back trash up in your body and cause problems. In the next four sections I will take up each of these areas in greater detail.

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