Detoxification: Liver – Lymph – Kidneys

Contains the drainage organs of the liver, lymph, and kidneys. These bodies form a functional unit for detoxification and elimination, metabolic processing and removal, and enzymatic activities. They allow the patient to thrive in a toxic world. When Triad 4 is in harmony, there is a smooth flow of substrates and emotions, and when out of balance inflammation, stagnation, and retention ensues.

LIVER

LOCATION  
liver1The liver is the body’s largest internal organ. An adult liver  weighs approximately three pounds. It is located in the upper  right quadrant of the abdominal cavity and extends beyond the  midline. Anatomically, the liver consists of four lobes: a large right  lobe, a smaller left lobe, and two inferior (bottom) lobes. The  portal vein supplies the liver with blood from the gastrointestinal  tract (including the stomach, and small and large intestines),  spleen, and pancreas, while the hepatic artery supplies the liver  with blood from the heart. Arteries take blood that has received  oxygen to the organs, while veins take the “used” blood back to  the lungs to get more oxygen. Together, the portal vein and  hepatic artery pump about 1,400 ml (about 1.5 quarts) per minute  into the liver. Because blood enters the liver faster than it is  removed, the liver is able to store about 300 ml (a little less than  one pint) of blood at any given time. Loiver

FUNCTION   

The liver contains cells called “Kupffer cells,” which are capable  of removing dead cells, bacteria, and foreign substances from  the blood. While the Kupffer cells are responsible for filtering  about 99 percent of the bacterial and food contaminants from  the blood, other important cells in the liver, termed hepatocytes,  are active in the detoxification of drugs, heavy metals, chemicals,  alcohol, and hormones. These processes of detoxification require  two important steps, known as phase one (oxidation-reduction)  and phase two (conjugation-elimination). The antioxidant  glutathione is one of the most prevalent detoxifying chemicals in  the liver.

The liver removes toxic and metabolic waste products from the  body by converting them to water-soluble compounds that can  be excreted in the urine. Those substances that are not  water-soluble are transformed by the liver and excreted in the  bile, a substance used for this purpose and for the digestion of  fats. The bile is then transported into the intestines where it is eliminated in the feces. Toxins not completely removed  by either one of these processes may be eliminated  through the skin (fat-soluble compounds are excreted in  sweat), or lungs. Toxins that remain in the body  accumulate in the adipose (fat) tissue and nerve cells,  contributing to a wide range of degenerative conditions.

In addition to filtering and detoxifying the blood, the liver  contributes to the body’s anabolic and catabolic  functions—that is, the reformation or building of new  cells, tissues, and organs, and its opposite, the  breakdown of cellular structure. The liver also functions  as storage for glycogen, the stored form of glucose.

LIVER FUNCTIONS  

Detoxifies chemicals from the environment via phase I and phase II detoxification Converts ammonia to urea Converts carbohydrates and proteins to fat Breaks down proteins Eliminates bilirubin (a substance secreted in the bile) Filters and detoxifies blood Forms ketones (waste products of partially metabolized fat) and phospholipids (fat molecules) from fatty acids Forms lipoproteins Metabolizes drugs Metabolizes hormones Produces bile salts Produces lymphatic fluid (lymph nourishes and cleanses tissue cells) Stores glycogen and converts it to glucose for fuel Stores vitamins A, D, B12, and the mineral iron Synthesizes cholesterol and enzymes Synthesizes blood-clotting factors Synthesizes plasma proteins (including globulin needed for antibody formation)

RELATIONSHIP  

Phase one detoxification in the liver may be inhibited by a lack of nutrients, vitamins, or minerals.

SOME INHIBITORS OF PHASE-ONE DETOXIFICATION 

  • Age
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Intestinal imbalances
  • Antidepressants
  • H2 blockers
  • Iron overload
  • Antihistamines
  • Hydrogenated fats
  • Oral contraceptives

SOME INDUCERS THAT ACCELERATE PHASE-ONE DETOXIFICATION INCLUDE: 

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage,  cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and others)
  • Fumes (from exhaust and paint)
  • Some herbal supplements (including St. John’s  wort, garlic, schisandra berry)
  • Some medications (including sulfonamides,  steroids, phenobarbital, and other barbiturates)
  • Nicotine
  • Pesticides
  • Protein

KEY NUTRIENTS REQUIRED IN PHASE-ONE DETOXIFICATION 

  • Beta-carotene
  • Glutathione
  • Choline
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Copper
  • Sulfur
  • Lecithin
  • Vitamins B3 (niacin), C, and E
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc

SOME INHIBITORS OF PHASE-TWO DETOXIFICATION 

  • Low-protein diets
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

SOME INDUCERS THAT ENHANCE PHASE-TWO DETOXIFICATION INCLUDE: 

  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage,  cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and others)
  • Eggs
  • Fish oils
  • Leeks
  • Limonene (from lemons)
  • Milk thistle seed (Silybum marianum)
  • Onions
  • Raw garlic

KEY NUTRIENTS REQUIRED IN PHASE-TWO DETOXIFICATION 

  • Alpha lipoic acid
  • Folic acid
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Methionine
  • N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
  • Selenium
  • Taurine
  • Vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic  acid), B12 (cyanocobalamin), and C
  • Zinc

When the liver is operating optimally, phase one and  phase two work efficiently at protecting the body  against foreign substances. The system breaks down,  however, when the rate of exposure to toxins is greater  than it can handle.

Many health factors can cause imbalances in liver  function leading to an unhealthy liver.

These factors include:

  • Insulin resistance – leads to fatty liver
  • Gut terrain disturbances
  • Environmental toxins such as pesticides, heavy  metals
  • Prescription and non-prescription drugs – many  can lead to depleted glutathione (oxidative  stress) and alterations in liver function and  detoxifying ability
  • Dietary factors like hydrogenated oil intake,  chemicals in food and water, high sugar foods

LYMPH

LOCATION  
lymph1The lymph system, or lymphatic system, is anatomically part of the  circulatory system, and is a network of organs, lymph nodes, lymph ducts  and lymph vessels. The lymphatic vessels carry a clear fluid called lymph,  derived from the Latin word lympha meaning “water goddess”, which is  c
omprised of white blood cells and fluid from the intestines called “chyle”.  White blood cells are part of your immune system that attacks foreign  invaders in the body like bacteria and viruses; chyle contains proteins and  fats and helps in digestion. The lymph fluid bathes the cells and tissues,  removing particles like toxins and debris, and then it flows back into the  bloodstream. The lymph only flows toward the heart, where it connects  with the venous blood flow for recirculation or removal from the body.

FUNCTION  

Lymphatic organs play a large part in our immunity. Organs that are  intimately part of the lymphatic system include the Lymphs
pleen, thymus, bone  marrow and lymphoid tissue associated with the digestive system  (including the tonsils) – they produce immune cells to help us fight  infection.

The circulatory system processes about 20 liters (about 5.3 gallons) daily,  with about 17 of these liters being reabsorbed directly into the blood,  leaving 3 liters (0.8 gallons) that exists in between the cells. This fluid has  to be removed, and that’s what lymph does. It helps remove the fluid  between the cells and places it back into the blood. The lymph carries white  blood cells to sites of infection and inflammation, and antigen presenting cells  (also part of your immune system) to the lymph nodes, which initiate the white  blood cells to attack.

RELATIONSHIP  

The lymph is part of the immune system, which is interconnected with the  gastrointestinal tract, the nervous system including memory, mood and  cravings, with inflammatory processes, with hormonal balance (thyroid, sex  hormone), sleep (melatonin balance), stress levels (cortisol balance), weight  balance, nutrient supplies, energy, and all other metabolic processes. The  lymph also helps the body remove toxins (including heavy metals, food  chemical additives, plastics, pesticides, phthalates, which can impair  metabolism.

KIDNEYS

LOCATION   

Kidneys
The kidneys are reddish-brown, bean-shaped organs that are  located in the back of the abdomen. A kidney is about 4-5 inches  long, about the size of your fist. Each kidney contains about a  million microscopic filtering units called nephrons.

FUNCTION   

The kidneys filter our blood, removing toxins and waste while  regulating water balance by controlling the flow of minerals called  electrolytes (sodium, calcium, chloride, potassium) in and out of the  body. The kidneys help regulate our body’s pH, or the acidity or  alkalinity of the blood and body fluids. The kidneys help regulate  our blood pressure and heart and blood vessel health. The kidneys  also release an important hormone called erythropoietin, which  helps stimulate more oxygen-carrying red blood cells to form in  bone marrow.

KidneyRELATIONSHIP 

Kidney problems can develop from increased oxidative stress and  inflammation that arise from various metabolic imbalances in the  body. Chronic kidney problems occur more frequently with:

  • Obesity
  • Chronic Medication Use
  • Insulin resistance
  • High blood pressure
  • Immune imbalances/autoimmunity
  • Chronic stress
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Increased oxidative stress
  • Heavy metal and environmental toxicities
  • Elevated homocysteine
  • Alcoholism/alcohol abuse