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Symptoms of Sluggish Liver Detoxification
So, how do you tell if your detoxification systems need help? Well, like anything else that isn't working properly, the body has subtle clues that tell you your liver may need help detoxifying.
First of all, if it takes a long time for the effects of pain medication (like getting shots at the dentist) to wear off, that's a sign you have sluggish detoxification. The same thing holds true for alcohol, caffeine or any other chemical (natural or otherwise) you might take into the body. When your detoxification is sluggish, the effect of these substances is long-lasting. Someone with great liver detoxification systems gets over this stuff quite quickly.
After studying this, it is clear to me that my liver detoxification isn't that great. When I go to the dentist, I can have a “yucky” feeling for several days from the pain shot. Alcohol and caffeine can also leave me with bad feelings that don't go away easily.
Fortunately, I've learned that if I take Milk Thistle Combo and SAM-e before I go to the dentist and for a day or two afterwards, I no longer have that “yucky” feeling. These supplements speed up the liver detoxification process so that my body more rapidly degrades the foreign substances in the shot.
The symptoms I've previously associated with a congested liver are probably also signs of sluggish liver detoxification. These include: difficulty going to sleep at night, then waking up with a sort of groggy, “drugged” feeling. One may also experience a bloated and stuffy feeling under the right rib cage or readily experience light-headedness, dizziness or headaches when you smell chemicals. Low thyroid and insulin resistance will also inhibit detoxification in the liver.
Symptoms of Sluggish Phase 2 Detoxification
All of the above symptoms tend to show problems with detoxification in general, but more specifically with Phase 1 Detoxification. However, sometimes Phase 1 works great, but Phase 2 does not. This can cause a different set of problems. Here's why.
As the diagram shows, the Phase 1 process produces superoxide radicals that can cause secondary tissue damage if there aren't enough free radical scavengers (antioxidants) present to protect the tissues. Also, between Phase 1 and Phase 2, the toxins have been processed into intermediate metabolites. These may also be radical oxygen intermediates (another form of free radicals) that can cause secondary tissue damage if they aren't neutralized by antioxidants.
From this, we can not only see the importance of antioxidants like Thai-Go, Alpha Lipoic Acid and N-Acetyl-Cysteine to the detoxification process, we can also begin to understand the phenomenon called the “healing crisis.” In fact, after studying this material, I've come to believe that a healing crisis occurs when the body starts processing too many toxins and the Phase 2 enzyme systems can't keep up. This causes a build-up of reactive toxins which generate inflammation in the body, causing various disease-like symptoms. Symptoms of this problem include headaches, stomach pain, nausea, fatigue, dizziness and “brain fog” during detoxification, fasting or weight loss. Toxemia during pregnancy is also a sign of sluggish phase two detoxification.
People who are environmentally ill, typically have problems with Phase 2. So, when they are exposed to chemicals, the body processes them through Phase 1, creating intermediate compounds that produce even more inflammation than the original chemical. Problems with various aspects of Phase 2 have been noted in a variety of chronic and degenerative diseases as well, including: Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, hepatitis, arthritis, low thyroid and environmental illness.
There are also other factors which are known to inhibit detoxification. For example, drugs like antihistamines, benzodiazepines, vimetidine, ketoconazole and sulfaphenazole inhibit Phase One Detoxification. Harmful intestinal bacteria can also secrete toxins that inhibit Phase 1. Aging also slows it down. Compounds from foods and herbs can even inhibit Phase 1. These include: naringenin from grapefruit juice, quercetin from onions and compounds in herbs such as curcumin in turmeric, capsaicin in capsicum and eugenol in clove. Of course, this makes these useful remedies for a healing crisis because they would slow down Phase 1, allowing Phase 2 to catch-up.
Of course, even if you don't have any of the symptoms above, but are exposed to any kind of chemicals on a regular basis in your job, it would be wise to support your liver's ability to detoxify. Examples of people who may wish to consider regular liver support include dry cleaners, painters, construction workers, lab technicians, beauticians, people who handle agricultural chemicals (like farmers and landscapers) and carpet cleaners.