Detoxification is perhaps the most essential initial step in the treatment of any disease. Along with supportive therapies such as a diet of whole, natural, unprocessed, living foods, specific nutrient supplementation, exercise, sleep, rest, and play, it should be the first therapeutic intervention in the treatment and prevention of any disease or pathological condition. As Samuel Hahnemann, the “father of Homeopathy”, taught, “first and foremost remove all obstacles to cure”.’ The organism must be allowed and encouraged to discharge and eliminate … “and so, raise the vitality of the patient.”.2 Therefore, a good detoxification program should include stimulating the eliminative organs (bowels, liver and biliary tract, kidneys, lymphatic system, lungs and skin) in a functional, supportive, and regenerative manner.
The liver is of primary importance in this approach due to its central role in the processing, detoxification, and elimination of metabolic waste products (estrogens and other hormones, cholesterol, proteins, etc.), drugs, toxic chemicals, immune-complexes, and bowel toxins (bacterial toxins and products of incomplete digestion and putrefaction) and should be the center of focus in any detoxification program. Its ability to perform these functions, as well as the synthesis of proteins, storage of vitamins and metabolites, secretion of bile (the primary route of toxin, metabolic waste and cholesterol elimination), and the vast array of enzymatic functions, has to be supported and maintained in the highest capacity to ensure optimal functioning and health of the total organism.3-6, 14-16
Through our daily lives, at home, travel, and work, these processes and functions may become stressed and compromised to differing extents by chronic exposures to chemical-environmental toxins, drugs, alcohol, and bowel toxins, and may be complicated by inflarrunation (hepatitis), fatty infiltration (cirrhosis), sclerosis, biliary inflammation and obstruction (cholecystitis and gall stones), and nutritional-enzymatic cofactor deficiencies.6, 14-17 Also, any antimicrobial, antifungal, chemotherapeutic, surgical, or otherwise stressful, potentially toxic therapy can further compromise liver functions resulting in enhanced toxicities, increased environmental sensitivities, and overall worsening of the total organism. Therefore, liver detoxification and support is an essential therapeutic tool which could be employed routinely as a preventive to disease and optimizer of health and should be employed in the treatment of diseas4 and prior to or along with any of the above mentioned therapies.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO DETOXIFY THE LIVER?
When considering liver detoxification there are three phases or actions that must be supported and stimulated. First, bile production in the liver and bile flow through the biliary tract should be encouraged (lipotropic activity) to prevent “liver congestion” and cholestasis. Third, augment toxin and cholesterol excretion and decrease fatty infiltration. A good quality fiber supplement containing psyllium, pectin, etc., should be. included when encouraging excess bile flow into the intestines to ensure toxin and bile acid binding and elimination, preventing reabsorption and the formation of procarcinogenic compounds.5∞-55 Second, the primary liver cells (hepatocytes) must be protected from inflammatory damage, stimulated to regenerate, repair and optimally perform their enzymatic-metabolic fimctions. Fourth, and finally, the inununoltically active liver macrophages (Kupffer ‘Cells) should be activated to phagocytize (engulf and digest) immunogenic material.
It is very important that the enzymatic cofactors are also provided in adequate amounts prior to and during this detoxification process to support optimal functioning.