Altered Liver Detoxification

In some people the detoxification pathways (Phases I and II) are out of balance. For example, if Phase I is more active than Phase II, a build up of reactive intermediate metabolites can occur which in turn can lead to tissue damage and disease. These people are referred to as “Pathological Detoxifiers”.

Pathological detoxifiers can be identified as those individuals who are highly sensitive to fumes e.g. paints and perfumes, react adversely to various pharmaceutical drugs and may have a reaction to drinking caffeine. Testing your detoxification ability is recommended.

However, a person with these reactions may instead be a “Poor Metabolizer”. For example, about one person in 12 in the Caucasian population inherits a defective enzyme – CYP2D6 – one of the Phase I enzymes. This enzyme catalyses the metabolism of more than 40 widely used drugs, including antidepressants, cardiovascular agents, analgesics and drugs of abuse such as ecstasy. With some drugs, poor metabolisers may achieve concentrations in their blood as much as 150 times higher than usual after a normal dose, thus producing side effects.

When liver metabolism is out of balance, testing should be done to confirm where the imbalance may be and help determine which nutrients should be taken. Some of these nutrients are listed under the treatment “Liver Detoxification Support”.

 


Signs, symptoms & indicators of Altered Liver Detoxification

Symptoms - Environment  

(High) chemical sensitivity



 

Sensitive to medications



Counter Indicators
Symptoms - Environment  

Not sensitive to medications



Symptoms - Food - Beverages  

Negative reaction to coffee




Altered Liver Detoxification can lead to

Nutrients  

Antioxidant Need/Oxidative Stress w/ Supplements

An adequate supply of key antioxidants and free radical quenchers is required to prevent secondary tissue damage from chemicals processed by phase I but accumulating due to lowered phase II activity. Reduced glutathione, superoxide dismutase and catalase comprise the bodys primary intracellular defense against free radicals.



 

Antioxidant Need/Oxidative Stress w/o Supplements

An adequate supply of key antioxidants and free radical quenchers is required to prevent secondary tissue damage from chemicals processed by phase I but accumulating due to lowered phase II activity. Reduced glutathione, superoxide dismutase and catalase comprise the bodys primary intracellular defense against free radicals.




Recommendations for Altered Liver Detoxification

Detoxification  


Diet  


Environmental  

Chemical Avoidance

Until a balance can be restored in the liver detoxification pathways, it is wise to limit drug use and prevent exposures to as many synthetic chemicals as possible.



Lab Tests/Rule-Outs  

Test Liver Detoxification Profile

Determining which liver detoxification pathways are weak or overactive may require testing. A Detoxification Profile analyzes saliva and blood after challenge doses of caffeine, aspirin, and acetaminophen, in order to assess the Phase I and Phase II functional capacity of the liver to convert and clear toxic substances from the body. A comprehensive profile may include markers for oxidative stress and the need for important antioxidants.



Key

Strong or generally accepted link
Proven definite or direct link
Strongly counter-indicative
May do some good
Highly recommended

Glossary

Metabolite

Any product (foodstuff, intermediate, waste product) of metabolism.

Enzymes

Specific protein catalysts produced by the cells that are crucial in chemical reactions and in building up or synthesizing most compounds in the body. Each enzyme performs a specific function without itself being consumed. For example, the digestive enzyme amylase acts on carbohydrates in foods to break them down.

Metabolism

The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.

Cardiovascular

Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.

Antioxidant

A chemical compound that slows or prevents oxygen from reacting with other compounds. Some antioxidants have been shown to have cancer-protecting potential because they neutralize free radicals. Examples include vitamins C and E, alpha lipoic acid, beta carotene, the minerals selenium, zinc, and germanium, superoxide dismutase (SOD), coenzyme Q10, catalase, and some amino acids, like cystiene. Other nutrient sources include grape seed extract, curcumin, gingko, green tea, olive leaf, policosanol and pycnogenol.

Free Radical

A free radical is an atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron. Because another element can easily pick up this free electron and cause a chemical reaction, these free radicals can effect dramatic and destructive changes in the body. Free radicals are activated in heated and rancid oils and by radiation in the atmosphere, among other things.

Glutathione

A natural sulfur-bearing peptide formed from the linking of three amino acids: glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine. Glutathione acts as an antioxidant and detoxicant and is involved with the selenium-containing enzyme glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione is also involved in amino acid transport across cell membranes.

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