Learn why a toxic substance does not need to cause liver toxicity or venal occlusive disease. Learn how to best support your liver so that it can best support you by detoxifying your body from harmful chemicals that cause cancer and liver damage.
Each day we expose our liver to thousands of toxic chemicals. In the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and from our homes and workplaces. A healthy, well functioning liver with adequate antioxidant capacity is our body’s best defense and essentially determines whether or not a foreign substance has a toxic effect. Free radial formation is associated with degenerative disease and aging. Antioxidants kill free radials. Glutathione is our livers main antioxidant.
Organic and Inorganic Substances That Could Otherwise Produce Liver Toxicity if Not for Adequate Glutathione Levels
Lets look at what happens when we ingest a substance that becomes toxic to our liver which otherwise would not be so if we had sufficient glutathione in our liver. For example, plants that contain certain alkaloids could potentially have a toxic impact on someone’s liver. There are a few documented cases mainly from Afghanistan, Jamaica, India and some other countries, which all have the component of malnutrition being a common problem. Other related incidences would be comprised livers due to alcoholism and steroid medications.
In such cases the antioxidant capacity among many other nutrient levels is well below healthy norms. But because you can, and may come across hype concerning medicinal plants that possess wonderful healing properties, I wish to walk you through the body’s process if you were to experience liver toxicity from whatever the source may be. And also, how to protect yourself – for you never know in your travels when far away from home what toxic substance you might come across.
I am going to present the herb comfrey as an example since it is one of my favorite healing plants who have received unfair bad press due to animal studies (there are no human studies) where extremely high amounts of this plant was feed to mice which would never be ingested by a human. You will learn that the pyrrolizidine alkaloids are not actually the problem.
How the Liver Deals With a Toxic Substance
Comfrey like a hundred other plants or so contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are not toxic unto themselves. When we ingest comfrey, ideally enzymes called ester-razors break off certain ester compounds and it renders them non toxic. However some will always remain. The remaining pyrrolizidine alkaloids go through the Cytochrome P-450 enzymes. This is phase one detoxification. (Read near the bottom for how to naturally support these enzymes through your diet)
Initially what happens is the body wants to make them more water soluble and remove them through the bile or the kidneys. Or, they may be converted into these compounds called Pyroles. Once you have pyroles in your liver; if you have adequate glutathione in your liver – no problem. The pyroles bind to glutathione and are removed through the bile or the kidneys.
However, if you have insufficient levels of glutathione in your body, they cannot be conjugated as its known and they actually hang about in the cells and bind to DNA and kill the cells. In the livers effort to repair itself, it forms scar tissue. This is veno occlusive disease and that’s the liver toxicity. So you see, it’s not the pyrrolizidine alkaloids that are toxic, it’s the compounds produced – the pyroles.
* Conjugation: The union of two microorganisms in which genetic material (DNA) passes from one organism to the other.
Liver Toxicity is Linked to Many Diseases
Since the 1940’s, the liver has been overloaded with all sorts of harmful synthetic substances, prescription medications, recreational drugs, cigarettes, heavy metals and inorganic minerals. The liver cannot function well once filled with toxic substances.
The liver easily accumulates and stores fats and fat soluble chemicals such as pesticides, hydrogenated fats (margarine), cholesterol and rancid fats. This weakening liver leads to all kinds of conditions; high cholesterol, clinical depression, mental illness, headaches, gallstones, skin disorders, low libido, fibromyalgia, cancer and chronic fatigue.
The liver has enormous capacity to heal itself when toxins are removed. Only foods and herbs can help repair a damaged liver. The toxicity process can be reversed at any time by creating a healthy environment for the liver. This environment includes healthy foods, juices and herbs to help clean out toxins. For instance, start the day with freshly squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and water. Include liver enhancing herbs as part of your regular dietary regime such as barberry, rosemary, licorice, ginger, curcumin, milk thistle, dandelion, garlic, sage tea and Oregon grape root.
What Natural Supplements Enhances Glutathione in the Liver?
Alpha lipoic acid
Ascorbic acid 1000mg
Green Tea polyphenols – Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)
Lipotropic factors (Inositol, Phosphatidylcholine, Methionine)
Lipotropic factors (Inositol, Phosphatidylcholine, Methionine) prevent fatty deposits and help with their removal. Folic acid and B 12 support liver function and Coenzyme Q10 helps with most liver disorders. Bitter foods are natural liver tonics and stimulate bile flow and should be consumed regularly; artichokes, turmeric, black radish, Chinese red and white radish, bitter melon and rhubarb.
Cytochrome P-450 enzymes are Dependent on Chlorophyll
Phase one detoxification (cytochrome P-450 enzymes) are a group of enzymes with what is referred to as a hem cofactor, which means they are ‘hem’ dependent enzymes. As it happens, liquid chlorophyll (the green juice in plants) is almost identical matrix to the hemoglobin in our blood. Therefore whenever you eat greens and green vegetables or drink liquid chlorophyll you are greatly supporting phase 1 detoxification of the liver.
Remember that all toxic substances whether they are organic or inorganic, are first dealt with by our livers first defense system (phase 1 detoxification). It would be wise to support this area of your body because as we are all too aware of today, conditions like cancer and over use of medications is a paramount problem.
Enhancing liver detoxification will maintain health or regain health. When a chronic disease exists or does not respond to treatment, consider herbs to heal the liver before toxicity increases and manifests an even worse disease.
Copyright © 2016 – All Rights Reserved – Michelle Honda Ph.D.
Look for my new forthcoming books “Reverse Heart Disease Naturally” (Jan.31, 2017) and “Reverse Inflammation Naturally” (May 31, 2017) and “Reverse Thyroid Diseases Naturally” (Fall 2017)
- Loguercio, C, Festi, D. World J Gastroenterol. 2011; 17(18): 2288-2301.
- Trappoliere, M, Caligiuri, A, Schmid, M, Bertolani, C, Failli, P, Vizzutti, F, Novo, E, di Manzano, C, Marra, F, Loguercio, C, Pinzani, M. Journal of Hepatology. 2009; 50: 1102–1111.
- Spittler, A, Reissner, CM, Oehler, R, Gornikiewicz, A, Gruenberger, T, Manhart, N, Brodowicz, T, Mittlboeck, M, Boltz-Nitulescu, Roth, E. FASEB J. 1999; 13: 563–571.
- Stachlewitz, RF, Li, X, Smith, S, Bunzendahl, H, Graves, LM, Thurman, RG. The Journal of Immunology. 2000; 164: 176–182.
- Khan, SG, Katiyar, SK, Agarwal, R, Mukhtar, H. 1992; 52: 4050-4052.
- Zaidi,SMKR, Al-Qirim, TM, Banu, N. Drugs R D. 2005; 6(3): 157-165.
- Crowell, JA, Page, JG, Levine, BS, Tomlinson, MJ, Hebert, CD. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 2006; 211: 115 – 123.
- Ozgur, E, Guler, G, Seyhan, N. Int. J. Radiat. Biol. 2010; 86(11): 935–945.
- Fardet, A, Martin, JF, Chardigny, JM. 2011; 24: 895–915.
- Bouhnik, Y, Vahedi, K, Achour, L, Attar, A, Salfati, J, Pochart, P, Marteau, P, Flourie, B, Bornet, F, Rambaud, JC. J. Nutr. 1999; 129: 113–116.
- Scholtens, PAMJ, Alles, MS, Willemsen, LEM, van den Braak, C, Bindels, JG, Boehm, G, Govers, MJAP. British Journal of Nutrition. 2006; 95: 1143–1149.
- Yen, CH, Kuo, YW, Tseng, YH, Lee, MC, Chen, HL. Nutrition. 2011; 27: 323–328.
- Cummings, JH, Christie, S, Cole, TJ. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2001; 15: 1139-1145.
Where to Purchase the Book
While close attention was given to the accuracy of information in this article, the author accepts neither responsibility nor liability to any person with respect to injury, damage, loss or any circumstances involving alleged causes directly or indirectly related to the information in this article. The sole purpose is to educate and broaden ones awareness. This information is not meant to replace medical advice or services provided by a health care professional.