Detox culture – the pattern of “dirty-then-clean” – is problematic and defeats the purpose of a “detox”, often causing more harm than good, depriving the body of essential nutrients and giving rise to unwanted symptoms.
Detox diets and “cleansing” plans are popular but many of them aren’t evidence-based and they miss the bigger picture of how the body functions (as a whole interconnected organism).
There is a smarter way to support your liver and enhance your body’s natural detox process:
It starts with knowing what makes your body unique and different, discovering how you function on a genetic level, and then using this valuable information to determine what the best nutrition and lifestyle interventions might be to level up your overall functionality and ultimately bring you closer to the healthiest version of yourself.
Modern life is increasingly toxic. Your liver has a lot to handle.
Not be a Debbie-downer but the world we live in isn’t getting any cleaner… our bodies are exposed to more and more chemicals and pollutants every year as new chemicals are introduced into the marketplace. These toxic compounds are found all around us in the air, water, food, and personal- and home-care products we’re exposed to on a regular basis.
We also make toxic molecules internally as a natural consequence of our day-to-day metabolism producing things like metabolic waste products and reactive oxygen species (ROS), that are totally natural but if not dealt with fast enough via the process of detoxification, can cause cumulative damage, contributing to things like inflammation, cellular damage, and aging over time.
What are the genes involved in detox?
The liver is our main detox organ, transforming toxic substances into harmless water-soluble derivatives that can be easily eliminated from the body via the urine, bile, sweat and feces.
There are several hundreds of genes involved in detoxification, but the main ones considered for assessing detoxification in the liver specifically, are:
- CYP19; CYP1A1; CYP1A2; CYP1B1; CYP7A1 (the major players involved in Phase 1 Liver detox)
- MTHFR 677 C>T; COMT; GST’s; NQ01; UDP-GT; SOD; GPx; EPHX1; SULT1A1; PON1 (the big guns of Phase 2)
How do our genes impact detoxification?
Detoxification involves several pathways and chains of chemical reactions happening constantly on repeat. Think of the liver as one giant science lab running 24/7 with hundreds of molecules and enzymes and cofactors interacting simultaneously to form incredible and important outcomes.
What do these biological reactions and pathways need to function optimally? They rely on Enzymes. Are all enzymes equal? No, our enzymes are all a bit different, because they are coded for by…drumroll…our genes.
Thus, slight genetic variants of the above mentioned detox genes result in significant differences in the activity of our detox enzymes – how fast or slow they work – and how we efficiently we each process toxins.
Genetic variations from one person to the next causes detoxification to be highly individualized.
You might be super fast and efficient at detoxifying caffeine and alcohol compared to the person next to you, but much less effective at quickly breaking down excess estrogens, histamine, or prescription medications from the body, for example. That’s because these substances rely on slightly different enzymes to be broken down, and the enzymes work at varying speeds from one person to the next, thanks to our genes.
Our genetic variations can affect our lifestyle choices and daily decisions in very tangible ways.
Knowing our genes can help determine things like which specific environmental toxins you’re particularly ‘sensitive’ to and should therefore consciously avoid in your daily life; or what type and dosage of medication you should be on; or how many coffees you can tolerate in a day to avoid any harmful effects; or how to strategically lower your risk of developing estrogen-related breast cancer if you have a reduction in the enzymes that metabolize estrogens, to name but a few examples…
The rate of activity of our detox enzymes can influence our sensitivity to common carcinogens and may affect our risk of developing cancer and other unwanted diseases.
Are our genes our destiny? What can we do once we know our genetic tendencies?
The expression of our genes is modifiable by nutrition, lifestyle, stress and toxins. Essentially you can level the playing field and counter-balance your genetic tendencies with the appropriate personalized, data-driven protocol.
Enzymes need cofactors to speed them up and increase their activity. Where do we get our cofactors from? Cofactors are nutrients! Food and supplements can be tailored and targeted to up-regulate (or down regulate, as needed) the activity of our detox genes. We can literally change the expression of our genes -the cards we were dealt – with the right foods, nutrients and lifestyle changes.
Sulforaphane is a major example of a compound found in food (naturally present in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and broccoli sprouts, bok choy and cabbage) that has powerfully positive effects on detoxification mostly by supercharging all phase 2 detox enzymes.
Food and supplements can up-regulate or down-regulate the activity of our detoxification genes.
Depending on what your 3X4 Blueprint Report reveals about your genetic variations, your 3X4 accredited practitioner will make personalized recommendations for diet, lifestyle, supplements and exercise, as well as guidance on how to avoid the toxic substances you’re most sensitive to, how to manage the stress that breaks-down your body’s detox capacity, and how to enhance the health and activity of your secondary detoxification systems like the kidneys, lymph, lungs and skin.
Do it for your genome.
Daily Choices is an online wellness publication dedicated to delivering fresh evidence-based advice to a community of people who are curious about how to feel - and live- better.
By sharing what we know about modern health and nutrigenomics (that’s food x genes), we hope to inspire you to figure out which lifestyle choices might bring you closer to the life you want.
We believe every body is unique and that health is a personal, daily choice. Get a deeper understanding of your body’s unique needs and choose what’s right for you.