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The Renowned January Detox!

Updated: Jan 12

The festivities over, many of you now feel the need for a good detox. Artichoke, black radish, milk thistle, rosemary, fumitory... these are the plants with choleretic and cholagogue virtues (which stimulate the formation and secretion of bile) most commonly used. But is this really the right way to detox? Is it appropriate to stimulate a liver already strained by the over drinking and eating during the last few weeks? Here is my opinion on the matter...

Having hearty meals occasionally is not a problem at all (although apparently just one overly heavy meal can disrupt the microbiota). Indeed, if the liver is not too tired, toxin detoxification will be relatively well done. However, when festive meals are repeated, the body can quickly find itself in difficulty. The liver struggles to keep up, it gets tired, and thus becomes less efficient. But at the end, it's like you: when you have too much work, you feel overwhelmed, tired, and gradually lose motivation... Well, your liver is the same!


Moreover, your profile in bile acids and the composition of your microbiota change, which doesn't help the detox process. Detoxification of toxins involves, among other things, high-quality bile acids. They are produced by the liver and a portion is metabolized by the bacteria in the microbiota…


Finally, meals are often rich in fat and sugar, creating inflammation and oxidative stress that, in turn, generate toxins that the liver has to deal with... In short, needless to say, this poor liver is running on fumes. 


At the beginning of my studies in nutrition, I applied classical protocols based on artichoke, milk thistle, and other plants aimed at stimulating the liver. But putting myself in the liver's place, I thought, "Wait a minute, when I'm mentally and physically tired, what I need is not to be boosted by being asked to do my work faster or better but rather to be helped to do it."

As a reminder, detoxification occurs in 3 stages:

Step 1: Transformation phase. The toxin is transformed by a chemical reaction into a more hydrophilic molecule (water-loving). It is then called an intermediate metabolite. In this form, it can either be eliminated directly through urine or move on to the second phase.

Step 2: Conjugation phase. During this phase, the intermediate metabolite is taken care of by enzymes that will facilitate its elimination. Once bound to its enzyme, the metabolite is called "conjugated."

Step 3: Elimination phase. The intermediate metabolite is eliminated through bile (evacuation through feces) or the kidneys (via urine).


My advices

Before giving you my advice, I would like to remind you that taking dietary supplements is not without consequences and should be supervised by a qualified healthcare professional in the field.

Advice number 1: Provide to my liver enzymes useful for phase two to form the so-called "conjugated" metabolites. Among them, in supplementation, we find (among other things) glutathione and its precursor NAC, choline, L-taurine, chlorella, and in the diet, broccoli!


Advice number 2: Help with phase 3, on the one hand, to care for the microbiota with a diet rich in fiber, regularly consume fermented products, eat a whole yogurt or kefir per day. And on the other hand, aid elimination through the kidneys (unless they are also tired 😅) with plants with draining effects like dandelion, meadowsweet, or cherry stalk.


Advice number 3: Make sure to optimize the antioxidant barrier with a rich intake of polyphenols, especially resveratrol and quercetin by consuming red grapes, French organic red wine, blackberries, cranberries, cocoa and dark chocolate (>70%), blueberries, pomegranate, rhubarb, garlic, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, and spinach, red apples, red onions, black and green tea, very red cherries. As a supplement, you can also help with vitamin C, astaxanthin, or alpha-lipoic acid.


Advice Number 4: Resume a so-called "caloric restriction" diet in medical jargon. This doesn't mean you have to eat 3 lettuce leaves, but that you should eat neither too much nor too little with diversified and high-nutrient-density ingredients (vegetables, fruits, spices, legumes, olive oil, rapeseed, nuts, flax, fatty fish, whole grains, nuts, and seeds...).

The best way to detoxify is not to intoxicate oneself 😉.

Advice number 5 : One last piece of advice before the end: the famous lemon juice in the morning on an empty stomach for the first 10 days of the month 😉.


Then, when your liver will feel better and healthier you can think about doing a classic detox with herbal supplements and herbal tea if you still feel the needed 🙂.

Happy restart to everyone! 🍀

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