January 5, 2013

Watching your body fight toxins

Your body gets rid of toxins in a couple of key ways. The first is the elimination of toxins; you have systems in place that simply flush the bad stuff out. The second is chemical detoxification, which occurs when various parts of your body — the liver is a top example — break down toxins into simpler, less harmful materials that are usually shuttled out of the body in your waste products.

Toxin elimination

When you talk about the natural elimination of toxins from your body, your kidneys deserve center stage. Sure, some organs have a higher profile — your brain and heart come to mind — but when it comes to sorting out toxins and putting them on the first fast train out (usually into the toilet), nothing beats the kidneys. They’re especially adept at clearing out water-soluble toxins.

Many fat-soluble toxins that can’t be whisked away by your kidneys or broken down by your liver (more on that organ in a moment) get sequestered in your fat cells, where they become a constant source of toxicity. How do you get rid of those toxins? You sweat the small stuff and the big stuff and everything in between. Sweating is a remarkable detoxification technique; several different kinds of toxins can be removed from your body only through sweating.

Chemical detoxification

Chemical detoxification takes place when one of your body’s parts breaks down the chemical structure of a toxin so it’s no longer harmful. The process starts in your nose and mouth, where immune cells begin busting up toxic substances. The tonsils do a lot of work on toxins before they continue toward your stomach, where some of the most potent acid in the natural world goes to work on a breadth of toxins. That brings it to the liver. Your liver is a fantastic chemical processing plant, and it can break down toxins that range from ammonia to alcohol.

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