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“Virtually all human diseases result from the interaction of genetic susceptibility and modifiable environmental factors.”
- Centers for Disease Control, Gene-Environment Interaction Fact Sheet, DHHS, Washington, DC, 2000
Our practice is based on that reality. We assess genetic susceptibility (which can often be improved with simple nutritional cofactors for detox enzymes), and lower body burdens of toxic environmental factors through avoidance and detoxification. There is a lot of popular misunderstanding about detoxification. A liver flush, for example, is an interesting idea, but the liver is clean. Toxins are not stored in the liver, they are stored in the fat and in fatty organs. The liver is clean. In order to understand this very important issue, and make informed choices, it is necessary to understand the mechanics of detoxification.
Most of the toxins which make people sick are fat-soluble. Consequently, these substances tend to deposit in body fat, or in the brain or other fat-rich organs where they are stored and slowly released. (Think of the body as a very large time-release capsule and you get the picture.)
As they are released, toxins interfere with normal bodily functions, according to their chemical structure. Pesticides, for example, tend to interfere with nerve or hormone function; plasticizers act like estrogen. Various other chemicals interfere with DNA transcription or various enzyme or hormonal functions. Heavy metals interfere with brain, immune and enzyme function at various points throughout the body. Chemicals, molds and metals also affect the gut, the liver, the pancreas, and so on. There is no organ in the body that is not potentially harmed by toxic exposures, which can produce a very wide range of possible symptoms.
The key to regaining normal function is effective detoxification – effective removal of toxic materials from the body. This is done through several means. The first step is avoidance – preventing further intake of toxic materials by minimizing future exposure. This gives your body a fighting chance to get rid of the toxins. (Illustration: if your body can’t process agricultural chemicals, you need to try to move upwind from the fields.)
The second step is upgrading your liver detox function by genomic testing. This tells you which of your detox enzymes is not doing its job properly. That gives you two useful pieces of information: it tells you what specific chemicals you most need to avoid, and also which nutritional factors (vitamins, minerals, dietary changes) will make your detox enzymes work more normally. This is very important, because when you take these individualized nutrients to make your liver work as well as it potentially can, it is generally able to start the process of healing from within, which is our ultimate goal.
The third step is increasing mobilization of toxins stored in various parts of your body. This step has several potential strategies, all intended to stir up deposited toxins and increase their movement out of the body, individually, or in combination.