internal systems of human body

I’m so glad you’ve stuck with me on this detox journey and you’re ready to learn the inner workings of your body during detox!

By now you’ve 1) reduced your toxic exposure, 2) removed the depleting foods, 3) increased your nutrient dense foods, 4)increased your hydration, and 5) made sure you’re pooping at least twice a day.  You’ve prepped your body for detoxification and you’re ready for the next step.

To detoxify safely, it’s important to understand how the body goes through the process of detoxification.  There are three phases to this process.

Detox Phase 1

Phase 1 is called biotransformation.  It’s regulated by CYP450 enzymes.  In this phase, toxins are transformed into intermediaries.  To support phase 1, your body needs certain key nutrients.

You’ll find these nutrients in a variety of animal proteins such as beef, lamb, chicken, tuna, salmon, shell fish, dairy, and eggs, nuts and seeds, lentils and legumes, mushrooms, asparagus, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, brassica vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, grains such as rice, oats, and quinoa.

The intermediaries created in phase 1 can be more toxic than the original toxin.  To protect your body from the damaging intermediaries, be sure to eat plenty of berries that are high in anti-oxidants. Also, you want to be sure you are getting rid of both the original toxins and the intermediaries.


Sometimes when people are attempting to detox they won’t be getting rid of enough of the toxins in their body. This is referred to as ‘under activity.’

What may surprise you is that it is also possible for you to transform too many toxins! We call this ‘over activity.’

graphic image of bottles of pillsIt should be noted that some prescription drugs will actually aid in transforming toxins while others may prevent the transformation–another reason it is important when detoxing to work with a professional, especially if you are taking any medications.

Under Activity

If you body is not transforming enough of the toxins you might experience a need for more medications–but then that can lead to having too much medication in your body. You may also develop a sensitivity to even small amounts of caffeine. Another common side affect of Phase 1 Under Activity are skin rashes, brain fog, and excess weight.

Good news–you can “turn up” your body’s ability to transform toxins by eating oranges, tangerines, cruciferous vegetables, and certain herbs.

Over Activity

Signs and symptoms of phase 1 over activity include your ability to drink large amounts of caffeine with little reaction, heightened reactions to medications, even low doses, and being highly reactive to paints, perfumes, along with a high likelihood of multiple chemical sensitivity.

Other symptoms of over activity include headaches, fatigue, and overall aches.

Just as it is possible to boost your body if you have experienced under activity, it is possible to turn down the phase 1 detox pathway by drinking grapefruit juice, drinking green tea or using various herbs.

Detox Phase 2

Phase 2 detoxification takes the intermediaries from phase 1 and conjugates them for removal from the body.  There are 6 pathways to make this happen.  Many of these pathways are highly dependent on protein.  The only source to get complete protein is from animal sources.  You can follow a vegetarian diet if needed, but you’ll need dairy and eggs to support a healthy process.  Other key foods for phase 2 are cruciferous vegetables and allium rich veggies such as onions and garlic.

Detoxification gets pretty complex at this point.

Detoxing is a Balancing Act

To safely detoxify, you must have a balance of phase 1 and phase 2.  Signs that you’re out of balance would be abnormal cholesterol or trigylcerides, mood problems, depression, skin rashes, generalized inflammation, allergies, asthma,or auto-immune diseases.  If you find yourself getting dizzy, headaches, fatigue, nausea, increased body odor, or rashes, it may be a sign that you’ve become imbalanced in your detox.  Stop your detox and get professional assistance to get back into balance.  In the mean time, use the tips above to turn down your phase 1 detoxification.

Detox Phase 3

A quick word about phase 3…it’s the elimination or pooping part. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, if you’re not pooping at least twice a day, don’t detox.  One very important way our bodies get rid of toxins is through the bowels with the help of bile.  Bile ushers the toxins out.  However, if the bowels are a bit sluggish, the bile and the toxins get reabsorbed.  Then, you’re just recycling the same old toxins and probably feeling terrible.  Although this sounds like it is out of sequence, you must start with making phase 3 efficient before tackling the balancing act of phase 1 and 2.

Now that you understand the inner workings of detoxification, you are better prepared to have a successful detox.  (For the geeky types like me, I’ll post later about those 6 Phase 2 pathways.  There is a funny one about asparagus that will make you laugh.)

In my next blog, I’ll be giving you 6 tools to increase your body’s detox.  See you in a few days.