Do you need to detox?

Bad news is yes, you need to detox.

Good news is you’re already doing the hard part!

What does it mean to detoxify?

To detoxify means to remove toxins. The body is highly skilled at this and executes this task through an under-appreciated group of organ systems called the emunctories. Have you heard of them? Your emunctories are your body’s primary routes elimination – the skin, respiratory system, urinary system, and gastrointestinal system. The emunctories are constantly excreting the waste and unneeded byproducts of our internal and external environments. “Taking out the trash” like this is vital to our health. How healthy would your home be if you never cleaned up, never took out the garbage, never opened up the windows? The emunctories are hugely important for our health, and it’s also fun to say emunctory!

Let’s zoom in on the gastrointestinal system here, particularly it’s big star when it comes to detoxification – the liver. We owe our liver a big debt of gratitude. It produces and stores nutrients and proteins, processes hormones, metabolizes fats, regulates blood sugar, AND removes toxins.

The beautiful liver, all dolled up. Art from Codex Anatomy.

The beautiful liver, all dolled up. Art from Codex Anatomy.


What does the liver consider a toxin?

From the liver’s perspective we can consider toxins to be substances with the potential to be harmful. For example:

Some things from the outside:


Caffeine and alcohol

Environmental toxins

Some things from the inside

Excess hormones

Cellular waste products

Micro-organisms and their byproducts

We’ve got no use for any of this stuff sticking around. Better out than in! I’m sure you know from experience that all systems run better when they’re decluttered and cleaned up. So that’s what the liver does, it cleans things up.

Liver detoxification is like doing your laundry

Filtration: Sorting dirty from clean laundry

Before you start the wash, you’ve got to sort out what needs to go where. As your liver receives blood, it directs all the good stuff (mostly nutrients and proteins) back into your general circulation and directs all the toxins to be modified and then excreted safely through the following phases:

Phase 1: Stain treatment

Phase 1 detoxification is like pre-treating a stain with OxiClean - it prepares the stain (toxin) for the next phase by making it more soluble. It’s different though, because OxiClean doesn’t typically make your stains more toxic! Phase 1 enzymes tend to do that. They produce molecules called free radicals that can do damage to your liver if not kept in check.

Phase 2: Wash Cycle

Phase 2 detoxification modifies the toxins so that they are water soluble and can be packaged up and carried away safely. Imagine what happens in the washing machine – the stains are dislodged from your clothes and float freely in the water.

Phase 3: Spin cycle

Phase 3 detox is all about transportation. Just like the gunk and dirt is finally drained from the washing machine in the spin cycle, your toxins are finally escorted out of your body via urine or feces.

liver detox pic 1.jpg

How can you tell when your liver is bogged down?

Your liver has its hands everywhere so symptoms can show up anywhere. Here’s a few common symptoms:

Constipation / gas / bloating (1)

Fatigue (2)

Acne / skin irritation

Sugar cravings

Intense PMS / menopausal symptoms

Chemical sensitivity (3)

So what can you do to support your livers detox processes?

Let’s zoom out again and remember that liver detoxification is part of a larger system of elimination, the emunctory system! You can support your liver by taking some of the load off of it, it’s got enough on its plate. Show your liver some love by keeping the other emunctories running as smoothly as you can. Try these simple tips to keep things flowing.


What’s that you want to show your liver some more love?

I think that’s a great idea. You can do that by enjoying all of these wonderful foods.

liver foods.png

When nature tries to find an exit, the doctor must help it at the site shown - because nature is a better doctor than man, it knows better than him where it is useful to have an exit. What belongs to perspiration must be eliminated by perspiration; stools by stools; urine by urine.

- Hippocrates

I think we’ve sufficiently scratched the surface of our body’s amazing capacity to detoxify, so thanks for reading! Please let me know your questions or input in the comments below.

Erin Moore4 Comments