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The same enzyme detoxification systems that detoxify and remove dangerous chemicals that we expose ourselves too either by choice or inadvertently, also have the potential to increase our chances of disease.

Through developing a greater understanding of how your body detoxifies & eliminates dangerous chemicals you will be able to understand how damage control can protect your cells and tissues from developing diseases ranging from liver disorders to cancer and chronic fatigue.

The diagrammatical representation of the detoxification process in figure 1, shows the interrelationship between all the enzyme systems responsible for removing toxic compounds from the body.

The cytochrome P450 enzymes (phase I detoxification) are now recognized as being members of an enzyme "super family" that begin the conversion of xenobiotic chemicals found in cigarette, alcohol and other environmental chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis. This process increases the solubility of the toxic molecules and renders them susceptible to further detoxification processes (phase 2 detoxification) that can further increase their solubility, thereby making it easier for the body to eliminate them through the urine or the bile.

While phase 1 reactions are necessary for detoxification, the resulting "Reactive Intermediary Metabolite" can be very damaging. So while your liver needs to be able to generate phase 1 enzyme capacity when necessary to remove dangerous chemicals from your blood stream, it also needs to be able to quickly eliminate this Intermediary

Metabolite (that has very high free radical potential) before it can run riot & destroy cellular structures causing much molecular damage.

It is interesting to note that humans have the ability to induce more phase 1 p-450 enzyme capacity when needed. So, if you drink a lot of alcohol or smoke lots of cigarettes that require detoxification by phase 1, you will induce your body to manufacture and release more of the enzyme systems that can fulfill the need to detoxify dangerous chemicals contained within these consumer products. In theory this may sound great. However, if you up-regulate your phase 1 system without having effective and sufficient phase 2 enzyme support in place, then an accumulation of the intermediary metabolic toxins will take place.

As figure 1 suggests ongoing exposure to a free radically active intermediary metabolite that is not quickly conjugated and removed from the cell can lead in the short term to fatigue, or in long term to cancer or diseases of other organs like the liver.

Fatigue is due to the free radical damage imparted on the mitochondria within cells. As these cells are responsible for oxidative phosphorylation and production of A.T.P (or cellular energy) you are unable to create enough energy to feel vital and alive, thus the post-party stagnant feeling you should be well aware of the day after a big night out on the drink and/or cigarettes.

As it turns out our 21st century lifestyles;

  1. deplete many of the protective anti-oxidants required to neutralize the free radical activity of the reactive intermediary metabolites, &
  2. encourage poor nutritional practices that deplete those nutrients required to form molecular building blocks for the phase 2 enzyme systems that increase the water solubility of the intermediary metabolite allowing its removal in our waste fluids (urine and bile).

Christopher Manton,

B.App.Sci., Dip.Ed., M.Nutr & Dietetics., Ass.Dip.Nat., Nutritional Biochemist, is the director of The Health Detective Pty Ltd.

He is qualified in clinical nutrition and naturopathy and runs a practice in nutritional biochemistry using Darkfield Microscopy and the Bolans Clot Retraction Blood Test.

Enquiries can be forwarded to the clinic at Level 1, 70 Bronte Rd, Bondi Junction, NSW 2022.

Phone 02 9387 8777 (BH).