Detoxification 101: How To Enhance Your Body’s Detoxification – Podcast #27
Are you having skin issues, allergies or gut problems? Do you feel tired or sluggish? Or maybe are you struggling with weight loss? Perhaps a good detox program is what your body needs. But what exactly does detox or cleanse mean? How does it work and can anyone do it?
In this podcast, Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Dr. Baris Harvey discuss the phases of detoxification, the role of amino acids for these processes to work, consuming proper nutrients and supplementations in achieving good elimination as well as correcting gut issues to prepare one for a good detoxification program that really works.
In this episode we cover:
03:47 Detox: Phase 1 and 2
11:15 Detox Testing: Organic Acid Test
13:40 Methylation function
40:23 Detox: Do we really need it?
48:08 Food, supplement and herbs
Baris Harvey: Thank you guys for tuning in to another episode of Beyond Wellness Radio. In today’s show, we are going to talk about detoxification. Before we go there, I want to let you guys know that you guys should go to beyond wellness radio.com and hop on the newsletter. By doing this you guys can be the first to get all the email updates and then know about all of our new features. Also go to justinhealth.com and hop on the newsletter there. Dr. Justin has a thyroid video series which allows you to breakdown and if you want to learn more about your thyroid. Also, if you guys are interested in learning more or have other issues and you want to meet with a doctor just know straightaway, he does work virtually. So you can get a free consultation. Just you know asking some questions, make sure you are on the right track and he can definitely help you out there. Same thing goes here, you can go to reallyhealthynow.com and subscribe there. You can also contact me if you have any questions. And we love hearing questions and getting them in and being able to help you guys out. We also have a questions thing on beyondwellnessradio.com if you guys want to hear your questions just being answered. If you feel other people might have the same situation because often times they do and then we get that and make it an entire episode on these questions that you guys have. So if you guys have questions you guys can leave them down there and it provides a way for us to feed you guys more, right? Feed you guys more knowledge. So go to beyondwellnessradio.com and hop on the list and you guys will be the first to get these episodes in your inbox. So, how is it going today, Dr. Justin?
Justin Marchegiani: Baris, it is all pretty darn good. I actually just got married two weeks ago and just got back from my honeymoon. So I am feeling pretty refreshed and the holidays are almost here. So, pretty darn good. How about yourself?
Baris Harvey: I am feeling well. First of all I want to say congratulations. So now I do not have to say your fiancée, you wife now. You are all settled in Austin, Texas.
Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely.
Baris Harvey: Because I know some months ago it is just like back and forth flying, back and forth. So now you are settled in and almost getting your location together. So, the people in Austin if they want to see you face to face will soon be able to do that.
Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. I see a couple of patients that come to my house as well. I got two patients that are coming over today. But, yes, lots of virtual patients from all over the world. So it is pretty exciting and I am pretty darn busy.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely. So, listeners out there let us make him even more busy and ask him a bunch of questions, right?
Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely.
Baris Harvey: In today’s podcast we are going to breakdown detoxification. If you are on our email list you will be able to hear it right away, and you will hear it right before the holidays. If not you are probably hearing this on ITunes. Maybe you are hearing this on January first and you want to hit those goals, right? And the New Year’s resolution kind of thing. So you want to start things off right. So a lot of people go through this detox as in cleanse. So I think one of the first things to understand is like what is detox or what is a cleanse? Maybe there are different ideas and perspectives around them but let us just go to the basics like what is a detox?
Justin Marchegiani: Detoxification is happening all the time, right? Like the whole idea that someone says, “Oh, let us run you through a detox.” And I do not want to be super critical but we are always detoxifying, right? So to keep it simple, I mean we can go more esoteric and more deep but to keep it simple just so people can get actionable take off information, we have phase 1 and phase 2 detoxifications. Now listeners may say, “Well, there is phase 3, there is phase 4.” Just to keep it simple there is phase 1 and phase 2. And what is happening is we are up regulating this specific enzyme called cytochrome P450 enzymes. And these enzymes, in phase 1 they are taking toxins that are maybe fat soluble and then they are turning them into water soluble toxins. Now water soluble toxins now can be excreted. So it is important. Phase 1 is up regulating toxins and the fat and turns them into water soluble. Then phase 2 is excreting water soluble toxins. The analogy I give my patients is imagine you got a whole bunch of let us say apple cores or like banana peels or orange, the skin on the orange, right. You stuff it in the garbage disposal. Phase 1 is starting on the garbage disposal, right? It starts grinding it up and then phase 2 is like you keep it grinding, you keep it going and then you turn the water on and then it flushes it right out and eventually you hear the garbage disposal kind of quiet down. So phase 1 is the garbage disposal grinding all that solid mass up into a liquid mass. Phase 2 is that liquid mass being flushed out. Kind of like with our detoxification pathways. Any questions on that, Baris?
Baris Harvey: Yes. That makes sense. Like you said, there are two halves, Phase 1 and Phase 2 almost like you can split the liver in half and then you might see like in the anatomy class. Like see the liver like there is this little cut section. And so one side is where, like you just mentioned, you are grinding all of those toxins and you are crud forming them. And then, the other side you are kind of taking them out. And you are sending them into your gallbladder and your kidneys and you are letting it do its job and removing it, right?
Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. Exactly. So, like in Phase 1 for instance, we have toxins we are getting exposed to. Well, it could be drugs. It could be chemicals. It could be pesticides. It could be stuff from your hygienic products like your moisturizer, your deodorant. I cannot tell you how many women, especially because they tend to use more of those products, they are rubbing toxins literally on their bodies. So our liver up regulates Phase 1 and just to give you some simple concepts maybe a little more technical names. But a couple of the reactions that happen in Phase 1 are going to be oxidation production. Hydrolysis, hydration, dehalogenation. These are just the technical terms. The key take homes are we are taking fat soluble toxins and we are turning them into water soluble toxins.
Baris Harvey: Yes. So, we are having more of the oxidation and reduction hydrolysis. What else? The dehalogenation and having some of the process there and on the second phase we really have kind of like the methylation and amino acid conjugation kind of things going on.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes. So, our Phase 2 really requires a lot of sulphur-based amino acids. That is why people that you know tell me, “Oh, well I am going on this juice fast and it is going to help detoxify me.” And I just said, “That is a nice thought.” But if you know how your detoxification systems work, they actually need a lot of sulphur amino acids to work. So, it does not quite make sense that by starving the body giving it a lack of nutrients, so to speak, that you are actually going to up regulate the detox pathways. Now, I do not disregard the fact that people feel better on those types of cleanses, I do not. I think that there a stuff happening. I think you are up regulating cellular autophagy where your body is recycling proteins. I think there is a great benefit there. I also think your body is now no longer being exposed to maybe food allergens that maybe have been creating inflammation. So, with decreased inflammation from food allergens, we give our gut a chance to rest. Let us say you have low stomach acid and maybe some gut inflammation. It is a stress to digest food. So if you stop putting food into your system that takes the stress off the tummy. It allows cellular autophagy to kick in and it decreases exposure to food allergens. So, I think a lot of people do get good benefit. Well, I personally believe if you are not really doing the detoxification stuff but you are doing like a medical grade detox program but they still benefit there.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Because you do need a lot of the amino acids and B vitamins and a lot of B vitamin rich foods, it is more of the fat soluble things maybe some antioxidants, vitamin E and vitamin C. Or even like essential fatty acids in order to have a lot of these processes work, right?
Justin Marchegiani: Yes, so like with Phase 1 we need a lot more B vitamins. We need some glutathione, we need some amino acids in Phase 1. So we talked about like glutathione being the major, major antioxidant of the body. How is glutathione made? It is made from glycine, glutamine and cysteine. These are all amino acids. And if you study nutrition you will know that a lot of the vegetarian diets are lower in sulphur-based amino acids. Now rice protein you actually get a decent bit of amino acids. But rice protein you still are low in methionine. And methionine is a very important sulphur-based amino acids. So vegetarians tend to have lower amounts of sulphur-based amino acids. That is where I am concerned because then you get, you know frankly, you may not be able to up regulate some of these pathways well. But nutrients wise, we have some B vitamins, we have some glutathione, we have some flavonoids and we also have some antioxidants too. Because when we actually up regulate Phase 1 and we take fat soluble toxins and we make them water soluble, if we are not flushing them out there could be a lot of oxidative damage. So having things like vitamin C and vitamin E and various antioxidants that tonify the liver can be helpful. Things like artichoke root or silymarin or milk thistle. These are very helpful because this can tonify and buffer a lot of the stress that maybe happening in the liver when we transition fat to water soluble toxins.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Okay. Cool. Sounds good. Alright, so I know there are a lot of people out there that wanted to get in depth into things because sometimes we just hear that thing very often and you can maybe go and look some of these things up. But people want to know and agree sometimes and they want to make sure that, “Okay, what is really going on here?” If it is cool with you Dr. Justin let us go into phase 2. What is happening in phase 2. I know there are a couple of different pathways like we mentioned before but like for instance glutathione conjugation, what is happening there?
Justin Marchegiani: So our bodies are taking a lot of these amino acids and it is helping to run a lot of our detoxification pathways. So, when I look at detoxification one of my favorite test to do to actually look at the function of what is happening is an organic acid test.
Baris Harvey: Uh-humm.
Justin Marchegiani: So, in an organic acid test we run various markers that are going to give us the great indication. So for instance, one of them is p‑Hydroxyphenylacetate, an 8-Hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine. These are like, really like super long words but they are really helpful. Those are like some oxidative detox markers. There is glucarate, there is 2-mehtylhippurate, there is 4 to 8-hydroxybuterate, pyroglutamate, and sulfate. These are all organic acids that are a marker of detoxification to help us know what pathways are working or are not. And they correlate to various nutrients. So, if we are low in our sulfate pathways, our sulfate organic acid pathways that is going to mean that you are going to need more sulphur-based amino acids. If we are low in glucarate pathways well that means maybe lower in glutathione and glycine. If we are lower in our orotate organic acid we may need more magnesium or aspartic acid or arginine. So, it is really specific. So when I want to look at someone’s detoxification pathways, one of the best actionable test, because they are tests that are out there like I get lots of people with 23andMe and MTHFR testing and all of these various things and it is like, “Alright, great!” And it is like, “Now what?” Because we get all these information but what is the actionable item, right? How can we change things in their diet? How can we change things in their supplement program to allow them to have that benefit? That is the question.
Baris Harvey: Yes. So I know like one thing that is really popular right now and I have seen over the whole health space that a lot of people are talking about, methylation, right? Like, “Oh, for example like the methylation. How does it work?” You can probably make a whole episode on that itself. But just talking about the detoxification pathway when you run that organic acid test you can kind of see maybe the marker and that kind of identify if you need a certain kind of, you know, vitamin B12 or 6 or if your body is not doing a good job removing estrogens or estrogen metabolites for what not.
Justin Marchegiani: Right. When we look at methylation that has an influence on: One, methylation has a huge influence on activating genetics, right? Methylation has a huge influence on mitochondria function. It has a huge influence on gut because their influence is histidine breakdown on the gut. It has a huge influence on creating energy because we need B12 and folate and B6 to create healthy red blood cells if not we will have a megaloblastic anemia.
Baris Harvey: Yes.
Justin Marchegiani: And then we are not going to be able to carry on any nutrition properly, right?
Baris Harvey: Not properly.
Justin Marchegiani: So, it is going to influence mitochondrial function, energy production, how our red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrition. It influences Phase 2 detoxification. So it really touches almost every part of our body. Now I am seeing a lot of people with these MTHFR test, whether they are heterozygous or homozygous, it gets really complicated. But I have looked at just two major genes that are being tested in our typical test. It is typically the one that begins with a C; that is the C678 and then the A678. I just keep it really simple. The one that begins in a C is the one that begins in an A. Those are the real ones that I am seeing on your conventional lab testing. Now, 23andMe runs about 6 or 7 of them. But those are the two main ones that are really supported by the literature. If I see any of my patients comeback with one or two of those defects, it is really simple. I just make sure in their nutrient program that we are making sure that we are giving them activated folate or giving them MTHFR tetramethylhydrofolate reductase. Ideally we are giving it to them in the L-isomer form.
Baris Harvey: Uh-humm.
Justin Marchegiani: L-isomer means it is just any organic chemistry perspective. The isomer is in a left rotating shape versus an R shape. So, it just helps with the metabolism. People that have this MTHFR defect they are not able to metabolize folate properly. So if we give them folic acid they are not going to be able to metabolize it properly. And that can cause stress in the liver. They do much better with calcium folinate. They do much better with like a natural folate blend or you know the Merck patent which is like a Metafolin which is an L-isomer MTHFR. And from my perspective, the multis that I recommend on my patients they are already doing the MTHFR in all of them. Because I just make the assumption, “Hey, if everyone has this defect in my eyes then no one is going to be left out.” If I give someone the right activated folate it is not going to cause a problem if they do not need it.
Baris Harvey: Exactly. I was actually going to say the exact the same thing. If you are working with a good practitioner or you know one of us, your multi that you might get is already going to be in the natural by MTHFR form. Because I mean like folic acid is probably is not even really good of a supplement generally, right?
Justin Marchegiani: Yes, exactly.
Baris Harvey: So, one that I really recommend is AM/PM Thorne FX and they automatically have the natural folate in comparison to folic acid.
Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.
Baris Harvey: Thorne does a good job. I know that you use Thorne products and some other products as well.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes. Thorne, Designs for Health, Pure Encapsulations. These are some really good ones. But my job as a functional medicine doctor is I want to do the most with the least, right? If we can avoid expensive lab testing let us avoid it. Some people, it is nice to have…
Baris Harvey: Just to know.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes, with their red blood cell markers off. They may have elevated MCV or MCH or MCHC or abnormal hematocrit or RBC or hemoglobin. These are just markers for how big the hemoglobin is, how big or small it is. And how big or small the red blood cells are. So, typically when we have B12 and folate issues we start seeing red blood cells go on the higher side. They start getting bigger, more goofy if you will because we need folate and B12 to actually shrink down the red blood cells. Red blood cells start out big and they actually get smaller as they get more mature. So the exact opposite, we start out really small and we get bigger as we get more matured. They start out the opposite. So we need these nutrients. And then people think that is just folate typically we need B12 as well. If we do not get B12 along with the folate there is a phenomenon known as methyl trapping that can occur when the body would not utilize B12 as well if we just give the folate just by itself. So, I try to keep it really simple and give a minimum of B12 and folate, activated folate together and potentially even B6 as well.
Baris Harvey: Definitely. And for listeners out there that do not know, usually you know we have this in America bigger is better type thing but just think about, if something was a lot bigger in your arteries or veins and you are going have, you know, the viscosity is going to change and it might not flow as well. And that is not a good thing either. So bigger is not always better. So you want to make sure that it is regulated and then your body is doing a good job transporting oxygen, transporting nutrients. So that is like, you know, when you get down to the nitty-gritty that is what really energizes your body. When your oxygen gets to your mitochondria and creates ATP when you get down to like the nitty-gritty.
Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. And one big concern, because heart disease is the number one or two killer in the country and cancer then go back and forth, is that we do not have good quality methylation compounds meaning folate and B12 and potentially even B6. We are not going to be able to metabolize homocysteine properly, right? So we got to metabolize homocysteine to methionine and if we cannot metabolize that properly homocysteine is very inflammatory on the arteries. And I think it was Kilmer McCully at the Harvard, who was basically ostracized out of Harvard, saying, “Hey, these homocysteine are really big indicator of inflammation or heart disease. So, what he kind of followed was if we are not methylating properly because the inadequate nutrients like folate, B12 and B6, well our homocysteine will be higher. And that will be causing more inflammation and arterial damage. So, making sure the activated folate is there as well as the B12 and B6 is going to be huge at decreasing arterial inflammation.
Baris Harvey: Yes, sounds great. Another one that we might want to talk about or actually we have talked about is kind of like the amino conjugation and how it needs specific amino acids to neutralize some of these toxins like lysine and taurine. You may like glutamine as well and that is why we mentioned earlier you want to make sure that you are having an adequate protein intake and balance also. People might need some more protein especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan out there so make sure that you are keeping that in check. Or if you are having some skin issues all of a sudden popping out then you might want to reconsider the way that you are eating. So we talked about the methylation. We talked about amino acid conjugation. I think we talked a little bit about glutathione issue, did we not?
Justin Marchegiani: Yes. I want to touch it based on a couple of things. So if most people go to their conventional medical doctor and they get like their typical CBC done or their CMP. It is like a complete blood count or comprehensive metabolic profile. One of the common test that you are going to get in there are two or three tests and your doctor is looking at your liver function based upon ALT or alanine aminotransferase, AST or aspartate aminotransferase and/or GGT which is like gamma-glutamyl transferase. Basically, ALT and AST are looking at the liver primarily. There are different isoenzymes that can be differentiated for muscle or for heart. But to keep it simple ALT, AST are more liver and GGT is more gallbladder. So most conventional doctors are looking at these enzymes as a marker of liver function. Now it takes a lot of damage for those enzymes to be chronically out of balance. Yes, you are going to see GGT or maybe AST or ALT go out of balance if you know you had a big night of drinking, especially GGT. But to be chronically elevated there has to be significant amount of damage there. So the problem with that is if you want markers or testing that is more sensitive picking up imbalances and liver function before they are a problem, we do not want to rely on convention lab testing to do that. Conventional lab testing is good for pathology and dysfunction. And they can be beneficial if you look at it from a functional range, right? Typically these enzymes ALT and AST if they go about your typical lab work test about, right around 40 are considered high. So if we start seeing them about 20 to 30 that could be a sign of some liver stress. But an organic acid test tends to have a little more function because then you can say, “Oh, well, this organic acid in that whole spectrum of detox is out of balance.” This means you need more sulphur-based amino acids. “Oh, there is oxidative stress we got to add some vitamin C or some vitamin E or maybe even some tonifying herbs like silymarin or milk thistles.” So getting that perspective gives you more of an actionable item to kind of move forward. With the blood testing it is kind of like, alright, it came back low which is typically it does with most people then it came back high and your doctor will pretty much just ask you are an alcoholic and make sure you curtail your drinking. You know, that is kind of the typical scenario in the conventional medicine world. So we want to have actionable items. We want to be able to look at things in a functional way. Hey, are you starting to step on the line, what can we do right now? Is that helpful, Baris?
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely. Really in depth. So we kind of talked about the liver. We talked about a lot of the in depth processes. Now, let us back it up a little bit. We have talked about the liver. We talk about some other ways that your body has detox mechanisms. We are talking about our body’s own natural detox mechanisms. How it does on a daily basis? A couple of other things that we know that we have is our skin, our colon, our kidney our bladder even our lungs. Because when we breathe we are breathing out a certain amount of carbon dioxide.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: And not to get it confused because some people think like oh we always want the alkaline. We want to get rid of this…
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: If you ever see those people hyperventilating and they put a brown bag over their mouth in order to breathe in some more carbon dioxide and balance out the pressure.
Justin Marchegiani: It is because it is too alkaline, right?
Baris Harvey: Yes. Exactly. So there cannot be a problem with that. So let us not get it confused here.
Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.
Baris Harvey: With that being said, carbon dioxide is not that all evil. So there is always a fine line. So, let us start off with like the skin and how that can be a really good indicator whether you might have some problems with your detoxification.
Justin Marchegiani: So the skin is actually one of the, it is the largest organ of the body. That is considered to be the integumentary system. And the skin will use and push things through it as a means of detoxification. So if you see a rash or you see a, you know, pimples or cysts, right? You know typically when I see skin stuff I am automatically thinking impaired detox. I am automatically thinking dysbiosis and impaired gut. So the skin, I listened to Paul Chek I think in a lecture maybe five to ten years ago. He said something like, “Your skin is the mirror of your gut.” So if you have bad skin I always think, “Man, if it does not look good on the outside, imagine what it looks like on the inside.”
Baris Harvey: Yes. Your skin and your gut kind of do similar things. We think about, you know, you have something covering you on the outside but then there is something like a wet mucosa version on the inside covering your, it is almost like that is your internal skin because you can just breath things in, inhale and there are things coming into your body that way as well. That is also a border to the environment.
Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. And if you want to get an idea of how gross some people are on the inside just ask, you know, ask them what their stools smell like. Does it smell kind of like earthy? Or does it smell like someone died in there, right?
Baris Harvey: (Laughs)
Justin Marchegiani: It should not smell like someone died in there. Unless you have like an acute day and you consumed too much sugar and that the critters in your tummy had gone crazy. It should smell somewhat earthy. It should not be like, “Wow! Someone died.”
Baris Harvey: Yes. When you flush the toilet like people should not really know if you would pee or poop that often?
Justin Marchegiani: It should not be that bad.
Baris Harvey: I always think it is funny that kind of like that Friday or next Friday joke that you know people always seem to come up with this thing that you know you might want to wait 35 to 45 minutes before you go in there.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes. Exactly.
Baris Harvey: If that is happening, that is not a good sign.
Justin Marchegiani: Not good. Exactly. And also I am going to get a little bit, you know, little TMI but I am going to go there. The show is kind of off limits. So, one of the things, if you are wiping with 3 to 5 times, you got a problem. You got a problem. At the most 5 wipes, ideally 3 wipes. And again it is because the stool is just in a consistency where lots of bad stuff is coming out and the gut is not doing too well. When your gut is healthier it is easier to do your wipes. It should not be more than 3 or 5.
Baris Harvey: Yes.
Justin Marchegiani: So anyone, you know, next time you go, take a look at your stool. Is it kind of, you know, it should not smell great, it should not smell like perfume or anything but it should smell kind of earthy and but it should not be like, it should not clear your room out.
Baris Harvey: Yes. You know it is funny that you mentioned that because I always feel my best when, (Laughs) this is going to sound really weird but when I go to wipe and there is nothing on the toilet paper and I am like, “Yes! Complete elimination.” So, that is how you know like health…
Justin Marchegiani: Oh yes.
Baris Harvey: And I am like, “Oh yes, I know that I did not really pinch anything off and it just all came out.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: And I am good to go.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: Versus like and I know if I ate some like… Usually when I go out to eat I am eating something good. But if I just go and eat at Domino’s Pizza or something cheap like that, I guess for an example, and I am in the bathroom and I am trying to hurry up and get out of there because usually people cannot tell if I went in number 1 or number 2. But if I am in there for a while like wiping them like, “Oh, man!” What if I have to come back in a few minutes to go again? Like I hate that.
Justin Marchegiani: Or you get patients. I get patients where they literally have to wipe so much they start bleeding in the rectum. I see that a lot.
Baris Harvey: Yes.
Justin Marchegiani: And that is the common site of parasites just because the rectum gets so itchy. It is almost like when you are wiping out there you are kind of like scratching an itch so to speak. And then you can literally drop blood. I see that in a lot of patients. That is a common sign of parasites. Like itchy butt to the point when you are wiping it you are seeing a little bit of blood. That happens. I see that a lot. But I know I am having a good day. Like when I have a good bowel movement and I get like 3 wipes in there and I walk out and I cannot even smell it, I am like, “Yeah! I am on track for a good day.”
Baris Harvey: I am fresh.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: You know need, like if you want wet wipes that is cool. It is perfectly fine.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: That means you are really clean. But if it is like an absolutely desire need that is not a good thing. I bet you guys you did not think you are going to hear that today. But you know we over deliver over here in Beyond Wellness Radio.
Justin Marchegiani: We try, yes. I promise I am going to deliver. And also half of your stool has got bacteria, right? So, this still plays into our topic of the day, being detox. Half of that stool got bacteria so having good ample size stools, passing about 12 inches per day either 3/4 in strain or 2/6 in strain or just a 1 large 12-inch strain. That is good because we are getting a lot of bacterial toxins. This is important because when we have dysbiosis of the gut, dysbiosis can actually make the removal of these toxins harder. So let me go into the depth. So when we have imbalance of bad bacteria these bacteria can produce this enzyme called beta‑glucuronidase, right? And beta‑glucuronidase what it does is it can unconjugate. So what happens is bile will come in there to conjugate. It will bind to a toxin and to a compound and then hopefully excrete it via the stool. But when beta‑glucuronidase hits that conjugate bile it can actually unbind it. It can de-conjugate it and then now that compound is free. It can go and could be re-absorbed and there could be a process known as auto-intoxication where it can be re-absorbed and create more toxicity in the body. So, when gut bacteria is out of balance it can affect how the body detoxifies because it can go around and uncleave all these bile that may be attached to toxins. Now this goes on to my further point where if you are going to do like a really good medical grade functional medicine detox program always make sure that the gut is really supported first. Make sure you have..
Baris Harvey: Yes. I was going to go to that point and give you a tossup and you can knock this one out of the park and say if the client comes to you and they have really bad constipation and poop once every three days. Now, is it a good idea for them to try to cleanse or kind of go on a super detox that time or make sure they get this fixed first?
Justin Marchegiani: Definitely get their thing moving first. Again the hepatobiliary system- that is a fancy medical language for gallbladder and liver, right? They are incredibly important at dumping out toxins that are in the bile. That bile then goes, gets squirted out to gallbladder into the intestinal tract. And if that bacteria is out of balance it is going to wreak havoc. Or let us say you are just not having bowel movements and that bacteria cannot come out fast enough, well that is going to screw things up, too. And then I will just put a little pre-cursor out there, conventional medicine knows that your conventional medicine textbooks look at detoxification of metals. Well 50% of metals are going to be detoxified via the hepatobiliary system. And children’s hepatobiliary systems do not form to age 1 to 2. So again, think about that from the perspective of kids getting all these vaccines and only a few of them have mercury today but a lot of them still have aluminum and aluminum is a metal and it is going to need to be excreted out via the hepatobiliary system. So not smart if you are giving kids compounds that are going to need to be excreted out of pathways that are not developed yet. Now that is for another topic.
Baris Harvey: Yes.
Justin Marchegiani: But I just put that in there because metals and detox and the hepatobiliary system are all tied together and need to be working. That is why any person that I see that has gotten into trouble with metal the heavy metal detox, they got in there because they started out with it. They did not support inflammation. They did not support gut yet and they are reabsorbing all of these toxins and kind of like what I said before, right? Phase 1, if we do not bring Phase 1 through Phase 2, we can actually create more problems because now we have all these toxins in Phase 1 that are now water soluble and if we cannot get them out of the system it is going to make a whole host of problems. It is like lining up all of like the apple cores and like the orange peels, it has browned up, it cannot come down. We start putting the water down, it is clogged and it starts coming up and filling up our sink. That is kind of like what is happening in our bodies. And now we have the sink full, like ground up mush it is no longer functional. And we cannot wash our hands or do our dishes anymore.
Baris Harvey: It is funny that you mentioned that because my garbage disposal is a little bogged down right now. But I was even thinking, you know, so you are throwing away your junk now, right? You want to make it easier to toss, you do not want your information on it, maybe you throw it into the paper shredder, right? Maybe that is the liver where you are breaking it down to make it easier to dump. And then you dump it into your garbage. But if you are backed up right, or maybe the garbage man does not come, right? Because you are constipated and it does not ship it away, you are not pooping it out, so you just keep piling up garbage. Right? And hopefully, you know, it is just paper, it is just recycling. But what if you are doing away like all kinds of junk food? You just have all that piling up. So maybe eventually you have to bring some of the garbage back inside the house. So that is what is happening with your body if you are not getting that full removal. So your detoxification pathways let us not forget you know and that is the easiest way to be like, “Oh yes, detox everyday, we go pee and poop.”
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: Right? And pooping is a big way to eliminate a lot of toxins fast.
Justin Marchegiani: So if you are one of those people and you are like, “How well, you know, I am taking at a detox program?” Well, the first thing is make sure you are drinking enough water. Half your body weight, alright? Make sure you are eating organic food? Make sure you are moving and sweating a little bit? Like those are just super simple things where if you have not even done that yet do not even waste your money doing the detox program. It is not even worth it.
Baris Harvey: Right.
Justin Marchegiani: Now let us say you are one of these people and you are pretty darn healthy, you have good poops and good skin and you are feeling pretty good and your hormones are rocking it, well now is maybe a good time to do a detox program. There are just good general ones that you can do that you may not even need a test. But then at some point, you know, once you are at a level of health, you just do not want to pull out the shock on the grenade, you want to pull out a sniper rifle and really make sure you are targeting specific pathways.
Baris Harvey: Yes. And or sometimes it could be the people that are already doing a lot of right things, exercising often you know, two or three times a week, eating organic foods maybe even taking some supplementations. But maybe they are doing all the right things, sleeping right, but just might have some skin issues and you are wondering why you are still getting acne and you are 26 years old. Or why you wake up exhausted every day but you get 9 to 10 hours of sleep. But you might also be in a case where, “Okay maybe I need some testing. Maybe I need a pinpoint because I am doing a lot of the right things. I just got to figure out what area in my body is kind of like, you know, slipping, where am I…
Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. So for people right now make sure you got the diet and lifestyle stuff dialed in. If you do not, reach out to Baris, reach out to me. We can help get you on a right start with that. If you are at a good level and you want to get to the next level, running an organic acid test will be helpful. They can look at dysbiosis. They can look at nutrient deficiencies. They can look at all your detox pathways and can be very, very helpful. The only caveat with organic acid testing is if you are having digestive issues where you are not absorbing stuff like you are low in protein. Or if you are a vegetarian, vegan and you are not consuming enough protein. Organic acids are derived from amino acids. So if you are not getting enough amino acids in the system, it can definitely throw off the testing. So I always make sure that people are consuming and digesting and breaking down at least enough proteins so I feel confident that we are not going to get false negatives on the organic acid test. And that is one thing a lot of people do not really touch upon and I want to make sure everyone is aware of it here.
Baris Harvey: Yes, that is always a little bit harder when you have someone testing who maybe, I used to get like maybe the really older women or petite women or someone who is a vegetarian who might not eat enough. But sometimes you got to say like, “Hey, you need like, tonight you are going to have a steak,” or something like that. Or before you run this test like make sure you eat a nice piece of chicken because I want to see if it breaks down.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes. You want to look at nutrients in a person that maybe has compromised gut issues, compromised proteins, not enough protein and fat. A better test to look at those nutrients is if they are already low on protein will be more like a SpectraCell or an intracellular nutrient test like Metagenics are going to be good ones. That will be a better one if you are going to be low on protein. But again organic acid test will do a really good job as long as the diet of protein is up. I typically, if I see someone with protein issues or digestion stuff I tend to wait a couple of months before we do an organic acid test just to make sure the diet is dialed in and their breaking down the food and they are on the right track.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely. You talked a lot about what detox is and our body’s own detox mechanisms. We talked about the liver, we talked about the skin, the colon and even the lungs a little bit. So one thing that people might ask is, well if we have all of these mechanisms in our body already. And we talked about how it might misfire. But they might still question why do we need to run a specific detox program? Why would I need to detox? Then you are going to knock this one out of the park. You know, there are all these toxins and all these stuff in our environment, so why would we need it if our body is doing its job already?
Justin Marchegiani: Well, our body does its job and you know the healthier you are and the better quality food, water and sleep, you know you are going to be better. But I mean let us face it, there are about 60 different thousand compounds that are out there that really have not even been tested. It is about 1 to 2 billion pounds of production of pesticides per year. Not to mention the GMOs that has made us more dependent upon the roundup. Roundup thing is a chemical chelator that kills the weeds by pulling away and stripping away their nutrients, right? So when that strips away nutrients from plants so there will be a nutritional deficiencies in our food. They have done studies where they looked at areas untouched by humans like the Antarctica, note that the various glaciers tested chemically and they found chemicals and crap in there. So it is like, “Man!” You can be hundreds of miles away from industry, humans, and still get exposed to these crap. The Environmental Wellness Group or Environmental Working Group, I think it is, tested I think 30 or 40 babies. They tested the umbilical cord fluid and they found 130 chemicals. Now again, you are going to have some people that are going to be fine, right? They produce lots of glutathione. They have good gallbladder and good gut function where they can just flush these things out. And then you have kids that produce low glutathione. You have kids that are more sensitive. These are the kids that are going to come down with a lot of these, frankly. They will have a hard time removing various toxins, right? On to some study ten years ago were on babies’ hair. And they looked at babies’ hair and said, “Hey, look! It is interesting we found the least amount of mercury in the autistic kids’ hair. The kids that did not have autism had a higher amount of mercury in the hair.” They were actually removing it. The kids that had more autism had less mercury in the hair. So people looked at it and said, “Hey! Mercury is even a problem. Just look. These autistic kids do not even have much mercury in the hair.” But they did not look at them from the perspective of, note hair is a means of detoxifying, pushing things out. They could not push it out. It was stuck in their tissues.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Yes it is almost like when people start to do these, you know sometimes could be important but sometimes could throw you off, these urine test the pH. The pH in your blood is regulating your body and does not want to throw that off.
Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely.
Baris Harvey: And you would say like, “Oh, you want to balance the pH, if it is acid it is bad but if it is alkaline then it is good. Well, that is your body’s way to regulate it; it is to pee off the extra stuff it does not need. The same way if we are taking a boat load of B vitamin, yes it is going to look like Gatorade or it is going to be neon colored. It is like your body takes it and needs it and then uses it to the urine as a detoxification mechanism to excrete stuff. So the same way with the mercury as an example that you said and speaking of that, I mean you can find so many documentaries on these kind of things but if we look at a lot of these petrochemical companies or these fracking companies or these companies that you know blow up mountains in order to get the stored carbon from super deep fossil fuels. A lot of the times you find a community that is near those places. A lot of the children or the schools have a really imbalanced amount or really highly odd number of kids that do have autism or has neurological problems. But it is like, okay maybe generally there might be a couple of autistic kids in a school, maybe one or two. But if you go around these locations where they are fracking or they had petrochemical companies, it is like the number is crazy. There is like two whole classrooms or maybe doing classes with different autistic kids inside. Wait, maybe there is a sign here. If you have a lot of money from those, you know…
Justin Marchegiani: Getting exposed to more chemicals, right? Let us say you have genetic methylation defects and you are taking your folic acid, multivitamin, you got some gut issues, right? So, are not conjugating all of the crud that your liver and gallbladder are spitting out. You got a lot of dysbiosis. You are constipated. And you are being exposed to all these environmental crap; you are going to be at risk, right? And especially if you give birth, you are going to probably pass on those same predispositions to your children and they are going to be at risk for, you know, autism. And I always look at autistic kids as the canary in the coal mines for the environment, right? Yes, I think what is the expression now? Genetics loads the gun but the environment pulls the trigger. So, we got to be careful. I mean a lot of these detoxification programs may not have been appropriate 50, 60, 80 years ago. Food, good food, good clean environment may have been enough. But in today’s world, I really believe it is very important. You know, just starting out, yes. Just work on stopping the flood of chemicals into your body, right? Detoxification is more like letting the toxins that are already in there out easier in a safe way. But the lifestyle and the diet stuff is running the massive amount getting in there in the first place. So work on that first.
Baris Harvey: Exactly. So, like we mentioned earlier, if you guys are doing a lot of the right things. You guys are eating the right food, exercising. Maybe true that you are preventing a lot of the toxins from coming in first. But you are still finding that you are having problems removing that many years off your skins. Not where you want it to be. Maybe your weight, you are wondering why you cannot lose like this extra 10 pounds and you are doing everything right. Or maybe you just have chronic fatigue or some brain inflammation, maybe I do.
Justin Marchegiani: (Laughs)
Baris Harvey: But with that being said, go to beyondwellnessradio.com. You know, make sure you get in contact with us. Let us know if you have these issues. You can set up a conversation so that way you know we can take that next step.
Justin Marchegiani: Take the next step and really do a comprehensive nutrient replacement detox program. The best next step would be to run a really good quality comprehensive organic acid test. And again, you can reach out to us. You can find the lab testing in my store at justinhealth.com/shop. Click on the lab test tab and you will find the comprehensive Genova organic acid test and that can be the next right thing to order for you. I just did mine two days ago. I run mine twice a year every six months. Just ran my wife’s as well. So that is something that I believe in and I do twice a year. And got to dial in my supplements and detox program accordingly.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely. Now, I know we went kind of in depth and we kept it on the lifestyle and stuff like that. And we gave an opportunity for people to come in and kind of find themselves. And I know there are going to be some people wondering and just like, “What are the really strong or special foods that I can take? Or any supplements? Like maybe I am doing fine. Maybe they are, you know, an active person and they just want that next little edge. Maybe they drink some lemon water, some milk thistle.
Justin Marchegiani: Excellent source of glutathione precursor is going to be grass-fed whey protein. Grass-feed whey protein is great. If you are vegan vegetarian, if you can get the grass-fed whey protein then that will be awesome. If not, about 2 grams of NAC. You just got to be careful though if you got some detox issues you may feel worse and have a die-off from Herxheimer reaction because of it. So again like I said, you want to make sure the gut is working well. If not, you can juice up some cruciferous vegetables. Good old cruciferous vegetable juice is great. Just be careful with doing too much fruit because that can create more dysbiosis and more fungal stuff because of all the critters in there. So you just got to be careful. And go a little bit of small amount of pineapple, a small amount of green apple or carrots. But a little bit then to maybe add a little taste to it. That can be a really good thing to start. So if you are a vegetarian, it is a good quality juice, green juice and ideally these grass-fed whey protein are some great places to start.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely. Any special herbs? I know if you like to cook make sure you are using different herbs. I got some easy way to put in like turmeric or black pepper there you get some extra antioxidants and some anti‑inflammation stuff. So if you are cooking, use a lot of different spices and herbs not only because it will make your food taste better but it is good for you as well.
Justin Marchegiani: It is not going to be a full on program but Yogi makes a good detox tea. This nice detox tea by Yogi that is very good. I use a really simple thing; it is just silymarin, artichoke and turmeric. I use a liposomal formula that is more for tonification and antioxidant support. That is always very helpful. And if you have gallbladder stuff, and you know you are not breaking down fat well. You may have had a history of gallbladder issues. You may get that little bit of tenderness under the right side of the rib cage. You know some extra French tree or artichoke that can be very helpful at loosening up bile flow. Maybe adding a little bit of beets into your diet as well. Also get one thing, just take some beets. Do a transit time test. Make sure you are eliminating your stool within 20 to 24 hours.
Baris Harvey: Yes.
Justin Marchegiani: 20 to 24 at the most. 20 ideally. So make sure that is happening. If you are getting your stool out 20-24 hours then you probably are an okay candidate for a detox program. That is also not good because you are not going to be absorbing, so your problems will not be solved anyway. You could be nutrient deficient because what is happening there is your body is kind of holding crap literally and this whole bunch of toxicity in my colon. Well, what happens is this toxicity once you dilute it so the body just sucks all this water into the colon; it dilutes a lot of the toxins. Why? Because the solution to pollution is dilution. Say that ten times fast. So it dilutes a lot of toxins in the colon then flushes it out, right?
Baris Harvey: Right. Yes, definitely. I am thinking some of these fatty acids are probably beneficial and maybe like the coconut oil with the Caprylic acid that is, you know also in butter and stuff like that.
Justin Marchegiani: If we take in more fat, high quality fat, it kind of is like that solution to pollution is dilution. Like we are diluting a lot of the fats that are toxic. And our body has some fats to remove or to help bind into it so it makes it less concentrated, if you will. So good quality fats are going to help with fat soluble toxin detox. Do not be one of those people that go low fat. It is not going to be good for your detoxification system.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely. Well, that sounds awesome. A lot of great key points, a lot of great things that people could take action on today. With that being said, you guys again we really appreciate it when you guys ask us questions and give us more ways to help you guys out. If you go to beyondwellnessradio.com, there is link out there that you can click on to write a review. This helps us get the show out to more people and get this message heard. I wish I would have heard this stuff when I was…
Justin Marchegiani: (Laughs) I wish I was 11 years old. We want to provide you guys with awesome information. So let us know what you like and let us know what you do not like. We want good feedback. We want to improve this show for you. Let us know some great topics. We have a new app up there. You can speak your question and we will play it live on the show and we just want to give you guys better information to help you guys get healthier. So let us know what we can do to be better.
Detox 101: How to Enhance Your Body’s Detoxification
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Did you know your body is detoxifying all the time? It’s kind of a misnomer to say you are going to “detox” your system; it does this naturally. However, there are ways to up-regulate detoxification and enhance the body’s ability to excrete toxins from its main detoxifying systems.
Detoxification happens in body systems that include the skin, kidneys (urine), gut (stool), and breath. In Detox 101 we will cover phase 1 and phase 2 of detoxification.
What Is Detox?
During phase 1 and phase 2, fat-soluble (FS) toxins, such as Bisphenol A and various chemicals in the environment, are converted into water-soluble toxins. These toxins go through various biochemical processes, such as oxidation, reduction, and hydrolysis in phase 1 and sulfation, methylation, and acetylation in phase 2.
Imagine putting a bunch of banana peels, orange rinds, or apple cores down the garbage disposal. You turn on the water, but now the sink is clogged. You run the garbage disposal to grind up the cellulose in the plant matter, liquefying it. Then you turn the water on again, and now all that debris, those “toxins,” are flushed down the drain.
Phase 1 of detoxification is like turning on the disposal to liquefy all that garbage. Phase 2 is like turning on the water to eliminate, or flush, all that debris down the drain.
If we don’t do a good job of liquefying these FS toxins in phase 1, and if we don’t do a good job of excreting them in phase 2, this can turn into a mess.
What would happen if the debris in the disposal hasn’t fully liquefied and we start running the water? The debris will clog the drain, making the mess much worse.
Phase 1 and phase 2 must work together for proper detoxification.
Toxins In Your Fat
Many people may gain stubborn weight that no matter what they do they just can’t lose it. Most toxins are fast soluble so the body has a propensity to shuttle toxins into these fat cells. The body will then be more resistant to burning up this toxin-filled fat until it has the capacity to do so.
In other words, if you have a detoxification system that is not operating at optimal function, excessive weight gain could be a side effect. Once the body’s phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification pathways are supported, the body finally has the ability to tap into these isolated fat cells!
I see this toxin-derived weight gain in my patients from time to time. Also lets not forgot that over 20% of thyroid hormone is activated in the liver. If the liver is under more stress, it makes sense that your thyroid function or thyroid hormones may not be at optimal levels to burn fat.
Your thyroid is one the master glands that controls metabolism. Metabolism is how your body creates energy…ideally from fat. The less metabolic energy you have, the harder it will be to tap into that stubborn fat.
Detox, Protein, and Amino Acids
Protein is vital for detoxification to occur. Some of the main antioxidants that help with detoxification include glutathione and superoxide dismutase. Glutathione is a big one and is made up of three protein-based amino acids: cystine, glutamine, and glycine.
We need amino acids to run our detox pathways. Our body then eliminates these toxins, primarily via the stool and the urine. So it’s very important our gut function is working properly.
Check out the chart above to see all of the amino acids needed to run our detoxification system!
Detox and the Gut
The gallbladder is a small green organ just beneath the liver. After toxins enter the liver, the liver produces bile, and this bile concentrates in the gallbladder. The gallbladder spits bile into the intestinal tract, and the bile is eliminated from the body via the stool.
If the gut’s not working properly because we have dysbiosis or are chronically constipated, autointoxication, a process that slows down the activity in the small and large intestines, will occur. This creates more toxicity that will have to go through the whole detoxification process again.
This additional toxicity occurs because of the slowed activity and a bacteria in our gut called beta-glucoronidase. We conjugate bile, which means our body binds it into a toxin or a hormone so it can be eliminated. If the bacteria in our gut is out of balance, beta-glucoronidase can take those bound-up, or conjugated, toxins and uncleave, or unbind, them. So gut function is really important in detoxifying the body.
We don’t want dysbiosis. We want higher good bacteria and lower bad bacteria. Unfortunately, most people have higher bad bacteria and lower good bacteria.
Detox testing can be done via blood tests or urinary tests.
In conventional medicine we have our typical blood tests—CBC or CMP. Within these we look at the following specific tests:
- ALT: Liver specific
- AST: Heart and skeletal muscle specific
- GGT: Gallbladder and bile duct specific
The ALT tends to be more focused to the liver, but it’s a more general marker.
The AST is also a liver marker, but there are various isoenzymes that can be broken down from this test. AST levels may increase during an acute episode of a heart attack or a hard CrossFit workout. However, if they are chronically high, it’s a good sign there are detoxification issues or liver problems.
The problem with the ALT and AST is chronic elevation in these blood tests doesn’t usually happen until late in the game. Full liver function is 100%; when it drops down to 10–20%, that’s when we’ll see the elevated tests. They are a late-stage indicator in the game of toxicity.
The GGT is a good marker for gallbladder issues, and it will elevate when something is going on in the gallbladder.
When the ALT, AST, or GGT goes above 20 or so, that’s when we will want to take a closer look and find what’s causing the elevation.
Urinary Organic Acid Test
Simple urinary tests can provide an assessment of organic acids in the body. The organic acids test includes the following:
- 2 Methyl hippurate
These tests tend to be a little more significant because they are specific to different nutrients. If we’re looking at acetylation or sulfation, we look at the results of sulfer-based amino acids. Glucorate and 2 methyl hippurate can be more specific to B vitamins.
So organic acids give us really good indicators of what pathways aren’t working properly. Then we can put people on specific supplement programs to help up-regulate pathways that are low or out of balance. The organic acid test above is from my own personal test.
Anytime we are trying to detoxify, we want to stop putting toxins into our body. Eat organic foods, drink plenty of water, sleep well, and manage stress and blood sugar.
To eliminate or minimize stress on the body, make diet and lifestyle changes and address gut stressors and infections. It’s important to address infections because they will throw off the bacteria in the gut. If bacteria in the gut is off, it will create backup in the small and large intestines, which increases toxins and creates that vicious cycle. Diet should consist of the following:
- Foods high in sulfur amino acids, like cruciferous vegetables
- Organic grass-fed meat (https://justinhealth.com/products/organic-grass-fed-meat/)
- Grass-fed whey protein concentrate
Looking at blood can be helpful, but it’s not the best functional indicator. Organic acids testing tends to be the best indicator when looking at the functions of detoxification, and then appropriate actions can be taken based on the results.
If you feel you are having a detox issue, reach out and schedule a consult to learn about your options. If you need more detox help, click here!