Detox - Chronic Disease

The Role of Detoxification in the Prevention of Chronic Diseases
by DeAnna J Liska, PhD

ABSTRACT:   The impact of environmental toxicity on health is startling; environmental exposure to toxic substances is suggested to cost billions in annual health dollars. Diseases that are linked directly to environmental exposure include many types of cancers and those syndromes characterized by fatigue, muscle weakness, and cognitive dysfunction. Environmental toxicity, however, can lead to a myriad of other conditions. Toxicants in the environment include a wide raange of compounds, such as heavy metals, organic pesticides, drugs, and industrial compounds, and our bodies must be able to manage and excrete this wide range of potentially damaging substances. One of the most important biochemical processes attending to toxicant removal in our bodies is the bio-transformation process—also called the detoxification system—which involves the Phase I cytoch rome P450 and Phase II conjugation enzymes. This detoxification system is highly dependent on nutrient support for optimal functioning. It may come as no surprise, then, that nutrients shown to support the biotransformation process have also been shown to ameliorate symptoms or slow the progression of many of the diseases and conditions associated with toxicant exposure.

excerpts:  A recent report on the costs to society suggests that between $568 billion to $793 billion is spent per year in Canada and the United States on environmentally-caused disease.1 One reason for this major impact of environment on health is the magnitude of exposure we all have to toxic substances. We are exposed toenvironmental toxicants through the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink, as well as through our skin....

A growing body of literature suggests an association between toxicant exposure and the etiology of a number of chronic conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), fibromyalgia (FM), and atherosclerosis.  2-5  Symptoms such as unremitting and debilitating fatigue, myalgias, arthralgias, and cognitive dysfunction are common amongst these syndromes. Moreover, a recent NewYork Academy of Sciences report indicates that individual response to toxicants is varied and is a primary factor in susceptibility to these conditions.6...

The association between environmental toxicant exposure with syndromes such as MCS, CFS, and FM is gaining acceptance, but even more striking are the connections between environment and the development of many other chronic degenerative diseases (Table 1). For instance, interest in the role of environment on etiology of late onset Parkinson's disease has recently been renewed after an extensive study of twins showed no major evidence of genetic influence on Parkinson's disease in those who contracted the disease after 50 years of age.7 It has been known for some time that exposure to lowmolecular-weight organic compounds can induce symptoms of Parkinson's disease.8 Epidemiological studies show that exposure to pesticides; farming; drinking well water; proximity in residence to industrial plants, printing plants, or quarries; and chronic occupational exposure to manganese, copper, or a combination of lead and iron are also associated with Parkinson's disease. While the mechanisms of these toxic  exposures are not known, an individual’s ability to excrete toxins has been shown to be a major factor in disease susceptibility.9,10...

It is becoming apparent that toxin exposures cannot be considered individually, because we are not exposed to individual toxins exclusively. Moreover, toxins can act in an additive manner if they exert their toxic effects through the same pathway(s). Even more concerning is the fact that many toxic substances are fat-soluble, so they can sequester in tissues and remain there for many years. In this way, toxins can continue to accumulate so that the body tissues are exposed to much higher doses than environmental concentrations would suggest are present....

Water fasting can be detrimental to the body's ability to support detox i fication. Fasting and alcohol both over-induce the CYP450E family of enzymes, leading to unbalanced detoxification. 27 In addition, fasting results in catabolism of muscle over fat, which is not beneficial to health. Fasting also results in a decreased intake of necessary cofactors, which leads to a decrease in sulfation, glutathione, and glucuronidation conjugation cofactors. In animal models, fasting causes decreased glutathione levels and enhanced susceptibility to toxicity after toxin exposure.34...

Detoxification is an energy-requiring process that puts a metabolic burden on the body. Instead of decreasing nutrient support, a focused, high-impact source of nutrients is essential. However, this source of nutrients should have a low allergy potential in order to decrease the body's burden of inflammation and potential allergen toxins. An overall protein, carbohydrate, fiber, and fat nutrient base is important to maintaining healthy metabolism during a detoxification program...

Optimizing the body's ability to manage and excrete toxins is essential for optimal health. Several recent reviews have discussed targeted, nutrient-based detoxification intervention therapies for patients with CFS, FM, MCS, and Parkinson's disease, as well as in apparently healthy individuals.73-77...

Low-allergy-potential, targeted nutrition that provides the full spectrum of cofactor precursors, support for excretion, and bifunctional inducers for balanced Phase I and Phase II biotransformation may promote balanced detoxification and optimal health throughout life...



650 8/02 Rev. 8/05
ANSR–APPLIED NUTRITIONAL SCIENCE REPORTS
Copyright © 2002 by Advanced Nutrition Publications, Inc.