Original article on switchnutrition.com.au | Presented by Fit Trendz the Better You co.
Chances are you already know the crucial roles vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fiber, and probiotics play in your health and longevity. Yet, many health and fitness enthusiasts don’t realise that lacking any of these nutrients can make their body prone to toxin buildup.
And let’s be honest, it’s becoming quite a challenge trying to eat ample amounts of micronutrient-dense foods, like fruits and veggies, each day. Combine that with the fact we are constantly exposed to man-made chemicals and environmental toxins on a daily basis… it’s no wonder so many people are at high risk for toxin buildup. This means even more attention needs to be placed on getting the right nutrients to help your body eliminate these chemicals efficiently (in other words, you need the right nutrients to allow your body to detoxify itself).
When we say “detoxify” we are referring to the process by which your vital organs work to rid your body of noxious metabolites (like heavy metals, PCBs, etc.). Therefore, maintaining proper liver function, and function of organs that detoxify the body, is crucial for keeping the body free from harmful chemicals/substances.
Read on to learn the science behind how certain nutrients help detoxify your body and reinforce your immune system.
The liver is ostensibly the most crucial organ for removing toxic substances from your body; it helps filter blood from your gastrointestinal (GI) tract so that it can safely be sent throughout the rest of the body.
Your liver is also a major site of drug/nutrient/chemical metabolism thanks to its abundance of enzymes. When potentially harmful substances reach the liver, it transforms (deactivates) them so they can be effectively excreted from the body (this is assuming your liver is functioning properly).
Of course, your liver is just one component of the detoxifying process. Other organs are also necessary to remove toxins from your body including the bladder, kidneys, and intestines. Surprisingly, your skin is not nearly as responsible for detoxifying your body as many people seem to believe. In other words, your body doesn’t actively “sweat out” a significant amount of toxins.
There are numerous essential precursors and cofactors that support the liver and other vital organs involved in the detoxification process.
Furthermore, a healthy environment in the GI tract, which contains many enzymes and bacteria that assist the removal of waste material from the body, is highly important for keeping the body free from toxins.*1 Healthy immunity is also crucial as a weakened/”backed up” GI tract can give rise to a host of major health problems.2
Research confirms that phytonutrients from plants like ginger, oregano, turmeric, and dandelion are key for supporting your liver.3,4,5 Naturally, giving your body these key nutrients is an effective way to optimise your immune function and daily detoxification processes.
Rosemary is an herb containing three particularly beneficial phytochemicals: carnosic acid, carnosol, and rosmarinic acid. These compounds are shown to strongly inhibit free radicals and reactive oxygen species (i.e. they are antioxidants).6 Further research suggests that rosemary phytochemicals are effective for inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria.7
Oregano is an important polyphenol-rich herb found naturally in the Mediterranean region, with research suggesting it has high antioxidant and antimicrobial capacity.8 It appears to be exceptionally beneficial for protecting the gut against toxin-induced oxidative stress and even block ulcer formation associated with the common pathogen Helicobacter pylori.
Dandelion is a flowering plant that readily flourishes in warmer climates of the world. It is renowned for its seemingly endless array of phytonutrients that have antioxidant and immune-supporting benefits.
The root of the dandelion plant contains a unique profile of compounds known as sesquiterpene lactones. The major sesquiterpene lactones present in dandelion root are shown to have free radical scavenging and innate immune-enhancing actions, with some data suggesting they even reduce the risk of cancer.12,13 Dandelion root also contains a diverse range of immune-regulating polysaccharides and even the beneficial prebiotic inulin.14
Ginger is a potent flowering plant that has extensive use in Ayurvedic medicine for treating indigestion, nausea, and impaired immunity. Ginger contains fragrant polyphenol alkaloids known as gingerols (which give this plant its distinct smell) that have strong antioxidant actions in humans. When ginger powder is dried, gingerols are dehydrated to shogaols.
Studies thus far have shown that ginger supplementation enhances immune function in humans primarily by reducing levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6).15 These substances are biomarkers of inflammation and infection.
Gingerols are also shown to benefit blood glucose regulation, fortify gut health and reduce stomach aches and pains.16
Astragalus, also known as Huang Qi, is a flowering plant and one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine. Its benefits are expansive, with research suggesting it acts as an anti-inflammatory, supports immune function, reduces the risk of cancer and can even prevent type-2 diabetes.17
Evidence suggests that astragalus (specifically Astragalus membranaceus) contains unique polysaccharides that interact with specific immune receptors which encourages proliferation of macrophages and B lymphocytes (white blood cells).18 This is a key benefit of the immune-supporting actions of astragalus, since macrophages are specific types of white blood cells that digest/destroy toxins, harmful microbes, cancer cells and foreign substances throughout the body.
Quercetin is a potent polyphenol (specifically, a flavonol) found in a variety of plant foods, particularly kale, red onion and broccoli. What makes quercetin a promising phytochemical is its antioxidant capacity in humans, working to reduce inflammation and fight toxins that induce excessive oxidative stress.
While quercetin is readily found in several vegetables and fruits, the amount the average person consumes through their diet is negligible. In fact, a clinically effective dose of quercetin postulated to be no less than 200mg, whereas even diets that are rich in plant foods generally only provide 5-10mg per day. Therefore, supplementing with Vitality Switch is a prudent option for getting a beneficial amount of quercetin every day.
Shilajit is unique in that it is actually derived from rock layers, specifically in mountainous regions of Asia. This particular ingredient is one of nature’s richest sources of rare minerals that are not commonly present in the diet, along with humic substances (especially fulvic acid).
Shilajit has been used for thousands of years and is renowned as an adaptogenic nutrient - meaning it helps your body adapt to stress. Fulvic acid found in shilajit has been shown to have anti-ulcerogenic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties in humans.19 Further findings suggest that shilajit may prevent Alzheimer’s disease and promote healthy hormonal balance.20
Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training or nutritional strategy. Supplementation should not be attempted by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone on prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by your qualified health care provider.