Primordially, our bodies were naturally able to easily remove toxins ‘trapped’ inside them. But in today’s much polluted environment, with our constant intake of chemical-loaded foods, toxicity is almost impossible to avoid!
Due to this unfortunate circumstance, human digestive system and liver can readily become overwhelmed.
When it comes to toxins, we should know that there are 2 types of toxins:
1.Water-soluble toxins and
2. Fat-soluble toxins.
Water-soluble toxins are straightforwardly trashed out of the body via the blood vehicles and kidneys, unlike the fat-soluble toxins, which are a real task for the body to do.
How can fat-soluble toxins be eliminated from the body?
It seems that fat-soluble toxins such as pesticides, heavy metals, preservatives, food additives, pollutants, plastic, and other environmentally-borne chemicals must become water-soluble for the body to eliminate them completely.
This process happens mostly in the liver, but when our digestive and detox organs are not functioning optimally, these toxins find their pathway from the liver to the blood, fat cells, and brain, where they can ‘sit’ for long, setting you up for health issues down the road.
How does it actually work?
When we have a meal, both the nutritional and toxic fats are shuffled through the stomach into the small intestine, where the bile secreted from the liver and gallbladder emulsifies them.
Millions of small villi and lacteals thrive in the small intestine, which are little finger-like “grasses,” or mucus membranes, which sweep the gut and help absorb nutritional fats while sending their toxic counterparts to the liver for further ‘detailed’ processing.
And here is the key to the problem: If this detoxification pathway is not properly working, the body can ‘store’ the toxic fats, rather than moving them out.
The most important ½ inch of the body
The body’s lymphatic system, called the Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissue (GALT), surrounds the entire intestinal tract. This is what researchers call “the most important half-inch in the body” because it is right here that lacteals help absorb and process both nutritional and toxic fats.
In fact, the ¼ inch of the gut wall inside must have those villi and lacteals functioning well whereas the ¼ inch on the outside of the gut (which is that lymph tissue) must not be congested!
The lymphatic system around the gut will take all the absorbed fats back to the liver where the good fats are used for making cholesterol, cell membranes, hormones, brain cells and skin, to name but a few. The toxins are always processed by the liver, and earmarked for removal.
But! When the lymphatic system becomes seriously congested, this natural process of using good fats and discarding bad fats can be severely damaged!
These are the symptoms of a congested GALT affecting the lymphatic system:
- holding extra weight around your belly
- elimination concerns
- skin irritations or itching
- swollen hands and feet
- breast swelling and tenderness during the menstrual cycle
- joint stiffness
- occasional headaches
So, yes… It’s all about elimination!
Many causes [diet and stress as the most accountable ones] can irritate the intestinal villi, and aggravate the proper function of the bowels. Excessive stress can also cause the intestinal villi to dry out, causing occasional constipation. A long history of difficulty in defecation can dry out these villi (grass-like mucus membranes) and force them to produce reactive mucus instead.
If this mucus is excessive, the stools could appear normal (1-3 regular bowel movements a day), but you could still be unhealthy and gassed and carrying extra belly weight. If the mucus is even more excessive, the stools can become looser, diarrhea-like, and more frequent.
Note: If you see mucus in your stool, this condition should be addressed right away! When this happens, the villi become congested and bogged down in the excess mucus.
The meaning behind this is that the delivery of good fats, excretion of toxic fats, the normal immune response, and the health of the intestinal skin as a barrier for toxins breaks down. Routinely, toxins that are absorbed into the lymph are neutralized by immune-boosting white blood cells in over 500+ lymph nodes in the lymphatic system. But when mucus gets excessive, this may not take place, and the toxins get directed reversely to the liver.
Note: To avoid the toxins from defaulting back to the liver, the mucus membranes of the intestinal tract cannot be too dry or too wet – so there is a delicate balance that must be maintained.
Among other causes of irritation that compromise the intestinal villi are: food additives, processed food, caffeinated drinks, soft drinks, sodas, and hyperacidity.
The toxic fat ‘whereabouts’
Researchers say that optimal bile flow from the liver is critical to our health. Bile acts similarly to a Pac-Man in the liver and intestines where it gobbles up fats, and acts as the great immune system responder in the gastro- digestive tract. The bile will ‘gobble up’ parasites, pesticides, bad bacteria, heavy metals, and numerous other chemicals that can cause grave problems.
What is the right diet?
If there is plenty of fiber in the diet, the heavy bile waste will be taken to the toilet. But if the diet is deficient in fiber, up to 94% of the bile – including its toxic baggage – gets reabsorbed back to the liver to be recycled. Thus, the liver can become overwhelmed as it is not ‘expecting’ the return of these toxic fat cells.
The liver can become congested over time, and the bile can turn thick and sludgy in consistence, making it much more difficult to break down fat-soluble toxins. The bile can become even too sluggish and thick to buffer the stomach acids that start to enter the small intestine. The acid then acts as another irritant to the villi, and hence more congestive, reactive mucus is produced.
As the bile becomes more viscous, it can also block the flow of pancreatic enzymes into the small intestine. As the pancreas shares the common bile duct with the gallbladder, when this flow stops or becomes sluggish, the digestive process starts to malfunction.
What happens when the main detoxifier – liver becomes overwhelmed?
If the biliary tubes in the liver become overfilled with toxins and thick bile, the liver launches the fat-soluble toxins into the blood stream. These toxins can find their way into the fat cells where they can store for many years and cause oxidation (free radical damage that is) and degeneration.
The thing is, toxins can deposit in fatty tissues all over the body including the brain. What’s worse, it is becoming more common for the toxins to become neurotoxins, and to deposit in the fatty tissues of the brain. These neurotoxins might cause cognitive problems and a host of other health imbalances.
When you burn fat you burn toxins
This is why one of our main focuses is to convince you to burn fat. It is not primarily for weight loss, but because fat metabolism is the body’s detox fuel, so it is critical that we regularly flush these fat cells in order to remove toxins.
Once the nervous system can function without stress, the body will naturally destroy fat. Modify your diet and lifestyle to burn fat, or use techniques like nasal breathing and other to encourage fat-burning.
Indeed, there are many ways to burn extra fat in our bodies, and our lifestyle plays an important role in this. However, the bulk of the fat-burning and detox responsibility lies in the healthy integrity of the digestive system, lymph and bile flow.
Food allergies and the inability to absorb good fats
Vast majority of us do not break down and absorb good fats simply because the villi and lymph around the gut are congested. This is also just one reason why so many of us get diagnosed with dairy, wheat, and soy allergies.
These foods are heavy for the stomach, that is harder to digest than other foods, and are high in mucus. As we already said above, if there is excessive mucus in the gut, and the gluten was not properly broken down in the stomach and upper small intestine, the gluten can irritate the intestinal wall and trigger production of even more reactive mucus.
In the end, it can severely compromise the ability of the intestinal wall to act as a health barrier for the body. There are periods in our lives when we ought to reduce, or even eliminate, these foods for a certain length of time, but a ‘New Year’s resolution’ not to eat wheat and dairy for many of us seems hard to make!
Your detoxification and assimilation pathways may be compromised if you experience occasional constipation or loose stools, see mucus in your stools, have to avoid certain foods, or have to eat certain foods to maintain regular elimination.
If you feel that a heavy or high-fat content meal just piles up in your stomach, or you get nauseous or experience pain after that meal, then your bile flow may be compromised, and you are in for storing toxic fats, like my friend Gorge Timberlake.
So, do try to follow these simple guidelines of ours since they are an important step toward eliminating these problems.
- Guyton and Hall. Medical Physiology. p.785. Saunders. 2011
- Douillard, John. The 3-Season Diet. Harmony: 2001.
- Douillard, John. Body, Mind, Sport. Harmony: 2001.
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