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03
Jul

Foods and Supplements to Balance Phase 1 and Phase 2 Liver Detoxification

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Last week I blogged about how the two phases of liver detoxification can get out of balance due to chronic exposure to toxins, for example, and how this can impact on a person's health. As discussed, the most common problem is that phase 1 speeds up and phase 2 cannot keep up - someone in this situation is known as a pathological detoxifier because of their increased risk for symptoms and disease.

The previous blogs with more detailed information can be found at:

Pathological Detoxifiers and Environmental Illness

Detoxification Profile Results - The Pathological Detoxifier and Chronic Illness

 

Now I want to take a look at foods and supplements that pathological detoxifiers can use to balance their liver detoxification pathways and improve their health. Essentially what we want to do is slow down phase 1 while speeding up phase 2. There are many foods and supplements that can help. One well known example of a food that slows down phase 1 is grapefruit. Grapefruit contains a substance called naringenin which is responsible for these effects. Regularly drinking a substantial amount of grapefruit juice can really slow down phase 1 detoxification. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli contain a chemical called sulforaphane which both inhibits phase 1 and stumlates phase 2. The only problem is that these vegetables also contain another chemical called indole-3-carbinol which actually speeds up phase 1. Overall though, these vegetables are good to include in the diet - supplements of sulforaphane are excellent for the pathological detoxifier.

The following is a comprehensive list of substances which slow phase 1 and speed up phase 2 pathways. The list is based on a lecture given by Dr. George Mouton during the second year of my bachelor's degree in nutritional therapy.

 

Phase 1 Inhibitors

- Naringenin (citrus fruits, particularly grapefruit)
- Quercetin (many fruits and vegetables)
- Eugenol (cloves)
- Curcumin (turmeric)
- Capsaicin (chilli peppers)
- Ellagitannin/Ellagic Acid (raspberries and berries and fruits)
- Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) (green tea)
- Silymarin (milk thistle)
- Sulforaphane (cruciferous vegetables e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, kale etc)
- Isothiocyanates (cruciferous vegetables)
- Sesamin (sesame seeds/oil)
- Xanthohumol (hops/beer)

 

Phase 2 Stimulators

Glutathione Conjugation:

- N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC), Cysteine, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Whey
- Methionine
- Glutamine/Glutamic Acid
- Glycine
- Indole-3-Carbinol, Sulforaphane, Crambene (cruciferous vegetables)
- Isothiocyanates
- EGCG
- Ellagitannin/Ellagic Acid
- Curcumin
- Dipropenyl Sulfide (onions)
- Diallyl Disulfide, Diallyl Trisulfide (garlic)

Nutrient cofactors: vitamins B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, selenium, zinc, magnesium, copper

 

Sulphation:

- NAC, Cysteine, MSM
- Methionine
- Reduced Glutathione
- Taurine 
- Inorganic Sulphur (SO4)(garlic, onions, eggs, cruciferous vegetables)

Nutrient cofactors: vitamins B2, B6, B12, folic acid, molybdenum, zinc, copper, magnesium

 

Amino Acid Conjugation:

- Glycine
- Taurine
- Glutamine
- Cysteine
- Arginine
- Ornithine

 

Glucuronidation:

- Indole-3-Carbinol, Sulforaphane, Crambene
- Isothiocyanates
- Quercetin
- Limonene (citrus fruits)
- Ellagitannin/Ellagic Acid
- EGCG 
- Cynarin (artichoke)
- S-Adenosyl-Methionine (SAMe)
- Calcium-D-Glucarate
- Omega 3 Fish Oils

Nutrient cofactors: vitamins B3 and B6, aspartic acid, glutamine, iron, magnesium

 

Acetylation:

- Acetyl-CoA (produced in the body with acetyl groups present in many foods)

Nutrient cofactors: vitamins B2, B5, and C

 

Silymarin from the herb milk thistle protects the liver and generally speeds up most phase 2 reactions, although it slows down glucuronidation.

 

I hope this blog gives you some ideas but advise you to work with a health care professional and have a detoxification profile carried out. You can then be advised on which foods and supplements will be of most help. It is also important to know that the changes in liver detoxification, particularly the speed of phase 1 can interfere with the metabolism of certain medications so be sure to discuss this with your health care provider as well.

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People in this conversation

  • Yes, I'm not sure about SAMe being available IV to doctors and patients Tracy. I mentioned it to one nutritional medicine doctor I know and he said he wouldn't like to try it IV as most people are likely to respond too strongly to it. It would certainly be worth a shot at a low dosage for those of us who get upset GI tracts from methyl donors though! Hope you find PLX to be something worth looking at...it's more of a treatment you want to do after tackling gut issues though imo. Do you mean sublingual 5HTP? I've not tried it but regular 5HTP does nothing for me...it could be due to poor absorption but I suspect it's more likely due to a lack of cofactors for its conversion to serotonin (5HT).

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  • Some of the studies of S-ame have been done using IV therapy so it is possible. Whether it is available commercially is another question. I'll look into PLX Therapy. Superior Source have a sub lingual 5HP. Have you tried it?

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  • I just remembered...I'm not sure if I've asked you before whether you've looked into phospholipid exchange (PLX) therapy? That is a powerful aid to detoxification at the cellular level and phosphatidylcholine (PC) has been shown in multiple studies to be highly effective at raising intracellular glutathione levels and reversing liver disorders. It also ties into methylation... since choline is a methyl donor!

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  • It sounds like we have very similar problems with both gut and methylation Tracy. I desperately need methyl donors but every single one I have tried has caused intestinal irritation that means I can't tolerate them. My body is crying out for 5-MTHF but I can't tolerate that. I tried injecting methyl-B12 a couple of times per week for a few months in an attempt to bypass both the gut and most of the methylation cycle blocks...but didn't notice any improvement in symptoms. I'd like to try injectable SAMe but am not sure if it is available. I have not found a doctor to prescribe it at least. I suspect it might be too stimulating on my brain and central nervous system anyway. I also have the histamine and zinc problem. So yes, know the drill ;) Let's hope your detox profile can help you out somewhat!

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  • Oh yes I'm familiar with these methylation protocols although folic acid is not recommended for pyroluria. Hopefully the Liver Detox profile will shed more light on this. The problem is that the supplements work well until they disagree with my gut, stirring up the mast cells / histamine and aggravating the symptoms they were helping. S-ame and TMG were a life-saver until my gut developed a reaction to them. Methionine less so but I'm hoping this will improve once I raise my zinc levels, which are apparently critical for metabolism of methionine. The problem is that zinc is leached from your body when it metabolises histamine so building it up is a difficult task as my No 1 problem is over-production of histamine. A vicious circle indeed. I'm taking transdermal zinc which absorbs better but increasingt it causes nightmares and insomnia. *sigh* What I really need is to inject S-ame daily. I would love to get my hands on some. In the meantime I'm confined to eating the same 6 foods daily and medicating the symptoms. You know the drill!

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  • Yes I know Galland's viscious cycle well - I have been stuck in it for 15 years due to my inability to tolerate fungal die-off neurologically and anything that mitigates this reaction due to poor detoxification/liver health. Catch-22! You mention that you have had the genomic testing and that you do indeed have the SNPs for undermethylation...but you don't say whether you have targeted this with the correct supplements? Have you tried supplementing with the 5-MTHF form of folic acid or methyl-B12 for example to bypass the inefficient enzymes in your methylation cycle? Betaine (Tri-methyl Glycine (TMG) ) also provides another bypass of the commonly sluggish genes/enzymes. The best book I have come across on the subject is Autism: Pathways to Recovery[/url} by methylation expert Dr. Amy Yasko. Her focus is Autism but the information relates to any illness involving methylation issues - including very useful diagrams to make things a whole lot more understandable!

    You could also take a look at this [url=http://www.ei-resource.org/articles/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-articles/simple-methylation-treatment-protocol-for-chronic-fatigue-syndrome/]Simple Methylation Protocol
    article by Rich Van Konynenburg, PhD.

    Your Liver Detox Profile will also be a great help of course so I hope these blogs I put together will be of some help once you have those ;) Good luck!

    Comment last edited on about 3 months ago by Matthew Hogg
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  • Yes I've been tested and also have the undermethylation genes plus pyroluria. Explains a lot, including the mood issues. Sadly it has not been enough to replace the flora in the gut as my battered liver simply can't give the gut wall the support it needs to heal. Both are struggling and it seems I'm now in the grip of Leo Gallands Vicious Cycle of Leaky Gut / Liver / Allergy etc etc. I'm getting the Liver Detox Profile done tomorrow so hopefully that will at least shed light on what supplements to focus on. Thanks heaps for this Maff.

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  • Hi guys - glad you all found this post and its companions helpful :)

    Tracy - I'm not sure off the top of my head if inositol is involved specifically in any of the liver detoxification pathways. It is related to B vitamins so may well be involved with Phase 1 Cytochrome P450 enzymes or enzymes that convert substances to active forms for Phase 2 conjugation. What I do know for sure is that inositol is a lipotropic substance i.e. it is involved in the metabolism of fats in the body. Its benefits on liver health are likely due to it promoting proper metabolism of fats by the liver and reducing the accumulation of fats there. There are lots of studies that point to this. On a personal note, I have found the most effective supplements for my own liver are those which have a positive effect on fat metabolism and bile production and secretion.

    Incidentally, since you have been looking at methylation issues, have you had or thought about having genemic testing for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the important methylation cycle genes? These can have a massive effect on a person's methylation efficiency - I have the least efficient versions of each of the important folate metabolizing genes - and this explains a large number of my health problems. This type of testing is relatively cheap now. I would guess AUS $50 per gene...there are only a few key genes.

    Comment last edited on about 3 months ago by Matthew Hogg
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  • Thanks so much for this series of articles on liver function Maff. I can't believe I have been running the gamut of alternative health practitioners for three years with a methylation problem and no one has suggested I get a liver detox profile test done. I notice you haven't listed inositol yet it certainly helps my liver. Which process does it assist?

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