The liver detoxification profile indicates how well your liver is functioning. Detoxification occurs in two phases which must function in balance. If the two phases are out of balance toxins can build up and circulate throughout the body, accumulating in fatty tissues, including the brain. Most toxins are fat-soluble which makes them easy to absorb but hard to excrete. The overall purpose of phases 1 and 2 is to make toxins more water-soluble and easily excreted.
Both phases of liver detoxification require numerous nutrient cofactors for them to work efficiently - these include amino acids such as cysteine, glycine, glutamic acid, taurine, vitamins C and B complex, and minerals such as zinc and selenium. The two phases of detoxification are also influenced positively (in the most part) by numerous herbs and phytochemicals, and negatively by toxins such as drugs, heavy metals, and pollution.
Phase 1 of detoxification is carried out by a large group of enzymes known as cytochrome P450 while there are six phase 2 pathways - glutathione conjugation, amino acid conjugation (e.g. glycine, taurine), sulphation, glucuronidation, acetylation, and esterification. Glutathione conjugation is generally considered most important and glutathione levels have repeatedly been found to be low in those with environmental illnesses including chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), Gulf War syndrome, and autism.
What the Liver Detoxification Profile Involves
The liver detoxification profile tests how well phases 1 and 2 are working by having the patient consume small doses of caffeine, aspirin, and paracetemol and then providing a urine sample collected at a specified time subsequently to ingestion of these substances. The sample is then mailed to the lab for analysis.
The substances used go through different detoxification pathways and the lab looks for the levels of end products from the phase 1 and 2 reactions which detoxify them. They can then report on whether individual detoxification pathways are functioning efficienctly or not. Based on this information the patient's health care provider can use nutritional, herbal, and lifestyle advice (i.e. avoidance of toxins) to improve detoxification and the patient's symptoms and health.
The liver detoxification profile may be useful for those with environmental illness, ME/CFS, autism, heavy metal toxicity, or anyone with unexplained chronic illness or those who have experienced an acute or chronic toxic exposure.