Your liver needs very specific nutrients in order to process fat-soluble toxicants so they can be removed from your body. And one of these is protein.
At one point in the process, a "carrier" molecule attaches to the toxicant molecule and pulls the toxicant molecule out of the blood, into the liver, through the gallbladder, through the small intestine, and out of the body, much like a tugboat pulls a boat out of a harbor.
Amino Acids Needed for Detoxing Toxic Chemicals
Your body has over half a dozen detox molecules that can attach to the toxicant. One is glutathione. Glutathione can grab on to hundreds of types of environmental chemicals and drag them right out of the blood into the liver, then to the gallbladder and into the gut, where they are eliminated in the stool.
For every molecule of chemical that is transformed from fat-soluble to water-soluble, your body loses a molecule of glutathione. So in order for your body to have the continuous ability to detox the toxic chemicals you are exposed to every day, you need to keep replenishing glutathione.
Glutathione is created in the body from three amino acids: glycine, glutamic acid, and cysteine. Amino acids are the structural units that make up proteins.
There are twenty amino acids. Eight are "essential" and the others are "nonessential." The essential amino acids cannot be synthesized by the body, so they must be ingested through food. The nonessential amino acids are made by the body from the essential amino acids. The glycine, glutamic acid, and cysteine needed to make glutathione are all nonessential amino acids, but since nonessential amino acids are made from essential amino acids, it all comes down to having enough protein and all the amino acids in order for your body to have enough glutathione to detox.
What Are Complete & Incomplete Proteins?
Animal proteins are called complete proteins because they contain all eight essential amino acids. Plant proteins are incomplete because they contain only some of the essential amino acids.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan and do not want to eat animal protein in any form, please make sure that you are eating a variety of plant foods that ensure you get all eight essential amino acids.
Are You Eating Sufficient, Not Excessive, Protein?
You don't need to eat excessive protein, but you do need to eat sufficient protein.
Your body's protein needs depend on your age, body size, and activity level. The general rule of thumb used by nutritionists to calculate the protein need of your body is to multiply your body weight in pounds by 0.37 (or in kilograms by 0.8). So if your body weighs 150 pounds, your protein need is 55 grams of protein per day.
You'll need to find out how many grams of protein are in an ounce of the protein sources you regularly eat, as it varies, from less than 6 grams per ounce to about 25 grams per ounce. Steak has 7 grams of protein per ounce, so 55 grams would be about 8 ounces of meat. Of course, you would spread this over three meals, so that would be about 3 ounces per meal.
Do research your protein sources and figure out how much you need to eat at each meal to get sufficient protein. And I would add at least a little more to help your detox system. The best sources of protein are grass-fed organic animals, seafood from pristine waters, and organically grown legumes and nuts.
©2011 by Debra Lynn Dadd. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin,
a member of Penguin Group (USA). www.us.PenguinGroup.com.
This article was adapted with permission from the book:
Toxic Free: How to Protect Your Health & Home from the Chemicals That Are Making You Sick
by Debra Lynn Dadd.
Are you suffering from unexplained headaches, fatigue, or depression? Are you worried about the link between chemicals in the home and the rising rate of cancer? Or are you just looking to save money (and the planet in the process)? Debra Lynn Dadd discusses the hidden toxic chemicals present in our homes, their varying degrees of danger, and precise, proven methods for eliminating them from our lives in a cost-effective, environmentally friendly way.
About the Author
Debra Lynn Dadd brings more than thirty years of research and real-life experience to her work as a an internationally recognized consumer advocate specializing in identifying products that are safe and environmentally responsible. She works as a consultant, lecturer, and writer to promote healthy living. Her books on household toxics have been continuously in print in various editions since 1984. Visit her website at www.debralynndadd.com.