Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New Discoveries in Supporting Inner Cleansing

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that every year more than 6 billion pounds of foreign chemicals are released into the environment. Our planet has become so thoroughly polluted that environmental pollutants can even be detected at the north and south poles, carried there by wind and ocean currents.

Besides the environmental toxins we are exposed to, dietary toxins also flood our systems and contribute to the toxic cesspool within our bodies. And even our clothes and bedding are sources of toxicity, as many new clothes, mattresses, and bedding are treated with fire retardants!

All these exposures add up. It has been determined that there are at least 167 synthetic and carcinogenic chemicals lodged in the tissues of the average human. These chemicals have even been discovered in mothers’ placentas and breast milk.

How the Body Chelates Heavy Metals
The body has its own method of dealing with heavy metals and other toxins. The protein, metallothianene (MT), which is present in all body cells, has a two-fold purpose. In the absence of heavy metals it serves to transport zinc and copper. However, when there are toxic metals present, MT binds to the metals, carries them out of the cell through the membrane into circulation, making the metals available for conjugation in the liver. But because the toxic load is often overwhelming to the body and impossible to keep up with, conjugation bogs down, and there apparently isn’t enough MT to efficiently rid the body of the noxious chemicals. Thus, toxic metals remain lodged in cells throughout the body, leading to all manner of maladies ranging from the vague to the serious.

Health Consequences of Heavy Metal Burden
Following is a list of maladies common to toxicity:
· fatigue
· muscle weakness
· muscle and joint pain
· depression
· anxiety and mood swings
· concentration difficulties
· irritability
· headaches
· kidney stress
· elevated liver enzymes
· flu-like symptoms

Nature to the Rescue
The good news is that within the wonders of nature there are compounds that can help the body keep up with the toxic burden of our environment and lifestyles. While the importance of bifunctional modulation of the liver detoxification pathways through natural compounds like ellagic acid, N-Acytelcysteine, green tea catechins, silymarin, and others has gained wide acceptance in the field of natural medicine, there is now a way to even more efficiently mobilize toxic metals stuck in the cells.

By upregulating metallothianene, we can make the body more efficient in eliminating the heavy metals to which we are daily exposed.

Through the science of proteomics (evaluation of how certain proteins effect physiology and pathophysiology), scientists at the Functional Medicine Research Center (FMRC) are able to identify unique applications to various natural compounds. Earlier studies have confirmed that zinc supplementation improves MT levels, but through proteomics research, other natural compounds have been identified that upregulate MT much more efficiently than zinc alone.

The study at FMRC involved the supplemental use of a formula containing zinc, curcuminoids, andrographis, and a combination of extracts of hops for a period of 10 days. No dietary modifications were involved except the avoidance of alcohol. MT levels were evaluated at intervals throughout the study, and a urinary excretion of heavy metals was evaluated at the conclusion.

After only a few days, MT levels increased by 37-fold, and held fast at a 10-fold increase during the four-day washout period. Heavy metal excretion increased substantially with nearly every metal measured (see figure 1). (Note: Mercury excretion occurs primarily through the feces, so significant changes were not expected to be seen via urine. Even so, some of the patients evaluated experienced a 9-fold increase in mercury excretion through the urine, indicating a probable large excretion of mercury through the feces.)

The Newest Generation of Detoxification Nutriceuticals
Make no mistake. Supporting the liver detoxification pathways is still a vital part of any detox protocol, because that’s where the process reaches its conclusion. Toxins mobilized from the cells via upregulation of metallothianene still make their way to the liver for biotransformation. However, the possibility of upregulating this important cellular protein using novel nutritional approaches was not a possibility to any great degree until now. Through ongoing proteomics research, the leading thinkers in nutritional science are continuing to set the bar in the field of functional medicine. The latest metallothionene-upregulating product and its related research is testimony of the multi-faceted power of natural compounds.

This new formula was administered at 3 tablets twice daily in the study, and that same dose is recommended for at least a month for anyone with toxic exposures. Supporting the liver detoxification pathways with nutrient-dense nutriceuticals and medical foods would provide multi-dimensional nourishment for state-of-the-art support for the body’s cleansing processes.