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Organ Systems and Detoxification

Elimination is the Key to Detoxification

The body ultilizes a number of detoxification pathways to neutralize and eliminate toxins. Each of these pathways requires an outlet to the outside of the body. Openings to the outside of the body are called emunctories. The majority of detoxification occurs in the primary emunctories, especially the liver and kidney. If the primary emunctories are blocked the body will eliminate via secondary emunctories. Blockage of both primary and secondary emunctories causes toxic accumulation in the body in other tissues. This is why toxicity can manifest as a wide variety of symptoms.

Emunctories are Routes of Elimination

Primary Emunctories Secondary Emunctories Toxic Accumulation Organs
  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Skin
  • Intestine
  • Mucous membranes
  • Lymphatics
  • Nose / Sinus Cavity
  • Lungs
  • Stomach
  • Pancreas
  • Bladder
  • Reproductive Organs
  • Fat (adipose tissue)
  • Heart
  • Nervous system
  • Brain
  • Bone


The gatekeeper of the body

The liver is a metabolically active organ responsible for many vital life functions. The liver is responsible for the metabolism and excretion of blood byproducts, cholesterol, hormones and drugs. All food that we eat and chemicals we absorb must pass through the liver before it enters into our blood system. The liver acts as a “gatekeeper” for compounds to enter the body. Performing these vital activities exposes the liver to a number of insults; therefore, it is one of the body organs most susceptible to injury. To assist the detoxification of the liver it is important to use remedies that increase bile production, increase secretion of bile, and protect the liver from oxidative damage incurred by the metabolism of toxic chemicals.


The great eliminator of the body

Kidney drainage must not be overlooked while one is performing a detoxification protocol. The kidneys are responsible for removing various liver metabolites such as drugs, toxic breakdown products and products of protein digestion, heavy metals from the blood and other chemical compounds. The kidneys remove water soluble toxins from the body.


The sewer system of the body

An extremely important and yet overlooked process for detoxification takes place in the lymphatic system. Think of the lymphatics as the body’s “sewer system”. If the roads act as the blood vessel then the sewer that drains debris from the road is the lymphatics. The lymphatic system is a series of chain-like structures flowing through the body and is composed of tiny fragile vessels connecting to lymph nodes. The lymphatic capillaries ensure that substances such as fats, cell debris, foreign bodies, hormones, products of metabolism, bacteria, viruses, and environmental pollutants are carried away from the cells of the body. The lymphatic channels transport these substances to lymph nodes where immune cells can work to destroy invading organisms. This is why patients notice swelling of the lymph nodes of their neck when they get sick due to immune cell activity. Finally lymphatic channels deposit lymph into the blood stream where it can be cleaned by organs of detoxification like the liver and kidney.

The normal drainage of lymph from the cells and fluids of the body is essential for the maintenance of both biochemical physiology and energetic flow. Lymphatic drainage is an essential component to any detoxification protocol.

Gastro-Intestinal Tract / Mucous Membranes

The mother of immune system function

The GI tract is a complex system that is essential to overall body functioning. The bowel contains over 3-5 pounds of beneficial bacteria and contains the largest amount of immunologically active tissue of the body. Indiscrimate use of antibiotics, reduced consumption of fiber, over consumption of animal products as well as food additives and preservatives will often lead a person down the pathway of intestinal dysfunction and dysbiosis. Dys means wrong and biotic means living, therefore dysbiosis means “wrong living environment inside the bowel”. Bowel dysbiosis, a pathogenic bacterial overgrowth of the small and large intestine results in carbohydrate fermentation and protein putrefaction; symptoms of bloating, flatulence, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal pain can result. Toxic by-products of these pathogenic bacteria cause irritation to the bowel lining causing material to leak out of the lining into the blood resulting in whole body toxicity and chronic conditions.


The deposition centre

The skin is the second largest organ of the body next to the blood and is directly linked to the lymphatic system. On the surface of the skin there are tiny pores that interact with the outside environment. Approximately 10% of body elimination occurs through the skin, working in conjunction with other organs of elimination such as the liver, kidneys, intestine and lungs. If one of these organs is stressed and not eliminating waste products efficiently, a greater burden may be placed on the remaining organs. This is why people with chronic constipation often have skin conditions such as acne. Skin cleansing and detoxification are also an integral part of the treatment of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), pesticide and chemical exposure, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

It is important to get assessed to determine which detoxification is right for you and which systems are most in need of cleansing in order to get the best results.