First phase of liver detoxification
Some people with CFS are ‘pathological detoxifiers’. This means that the first phase of liver detoxification works very well, but the second phase doesn’t. For these people, taking lots of anti-oxidants – which largely drive the first phase – can make matters worse. Feeling worse after taking supplements can be a sign of liver detoxification problems, and a sign that it’s worth having a liver detoxification test, which a nutritional therapist can also arrange. This involves ingesting a mixture of substances, and collecting a urine sample. By analysing what is excreted it is possible to identify which biochemical pathways are functioning properly, and which ones aren’t.
Second phase of liver detoxification
The second phase of liver detoxification depends on four main processes. One is called glycine conjugation, another glutathione conjugation. These amino acids are attached to toxins (conjugation means attachment) and escorted out of the body. If they aren’t working, a nutritional therapist will give you either glycine or glutathione (or N-acetyl cysteine [NAC], its precursor) to get the pathway working again.
Another critical process is called sulphation, and the highly absorbable form of sulphur, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), helps in these cases. There is then glucoronidation, a detoxification process occurring in the liver whereby commonly prescribed drugs are effectively detoxified. And finally there is methylation. If a person is poor at methylation (described further on), their homocysteine level is high. Homocysteine is a toxic amino acid that can directly damage the arteries and heart.