The Science Behind a Juice Cleanse

The words “cleansing”, “detox” and “toxins” are thrown around a lot in the health world. Generally, we hear that it can be beneficial to do a cleanse as the seasons change so that we can detox and help to effectively eliminate the buildup of toxins in our system. But what does that really mean? We’re here to help unpack these terms to help bring some clarity to the juice cleanse process!


The word “toxin” is defined as “any poisonous substance” (1). Generally, there are two categories of toxins: internal and external. Internal toxins are our own body’s by-products of metabolism. External toxins are dangerous substances that we ingest, absorb or breath in from our environment and food. Heavy metals, mold, pesticides, herbicides, parabens, and phalates are amongst the many harmful toxins that can be found in everyday life, from your deodorant to your drinking water and even the air your breathe. The CDC recently found that the average person has about 147 industrial chemicals circulating in their bloodstream (2). It is the hefty addition of external toxins that can interfere with the body’s ability to detox completely and properly.


Our bodies are equipped with a complex detoxification system that works to neutralize and eliminate these toxins at all times. Your liver is the superhero of detoxification. It works for you by standing up to each and every toxin in your body by saying, “if you’re gonna mess with them, you’ve gotta go through me first!” The liver’s superpowers? Phase one and phase two detoxification. Phase one consists of a series of reactions where toxins can be destroyed, deactivated, modified to become beneficial, or converted into even more dangerous toxins called toxic intermediates. Free radicals are also created in this process. Phase two takes those toxic intermediates and binds them to a conjugating agent. (think less 007 and more Vitamin C!), These agents take the toxic intermediates through a specific detoxification pathway. This neutralizes the toxins to be excreted through the digestive tract or in urine.


A cleanse or detox program, like the Village Juicery Reset Program, is designed to kick the processes of detoxification into high gear by boosting both phases of detoxification. Remember how we said that free radicals are always a by-product of phase 1 detoxification? Juices are packed with antioxidants that will neutralize those free radicals. This means the liver can keep kicking butt without worrying about being attacked. Think of them as side-kicks to the whole detoxification process! Remember how we explained that certain nutrients help to escorting toxic intermediates through detoxification pathways? Juices containing deep green vegetables contain plenty of Indole – 3 – Carbinol which helps to detox certain hormones and blood thinning medications (3). Many juices contain plenty of Vitamin C needed to clear antibiotics. Village Juicery also includes nut milks in the cleansing process because many of the nutrients important in regulating the detoxification pathways are amino acids coming from the proteins in these milks (4, 5).


Although we are always detoxifying, the liver can only work so hard and so fast. In our toxin-laden modern world, our detoxification superhero has too many toxic villains to deal with. It can only fight off so many at a time, while the rest are left to cause inflammation, fatigue, weight gain, illness and disease. Every now and then, we need to reset and give our liver the help it needs to cope with the modern world. Cleansing is a way to thank our liver for all its hard work, and to help our body thrive. Megan O’Kelly, CNP is The Realistic Holistic, a Certified Nutritional Practitioner focusing on providing realistic, holistic solutions to your health that work for you and your real life.

Sources (1): (2): (3): Chu Won Nho, Elizabeth Jeffery; Synergistic Upregulation of Phase II Detoxification Enzymes by Glucosinolate Breakdown Products in Cruciferous Vegetables Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Vol 174, Issue 2. July 15, 2001. Pg. 146 – 152. (4): Christopher Cobbett, Peter Goldsbrough; Phtochelatins and Metallothioneins: Roles in Heavy Metal Detoxification and Homeostasis, Annual Review of Plant Biology, Vol. 53. June 2002. Pg. 159 – 189. (5): Pastore et. al. Analysis of glutathione: implication in redox and detoxification, Clinica Chimica Acta, Vol 333, Issue 1. 1 July 2003. Pg. 19-39.

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