The body doesn’t get enough credit for just how effective it is at detoxifying and filtering out all the impurities, foreign bodies, and potentially hazardous substances that enter it from various sources (mainly through our own voluntary consumption). From eating and drinking to breathing and absorbing toxins, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes to keep us healthy.
The detoxifying starts with the primary emunctories, also known as the liver, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, and kidneys. All of these important areas do their part to remove toxins floating around in our blood, air, digestive fluids, and urine.
Toxins can put the body into disarray if allowed to build up to significant levels. This could happen if your emunctories are affected by disease or illness. Here’s how each major emunctory fits into their role:
- Liver: This is the hardest working detoxifier of the bunch. The Liver filters out any toxins that entered in liquid or solid form into the body. When alcohol is abused, the liver becomes overwhelmed with filtering out all the alcohol and starts to slowly die from exertion.
- Lungs: Thousands of tiny little air sacs work hard to capture toxic particles before they are absorbed into the blood stream. It often goes unrealized as to just how much work the lungs do.
- GI Tract: The entirety of the gastrointestinal system is filled with bacteria that work to filter out organic and inorganic matter to prevent toxins from building up or entering the blood stream. The colon takes the brunt of the toxic filtering, which is why it is so susceptible to disease and illness.
- Kidneys: Another key player in the chain of detoxifying, the kidney is an organ that never rests. It is constantly filtering the blood and removing toxins to be released when we urinate. The kidneys only make themselves known when bruised from the outside or when toxin buildup has produced inflammation or painful byproducts like kidney stones.
When we talk about all the toxins that the body removes, there are multiple kinds that are being removed. The most common toxins we associate the word with are environmental, like smoke, pollution, and pesticides. There are other forms of toxins, too, like bacterial toxins that attack the body and create byproducts that do damage to your organs. Heavy metal toxins sound like they would be the rarest, but they are found all over the place: in the air, water, and foods.
Some of them occur naturally in our foods, like dark green vegetables, but because these can take a toll on the emunctories, we must be vigilant and detox ourselves regularly to help reduce build-up of these toxins.
Detoxifying is a great way to increase the health of our entire bodies, not just our skin, which is a common signifier that we notice when we have a buildup of toxins, due to the absorbent nature. Detoxing is also a way for chronic illness sufferers to manage their pain and/or discomfort.