For the month of January I am going to follow-up on my previous article Detox and Fly, Preparing for 2013 with a continued focus on detoxification. This article delves deeper into specific things you can do and why detoxifying is important for frequent fliers. If you think you don’t have time to detox listen out for tools the busiest flier can use and the reasons why you must pay attention to this aspect of your health if only once in a while.
As previously stated, any time you have more toxins leaving the body than are being generated through diet and metabolic processes you have a state of detoxification. We can help the process along by arming the body with tools for it to use to get the job done. If we are going to spend any time doing this we might as well go to the major players.
The liver is the major player in detoxification alongside two types of enzymes. They are the Cytochrome P450 group of enzymes and the Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) enzymes. While the exact way they work may be of little interest to the uninitiated, we are going to concentrate on simple ways to increase their levels in the body so our detoxification processes may benefit. As a nutritional therapist I am going to recommend foods and supplements any flier can incorporate into their routine which will feed into pathways boosting the levels of these important nutrients.
In liver detoxification there are two separate phases to detoxification before toxins are made into substances that can be transported and removed from the body without harm. They are known as Phase 1 and Phase 2 steps of metabolism. Cytochrome P450 group of enzymes almost exclusively deals with Phase 1 and Superoxide Dismutase deals with Phase 2.
In humans Cytochrome P450 oxidises synthetic chemicals and foreign substances. When flying foreign substances are all around you from fumes getting back into the plane on pushback, to higher than average exposure to cosmic radiation as a frequent flier, to frequent fliers beating off jet lag with Tylenol PM and the like. All of these compounds once in the body need to be harmlessly removed. Superoxide Dismutase deals with the conjugation of toxic substances to less harmful forms in preparation for them to be removed from the body.
To help our bodies carry out this task there are certain foods that prime the pump of these enzyme systems.
– Cytochrome P450 is fuelled by the Indole 3 Carbinol metabolite, to get the benefit of this eat more vegetables from the Brassica family. The cruciferous vegetables are singled out in particular, include cabbage, kale, broccoli, collard greens, horseradish cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. How easy is that! Mother did say eat your greens.
– Superoxide Dismutase enzymes are fuelled by the powerful antioxidant Glutathione, current literature suggests glutathione is poorly absorbed when supplemented however eating foods containing high levels of the amino acid cysteine increases glutathione and has a positive effect on SOD. These foods include ricotta, cottage cheese, yogurt, chicken, turkey, duck, oat flakes and wheat germ.
Being the busy frequent flier that you are you may not always want to eat stewed cabbage when entertaining clients so help is at hand. Indole 3 Carbinol (i3c) exists as a supplement you can take with you on the road, as for priming the pump for your Superoxide Dismutase enzymes N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) and Alpha Lipoic Acid are also available in supplement form for you to take on the road.
An added extra for your SOD pump is Jiaogulan an adaptogenic tea, it is also available as tea bag or tablet and has proven to increase SOD enzyme levels. Other supplements you may want to consider adding to the mix are vitamin C which is liver protective, a B multi-vitamin which is always involved in metabolism and milk thistle known for its liver protective properties. While still on the subject of the liver watching alcohol consumption is also a good idea especially as alcohol consumption taxes the liver severely.
As a flier you don’t always have the control you may like over your environment, it might be stuffy planes, less than idea oxygen and humidity levels or cosmic radiation and fumes. Constant travel increases and decreases the amount of daylight you get upsetting your circadian rhythms. Glutathione production is known to be connected to circadian rhythms, so chances are that if you are not using supplementation you are low in Glutathione and hampering your body’s ability to detox. You can remedy this by taking better care of yourself on the road. The one thing the frequent flier is always in control of is his or her own body. That is why detoxifyng every once in a while can do a world of good to your flying experience.
Cytochrome P450. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CYP450
Jiaogulan. http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiaogulan