|Many products of bodily metabolism are
waste products that the body either does not need or cannot use. The
even be damaged by some of metabolism's products. Thus, mechanisms exist to rid the
body of these damaging chemicals. In addition, many chemicals in our environment
are damaging to the body and such products need to be eliminated or destroyed.
Three organ systems act in indirect ways to detoxify.
- Lungs - remove toxic gases and volatile
that can be breathed out of the body. An example is the chemical,
acetaldehyde, which is created when the liver destroys alcohol.
Acetaldehyde is what you smell on the breath of a person who has drunk
a lot of alcohol. This gas would be lethal if it were not
removed from the blood by way of the lungs. Gas anesthetics are
eliminated from the body mostly by way of the lungs.
- Skin - some toxins can dissolve in sweat and be
removed from the body that way. It is a common belief that stimulating
sweat with intense exercise or heat will help clean the body of
toxins. But there is not much medical evidence that this is practical.
And, excess sweating can cause loss of water, which may be more
hazardous than the toxins.
- Gastro-intestinal System - toxins that are taken in
by eating or drinking can be eliminated in the feces. This is
particularly true in the case of "food poisoning," where the
body defends itself by vomiting and diarrhea in order to remove the toxins quickly.
There are two very vital
organ systems that have a direct role in detoxication. In fact,
detoxication is the main reason we have these systems. They are:
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