The liver is one of what those in the medical profession call our vital organs, meaning life is not possible without one. Aside from a host of functions, not the least of which include producing bile to aid in digestion and, synthesizing protein, the liver has the critical function of detoxifying our blood.
Thankfully, obviously due to the vital nature of the organ, the liver is capable of regenerating portions of itself removed by surgery or damaged by toxins. Like most things, continuing abuse wears this innate ability thin. Thus, in a day and age where we face ever increasing toxins in our foods, water and the very air we breath it behooves us to give our liver a helping hand.
The manner in which the liver goes about detoxifying our blood provides the best evidence of how we can implement natural ways to help it out. To clean up the blood our livers produce large amounts of glucuronic acid.
Glucuronic acid has some amazing properties. One being that it binds with all of the poisons and toxins, whether they be of environmental or metabolic origin, and carries them out of our bodies. Once these toxins have been bound up with the acid we are rid of them as they cannot be resorbed into the system.
Unfortunately, when the liver, probably the most abused part of our system, becomes overwhelmed by toxins and damage it is no longer capable of producing sufficient volumes of glucuronic acid. This has a “domino effect” because further damage diminishes this ability even more.
It would seem that the solution to this problem should be simple. In a manner of speaking it actually is but not very well known. As this amazing acid produced by our livers is not readily commercially synthesized there aren’t any corporations advertizing their solution of the problem.
The best natural source of glucuronic acid, aside from the liver, is kombucha. Since kombucha can be brewed at home for the cost of a cup of sugar and a couple of tea bags it does not provide much incentive to the pharmaceutical industry.
To be honest, the topic of whether there is glucuronic acid in kombucha or not is a very controversial issue. Most of the research supporting the presence of glucuronic acid in kombucha was conducted in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union from the 1940’s to the 1960’s.
More recent lab work conducted over an 18 Month period from 1995-1996 on over 1,000 samples brewed in a variety of ways, concludes there is no glucuronic acid present. This more recent research was conducted by a reputable analytical organic chemistry laboratory licensed by the state of Utah.
Since the earlier research was also conducted by qualified reputable researchers and there are more than a few studies involved, what are we to do with this disagreement? Well folks, for our purposes, to tell you the truth, it doesn’t really matter.
The more recent research, was initiated by Michael R. Roussin a man somewhat passionate about the healing value of kombucha. Michael admits himself that he set out to prove that kombucha does, in fact, contain glucuronic acid.
Rather, what was discovered was the presence of a saccharic acid, which is a glucuronidase inhibitor. I explain how enzyme inhibitors work in another article. Suffice to say this inhibitor stops the glucuronidase from interfering with the liver’s normal function of using glucuronic acid to eliminate toxins.
You see, what the glucuronidase does is to cleave the bond formed between the molecules of glucuronic acid and the toxins. This prevents the elimination of the toxins by the liver. So, whether the problem with the overworked liver is poorer production of glucuronic acid or an increase in glucuronidase, the kombucha does, indeed, help a great deal with detox.
Michael Roussin attributes the differences in the research results to methodology and not any kind of skullduggery. He maintains that most of the earlier research assumed there was glucuronic acid in the kombucha by measuring higher levels of glucuronides in the urine of of the subjects after drinking kombucha.
So, like I said, for our purposes it doesn’t matter. The higher level of glucuronides in the urine is an indication of the detoxifying benefits of kombucha.
As I mentioned in another article on the benefits of kombucha this is exactly what excited Soviet scientists and cancer researchers. Baffled by the apparent immunity to cancer of populations in a couple of counties they set out to investigate.
What they found truly bewildering was that the populations of these districts smoked just as many cigarettes and drank just as much vodka as their neighbours. There was also a significant amount of environmental pollution in their districts due to mining operations.
Upon discovering the universal sharing and consumption of kombucha they began the laboratory work to determine how it prevented cancer. Although they may have been a tad off with the exact mechanics they were right on with the beneficial effects!
Vitamin C is becoming very popular for its anti-oxidation qualities. I explain some of the common sources of free radicals in an article on premature aging and how antioxidants alleviate the problem. This healing power of vitamin C is evident in a number of areas of medicine.
Vitamin C dripped intravenously is becoming common practice in dangerous procedures in biological dentistry like removing mercury amalgams. It is also being successfully administered by more progressive physicians for treatment of cancer.
Hence, the detoxifying properties of vitamin C are without question. One 8 oz glass of kombucha contains 120 mg of vitamin C, which is the RDA for those with the highest need, lactating mothers. Hence, kombucha is not only one of the best natural sources, but also the cheapest as I explained in an article on sources of vitamin C.
So, with the dual functionality of oxidation and stimulation of the liver’s innate detoxification abilities, you can bet kombucha is at the top of my list of natural methods of detox. I would probably drink it every day even without these benefits, as it is so tangy and refreshing!