The organs responsible for detoxification such as the skin, lungs, kidneys and liver play a crucial role during exercise. Exercise causes the body to produce more waste products, and the kidneys and liver are responsible for removing these wastes from the body. This process is essential to maintain overall health and performance during exercise.
The Role of the Kidneys in Detoxification During Exercise:
beetroot is amazing for our kidney and liver health.
The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products from the bloodstream, including urea, creatinine, and excess electrolytes. During exercise, the body produces more waste products, and the kidneys have to work harder to remove them from the body. This helps maintain electrolyte balance, regulate blood pressure, and prevent dehydration during exercise.
The kidneys play a critical role in maintaining overall health and performance but also play a role in producing erythropoietin, a hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the muscles during exercise.
This is very important to note: in an exercising population the induction of athletic heamolysis (naturally our red blood cells damage and need replenishing during/after exercise, losing iron and minimising oxygen uptake aswell as blood volume) means there is a much higher demand on red blood cell recycling, production and iron.
The Role of the Liver in Detoxification During Exercise:
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The liver is responsible for removing toxins and waste products from the body. During exercise, the liver is responsible for breaking down stored glycogen to provide energy to the muscles. The liver also breaks down fats to provide energy to the body.
During exercise, the liver works to remove lactic acid from the bloodstream.
Lactic acid is produced during high-intensity exercise and can cause fatigue and muscle soreness. The liver converts lactic acid into glucose, which can be used by the body as energy.
The liver also breaks down toxins and converts them into less harmful substances, which can be removed from the body through the kidneys or intestines.
The liver is also involved in the production of bile, which helps to digest fats. During exercise, the liver produces more bile to help digest fats and provide energy to the body.
The Role of the Skin in Detoxification During Exercise:
The skin is the largest organ in the body and plays a significant role in detoxification.
When we sweat, the skin eliminates toxins and waste products from the body, such as excess salt, urea, and ammonia. Sweat also uses water and the reduction of sodium and water, again reduces blood volume, which in turn effects exercise output.
Sweat also helps to regulate body temperature during exercise. The skin's blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow to the surface to allow for increased sweat production and helps to remove toxins from the body.
The Role of the Lungs in Detoxification During Exercise:
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The lungs are responsible for removing carbon dioxide from the body and providing oxygen to the muscles during exercise. The lungs also play a role in detoxification by removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the body.
VOCs are toxic chemicals that are found in air pollution, cleaning products, and other household items. During exercise, we inhale more air, and the lungs work harder to remove these toxins from the body.
The lungs also play a role in removing excess lactic acid from the body. Lactic acid is a waste product that is produced during high-intensity exercise and can cause muscle fatigue and soreness. The lungs remove excess lactic acid from the bloodstream by converting it into carbon dioxide and water.
There are several amino acids and antioxidants that can support detoxification during exercise.
1. Glutathione: Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that plays a critical role in detoxification. It helps to remove toxins and protects the body from oxidative stress.
Glutathione is produced naturally in the body, but it can also be obtained through supplementation.
Eat: cottage cheese, whey, ricotta, kidney beans
2. N-acetylcysteine (NAC): NAC is a precursor to glutathione and can help to increase glutathione levels in the body. It also has antioxidant properties and can help to reduce inflammation.
Eat: garlic, onion, brussel sprouts
3. Methionine: Methionine is an essential amino acid that is required for the production of glutathione. It also helps to remove toxins from the body and supports liver function.
Eat: Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, lentils
4. Cysteine: Cysteine is another amino acid that is required for the production of glutathione. It also has antioxidant properties and can help to reduce inflammation.
Eat: chicken, turkey, yoghurt.
5. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help to protect the body from oxidative stress. It also helps to support the immune system and can help to reduce inflammation.
Eat: berries, peppers, offal.
6. Vitamin E: Vitamin E is another antioxidant that can help to protect the body from oxidative stress. It is particularly effective at protecting cell membranes from damage.
Eat: rapeseed oil, almonds, orange vegetables.
7. Selenium: Selenium is a mineral that is required for the production of glutathione. It also has antioxidant properties and can help to reduce inflammation.
Eat: Brazil nuts, brown rice, tuna.
8. Alpha-lipoic acid: Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that can help to protect the body from oxidative stress. It also helps to regenerate other antioxidants, such as glutathione and vitamin C.
Eat: broccoli, spinach, offal.
9. Quercetin: Quercetin is a flavonoid that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help to protect the body from oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
Eat: onions, apples, red and purple berries and their juices.
It's important to note that these foods are just a few examples and that there are many other foods that contain these nutrients.
Eating a varied and balanced diet that includes a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help to ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients your body needs to support detoxification during exercise.
An Example Day of Eating for an Athlete Supporting Detoxification
Here is an example day of eating, take what you like from it, a little bit like a buffet, you don't have to eat all of it, you can just pick the bits that you feel have the best context for you and your life.
This is not a prescription for any kind of treatment or medical need.
- Omelette made with egg whites, spinach, onions, and turkey breast.
- Whole grain toast with butter
- Sliced kiwi fruit
- Greek yoghurt with sliced almonds and blueberries
- Grilled chicken breast with roasted broccoli and brown rice
- Spinach salad with rapeseed oil, avocado and grated carrot and sliced peppers
- Whey protein and beet/cranberry/apple juice
- Grilled tuna with asparagus and quinoa
- Mixed berry fruit salad with a quercetin-rich dressing (such as balsamic vinaigrette)
- Brazil nuts and an orange
The athlete is getting plenty of protein from lean sources like chicken, turkey, and tuna, and complex carbohydrates from whole grains and fruits and vegetables and also includes healthy fats from avocado, nuts, and oils.
It's important to note that this menu is just an example, and individual energy requirements and dietary needs will vary depending on the athlete's goals and training program.
In conclusion, the kidneys, liver, skin, and lungs all play crucial roles in detoxification during exercise. The kidneys and liver work together to remove waste products and toxins from the body, while the skin eliminates toxins through sweat production. The lungs remove carbon dioxide and VOCs from the body and help to remove excess lactic acid from the bloodstream.
It is essential to stay hydrated during exercise to support the kidneys, eat a healthy diet to support the liver's function, and breathe clean air to support lung function.
By supporting these organs, we can maintain overall health and performance during exercise.