First off, what do I mean when I say "detoxification"? Here is a quote to keep in mind while you read this post:
"Genetics loads the Gun. Environment pulls the trigger"
An article published in 2015 in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism deeply dives into various plant-derived phytochemical and specific antioxidants that can turn up the volume of detoxification. Actually, there are many phytochemical and antioxidants that can turn the volume for detoxification down too.
Detoxification, aka biotransforamation in technical terms, is a process that occurs every second of your life from the time you are in the womb until you reach equilibrium, and all thing cease (death). Detoxification is simply your body's way of protecting your cells and tissues from harmful chemicals. It is a multi-phase process, in which your body transforms harmful chemicals that are difficult to get rid of, into less harmful chemicals that are relatively easy to get rid of.
Detoxification occurs in every cell, and nearly every tissue. However, most of the heavy-duty detox takes place in your liver and the kidneys.
As an over simplification here is what happens: Chemicals enter the body. If they are water-based (aka water soluble) they can be eliminated easily through the urine, sweat, poop, and exhalations.
If the chemicals are fat-based (or fat-soluble) they have to undergo a transformation to become water soluble. Unlike water soluble chemicals, fat soluble chemicals are not so easy to get rid of. According to a well-know Toxicology text book, "there are no efficient ways for the bod to rid itself of lipophilic (fat soluble) chemicals".
cytochrome P450 pathway) where they become "reactive" and more water soluble. Once the fat-based chemicals are reactive, they are shuttled into phase II detox. The fat soluble chemicals must undergo phase I detox (technical term:
In phase II detox, reactive chemicals react with nutrients and enzymes to become water soluble and less harmful. After phase II detox, the now-water soluble (less harmful) chemicals are ready to be eliminated from the body via urine, sweat, poop, and exhalation.
Capabilities of phase I and phase II detox can be controlled largely by genetics, and even more by our diet, hydration status, stress levels, exposure, and lifestyle habits (aka environment)
So, what can go wrong? Often times fat-soluble chemicals trying to enter phase II can't enter due to very "long lines" to get into the second phase. At this point, when the "lines are long", chemicals that have been through phase I or that have not been detoxified at all will get impatient, and enter back into the main-stream circulation.
The body (being as brilliant as it is) immediately flags these reactive chemicals (that can cause damage and oxidative stress) traveling the the blood, and stores them away in the fat cells, where they have less risk of causing stress, trouble, or long-lasting damage. The storage of these harmful chemicals is known as bioaccumulation. It happens in humans and mammals alike.