The Phases of Metabolic Detoxification

Water-soluble xenobiotics, or harmful compounds, are easily eliminated (unchanged) through the stool, sweat, or urine. Those that are fat-soluble, however, must undergo transformation and become water soluble before they can be excreted. This process, referred to as metabolic detoxification, consists of the following major pathways:
Phase I (Functionalization). Cytochrome P450 enzymes in the liver break down harmful xenobiotics, producing molecules that are highly reactive. This process also creates free radicals, which can increase the risk of cellular damage.
Phase II (Conjugation). Large molecules are conjugated with the newly modified xenobiotics, producing more water-soluble, less harmful substances.
Phase III (Antiporter activity). Proteins transport the neutralized substances into the kidneys and gastrointestinal (GI) tract,
where they can be excreted via urine or stool.

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Major Metabolic Detoxification Pathways

Phase I (Functionalization). Enzymes released by the liver breakdown xenobiotics, producing molecules that are highly reactive.
Phase II (Conjugation). Large molecules join together with modified xenobiotics to produce water-soluble substances.
Phase III (Antiporter activity). Neutralized xenobiotics are further modified and delivered to the kidneys and GI tract, then excreted via urine or stool.