Fortunately, different types of tests are emerging which help to ascertain the liver's ability to process and remove toxins from the body.
One that I learned about recently is the Comprehensive Detoxification Profile test, offered by Genova Diagnostics: http://www.genovadiagnostics.com. This test analyzes saliva, blood, and urine after taking challenge doses of caffeine, aspirin, and acetaminophen, in order to assess Phase I and Phase II functional capacity of the liver to convert and clear toxic substances from the body. It does this by identifying the absence of liver enzymes that are responsible for processing each of the above toxins. Caffeine, aspirin and acetaminophen are used in the challenge test because different enzymes are required to process each of these, as well as other toxins. For instance, these same enzymes also process heavy metals, pesticides, smog and other neurotoxins.
By doing a challenge test, missing enzymes used to process any one of these substances can then be identified and their replacement addressed.
Eating certain foods is one important way to compensate for some missing enzymes, according to Genova; cruciferous and green vegetables are especially beneficial. The absence of other groups of enzymes, however, such as those belonging to the S-transferase family, must be made up for by supplementing the body with glutathione precursors, specifically N-acetyl-cysteine, L-glutamine, and L-glycine. Taking glutathione may be helpful but some experts believe that it is more effective to supply the body with precursors rather than the finished product. Also, supplementing with oral or intravenous glutathione can be cost-prohibitive.
The great thing about Genova's test is that it not only identifies missing liver enzymes; it also offers solutions for replacing these. While many of those solutions involve the consumption of vegetables, it is beneficial to know that sometimes, specific amino acid supplementation is also warranted.
Genova's genetic profile test also includes markers for oxidative stress, as well as other important antioxidants.
What's more, it's not as expensive as you might think! Being accustomed to forking out four hundred bucks for important Lyme-related tests, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this one only costs approximately $150, if you pre-pay. (If you don't, it will run you upwards of $300!).