Why do I need to detox?
What is detoxing?
Detoxification is the physiological or medicinal removal of toxic substances from a living organism, including the human body, which is mainly carried out by the liver.
We have many detox organs that work around the clock to remove toxic materials from our bodies.
Fortunately for us, the body is well-equipped to eliminate toxins and under normal circumstances does not require special diets or expensive supplements to do so. Our ability to detox relies on our anti-oxidant status. Anti-oxidant depletion leads to mucous membrane barrier breeching and toxin overload.
In the early stages the body tries to expel the toxins through the detox organs. As a result of an accompanied immune system response like mucous overproduction symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, coughing, sore throat, heartburn, diarrhoea, vomiting or excessive urination can occur.
If the toxins accumulate in your system symptoms like fatigue, memory difficulties, sleep impairment, depression, “brain fog” and other inflammatory conditions can develop as well as changes to the body odour, skin eruptions or excessively oily skin.
That said, you can enhance your body’s natural detoxification system with targeted nutrition and supplements.
What are the 6 most important detox organs?
It transforms harmful chemicals for excretion via the bile and the kidney.
We have many detox organs and they work around the clock to remove toxic materials from our bodies.
What increases our need to support our detoxification systems?
Toxins can come from lots of different places.
Increasing the *body burden can lead to exceeding the body- threshold. Almost every illness occurs when this body-threshold has been exceeded.
These toxins can be chemicals such as heavy metals, cleaning agents, industrial chemicals, plastics, pesticides and pollutants (solvents and gasses) in the air, our water supply, our foods and everyday personal homecare products and pharmaceuticals.
- Total body burden considers the load of toxins and toxicants in our body.
Toxins can be produced internally from mould, chronic dental infections, parasites, unresolved viral and fungal or yeast infections.
Gut bacteria imbalance (probiotic load) lack of digestive enzymes, food sensitivities and intolerances can weaken our systems ability to deal with toxins.
Other challenges to the body- threshold are chronic stress hormone production, surgeries, lack of exercise, poor diet and processed foods.
Self-inflicted lifestyle habits like smoking, excess alcohol consumption, drugs and overindulging in inflammatory foods.
There are many factors that influence our detox mechanisms
Various factors can determine the rate by which toxins and toxicants accumulate in the body.
Toxins may enter the bloodstream via:
- exposure to the skin and eyes.
Diseases such as chronic kidney disease and liver disease can cause toxin build-up, which can disrupt body systems.
Genetic variations have shown that one person compared to another may have a 2x to10x faster or slower clearance of toxins and toxicants.
Our occupation, lifestyle, work, recreational activities and home environments can increase our contact with toxins.
Lack of exercise (movement) will slow down the process.
Nutrition plays an integral role in the detoxification, especially in the liver.
- Lack of specific nutrients can slow down the process, for example lack of good omega rich, protein rich, antioxidant and phytonutrient foods.
Good hydration with clean water is crucial to support detoxification.
What can you do to detox your organs on a daily level?
Stop allowing new toxins into the body.
- Avoid the above-mentioned toxins and toxicants by breathing clean air, drinking lots of clean water, exercising daily and eating clean unprocessed foods.
Providing support through diet and lifestyle changes.
Restrict intake of all processed items.
- Alcohol, caffeine, foods especially high in saturated and trans fats and nicotine. Avoid genetically modified foods, hormone and antibiotic fed meat
Products for skincare and hygiene
- They should be natural, fragrance-free and free of parabens, sulphates, phthalates, lead, mercury and other potentially toxic compounds.
Parabens are a class of widely used preservatives in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.
Sulphates are inorganic ions that are both found in nature and synthesised for industry. In the natural world, they occur as aerosols from biomass combustion and as part of the sulphur cycle of some microorganisms.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more durable. They are often called plasticizers. Some phthalates are used to help dissolve other materials. Phthalates are in hundreds of products, such as vinyl flooring, lubricating oils, and personal-care products (soaps, shampoos, hair sprays).
Remove infections in the body.
Eat lots of organic green vegetables
- A rainbow (in colours) of fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs and spices, and ancient whole grains like quinoa, oats and amaranth.
- Eat good omega rich foods. Add small beans like mung beans and red lentils into your diet. It is important to soak the grains and beans overnight, before cooking, so they are easily digested.
Support your genetic variants with the specific nutrients it needs.
When do we utilize a detoxification program?
We should think about supporting detox when we experience symptoms of a chronic toxic overload.
We can also do a 1-2 yearly preventative detoxification program if we live and work in an environment with an excess toxic load that we cannot reduce easily.
There are many ways to support and increase the body’s ability to offload toxins.
Different genetic variations need specific nutrients.
- The detoxification organs can be supported with herbs and medication, but for each its own choice.
This blog post is not to discuss the various ways and means to drive detoxification, but to alert to the fact that no single method or medicinal support can be used for every situation. (I will deal with this topic in a future blog.).
To diagnosis a toxin overload we need to start with an overview of your habits, lifestyle and nutrition, your symptoms and a comprehensive physical examination.
- Blood and urine tests can support to better understand what is going on inside your body.
- Hair analysis and DNA testing can also provide valuable information.
What are the symptoms of chronic toxin overload?
Symptoms can and will differ from person to person.
- Chronic fatigue
- Skin rashes
- Unexpected weight gain
- Inflammatory disorders (diabetes, insulin resistance, fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases, headaches, cardiovascular disease, and more)
- Acid reflux and Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Constipation and or diarrhea
- Increase risk of colon cancer
- Increase risk of breast cancer
- Low testosterone in men
- Joint inflammation and stiffness
- Central nervous system disorders
- Blurred vision
- Memory loss
- Back pain
Check out www.ewg.org
- for more information which cleaning and selfcare products to avoid
- for foods that are more toxic (dirty dozen) and those which are safer (clean fifteen)