There is a ridiculous amount of so-called “Detoxification Programs” out there that are doing more harm than good. Misleading advertising, improper dosing of supplementation and even unsafe fasting can cause people to become more toxic than when they first started1. Therefore, you HAVE to realize what toxins you have been exposed to so that you can safely and effectively detoxify yourself1.
WE ALL HAVE THEM
We all have small amounts of toxins in our body, so there is no need to panic, but when an excess of these toxins builds up and overwhelms our bodies – that’s when disease sets in. Detoxification is not a single reaction, but rather an entire process that involves numerous reactions and multiple players.
“Detoxification is central to understanding functional assessment in medicine not so much because we live in a toxic environment, but because detoxification is the biggest item in everyone's biochemical budget. It handles waste not only from our environment, but from every process in all the organs and systems of the body.” - Sidney Baker, MD2
THE LIVER IS CRUCIAL
The majority of detoxification takes place primarily in the liver, secondarily in the small intestines and finally in other tissues as well. The liver is really the most important detoxification point in the body though.
Your liver has two phases of detoxification. In the first phase, the liver takes the toxins and makes them more harmful than the original substance. In the second phase, the liver transforms these detrimental substances into easily excreted water-soluble compounds such as sweat and urine. If Phase 1 detoxification increases, which can happen when detox supplements are taken incorrectly, and Phase 2 detoxifications remain slow to normal, the body can actually become more toxic! This is the most important reason why you MUST be extremely cautious when using any detoxification supplements1, 3.
PROPER MAKES PERMANENT
PROPER detoxification is also critical when it comes to PERMANENT weight loss because if you have a surplus of toxins in your bloodstream, your body’s metabolism will slow down4. Your body tells your thyroid to stop working, immediately storing the toxins as fat cells so that your body doesn’t get overwhelmed. Eating quality foods will reduce the amount of toxins you’re putting into your body, which translates into losing fat faster. Eating quality, organic, local foods will also allow your body to release more body fat, and who doesn’t want that?
WHAT ABOUT FASTING?
Some people fast in order to increase detoxification, and while it can work for some people, most often it does more harm than good. Fasting increases your Phase 1 detoxification, making you more toxic; it decreases antioxidants, which then stresses all of your bodily functions, and the lack of dietary nutrition can also impair Phase 2 of your liver detoxification1, 3. Additionally, you won’t be able to eliminate your waste when you don’t eat dietary fibers, which can kill off your healthy gut bacteria!
MAKE THE CHANGES
So, instead of going on some extreme, non-sustainable, lifestyle altering detoxification diet, make the PROPER lifestyle changes so that you are always detoxifying your body naturally.
It’s easier than you might think.
- Drink plenty of filtered water: 9 glasses for women and 13 glasses for men per day.
- Move your bowels at least 2-3 times per day. If this is a problem increase your fiber and healthy fat intake using two tablespoons of fresh ground flaxseed. Make sure you are getting enough water, as outlined above, and use a quality probiotic as well.
- Eat 10-12 servings of mainly vegetables and small amount of fruit daily. Eat the full rainbow of colors in vegetables.
- Eat vegetables that are high in sulfur like collards, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, onions and garlic.
- Eliminate or greatly reduce any alcohol intake.
- Eliminate or extremely reduce stimulants like caffeine or nicotine.
- Eliminate all sugar and flour.
- Sweat profusely daily, or at least three times per week using, for example, a steam room or sauna, or wear extra layers while working out. Remember to hydrate properly with water immediately after and to replace your electrolytes with a quality salt in your next meal.
- Exercise at high levels of intensity (only after being cleared by your doctor for the activity, of course).
- Take high-quality vitamins and minerals.
*Quality salt: Look for a sea salt or Himalayan salt with only one ingredient on the label.
Finally, use stress-reduction techniques, get some quality sleep and move more each day!
*The Rant: Detoxifying naturally will bring your body better and longer-lasting results. Do not fall victim to these quick fix “detoxifying programs.”
Ready to make lifestyle changes that will improve your health long-term? With the help of this all-encompassing guide to permanent fat loss, you can become the best you possible!
1.Bralley JA, Lord RS. Laboratory Evaluations For Integrative and Functional Medicine. Duluth, GA: Metametrix Institute; 2012.
2.Baker, Sidney MD. Website available at: http://www.healthgrades.com/physician/dr-sidney-baker-xmrnh Quote from notes “Therapeutic Nutrition Review: GI, Detox, Inflammation” Sylvia H Regalla MD, MSACN
3. Liska D PH.D. The Role of Detoxification in the Prevention of Chronic Degenerative Disease. ANSR-Applied Nutritional Science Reports Rev. 8/05
4. Jones etal. Environmental pollution and diabetes: a neglected association. Lancet Jan 26;371.