Is Your Detox Really Working?
By Sandra Miller
Is your detox really working and how do you know? If you are reading this right now have either thought about attempting or have attempted a detox program of some sort. Perhaps you are embarking on your first. It’s usually all the rage right after the final hangover of the prior year has passed. I had dabbled in some less than successful detoxes before I understood what it meant to detox. I also want to clear up confusion betweem a detox and a cleanse.
Each person seems to have a different view of what a detox is. Alas, it does not mean just giving up junk food for a week or two.
It seems like many professionals out there today recommend detoxifying the body at fairly frequent intervals and rightfully so. At minimum, twice yearly. We are breathing polluted air morning, noon and night. To complicate matters; the very food we eat even if it is organic, can become contaminated by things in the air beyond our control. Products we use in our homes and workplaces add their toxic burden. Flame retardants in furniture and even the new car smell I personally love so much add to the numerous exposures we face daily.
You can even detox just a little every day or completely for 24- 48 hours weekly. To each his own really.
Entering the Detox Zone
According to Dr. Alejandro Junger, the author of CLEAN and CLEAN GUT Diet “When the body gets confronted with this huge load of demands, the body has to prioritize, redistribute and reorganize.” If you add the energy demand of digestion to all of that it appears detoxification gets put on the back burner.
Dr. Junger states “Since these extra toxins are irritants, the cells coat them with mucus to tone the irritation down while they anxiously wait for the signal from the body’s central bank that the energy is available for detoxification and it is okay to release these toxins back into the circulatory system.
Junger claims that “a good detoxification program will be designed to trigger this signal more intensely than normal so if digestion is stopped long enough and frequently enough, the signal to detox gets “switched on more often”. A good rule of thumb is to stop eating by 8 PM and have nothing but water for a minimum of 6 hours. 8 is better. Dr. Junger also claims that “cooked foods delay the detox signal further because heating food above 118 degrees Fahrenheit destroys the enzymes contained in it.”
Enzymes are critical for our digestion. One must hope that they have a good supply of their digestive enzymes but, if in doubt, it is helpful to take a digestive enzyme supplement like the one I use by Enzymedica.
GET IT HERE:
Detox Occurs in Steps
It is critically important for toxins to be neutralized and eliminated once they get released back into circulation. Since different toxins can interfere with cell division and gene expression, it is of utmost importance to not allow these toxins to circulate for any length of time. Man-made toxins are “lipophilic” meaning that they are “fat lovers.”
Circulating toxins that have not been “neutralized” will find a fatty tissue and take up residence and where do we find an organ that is largely made up of fat? The human brain fits that bill and is a prime target. Neurological disturbances are born out of accumulated toxicity.
Here is where you liver comes in. It’s a filter for everything. Cells of the liver contain a group of enzymes called the “cytochrome P450, and their job is to neutralize these toxins and transform them from fat soluble to water soluble. There is a two-phase process that occurs. In phase 1, the detox process turns the structure of the toxin into an immediate metabolite.
Phase 2 of this process turns toxins into into something more water soluble. The toxin(s) then gets sent through the blood stream for the kidneys to filter and with any luck, we pee it out. We need the appropriate nutrients for this to happen completely.
If the liver is to do its job it needs quite a steady supply of antioxidants says Junger “To neutralize the free radicals and specific nutrients to “feed the chemical reactions of the two phases of the detox process.” If for whatever reason the liver does not get the nutritional support, it needs then the whole process is compromised. There are some great herbs that assist the process. There are some great herbal remedies I will share at the end of the article but I use this every day to help increase my bodies OWN antioxidants How PROTANDIM decreases free radicals
Let’s look at a few do’s and don’ts that should be in place for any solid detox strategy.
Reduce the workload of the digestive system. Although one does not need to drink strictly liquids, this will ease the digestive load. Perhaps one or two liquid meals and one very light solid for the first few days can accomplish this. Limit animal protein. You cannot rely on juicing alone for any length of time. Juicing raises blood sugar and will slow down the detox process.
If you are having a liquid meal, you should skip or go easy on fruit juices and stick with veggie juicing. There is too much sugar in the juice of fruits, and this is counter-productive in a detox. ½ a green apple should be sufficient if necessary for sweetness.
Dr. Junger’s approach is as follows:
- Use caution with the amount of raw cruciferous veggies: Cabbage, collard, kale, broccoli and bok choy are goitrogens. Aside from being goitrogenic (meaning they can disrupt the thyroid and cause a goiter) when raw they also may cause gas and bloat. These veggies are essential to good health, but we don’t want to go juicing bushels of them.
- Restore the 12-hour window. Make your last meal around 12 hours before you plan to have breakfast. The body needs an absolute minimum of 4 hours to detox deeply, so that means NO SNACKING AFTER YOUR LAST MEAL! You may know this as “Intermittent Fasting.”
- Eat at least one solid meal daily.Include plenty of leafy greens both raw and lightly steamed which makes them more digestible. For meats use wild caught game or wild caught fish (Canadian or Alaskan waters are cleanest) or if you do not have access to fish from these waters, eat wild caught fish and avoid farmed. Better yet, stick with fish as it is the easiest to digest.
- You can always take a few chlorella tablets and juice some cilantro and parsley to help move heavy metals through the body. After all, we are trying to detoxify. Heavy metals may be easier eliminated using both of these.
- Enhance the elimination system. The juice of a lemon in warm water is a great way to start clearing mucous from the alimentary canal. Better yet, essential oil of lemon contains more of the active constituent called d-limonene. Make sure you get a quality oil for ingestion like DoTerra or Young Living.
- Get plenty of fiber. Adequate fiber assures that things we are trying to eliminate do not get stuck in the colon and get reabsorbed by the body. My favorite is Renew Life Acacia fiber, or you can use apple pectin. You can find the Renew Life product here: Buy Renew Life Acacia Fiber
Other Great Detox Aids
- Use techniques that enhance elimination through the skin.Dry skin brushing (see the technique here): http://www.naturalhealthmag.com.au/content/body-brushing-essential-guide . Dry skin brushing not only helps with lymphatic drainage that requires movement or manipulation, but also helps to exfoliate the skin. Exfoliation assures that the toxins eliminate easily.
- Sweat it out. Near infrared saunas is another method that is super for removing toxins from the body if you have access to one. Some spas offer this service. Exercise like rebounding that is great for the movement of lymph can also be beneficial along with massage. Another way to eliminate through the skin is with a bath cocktail that consists of 1 cup Epsom salt, ½ cup of sea salt or pink salt and 2 tbsp. of bentonite clay.
- For a mood uplift or to relax muscles, add a few drops of essential oil .
- Wear Germanium against the skin. Like grounding, germanium has detoxifying effects as well as other benefits. I wear a smartband called HELO which contains germanium stones. Check out HELO .
- Connect to the Earth: Grounding is an age old technique, and all you need is some grass or sand and lack of shoes. It is as simple as walking barefoot on the ground, grass or sand. Also called “earthing,” this simple practice helps us ground our body and induces favorable physiological and electrophysiological changes that promote optimum health. According to mercola.com“When you ground to the electron-enriched earth, an improved balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system occurs. Earthing helps reduce the human toxic load we get from EMF’s (electro-magnetic frequencies) from our computers, cell phones, TV’s microwave ovens and home electrical wires.
- Support the liver: Milk Thistle has been clinically studied for its beneficial effect on the liver, but other bitter herbs can also be used like the dandelion (tea form is great), Oregon grape root and Gentian root have positive effects on bile production and have been shown to stimulate digestive enzymes. Of notable interest is berberine. Berberine is a constituent of oregon grape root and can be taken in supplement form. Oregon grape contains the alkaloids berberine, berbamine, canadine and hydrastine. It’s believed that these alkaloids inhibit the ability of bacteria, such as E. coli, to attach to human cells and thus prevent the spread of infection. I also like sweetish bitters by Gaia.
Another fantastic product for the liver is HIMALAYA BRAND – LIVER CARE. Liver Care is an Ayurvedic product that is given by prescription in some countries and has had many fabulous reviews by the doctors who use them. One of my favorite liver support products (and one that I use mostly daily) is called TMG or “trimethylglycine.” I use this one by BULK SUPPLEMENTS because it is pure, and it is inexpensive. (See sheet on resource page for savings on these products)
TMG has benefits reach far beyond liver support. You can start with the smaller one like I did, but now I purchase the larger one because it is so much more economical for me, and it has such a sweet taste it can double as a sugar substitute. It’s a great value here:
For more on the benefits of TMG check out Dr. Wilson’s article here:
Perhaps not as common but a definite favorite of mine are coffee enemas. Even the most effective alternative treatment centers for cancer use coffee enemas. Dr. Max Gerson used this method and made it popular as it was extremely effective for his cancer patients. It is explained that the components in coffee stimulate your liver to produce Glutathione S Transferase, a chemical in your body that is the master detoxifier. It binds to toxins. Then the toxins are released through your colon. It also causes the liver to “puke” as some describe it. Dr. Gerson claims great results using coffee enemas with his patients, as long as they also included a change of diet and lifestyle. The allopathic community does not support coffee enemas but they are recommended my most every functional medicine practitioner I have had the pleasure to hear speak.
- Don’t consume soda or carbonated beverages. Also eliminate fruit juice, sports drinks, decaffeinated coffee or tea. Stick with clear water or herbal teas.
- Don’t exercise heavily. A light rebounding workout or a walk should be fine but keep activity light. Some of the milder forms of Yoga or Pilates are fine also.
- Don’t consume anything packaged. Steer clear of GMO and if possible stick with organic veggies if you are eating their skin. Avoid wheat, dairy and all irritants to the digestive system after all; it is not a detox unless you REMOVE potential irritants.
- Avoid using all in one type products. Avoid products like the master cleanse (lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup) as a detox by itself. It does not allow for actual nutritional foods that thebody needs while detoxifying. Fiber is essential for the removal of toxins and this method does not provide adequate fiber.
- Keep the detox going for about 1 to three weeks. Longer periods are not necessary and have a plan for what you will do afterward. Even a weekend cleanout will be beneficial. It does not have to last seven days.
- Fasting has its major benefits, but it is not necessary to fast to detoxify the body. It may just take a bit longer. From my standpoint, some form of daily detoxification has proven very beneficial in my case.
For detoxification support try my easy program called “READY, SET, DETOX”. This easy program requires no fasting and contains many great strategies for toxin removal. Sample menu plans are provided as well as supplement strategies to optimize the detox process in a very safe fashion and all in just a weekend. Keep your eyes on the members area and make sure you have signed up for the newsletter.
Do not do a detox if you are:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- You have type 1 diabetes
- Suffer Adrenal fatigue or burnout
- You are in the process of cancer treatment and are losing weight.
- You are taking a medication that needs a stable blood concentration, including medications for preventing blood clots (like Coumadin or Warfarin), anti-arrhythmics (such as Tikosyn) or anticonvulsants (such as Tegretol) as absorption rates of these medications could be altered.