Detoxification is the process of eliminating wastes and toxins from the body that have accrued in the cells, tissues and organs.
During the regular course of a person’s life, we collect unwanted toxins from the food, air, water and environment that we live in. The body performs daily metabolic processes to help eliminate these accumulated wastes. However, due to a combination of unhealthy diets and increased exposure to pollutants, our organs of elimination can become overburdened with the task of keeping up with these additional impurities.
The main channels of elimination in the body are the skin, lungs, liver, lymph, kidneys and bowel.
• The skin is often the first line of defense against any pollutants, and is essential in detoxifying the cells through the sweat glands.
• The lungs help to filter the air that we breathe and protect us from many inhaled toxins.
• The liver and lymph system have the large job of filtering our blood of any unnecessary molecules,
• While the kidneys and bowel eliminate these wastes through the urinary and digestive systems.
If any part in this chain of detoxification is overtaxed, the body begins to store surplus toxins and is not able to perform optimally.
In order to offset the damage that these impurities may do in the body, it is often advisable to undergo a detoxification program 1 or 2 times per year. Taking a few weeks to assist your body in detoxification can go a long way toward allowing it to work optimally.
• Typically, a detox program starts with a diet that is free from toxins and allergens. Specifically avoid substances that burden the liver like alcohol, chemicals, pesticides, caffeine, nicotine or dyes.
• It is combined with supplements and herbs that are targeting the elimination organs to get rid of stored contaminants while supporting the digestive system.
• In addition, several lifestyle adjustments, such as sleep and exercise patterns, can help to increase the overall effects of the detoxification process.
Finding a Detox Program...
Before starting any detoxification program it is vital to contact your physician or healthcare provider to assist in finding the right plan for your health. Finding a good supplemental regimen with basic vitamin, mineral and fiber support is critical. And programs that are:
• Have no added chemicals,
• And emphasize liver herbs
…can be very important to the overall success of the detoxification.
Products that will aid in increasing the overall health of the liver include milk thistle, dandelion, schisandra, methionine, bupleurum and alpha lipoic acid.
But if you only take supplements in order to detoxify, then the body is not receiving the full benefit of detoxification.
The diet is a very important, if not the MOST important, part of the process of elimination and must be followed in order for the program to be most effective.
• Diet should consist of steamed, roasted or raw vegetables, fruits (try to get 25-30 grams of fiber per day to help regulate bowel function), and high quality lean meats like chicken, turkey and fish.
• Use organic foods as much as possible due to the pesticides and chemicals used on non-organic foods.
• Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day (8 glasses).
• Continue to exercise each day to allow elimination through the sweat glands.
Occasionally, patients will feel like they are getting sick during the detoxification period.
This can be normal and typically does not last more than 3 days. Your body is releasing pollutants from tissues and they are circulating in the blood for removal by the body and may cause some symptoms of illness. Some typical early signs and symptoms of detoxification can be headaches, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, rash, runny nose, flu-like symptoms & muscle aches. If these symptoms persist or are unbearable, contact your health care provider and discontinue the program.
In addition to the diet and supplement regimen, it is important to assist all of the elimination systems in working efficiently to get rid of the wastes in your body.
Here are some options that will help the detoxification process:
• Sleep 7-8 hours every night,
• Saunas and steam baths aid elimination if done in moderation,
• Take at least 30 minutes to eat each meal,
• Eat slowly and chew thoroughly,
• Do not read or watch TV while eating.
Through digestive and nutritional support, the body can decrease the overall toxic burden and begin to function more efficiently. Also, remembering that living healthfully every day through diet, exercise and supplementation while avoiding excess pollutants will give your body the best advantage in ridding itself of daily wastes. Taking the time to assist your body in detoxification can to much to help it work optimally.
- Dr. Kristi Wrightson, ND, MS, RD
Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is general and is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any condition, illness, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.