Without a doubt we have all heard of “going on a cleanse” or “doing a detox”, but one of the questions no one seems to be asking is – is this right for everyone?
The answer is no! To really understand this, we need to talk first about the primary organs involved in detoxification in the body. The primary organs of detoxification in your body are the liver, the gallbladder, kidneys, and GI. The liver is going to do most of the heavy lifting here, as it provides most of the key enzymes and pathways to break these toxins down; however, the kidneys and GI still need to be able to effectively filter them out of the blood and excrete them. The gallbladder is more of a storage area for bile, which will help with fat soluble toxins, and if under-functioning, could lead to slowed or reduced elimination. Many people, including those with type-2 diabetes, obesity, cholesterol irregularities, kidney disease, high blood pressure, gallstones, leaky gut, diverticulitis, Crohn’s, thyroid dysfunction, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and biliary stasis will not have the necessary function in these key organ systems to effectively clear the toxins that they are trying to flush out of their system. This could lead to feeling sick.... they literally call it the “detox flu”. It also will stress the rest of the body once these toxins go back into circulation, presenting an even greater stressor to the body than before.
So, what to do? Most people, even those who would consider themselves healthy, could benefit from doing a detox prep before doing a detox. This can be variable in length and complexity depending on the person, and if you currently have any of the conditions listed above they will need to be addressed before starting the detox. As a general prep, even just starting a daily multi-vitamin and adding extra magnesium, selenium, vitamin D, vitamin C, and Glutathione will boost many of the functions of the liver and immune system to help prepare for the detox. Increasing water intake to at least 1 ounce per kilogram of body weight (for easy math just divide your body weight by 2) will help to increase the filtration of the kidneys and increase blood volume, which will also help to more efficiently clear things from the body. Dietary factors would include eliminating any processed or boxed foods and “eating the rainbow” from the fruits and vegetables aisle. Typically, the properties that give fruits and vegetables their many colors are also the ones that are providing necessary vitamins and minerals for those detox pathways mentioned above. Ideally, your produce is organic and you limit or eliminate grains and breads from your diet during this time to reduce your exposure to glyphosate, a very prevalent and harmful toxin in agricultural chemicals.
If you really want to go all in, reducing your toxic load from your diet is only the start, as it is estimated that we are exposed to hundreds of toxins daily from our environment as well - the worst one being our home! From the candles we burn, to the flame retardants in our carpets and bedding, the products we clean our hair, body, clothes and counters with, and all the make-up and hair products, we are literally bombarded with chemicals every day. Ideally, you are using skin and hair care that contains non-toxic ingredients, natural detergents and cleaners for your clothing, and plant-based cleaners for your counters. Most candles, unless using organic soy-based wax with essential oil fragrance, are off-gassing chemicals into the air you breathe around your home.
For some resources, Think Dirty and Healthy Living are two apps that can help you to better understand the toxicity levels of some products you are using. There are also many free resources on the internet under “non-toxic homes” or by searching “natural based cleaners”. Unfortunately, a full breakdown of all the places where toxins hide in our foods and our homes is just too long for this post (I don’t want to bore you all to sleep).
As a recap, detoxing, while beneficial, needs to be done correctly to achieve the desired outcome. Assessing your current state, supporting the organs of elimination, and limiting toxins are all part of the process that when done correctly can lead to better healing and overall sense of health.
Need help? Ask one of our highly knowledgeable doctors today about how YOU should best progress. We’re here to answer any of your questions to better your overall health!