So, why detoxify? Is it really science-based or just a bunch of hoo-ha?
Illness used to be more external. Meaning, microorganisms were a common cause of illness. We didn’t have heart disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s all that long ago. Back in the 50′s, you didn’t see (as many) kids with bad skin, and no one had heard of ADD/ADHD. Autism affected 1 in 12,000 whereas today it affects about 1 in 90. Medicine was needed because of a farm or auto accident, or a microorganism. Along came antibiotics as a way to treat disease and somewhere along the way, we’ve been led to think that there is a drug for every complaint, regardless of its origin and even if its a ‘lifestyle’ disease. What is a ‘lifestyle’ disease you ask? Self made. Our daily choices. Over years and years.
For centuries, various cultures have valued therapies that promote the idea of cleansing and detoxifying. From the simple water fast to the elaborate regimes in spas, saunas, hydrotherapy treatments, and dietary modifications, detoxification has been a valued therapeutic tool. Sadly, here in America, detoxifying has gotten a bad reputation and is not well understood. In part, because a drug can’t be sold for it and it is preventative medicine which isn’t well marketed in our country.
The last time I saw a figure related to this, there were 4 MILLION chemical compounds identified. There are thousands of ‘natural’ compounds as well…together these pose a potential risk to human health. Not all toxins cause cancer…but they may make it harder for us to function. They can affect absorption, distribution, solubility, metabolism, and the excretion of the toxicant. In other words, you might not be sick enough to die, but your health may slowly decline as a result. Over time, the result is impaired function and chronic disease. In fact, new research from Drs’ Jacob and Lee and the NHANES data show that there is only a statistically significant correlation between obesity and type 2 diabetes and obesity/heart disease IF the liver enzyme GGT is elevated or high normal. In case you missed the significance of that, it demonstrates that toxicity is a cause of two of our biggest chronic diseases in the U.S.
How does toxicity cause chronic or ‘lifestyle’ disease?
What we know is that toxins are neutralized by the liver. They are literally transformed and are excreted via the urine or feces. But, if the liver can’t keep up with the work load, toxins are stored in fat cells. The liver up-regulates the assembly line so to speak to try and keep up, thus an elevation in the enzyme GGT. In time, insulin resistance occurs and again, the body must work harder and harder to function properly. Long-term, the susceptible people with high toxic loads, or sluggish livers because of genetics, get a chronic or lifestyle disease. As we learn more and more about all diseases, it all starts to tie itself neatly together. Our toxic world is slowly poisoning us.
Examples of toxins from our external environment
- Insecticides and herbicides on our food and in the air if you are a farm worker or use chemicals in your yard at home
- Solvents like paint remover, nail polish and remover, furniture polish, bleach, commercial laundry products and so forth
- Volatile organic compounds like vinyl chloride, toluene, trichloromethane, formaldehyde (found in building materials, finishing materials, and furnishings – think of your home and carpet, sheet rock, paint, floor sealers…)
- Molds, algae, pollens
- Electromagnetic radiation
- Alcohol, tobacco, recreational drugs
- Prescription and over the counter drugs
- Food additives, preservatives, dyes, coloring agents
- Heavy metals like lead (paint), mercury (CF bulbs, dental fillings, fish), excess manganese, copper
Or toxins can be created from within due to bacterial infection or from dysbiosis
- Candida albicans (which we all have but sugar feeds it and it can overgrow; metabolites or by-products of it can be found in stool and blood samples which means it IS affecting your overall health)
- E. Coli
- Campylobacter jejunii
- C. Difficile
- Klebsiella pneumoniae
In keeping with science and not hoo-ha medicine, I can tell you that we now have identified HOW toxins are excreted. For example, acetaminophen, steroids, estrogens, melatonin, morphine, naproxen, and hundreds of other chemicals are metabolized in phase II of the liver via glucuronidation. Toxic metals are joined with glutathione and then methylated in order to be excreted. Caffeine is metabolized via Acetylation conjugation. It truly goes on and on. The toxic load we are exposed to today is overwhelming, thus, our increasing rates of disease.
You should always do a detox program with medical supervision. Not done properly, toxins are released from storage too quickly and can make people very sick. We all have different abilities to detoxify, so this really is not something to practice on yourself with.
You are a good candidate if you
- Are healthy and wish to stay that way!
- Feel sluggish and use caffeine and/or chocolate to get through life
- Crave sugar, are pre-diabetic, or have been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome
- Are more irritable than you’d like to be, or are having hormone-related issues (PMS, lower sex drive)
- Notice that you aren’t sleeping well or don’t feel rested after a full nights sleep
- Experience more frequent headaches
- Notice more muscle and joint pain
- Have allergies or flu-like symptoms
- Feel ‘funny’ as you walk down the aisle of cleaning products at the grocery store
- Are more sensitive than others to smoke (cigarette, wood, drugs)
You are especially a good candidate if you worry about your long-term health and believe in prevention of disease….or have a family history of a degenerative disease and wish to decrease risk.
- Lose a few pounds!
- Have regular bowel movements!
- Have more energy than they’ve had in years!
- Wake up feeling rested!
- Think with a clear head!
- Have less joint pain!
- Experience fewer nasal and digestive issues
- Feel healthier than they have in a long, long time!!
I offer detox workshops through out the year. Follow me via Facebook, Twitter, or my newsletter to keep up with current events! One should do an official cleanse 3-4 times per year. And we should all do what we can to reduce our toxic burden on a daily basis! There are always many natural ways to detoxify on a daily basis. There is hope. Knowledge is power and you CAN feel better !
To your health!