Detox – Everything You Need To Know
Detoxing has become a popular term in health circles with fad cleanses coming into style, quick fixes, false claims and a zillion different detox products. Do we need to do a detox? Detox from what? What’s the difference between detox and a clinical detox? Let’s break this topic open and get to the bottom of it
Detoxification, Detox, and a Clinical Detox?
Detoxification is a natural metabolic process that occurs in the body every day, breaking down environmental and dietary toxins and by products, and subsequently excreted from the body. This detoxifying process occurs in several parts of the body; the liver, the digestive tract, skin and lymphatic tissue, but it’s important to note that every cell creates by products and pushes them out for these organs to collect and remove.
A fad ‘Detox’ sometimes referred to as a cleanse, is usually designed by those without medical or formal nutritional training, sold to the general population and often involves buying very expensive products. This approach doesn’t take into account your personal circumstances nor does it address your specific nutritional needs, and as they are sold to the general public, they have to have small doses, safe for anyone. This often leads to lots of money spent on things you may not even need, at doses that won’t do anything and no results.
A Clinical Detox is done under the care and guidance of a health professional, tailored to what toxins and by products you’ve been exposed to and targets the body’s existing detox pathways in the liver, digestive system, skin and lymphatic tissues to eliminate them. Perhaps your liver is breaking metabolites down but the digestive system isn’t eliminating them, and your skin is attempting to do that job for them. Or due to long term exposure, your liver can no longer process as quickly as things are coming in, and it has started storing exotoxins in the lymphatic system. By enhancing those naturally occurring detox pathways, we are able to reduce the load on the detoxing organs.
A clinical detox, if performed well, does not have to be a painful experience, eating just grapefruit and lettuce A clinical detox is a period of rest from exposure to diet and environmental toxins whilst simultaneously supporting the capacity of your key detox organs
How Do We Detox?
Through diet and environment, we are exposed to more harmful irritants than ever before, and although our body was designed to expel by products that are harmful to itself, the incoming toxins can be too much for the body to process. What types of toxins do we process on a daily basis?
- Medications (over the counter as well as prescription)
- Environmental exposures (Eg: mould, construction materials, new paint)
- Byproducts of cellular and metabolic activity
- Contaminants in the soil food is grown in (Eg: car exhausts near farming areas)
- Insecticides and pesticides in the environment and on our food
- Processed food (eg: molecular changes to food when it is being processed)
- Food additives, flavours, enhancers, colours, preservatives etc
- Non stick frying pans, plastic bottles, containers and utensils
- Less than ideal water sources
- Synthetic clothing and bedding
- Toiletries and beauty additives – learn more about clean beauty regimes
All of these are broke down in the liver via 2 pathways known as Phase 1 & 2, taking them from active fat-soluble particles, to inactive water soluble molecules ready for the intestines and kidney to release. These 2 phases require quite the list of nutrients to perform this vital detoxing job and without enough of these nutrients, the liver will store the toxins elsewhere in the body, usually in adipose tissue (tissue made up of fat cells)
Who Needs a Detox?
A ‘detox’ was previously a term used when describing the process of people withdrawing from drug substances, giving up cigarettes, or something that was only needed by those with terrible diets. Now the picture of someone who needs a detox looks very different. Now anyone with a large load of toxins coming in and/or impaired detox pathways could require a Clinical Detox.
Genetics and background also influence your body’s ability to detox. People with the same diet and environmental exposure have been known to process the toxins differently.
Generally most people are advised to undergo an intentional detox 1-2 times per year for about 4-6 weeks.
Symptoms and signs of Excessive Toxin Burden
- Food sensitivities
- Sensitive to perfumes and toiletries
- Auto immune diagnosis
- Abdominal Bloating
- Prone to thrush
- Reoccurring UTIs
- Skin issues
- Heavy periods
- Unexplained weight gain (stores toxins in adipose tissue)
- Antibiotic use
- Prescription medications
- Deviating from good health
The 3 Steps of a Clinical Detox
- Tame those incoming toxins. You don’t need a fancy juicer for this, just remove any dietary irritants and include high vegetable intake for fibre and good quality protein for optimal enzyme production.
- Repair and Restore detox pathways. This is where supplements usually come into the plan, High nutrients to fuel your body’s functions, anti inflammatory herbs and possibly a powder to optimise that nutrient intake quicker.
- Eliminate it out. Gentle stretching and strengthening to promote movement as well as active exercise to encourage sweat and circulation
Detoxification processes are a science, not a hobby. A clinical detox must be tailored to you and your requirements, not an off-the-shelf product sold to everyone
How Will You Feel After a Clinical Detox?
With the elimination of toxins in the body, all bodily functions improve. You can expect to have:
- More mental energy – concentrate and focus for longer, feel more present
- Enhanced energy production leads to more physical energy – enjoy greater agility and less physical fatigue
- Clearer skin – as the skin will no longer need to be eliminating the body of its internal problems
- Sleeping better – less toxic burden means the body can focus on producing feel good hormones and rest more soundly
Empower your health with a tailored clinical detox with your Naturopath Carly