What is detoxification?
Detoxification is synonymous with metabolism: the process by which the body neutralizes and solubilizes (dissolves in fluid) toxins, and transports them to organs (like the liver or kidneys), so that they can be excreted from the body.
The body does this every day, all the time, on its own (a million times per second!). So why do we need to enhance this process?
The short answer is that we are prehistoric human bodies, living in a world that is much more toxic than we have evolved to handle.
- Eighty thousand toxic chemicals have been released into our environment since the dawn of the industrial revolution, and very few have been tested for their long-term impact on human health.
- The CDC has reported that the average person in the United States has at least 212 chemicals in their blood and urine.
- The Environmental Working Group did a study in 2005 that tested the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies born in the United States. What they found was absolutely heartbreaking:
~287 known toxins that passed through the placenta.
~180 toxins linked to Cancer.
~208 toxins known to cause birth defects.
~217 toxic to the brain.
- See the study here:Body Burden Newborns
Why do we need to enhance detoxification?
- In a healthy body, the process of detoxification runs smoothly. When we are toxic, the mechanisms for detoxification become overwhelmed and sluggish, and certain toxins can remain active longer than we want or than our systems can handle. This increases oxidative stress, makes us sick and impedes normal metabolism. It also causes fluid retention, bloat, and puffiness.
- If you are overweight, you are toxic by definition because most environmental chemicals like pesticides and plastics are stored in your fat tissue. As you lose weight, you need to flush out the toxins that get released from your fat tissue. Otherwise, they can poison your metabolism and impair weight loss.
- Excessive weight and obesity aside, nearly every disease on the planet has links to toxicity, including dementia, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and digestive issues.
- When our detoxification system becomes overwhelmed and overloaded, we start developing symptoms and get sick, but it may take years of accumulated stress and toxins to get to that point.
Total Body Burden
We refer to the accumulation of toxins in the body as the total body burden (TBB). The total load includes things like:
- Heavy metals, mercury and lead, petrochemicals, herbicides(eg glyphosate), pesticides, and fertilizers.
- Food allergies, environmental allergies, molds and toxins from molds.
- Stress — the mental, emotional and spiritual toxins that affect us; isolation, loneliness, anger, jealousy, hostility— which all translate into toxins in our system.
- Medications can sometimes be toxins or at least factor into the mix.
- Internal toxins, like pathogenic bacteria, fungus, and yeast that are inside our gut and may be affecting us, as well as hormonal and metabolic toxins we need to eliminate.
- Genetic Variations.
Now why aren’t we all sick given this incredible load of toxins? Because each of us is genetically and biochemically unique, which means some of us are good at getting rid of toxins and waste while others are not.
To help you get started on reducing your toxic burden we have put together a beginner’s list for you. Many of these items have to do with removing your exposure to toxins in the first place. A good analogy for why is to think about what you would do if you burnt your hand on a stovetop. Your body wouldn’t start healing until you removed your hand from the stovetop in the first place.
12 Simple Steps to Enhance Detoxification
- Drink Clean. Drink plenty of clean water, at least eight to 10 glasses of filtered water a day. Add sea salt or electrolytes to improve cellular hydration. Up to 70% of tap water in the US contains significant amounts of arsenic.
- Eliminate properly. Keep your bowels moving – at least once a day. And if you can’t get going, then do not be afraid to seek help! You may need to work on improving dysbiosis, include more fibre or probiotics to your diet, or replenish magnesium stores.
- Eat clean. Focus on unprocessed foods, organic produce and high-quality animal products to eliminate the toxins, hormones, and antibiotics in your food. “Food should be good for you. But some isn’t. More than 10,000 additives are allowed in food. Some are direct additives that are deliberately formulated into processed food. Others are indirect additives that get into food during processing, storage and packaging. Many are linked to serious health problems, including endocrine disruption and cancer.”
See the following list for ideas: Dirty Dozen Food Guide
- Eat detoxifying food. Aim for 8 to 10 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables a day, particularly those in the family of the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, collards, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi) and the garlic family (garlic and onions), which help increase sulfur in the body and help detoxification.
- Think about “how” you eat. “chew, chill, cherish.” Your stomach doesn’t have teeth. Make sure you chew well and relax while eating.
- Minimize drugs. Avoid stimulants, sedatives, and drugs, such as nicotine, and reduce alcohol intake.
- Get moving. Utilize low to moderate intensity exercise five days a week with focus on conditioning your cardiovascular system, strengthening and stretching exercises.
- Sweat at least three times a week, using a sauna, steam, or a detox bath. If you experience temperature intolerance, this may be something you have to work up to. A foot bath can be a good place to start.
- Mind-body detox: Our perceptions, habitual thought patterns and beliefs create cocktails of chemicals that influence cellular activity. Practice gratitude, breathwork, meditation, biofeedback, grounding, nature therapy/forest bathing or being of service to others.
- Detox your bath and body care products: Have you ever checked out the skin deep database before? Skin Deep Our skin is our LARGEST ORGAN, and literally drinks most of what you put on it. ‘100% pure’, or ‘Natural’, really doesn’t mean anything. As consumers, we need to look deeper, do our own research, and rely on actual testing and research to lead our choices. And a note for women, this includes feminine hygiene products too!
- Sleep detoxifies the brain via the glymphatic system. Have a relaxing bedtime routine such as drinking herbal tea, reading or meditation. Avoid blue light in the form of computer, phone or tv screens before bed and expose yourself to natural light upon waking.
- Breathe clean air.
If you already practice all of these things and are STILL struggling you will want to look into other factors that are influencing your ability to detox:
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Hidden infections and dysbiosis of your microbiome
- Genetic variants
Hopefully you found this list helpful. If so, leave a comment on facebook or below to let us know how you make out!