Detoxification is a familiar word but rarely understood. Within this blog you will become acquainted with how the many body systems work together to purify the overwhelming amount of toxins we are exposed to everyday. Scripture is purposeful on the topic of purifying and cleansing. For example, the psalmist proclaims “Cleanse me with hyssop” (Ps 51:9). We have come to know through our experiences and in our clinic that detoxification happens continually. The primary pathways of removing waste are urination, defecation, exhalation(breathing), and sweating.
God has created us with an innate ability to detoxify. He also provided the nutrients in our food that effectively supports this process in our body. Organ systems such as the liver, kidney, gallbladder, colon, lymph and skin are considered the major supporters of detoxification. If we do not intentionally support the processes of detoxification, our body will accumulate toxins. This is a consequence of our environment, poor dietary choices, stress, lack of sleep and much more. When these lifestyle factors are out of order, our natural ability to detoxify is impeded. The same way clothes need detergent to break dirt off clothing so it can be rinsed away, the body also needs nutrients to support the detoxification process which performs a similar function in the body. The detoxification process binds and removes toxic waste out of cells and organs and finally excretes them from the body. The need for more detoxification nutrients rises with increase stress, age, and the accumulation of waste from our food or environment.
You may have read that following a detoxification program should be considered annually or even every six months. This is a good practice however, the detoxification of chemical exposures we are subject to is an unseen and continual threat in the air, water, and our food. This amazing house cleaning process in the body never takes a break. And good thing because the toxic exposures to our body is relentless. The CDC reports that the average adult American has 212 toxic substances in their blood stream that are cancer causing and life threatening. Supporting detoxification systems daily is wise in the fight to live disease free.
Toxic burden can lead to many disease states such as metabolic syndrome, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia. With these types of diseases, cellular energy is depleted due to toxin interference of nutritional support for the energy process. Not properly addressing detoxification will allow further burden on the immune system, contributing to anxiety, arthritis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, headaches, digestive disorders, and heart disease. For thousands of years naturopaths have understood that nutritional detoxification support is essential to ensure vital energy, vigor, and restored health. With more than 100,000 chemicals introduced to our world since the industrial revolution, everyone can benefit from naturally boosting your own natural detoxification processes.
Every cell in the body as well as specific organs such as the liver, kidney, intestines and even the brain require extensive detoxification support. Fat soluble toxins imbedded in fat cells is a simple sign of over-toxicity. Just as grease in pans or clothes from cooking is difficult to remove, over-toxicity can be a challenges to overcome if you don’t have the right solutions. When we look closely at the body’s detox process we see that copious amounts of certain nutrients support purification of the body systems for optimal health.
There are a multitude of proteins and enzymes within the detoxification process that depend heavily on lifestyle and nutrition. Macronutrient and micronutrient intake are needed in the multiple phases of detoxification. Micronutrients required to support detoxification include; Vitamin A, B2, B3, folate, C, E, iron, calcium, copper, zinc, magnesium, and selenium. These have shown to activate phase I detox enzymes, (Nordberg M. Metallothioneins: historical review and state of knowledge. Talanta 1998) Glycine and glutathione additionally are key phase II detoxifiers along with CoQ10 that converts toxins for excretion. Further, milk thistle has hepatoprotective/trophorestorative/antioxidant properties that actually protect and repair liver damage as well as increase bile flow for toxin excretion. It is the amazing polyphenolic family of compounds within milk thistle called silymarins that are noted for this beneficial property. Sulfur containing amino acids such as cysteine and methionine, are critical in good nutrition support. These are available in foods such as garlic, ginger, onion, broccoli, and eggs that help activate detoxification. Developing a daily lifestyle of consuming these superfoods will prove well to prevent and reverse disease as well as maintain optimal health.
While it may not be possible to completely eliminate our exposure to toxins, we can minimize the damage by:
- Purchasing pesticide free, local fruits and vegetables as much as possible and wash produce before eating. Remember that organic doesn’t necessarily mean pesticide free.
- Limit consumption of processed foods. Shop the perimeter and use the 80/20 (alkaline/acid foods) rule to balance your plate.
- Store food in glass to avoid BPA and phalates.
- Practice relaxation/prayer and meditating and thinking on what is good, pure and holy.
- Drink pH neutral (7.0) water or higher from non-plastic containers.
- Exercise done properly reduces inflammation and promotes a feeling of well-being.
- Use pharmaceutical grade supplements with full-disclosure labels that don’t have binders, fillers or excipients.