Detox is not a diet – but a function our body carries out every day!
Detoxification is a very important metabolic process carried out daily by our liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, skin and lymph system. But what does detoxification mean? Put simply it is the metabolic process whereby toxins and chemicals from outside the body and within the body go through a series of enzymatic reactions in 3 phases of detoxification, to enable them to be transformed into a less toxic more water-soluble compound that can be excreted by the body.
Now when I say detoxing is not just a fad diet, I don’t mean it isn’t important and that detoxification diets don’t help – when these systems are not working properly it is important to support them and return them to proper functioning, to ensure the body does not accumulate harmful toxins. The accumulation of harmful toxins both from our external environment, lifestyle & diet and our internal metabolic processes, can lead to inflammation, disease, illness, infertility, hormonal imbalances, mental health problems like anxiety and depression and so many other conditions related with poor health. What I am saying is that if your detoxification pathways are not working well, it is best to seek the help of a qualified health practitioner to help you on this journey and not just Dr Google!
“What happens to our body if our detoxification pathways are not functioning in the way they should be? “
“What symptoms might I see if I have toxic build up?”
- Sluggishness (mind and body)
- Brain fog
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Excessive sinus issues (post nasal drip, congestion, infections)
- Gas and foul smelling stools
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Heartburn or other digestive complaints
- Trouble sleeping
- Memory or concentration difficulties
- Hormonal imbalances and PMS
- Food cravings
- Water retention
- Skin problems (rashes, eczema, acne, psoriasis)
- Puffy eyes or dark circles under the eyes
- Bad breath
AND HAS BEEN LINKED TO HEALTH CONDITIONS LIKE:
- Anxiety & depression
- Mood disorders
- Food allergies & intolerances
- Autoimmune conditions like Fibromyalgia
- Inflammation and associated conditions
- Chronic fatigue
However, these symptoms can also be linked to other health conditions and illnesses, it is important to seek advice from your general health practitioner if you are concerned about any symptoms you are experiencing.
“10 WAYS TO HELP REDUCE OUR TOXIC OVERLOAD”
- Eat organic foods – a huge part of our chemical and toxic overload comes from the foods we eat (try to eat about 8 serves of different coloured fruit & veg daily – bitter foods are also great for increasing detoxification).
- Eat wholefoods – packaged, junk and take-away foods contain preservatives, additives, colours and other chemicals that can overload our liver and cause a breakdown of the detoxification pathways & leaky gut leading to an accumulation of toxins in tissues.
- Eat fibre – most people are not eating enough fibre, without fibre our bodies can not effectively excrete wastes and if you aren’t using your bowels regularly, toxins are not being removed from the body!
- Drink water – Like fibre, people don’t have enough, water aids our kidneys to filter and clean the toxins from our blood! Aim to drink at least 1.5 – 2 litres of filtered water daily.
- Watch what you put on your skin – our skin is our largest organ and everything we put on it gets absorbed. Many body and beauty products contain harmful chemicals that are absorbed through the skin entering our blood system.
- Exercise daily – it is so important for so many aspects of health – it aids in keeping our organs healthy, our digestive system moving to eliminate waste and our blood and lymph circulation moving. Get outside in nature if you can, as it aids in reducing stress which can have a major effect on increasing toxic overload.
- Cut out (or at least significantly reduce) alcohol, drugs and non-essential medications – besides causing toxic overload, while the liver is removing these toxins as a priority, it is not doing other important jobs like converting our B vitamins into active forms for use by the body!
- Heal the gut – a healthy digestive system will aid in detoxification, rather than allowing toxins to seep into the body through leaky gut junctions, gut imbalance can be a major source of toxic burden.
- Relax – in today’s society stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, lack of time & many other lifestyle factors cause us to be in a constant state of activity. Take time to relax each day, as these stresses on the body can add to the toxic load.
- Seek help – see a qualified nutritionist to have your diet and lifestyle assessed for possible toxic accumulation and overload, so an individualised treatment plan can be developed to get your detoxification organs and pathways working at their optimal best!
“WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO SEEK HELP FROM A QUALIFIED PRACTITIONER IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE TOXIC ACCUMULATION & OVERLOAD”
- The signs and symptoms associated with toxic accumulation and overload, may also be related to other health conditions, that need evaluation and consideration.
- Detoxification phases require specific nutrients to work efficiently, if you are deficient in these nutrients, detoxing may actually create harmful metabolites, creating more toxic load, instead of reducing it.
- Detoxification in the case of toxic overload requires a slow and measured individualised approach, to prevent harm to the body – you can detox without feeling ill!
- Detoxing can sometimes cause side effects like headaches, nausea, digestive upset and more. These symptoms need to be monitored and mitigated to ensure health not harm.
- Detoxification in children is often needed (especially in relation to heavy metal accumulation), this should always be carried out under the care of a health professional and monitored closely.
- Detoxification is not recommended in pregnancy, as harmful metabolites may cross the placenta, reaching the growing baby.