Toxicity is apparent in almost every individual living in a modern industrial society. Every day we are exposed to powerful chemicals from the food we eat, the polluted city air, medicine/drugs, occupational exposures, household chemicals, and cosmetic products we use so religiously. We eat more refined foods and sugars and load ourselves up with stimulants and/or sedatives. This increase in toxic substance exposure is threatening our health and can result in a wide variety of diseases.
Our bodies are extremely resilient and are more than capable of detoxifying and protecting you from harm, but the repeated exposure and the accumulation of toxic substances can overwhelm the body’s detoxifying mechanisms resulting in symptoms and disease. Toxins are normally eliminated via the urine, bowels, liver, skin (sweat), lymphatic system, and lungs, and if the function of these organs is compromised, toxins will accumulate more rapidly.
Who can benefit from Detoxification?
Everyone who lives in a major city or eats a “Standard American diet” can benefit from a general maintenance detoxification program yearly, but some people may need to detox for longer periods of time or more frequently. For example, known exposure to heavy metals or chemicals, confirmed via laboratory testing may require multiple rounds of detoxification before detectable levels begin to decline.
Some symptoms of toxicity include psychological and neurological symptoms, multiple chemical sensitivities, allergies, fatigue, headaches, joint pain, respiratory issues, circulatory deficits, high cholesterol, sore throat, anxiety, indigestion, bad breath, acne, eczema, psoriasis, sinusitis, kidney disease, infections, obesity, heart disease, and many more related problems.
Mechanisms of Detoxification
The main purpose of a detoxification plan is to reduce the intake of toxins while improving and maximizing elimination of toxins. This can be accomplished by adhering to a detoxification diet consisting of food and water containing minimal contamination, taking supplements to replenish nutrients being used up in the detoxification process, taking herbs to stimulate liver function and bile production, and ingesting large amounts of fiber to bind toxins in the intestines and promote their elimination through the bowels. Sweat promotion via exercise or sauna is a very effective method for eliminating fat soluble toxins and heavy metals through the skin and expectorating toxins accumulating in the lungs.
The Liver is our main detoxifying organ, which utilizes mechanisms such as filtering 2 quarts of blood every minute, producing and secreting bile full of cholesterol and fat-soluble toxins, and neutralizing harmful chemicals with enzymes referred to as Phase I and Phase II detoxification pathways. Enhancing and supporting the liver’s function is extremely important during the detoxification process and can be improved with dietary measures, specific nutrients, and botanical medicine.
A general approach to aiding the detoxification process involves:
· Detoxification diet
· Avoiding toxic substances including alcohol, drugs, and chemicals.
· Exercising and sweating regularly
· Ingesting nutrients and herbs to protect and stimulate the liver and GI function.
· Optional 3-day fast prior to beginning the program
Laboratory tests are often useful both before and after a detoxification program. Along with your routine cholesterol and liver function tests, we also offer the following: Hepatic Detox Profile, Environmental Pollutants Panel, Heavy Metal Toxicity Panel, and Food Allergy/Sensitivity Panel. With this information, we can design a program specifically for the individual by promoting the detoxification of specific toxins that were found to be elevated. Then we retest after the completion of the program to see if we need to continue with detoxification. Education on avoidance of toxic substances, detoxifying your home and environment, and living a detox lifestyle is also provided to prevent further accumulation of toxins.
· Colonic Hydrotherapy – used to wash out bile and toxins from the intestinal tract. Best for people with sluggish digestion and heavy metal toxicity.
· Constitutional Hydrotherapy – stimulates the contraction of smooth muscles of vital organs, increasing motility and blood flow to these organs.
· Sauna – Increases excretion of heavy metals and other fat soluble toxins from the skin.
· Haas MD, Elson, The New Detox Diet, Celestial Arts. 2004
· Murray ND, M.; Pizzorno ND, J., Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, 2nd Ed, Prima Pub. 1998