Some of the medical profession will suggest that our bodies are perfectly capable of detoxing itself and don’t need a specific diet or changes to lifestyle. Whilst in a sense this is true, and your detoxification organs work hard, every day 24/7 our bodies were not designed with the industrial revolution in mind. This brought about huge changes to our environment and therefore, huge demands on our body.
More than ever we eat, drink, use, breathe and absorb tens of thousands of chemicals from processed foods, pesticides, skin and hair care products, air and water pollution, heavy metals and plastics. Yet from an evolutionary perspective, we are the same species, with the same detoxification capabilities as our ancestors had, who didn’t have to deal with such a toxic overload and endocrine disruptors. No wonder we often feel so out of kilter!
How do you feel if your body is detoxifying properly? What does ‘Normal’ feel like?
These are a few of the benefits of detoxification and elimination:
- you feel energised
- you sleep through the night
- your mood often improves because you generally feel better
- menstrual cycles are ‘easier’ with fewer symptoms like cramps and moodiness
- menopause is less challenging due to effective hormone clearance
- weight management is easier – effective detox is imperative for weight loss
- healthy levels of cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure
- supple, clear skin – your skin is an exit organ for excess waste in the form of acne and impurities
- improved digestion and absorption
- healthy immune system
What is detoxification?
Your main detoxification organs are the liver and kidneys. The bowels and urinary tract are extensions of these organs as wastes exit your body. The skin (via sweat) and the lungs (via breathing/expelling CO2) are also considered detoxification organs.
All together, these organs are often referred to as detoxification pathways.
Bile production: bile helps the body break down and absorb fats, cholesterol, and some vitamins. Despite all the information that “cholesterol is bad”, it is actually very important. Cholesterol is part of the makeup of our cells, our sex hormones (oestrogen and testosterone), our steroid hormones which regulate inflammation, and is part of our immune response. We need cholesterol, but in the correct levels!
Fat and carbohydrate metabolism: bile breaks down fats to make them easier to digest and carbohydrates are processed to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Think of your liver as the biggest fat burning organ, but also very important in the role against prevention of diabetes.
Vitamin and mineral storage: the liver stores vitamins A, D, E, K and B12. It keeps significant amounts of these vitamins stored. These fat soluble vitamins are responsible for a number of functions too. E.g. A – vision, immune system, reproductive systems, bone and tooth development and also lung and kidney function. D, along with calcium keeps bones strong, helps improve immune function and helps reduce inflammation. E – acts as an antioxidant to protect your body against free radicals, another immune booster and helps keep your blood moving through vessels without clotting. K – conversely helps your blood to clot, (when needed) also helps your body to make proteins for health bones and tissues.
Immune function: the liver contains high numbers of immune cells called Kupffer cells. These cells destroy any pathogens which enter the liver via the gut.
Detoxification: The liver filters and removes compounds from the body. This includes toxins that our body produces as part of normal metabolism; pathogens like viruses and bacteria, cholesterol, hormones that our body excretes once it’s used them eg. oestrogen, external toxins – alcohol, drugs, chemicals we encounter through food, breathing, personal care products and our environment.
- Diarrhoea after eating fatty foods
- Fatigue, low energy, difficulty getting out of bed
- Feeling bloated or sluggish
- Food intolerances
- High cholesterol
- Irritable moods
- Liver and gallbladder diseases, yellowish skin
- Nausea, extreme morning sickness
- PMT, menopausal and hormonal issues
- Problems shifting weight
- Skin problems such as acne
- Sleep disturbances, especially waking during the night between 12-3am
- Skin problems such as acne
- Family or personal history of digestive issues, high cholesterol, hormonal imbalance, liver/gallbladder disease
- Poor diet
- Taking medication
- Toxin exposure – for example, working in an area with pesticide or herbicide spraying, chemical use at work, travel etc
- Regulating fluid and electrolyte (mineral) balance in the body: vital for your cells to be able to perform their functions. Regulating fluid and mineral balance also means that they have a hand in controlling your blood pressure.
- Regulating the body’s pH, (acid-alkaline balance)
- Hormone secretion: the kidneys secrete a number of chemicals which initiates the release of hormones such as antidiuretic hormone and aldosterone
- Blood filtration: hence why they are a major detoxification organ.
Due to this combination of tasks, the kidneys also help control excessive blood glucose and mineral imbalances. They excrete wastes from muscle metabolism and urea from protein breakdown. They flush out urinary irritants (eg: bacteria) and excess fluid.
Once the kidneys filter the blood, waste products are excreted in urine. Just like the liver, if the kidneys can’t do their job properly, waste can re-circulate in the blood or become stored in the body, leading to all sorts of nasty symptoms.
The kidneys can become damaged through toxic overload, excess alcohol, high blood pressure, some medications and chemotherapy. Unlike the liver, it does not regenerate. Dialysis is used when kidneys are severely damaged. Protection and prevention is the best form of defence.
- Arthritis and gout
- Blood in your urine
- Dark circles or puffiness under your eyes
- Dark, cloudy or smelly urine
- Fluid retention, oedema
- High blood pressure
- Kidney infections
- Kidney stones or other kidney diseases (nephrotic syndrome, glomerulonephritis)
- Painful urination
- Low urine output
- Skin problems such as acne, eczema or psoriasis
- Urinary tract infections (especially chronic or recurring infections)
- Family or personal history of high blood pressure, oedema, arthritis, diabetes, urinary tract infections, or kidney problems
- Poor diet and fluid intake
- Taking medication
Additional support for your detox
Ensuring adequate sleep each night is essential in supporting your body’s health and natural detoxification system. Sleeping allows your brain and body to replenish, as well as remove toxic waste byproducts that have accumulated throughout the day.
With sleep deprivation, your body does not have time to perform those functions, so toxins can build up and affect several aspects of health. Poor sleep has been linked to short- and long-term health consequences, such as stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Water transports waste products, efficiently removing them through urination, breathing, or sweating. So staying properly hydrated is important for detoxification. It can also affect Blood Pressure, Cholesterol levels, stress and depression, pain, excess body weight, asthma and allergies.
Taking deliberate steps to reduce stress are so important and often overlooked, stress can be one of the a major toxins to our body and mind. Common symptoms can include extreme fatigue, weight gain – in particular around our midsection, low mood, excessive sweating and interrupted sleep.
Antioxidants protect your cells against damage caused by molecules called free radicals. However, alcohol, tobacco smoke, a poor diet, and exposure to pollutants can produce excessive free radicals and this can be difficult for our bodies to cope with.
By causing damage to your body’s cells, these molecules have been implicated in a number of conditions, such as dementia, heart disease, liver disease, asthma, and certain types of cancer. It is important that consume enough plant based foods and in many cases take supplements to manage our health effectively.
Examples of antioxidants include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Glutathione. Eating sulfur-rich foods like eggs, broccoli, and garlic helps enhance the function of glutathione, a major antioxidant produced by your body that is heavily involved in
Consumption of sugar and processed foods has been linked to obesity and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
These diseases hinder your body’s ability to naturally detoxify itself by harming organs that play an important role, such as your liver and kidneys.
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which inflammation and liver cell damage and fat builds up in your liver. It can be caused by; a poor diet usually high in trans fats, sugar and processed foods. Similar to Cirroshis, which is when your liver is permanently damaged with scar tissue and prevents your liver from functioning properly, and is usually caused by excessive alcohol.
By eliminating junk food, you can keep your body’s detoxification system healthy.
Good gut health is vital, the lining of your gut, like every surface of your body, is covered in microscopic organisms, mostly bacteria. These organisms create a micro-ecosystem called the microbiome. It plays a fundamental role in your health, affecting everything from digestion, weight, mood and behaviours. An imbalance in bacteria can weaken your immune and detoxification systems and increase your risk of disease.
Two ways to maintain this crucial balance and facilitate the growth and health of microbes that are already present within the gut, is by eating Prebiotics – basically a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which include onions, garlic, asparagus, bananas, artichokes and oats. They contain a complex carbohydrate fibre and resistant starch, which is not digested, so can feed the gut bacteria once it enters the colon.
Probiotics contain live organisms, usually specific strains of bacteria that directly add to the population of the healthy microbes in your gut. Like probiotics, you can take supplements but the most common food is yogurt and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha.
Is associated with a longer life and a reduced risk of many conditions and diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers.
It’s recommended that you do at least 150–300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise — such as brisk walking — or 75–150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity physical activity — such as running.
- Alcohol is metabolised in your liver, enzymes metabolise alcohol to acetaldehyde, a known cancer-causing chemical, your liver converts this to a harmless substance called acetate, which is later eliminated from your body. Excessive or regular drinking can damage your liver function by causing fat buildup, inflammation, and scarring. When this happens, your liver cannot function adequately and perform its necessary tasks — including filtering waste and other toxins from your body.
- Sulfur Foods high in sulfur, such as onions, broccoli, and garlic, enhance excretion of heavy metals like cadmium.
- Chlorella is a type of algae that has many nutritional benefits and may enhance the elimination of toxins like heavy metals.
- Aloe Vera is crammed full of amino acids, vitamins and minerals making it one of nature’s most effective cleansers. It can help strengthen digestion and rid the body of any waste, thus detoxifying the body naturally. Its main property is to be soothing, cooling and moistening which helps to clear inflammatory skin and digestive problems, such as acne, rosacea and IBS.
- Coriander enhances excretion of certain toxins, such as heavy metals like lead, and chemicals, including phthalates and insecticides.
- Switch to natural cleaning products. Choosing natural cleaning products like vinegar and baking soda over commercial cleaning agents can reduce your exposure to potentially toxic chemicals.
- Choose natural body care. Using natural deodorants, makeups, moisturisers, shampoos, and other personal care products can also reduce your exposure to chemicals.
Body reset detox
Lifestyle and nutrition, together with genetics, are responsible for our health and well-being. In order to benefit most from our treatment plans we usually suggest that you follow a reset body detox. Whilst this may seem daunting it is essential in helping you to break away from yoyo dieting as most diets fail to address the hormonal root cause of weight gain and balancing your mood and energy levels.
In order to resynchronise the seven hormones of metabolism: Oestrogen. Insulin, Leptin, Cortisol, Thyroid, Growth Hormone and Testosterone, its vital we eliminate certain foods from your diet for a period of time, usually between 21-30 days.
Our goal is not only to prevent or reverse premature ageing after diagnosing its causes, but also to stimulate and recreate the natural processes and metabolic systems to assist in weight loss, increased energy, better sleep, balanced moods and optimal health. Combined with Bio-Identical Hormone replacement, supplements, improved diet and exercise plan will allow you to enjoy life with health and vitality, regardless of the stage in which you are in.