To detox or not to detox, that is the question. For many people the thought of a detox can be very off putting, but a good detox program can leave you feeling great if done correctly.
A detox is not a detox. The process of detoxification occurs in many places in the body, so there is no one size fits all detox program.
The organs of elimination
Most people think of the liver when looking at detox, but it shares only part of the toxin removing duties within the body.
The bowel is a major avenue of detoxification, with many end products produced through the liver being excreted through the bowel and removed from the body in our stools (bowel movements). Without regular and healthy bowel movements toxins accumulate in the body and excess hormones and other substances that the body has tried to remove will be reabsorbed back into the body. Low fibre, dehydration and poor diet can contribute to disrupted bowel movements.
The kidneys also play a major role in detoxification, removing small dissolved particles and excess minerals and hormones into the urine. Poor kidney function or dehydration can therefore increase the toxic load in the body.
The skin acts somewhat like the kidney, although it excretes excess toxins through the skin while we sweat. Strong body odour, particularly if it is musty or metallic smelling can indicate a high toxic load being excreted through the skin. Avoid aluminium based deodorants and ensure you break a sweat while exercising a couple of times a week to help this detox pathway.
Last but not least, the liver has an essential role in the detoxification process. There are many different pathways the liver uses to detoxify the blood, with different toxins and hormones requiring different methods of detoxification.
There are generally two phases of liver detoxification – phase one and phase two. In phase one, compounds are broken down into smaller particles so that they can be processed further, but in phase two they are metabolised and ready to be removed from the body. An imbalance in the function of any liver pathway can cause a hormonal or toxic overload, which can lead to disease within the body if left untreated.
Livers need nutrients
For detoxification to occur in the body, there are certain cofactors (things that are needed to activate the pathway) needed to make the process work. Nutrients make up most of these cofactors, so nutrient deficiencies can lead to toxic build up within the body.
Important nutrients needed for detoxification include vitamins B2, B3, B6 and B12 , folate, iron, zinc, selenium, lipoic acid and the amino acids taurine, cysteine and methionine.
The benefits of a detox
A tailored detoxification program can have the following results:
- Reduced toxic load
- Balanced hormones
- Weight loss
- Increased energy
- Improved sleep
- Improved moods
- Improved memory and concentration
- Improvements in skin conditions
- Improved digestive health
Which detox is right for you?
A good naturopath should be able to give you a tailored detox plan to suit what you need the most. Unlike over the counter detox programs, which try to target everything at once, a naturopathic detoxification program will treat your individual detoxification pathways individually depending on what you most need.
It doesn’t have to be difficult!
Detox programs can be a simple or as complex as you like. Generally if you have never done a detox, it is wise to start off slowly to support your body and prevent side effects like headaches, nausea and digestive upset. A well managed detox plan should not leave you feeling lousy, just full of energy and ready to face the day!
To organise a tailored detoxification program, call 07 3367 0337 and arrange your naturopathic appointment today!