Your body continuously processes environmental and dietary toxins, chemicals, and waste products.
Do you really need to “Do a Detox”?
Yes it is true that the day-to-day functioning of the liver, kidneys, spleen, digestive tract and the entire circulatory and lymphatic system is to assist in detoxifying the body. While your body does an amazing job at this our environment and dietary choices often saddle us with more than we can easily handle. Can you help clean your system out?
You bet you can.
A detox, or cleanse, if done right assists the body clean up the waste and operate more efficiently.
People usually choose a “Detox Program” to recover from the effects of poor holiday food choices, or finally tackle some unidentified food sensitivity, improve you energy, aim for clearer skin, or just improve digestion.
If your detoxification pathways are impeded, you may experience a wide range of symptoms, such as:
Acne – Aches and pains – digestive issues including constipation or diarrhea, gas, bloating etc. – Fatigue - Hormonal imbalance - Depression - Insomnia – Mucus, congestions and breathing difficulties – frequent illness and immune dysregulation – persistent headaches and or migraines – frequent urinary tract infections – or Yeast infections.
If any of this sounds like you I believe you should consider a cleanse or detox over the next month – a way to start the new year out on the right foot.
There are some basic principles that should be followed and knowing how your system functions can go a long way to improving your health for the better. While most detoxes are typically short in duration they can be the catalyst that drives your focus to a healthier lifestyle.
BEWARE – maybe you’ve seen reports warning of the negative effects of detox programs. Maybe you have seen doctors debating whether this helps or is totally bogus?!
Yes, there are often negative side effects that are experienced by those who embark on calorie and fat or protein restricted programs! Especially on programs based on only fruit and vegetable juices for multiple days to weeks at a time. One should be aware that consuming significant amounts of fructose without fiber, fat, and protein can wreck havoc on insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, which sets one up for low energy, blood sugar fluctuations, muscle aches, fatigue, lightheadedness, and nausea.
So, how can you support your body’s pathways to function most efficiently?
You need protein – good quality proteins. Too often Detox programs focus on raw foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds at the expense of proteins. Maybe because protein foods are generally higher in fat, require cooking, and require more energy for the body to digest. Does this digestive energy need interfere with the use of energy for cleansing and rejuvenation?
The answer is NO. The function of proteins in our body is to repair, renew, and improve immune function. So why starve your body of protein when you are looking to heal and strengthen immune function?!
Up your intake of glutathione. Glutathione is a master antioxidant. Your body produces its own glutathione but unfortunately toxins from poor quality foods, pollution, medications, trauma, aging, infections and other stressors all deplete your glutathione. This leaves you susceptible oxidative stress, free radicals, infections and disease. This depletion of such an important molecule leads to increased stress upon your liver, making detoxification difficult.
B vitamins are essential for restoring the body's glutathione and lipoic acid necessary for antioxidant defense. Thiamine is depleted by chlorinated pesticides and formaldehyde, while Riboflavin helps block free-radical damage by recycling glutathione. P-5'-P, active form of vitamin B6, is depleted by many toxic substances which can lead to B6 deficiency making it difficult for the liver to detoxify.
Magnesium, one of the most commonly deficient nutrients in the chemically toxic individual and in the general population. Choline is needed for the production of liver detoxification enzymes, N-acetylcysteine increases glutathione levels in the body, MSM provides sulfur for detoxification reactions, and R-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant that increases glutathione levels and is neuroprotective. Taurine, vitamin C, betaine, phosphatidylcholine, inositol and l-carnitine have been shown to support bile production and flow.
Botanical extracts are also useful in detoxification programs. Green tea extract is a potent antioxidant. Milk thistle increases liver glutathione levels and protects the liver cell from damage. Curcumin/tumeric also protects the liver and broccoli extract and dandelion root also enhance liver detoxification.
The point is there is much to consider in structuring a good detox cleanse.
Feel free to contact me if you would like to join in with me as I start 2016 with a detox.
Dr. Jerome Craig, DC