What does it mean to detox?
We define detox as the body’s physiological process of reducing internal toxicity.
Every day the liver, kidneys, colon and skin are working to eliminate toxins, with the liver being the main driver of detox, via 2 phases of detox pathways. In phase I, the liver uses the cytochrome P450 enzyme system to convert toxic substances into intermediaries that are then fully processed for elimination in phase II. Phase III is the final, crucial step where toxins leave the body via stool, urine or sweating.
There are many critical nutrients needed to run phase I and II liver detoxification pathways. These include B-vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids (which come from protein). A diet high in organic fruits and vegetables as well as clean sources of protein and fiber will go a long way in supporting detoxification. Your healthcare practitioner can also guide you in providing your body with additional, tailored detoxification support.
Although our bodies are continuously working to combat toxins, if our total toxic burden is too great and/or we are lacking the proper support, chronic illness lurks just around the corner.
Did you know?
- The average adult carries over 700 toxins in their body
- The Toxic Control Act, responsible for regulating industrial chemicals, was last updated in 1976!
- Proper sleep hygiene allows our brain to clear out harmful waste products, possibly helping to reduce risk for developing Alzheimer’s
- The average newborn baby has 287 known toxins in his or her umbilical cord blood
Common symptoms and conditions indicating a need to detoxify:
- Digestive issues
- Ongoing fatigue
- Type II diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Skin issues
- Hormonal imbalance
- Difficulty losing weight
- Bad breath
- Brain fog
- Joint pain
- Difficulty managing stress
- Cold sores
- Behavioral and mood disorders
- Neurological symptoms (tremor, headache, brain fog, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s)
Testing to optimize detoxification capacity
Three of the main factors affecting our total toxic burden are:
- The amount and types of toxins we’re exposed to in our diet and environment
- Our genetic ability to produce detoxification enzymes for processing and eliminating toxins
- Whether our diet provides sufficient nutrients necessary for supporting detoxification pathways
For some patients, it can be helpful to understand what types of toxins are present, what critical detoxification nutrients may be insufficiently present and whether there is genetic compromise in the ability to detoxify. Your provider can work with you to determine what testing would be best in your specific circumstance.
- Choose organic whenever possible – refer to ewg.org to find the dirty dozen (a list of the 12 most heavily contaminated fruits/veggies that should be avoided)
- Remove inflammatory foods such as trans fats, refined carbs, sugar and processed foods
- Drink plenty of clean, filtered water to enable to kidneys to remove toxins
- Work up a sweat regularly (exercise, hot baths, sauna, etc)
- Consume plenty of fiber to ensure regular bowel movements to carry toxins out
- Get rid of plastics as much as possible
- Work on cleaning up your personal care and other products -the environmental working group has a healthy living app that can help
- Minimize EMF exposure
- Work to lower stress levels
- Eliminate toxic relationships as much as possible
- Get regular deep sleep – shoot for around 8 hours per night
- Work with a functional medicine provider if you need more guidance
Beyond detox support, a functional medicine provider:
- Sees the body as a whole
- Looks for the root cause
- Takes a thorough history from birth to present day
- Focuses on body systems and how they are connected
- Lays the foundation for health by addressing lifestyle factors
- Does targeted testing as necessary
- Creates an individualized care plan with the client as a partner
- Is not limited by time constraints imposed by insurance companies
Interested in meeting with one of our providers? We suggest reading the bios on our webpage to see who would be the best fit for you.