DETOX - The Value, The Facts, The Myths
Detoxification — or detox — it is a popular buzzword, but does it work and is it needed.
Usually it implies following a special type of diet or using a special product that claims to rid your body of toxins. The result is you have better health and some toxic plans promote weight loss.
Fortunately, your body has a natural detoxification process everyday, and has the ability to heal itself without a lot of fad products or diets - but you must practice some good habits to help your body maximize detoxification.
All that said, you can enhance your body’s natural detoxification system by following some simple guidelines and continuing to maximize minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, clarifying agents, and adaptogens (Multi-Nutritional like 4 GRAMS or EVEREST Earth & Sea Formula).
This article explains some common misconceptions about detoxing along with nine evidenced-based ways to rejuvenate your body’s detoxification system.
Detox diets often involve the use of laxatives, diuretics, vitamins, minerals, teas, and other foods thought to have detoxing properties.
The term “toxin” in the context of detox diets is loosely defined. It typically includes pollutants, synthetic chemicals, heavy metals, and processed foods — which all negatively affect health.
However, popular detox diets rarely identify the specific toxins they aim to remove or the mechanism by which they supposedly eliminate them.
Moreover, no evidence supports the use of these diets for toxin elimination or sustainable weight loss.
Your body has a sophisticated way of eliminating toxins that involves the liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin, and lungs.
Still, only when these organs are healthy, can they effectively eliminate unwanted substances.
So, while detox diets don’t do anything that your body can’t naturally do on its own, you can optimize your body’s natural detoxification system.
Here are some Simple Detox Helps
More than 90% of alcohol is metabolized in your liver. Sure you can have a glass or two of wine, a cocktail, or a couple of beers - no problem. Some studies actually say in moderation alcohol has healthy benefits.
Liver enzymes metabolize alcohol to acetaldehyde, a known cancer-causing chemical.
Recognizing acetaldehyde as a toxin, your liver converts it to a harmless substance called acetate, which is later eliminated from your body.
While observational studies have shown low-to-moderate alcohol consumption beneficial for heart health, excessive drinking can cause a myriad of health problems.
Excessive drinking can severely 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.
As such, limiting or abstaining entirely from alcohol is one of the best ways to keep your body’s detoxification system running strong.
Health authorities recommend limiting alcohol intake to one drink per day for women and two for men. If you currently don’t drink, you shouldn’t start for the potential heart benefits associated with light-to-moderate drinking.
Ensuring adequate and quality sleep each night is a must to support your body’s health and natural detoxification system.
Sleeping allows your brain to reorganize and recharge itself, as well as remove toxic waste byproducts that have accumulated throughout the day.
One of those waste products is a protein called beta-amyloid, which contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
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.
You should sleep seven to nine hours per night on a regular basis to promote good health.
If you have difficulties staying or falling asleep at night, lifestyle changes like sticking to a sleep schedule and limiting blue light — emitted from mobile devices and computer screens — prior to bed are useful for improving sleep.
Your body’s cells must continuously be repaired to function optimally and break down nutrients for your body to use as energy.
However, these processes release wastes — in the form of urea and carbon dioxide — which cause harm if allowed to build up in your blood.
Water transports these waste products, efficiently removing them through urination, breathing, or sweating. So staying properly hydrated is important for detoxification.
The adequate daily intake for water is 125 ounces (3.7 liters) for men and 91 ounces (2.7 liters) for women. You may need more or less depending on your diet, where you live, and your activity level.
Sugar and processed foods are thought to be at the root of today’s public health crises. This is perhaps the hardest one of all for most of us.
High consumption of sugary and highly 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.
For example, high consumption of surgery beverages can cause fatty liver, a condition that negatively impacts liver function. Try eliminating at least 2 weeks a month all sodas. Drink hot tea or unsweet cold tea with lemons and oranges in it instead.
By consuming less junk food, you can keep your body’s detoxification system healthier.
You can limit junk food by leaving it on the store shelf. Not having it in your kitchen takes away the temptation altogether. Junk food is an addiction and hard to break, but one month of discipline can break the cycle.
Replacing junk food with healthier choices like fruits and vegetables is also a healthy way to reduce consumption.
Junk food does not help your kidneys, liver, lungs, skin or digestive system - all primary methods your body eliminate toxins.
Antioxidants protect your cells against damage caused by molecules called free radicals. Oxidative stress is a condition caused by excessive production of free radicals. (Natural Biology's Multi-Nutritional are perhaps some of the best antioxidants formulations in history - but we still recommend eating antioxidant rich foods because of the natural enzymes, probiotics, and antioxidants.)
Your body naturally produces these molecules for cellular processes, such as digestion. However, alcohol, tobacco smoke, a poor diet, and exposure to pollutants can produce excessive free radicals.
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.
Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help your body fight oxidative stress caused by excess free radicals and other toxins that increase your risk of disease.
Berries, fruits, nuts, cocoa, vegetables, spices, and beverages like coffee and green tea have some of the highest amounts of antioxidants.
Gut health is important for keeping your detoxification system healthy. Your intestinal cells have a detoxification and excretion system that protects your gut and body from harmful toxins, such as chemicals.
Good gut health starts with probiotics, a type of fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut called probiotics. With prebiotics, your good bacteria are able to produce nutrients called short-chain fatty acids that are beneficial for health.
The good bacteria in your gut can become unbalanced with bad bacteria from use of antibiotics, poor dental hygiene, and diet quality.
Consequently, this unhealthy shift in bacteria can weaken your immune and detoxification systems and increase your risk of disease and inflammation.
Eating foods rich in prebiotics can keep your immune and detoxification systems healthy. Good food sources of prebiotics include tomatoes, artichokes, bananas, asparagus, onions, garlic, and oats
For some people, detoxing is a means of eliminating excess water.
Consuming too much salt can cause your body to retain excess fluid, especially if you have a condition that affects your kidneys or liver — or if you don’t drink enough water.
This excess fluid buildup can cause bloating and make clothing uncomfortable. If you find yourself consuming too much salt, you can detox yourself of the extra water weight.
While it may sound counterintuitive, increasing your water intake is one of the best ways to eliminate excess water weight from consuming too much salt.
That’s because when you consume too much salt and not enough water, your body releases an antidiuretic hormone that prevents you from urinating — and therefore detoxifying.
By increasing your water intake, your body reduces the secretion of the antidiuretic hormone and increases urination, eliminating more water and waste products.
Increasing your intake of potassium-rich foods — which counterbalances some of sodium’s effects — also helps. Foods rich in potassium include potatoes, squash, kidney beans, bananas, and spinach.
Exercise— regardless of body weight — 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.
While there are several mechanisms behind the health benefits of exercise, reduced inflammation is a key point.
While some inflammation is necessary for recovering from infection or healing wounds, too much of it weakens your body’s systems and promotes disease.
By reducing inflammation, exercise can help your body’s systems — including its detoxification system — function properly and protect against disease.
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. Staying active, house work, yard work, projects around the house, helping neighbor, keeps you moving.
Although no current evidence supports the use of detox diets for removing toxins from your body, certain dietary changes and lifestyle practices may help reduce toxin load and support your body’s detoxification system.
- Eat sulfur-containing foods. Foods high in sulfur, such as onions, broccoli, and garlic, enhance excretion of heavy metals like cadmiu.
- Try out chlorella and spiraling. Everest Earth & Sea Formula utilizes both - providing many nutritional benefits and may enhance the elimination of toxins like heavy metals, according to animal studies.
- Flavor dishes with cilantro. Cilantro enhances excretion of certain toxins, such as heavy metals like lead, and chemicals, including phthalates and insecticides.
- Support 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 detoxification. Do not take the supplement Glutathione because it does not metabolize well in the human body, but products like OxyAGE and EVEREST Earth Sea Formula contain essential ingredients that stimulate your natural production of Glutathione - which is by far superior.
- 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, moisturizers, shampoos, and other personal care products can also reduce your exposure to chemicals.
You can enhance your body’s natural detoxification system and improve your overall health by staying hydrated, consuming less salt, getting active, and following an antioxidant-rich diet and supplements like EVEREST Earth & Sea Formula and/or OxyAGE (if you're over age 50).