Have you heard about Detox? Are you considering if you should be doing one? Why would you do one? Which is right for me?
The process of Cleansing or Detoxification is a common treatment protocol for most Naturopathic Doctors, including myself.I may use it to help treat a specific condition, or it may just be a way to help the body take a break and reset itself. Very healthy individuals that are just looking to maintain good health don’t necessarily need to visit a Naturopathic Physician to do a Cleanse, however, it may be useful to get you started on the right track and to manage some of the potential side effects. Individuals with specific health concerns, on medications, or more serious health conditions should seek the guidance of an experienced Naturopathic Physician, before venturing down the Cleansing path.
Detoxification (detox) or Cleansing is a very popular practice that has been around for centuries. There are many commercially available “cleansing” kits and treatments on the market, all with the same principle: to assist your body in clearing out toxins. Candida cleanse, juice fasting, water fasting, The Master Cleanse, and liver detoxification are just a few of the more popular cleansing programs, so how do you know what is right for you? Searching on Dr. Google tends not to be very helpful because it is filled with opinion, both supporting and discrediting various programs. If you have questions and want answers, myself, or any experienced Naturopathic Physician can help you. We can help you choose the right program for your health goals and we can guide you through it. My advice will be based on over 13 years of clinical experience as the published evidence for various detoxification programs is limited. While more research needs to be done, there is growing evidence. Many nutrients have been studied for their ability to enhance the body’s ability to eliminate toxic substances. A review of clinical studies published in The Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism found…
“In general, the nature of these findings indicates that specific foods may upregulate or favorably balance metabolic pathways to assist with toxin biotransformation and subsequent elimination ”…
I personally do not find this surprising or new, since it is food that provides us with all the nutrients to allow our bodies to function. The human body would not exist without nutrients from food. What is interesting is that now science is discovering how various nutrients interact on a cellular level. This provides scientific evidence that various herbs and super foods really do promote wellness. This is only good news as this information can only provide support for Socrates famously saying “Let food be thy medicine”. This is really what Detoxing is all about; manipulating food to promote health and wellness.
The liver is considered the primary organ of detoxification because it is its job to transform substances like hormones, medications, alcohol and even vitamins, into a form that can be eliminated through the bowels or sent to the kidneys and out with urine. If these substances are not taken out of circulation they will become toxic and a detriment to health. Most detoxification programs should have liver support foods, nutrients and / or herbs as part of the program. So be wary of advertising for Colon or kidney cleansing. Individual organs can be supported, but if you are really looking to improve health, there needs to be a liver component. Colon and Kidney Cleansing can be done before undertaking a proper Detoxification protocol to ensure that the primary routes of elimination or functioning well.
The liver is a remarkable organ and does a phenomenal job of “taking out the garbage”, sadly, in our polluted, chemical ridden world; the garbage is often created faster than it can be taken out. This is where Detoxification / Cleansing lends a hand. We have no control over the air we breathe, but we can control the food that goes into the body. A juice cleanse, for example, will greatly reduce the work the body has to do to process the food, allowing a maximum amount of nutrients to be absorbed in as little as 20-30 min . This flood of nutrients supports the various enzymatic pathways required to eliminate toxic substances, while greatly reducing any additional toxic burden, especially if fruits and vegetables used are organic. For those not keen on juice, there are herbal detoxes that are designed to support the liver’s pathways of elimination.
No matter the cleanse chosen, it will have a positive impact on the mind and body. A favourite of mine is the Candida Cleanse. It is basically a very clean diet with avoidance of yeast enhancing foods. I often prescribe this one for acne and eczema sufferers, where yeast and wheat can play a big role in disrupting the immune system and causing inflammation that reflects on the skin. For patients that have never done a Cleanse, I will often modify a program, so it is easier to follow, because making small changes is better than no change.
And if you are really not yet prepared to go through a Detoxification protocol, but still want to improve your health, I highly recommend Glutathione in IV and oral supplemented forms. Glutathione is a master cellular detoxifier. Taking it doesn’t give you a license to fill your body with garbage, but it will certainly help your body “take out the garbage”. Talk to us before starting Glutathione supplementation though, as it can interfere with thyroid function and we can help you avoid this.
If you’re looking to enhance your health, drop a few pounds and improve your complexion all at the same time, then let us help you get started on a detoxification protocol.
– Romilly E. Hodges and Deanna M. Minich, “Modulation of Metabolic Detoxification Pathways Using Foods and Food-Derived Components: A Scientific Review with Clinical Application,” Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, vol. 2015, Article ID 760689, 23 pages, 2015. doi:10.1155/2015/760689
– Balch, Phyllis, A. “Prescription For Nutrtional Healing” P.556. 1997