DETOXIFICATION: What does it mean and do I need to do it?

Written by Melissa Crispell, CNS, CNHP.

detoxBy definition detoxification (or detox for short) is the physiological or medicinal removal of toxic substances from a living organism, to include the human body, which is mainly carried out by the liver. The toxic remnants of everything you eat, breathe, and put on your skin passes through the liver before leaving through another system. Think about this: your coffee pot has a basket in which you place a filter before adding your coffee. You remove this filter every day and repeat the process. What if you never actually washed that basket? At some point it would be covered in coffee grime even though you had a filter in place. This is what happens to your liver as well. A “detox” is recommended twice a year to keep the “grime” (better known as toxins) from building up and preventing your natural ability to protect yourself.
Our bodies are designed with an innate detoxing ability. Much like our heart and lungs. We don’t have to remind ourselves to pump blood through the body or to breathe. But we do have to take care of our bodies. Even if you already eat clean, know your food sensitivities, exercise and have a regular spiritual practice – you still breathe air and are exposed to toxins. Over 100,000 toxins have been introduced to our air, ground, and water over the last 50 years. Over time with prolonged periods of stress, poor eating/sleeping habits, and excessive inflammation from food and chemical sensitivities we can develop a toxic overload. Toxic overload can be anything from extreme fatigue, stubborn weight loss, moodiness/irritability, decreased libido, to skin breakouts or dry patches; the list can go on! We have to shake the idea that everything that happens to us is in our genes. Truth is 92% of our overall health is a direct result of our personal choices.
At this point I have to ask you - did you make a New Year’s resolution to be healthier? Have you promised to take better care of yourself? Do you want to erase months (maybe years) of poor food choices? A detox program is your first step to all of these. The slate must be cleared to make room to receive the good nutrients and benefits.
The most effective detox is not a fad master cleanse made of lemonade with cayenne pepper, green drinks, or messy-smelly powders. All detox programs are not created equally, and not all of them are safe, healthy, and effective. The best detox program is one with multiple components to support all phases of the process. Essentially you want to break up the toxins, move them through the system, and then eliminate them while protecting the liver and the kidneys through the process. First thing to look for in a detox program is sulphur- rich amino acids to break up the toxins; removing harmful effects of lead, mercury, and other toxic minerals. You’ll also want to protect and soothe the liver during this cleansing process with herbs, like milk thistle from silymarin. Vitamins E and D, and CoQ10 are helpful as well. Omega 3 essential fatty acids help to mobilize fat-soluable toxins and assist with nutrient uptake. Last, but never least, 100% fully buffered ascorbate Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant to energize the immune system; supports brain function, and help hormonal balance. A detox program isn’t to be taken lightly and should be guided by an experienced healthcare professional.

Melissa Crispell, CNS, CNHP, is a clinical nutritionist, certified wellness coach, certified natural healthcare practitioner, clinical trainer for PERQUE Integrative Health and friend of First State Health and Wellness. She has over 10 years experience in the nutrition field helping clients understand the connection between pH balance, food and chemical sensitivities, physical fitness and their overall health goals. Call First State Health & Wellness at 302.454.1200 if you’re interested in a premiere functional nutrition program with experienced and results-proven coaching through your detox and healing process.
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