This Journal entry presents some ideas about ways to detoxify the body. The holiday season is here, with its attendant excesses, and some of you may want to utilize this information to assist your health along the way. Moreover, everyone should know how to clean house. Clean it everyday so that not a lot of junk builds up, and you will fare better.
An essential element for our daily health is our physical body’s ability to detoxify and eliminate thousands of by-products of cellular metabolism, as well as doing the same with the manifold external environmental toxic exposures we encounter throughout the day.
Since the advent of fractional distillation of a barrel of crude oil, there are now over 100,000 new types of chemicals in our environment as a result of burgeoning petro industry chemistry spin-off. Most of these chemicals’ effects on human health have never been studied. These new chemicals increase at the estimated rate of about 5000 new chemical derivatives on a yearly basis. All petrochemical derivatives are toxic to any life system.
Without our body’s ability to detoxify its own by-products we would be done for in about a week. These days, as opposed to the days of our not very distant forebears (grandparents), we must manage this heterogeneous mixture of petrochemical derivatives with efficient biochemical detoxification processes.
Please keep in mind that our recent ancestors of the last century of time also had the advantage of chemical free and more robust foods to assist their health. The environment was also cleaner. People born before WWII are generally more robust in all ways and tend to live long lives. The biggest chemical threats of the pre WWII people were tobacco and alcohol. These days we have tobacco and alcohol and thousands of environmental xenobiotic toxins to contend with.
Here is a good primer on detoxification written by Sally Mathrick who is a naturopath practicing in Melbourne, Australia. She is a health feature writer.
I’ll add some additional ideas and suggestions after her writing.
The Ways of Detox by Sally Mathrick
|Detox is taking the world by storm. Everyone’s doing it, and with good reason. Detoxification, cleansing and purification of the body/mind are the path to longevity, optimal health and vitality. Recognized as the key to youthfulness, it also cures many diseases caused from over-consumption. The basic principles of Detox are simplifying and slowing down. Aligning with the pure, gentle rhythms of nature can be highly challenging when accustomed to the modern toxic buzz. Spas throughout the world are embracing elements of Detox, and provide a smorgasbord of cleanses, detoxification rituals and fasting programs to suit every body.
What Is Detox?Detoxification is what our body’s chemistry does to clean itself of unwanted chemicals. Chemicals can be derived from normal metabolic processes, produced by intestinal flora or incompletely digested food (called Ama in Ayruveda). Some toxins come from the air we breathe, the food, water and drugs we consume, or from products rubbed into skin or used on hair. Our world is becoming increasingly toxic, and consequently, so are we. A Detox is a program designed to minimize toxin intake, support toxin elimination and minimize harm during the process.
The major organ responsible for detoxification is the liver. It is constantly performing a two-step process, which transform toxins into harmless substances that can be excreted. The major elimination vehicles are feces and urine. Minor elimination vehicles are sweat, breath, tears and other bodily fluids. For effective detoxification, all elimination channels must be operating optimally. If unable to leave the body, toxins move through the lymph system and can interfere with immune function. Toxic excess is often stored in fat cells throughout the body and brain.
During a Detox, toxins are liberated from storage, into the blood stream. If you feel nauseous or headachy during Detox, support your body with water, rest and nourishing herbs and vegetables. Once the toxins are transformed by the liver and excreted, you’ll be feeling light and terrific. Detox clears old rubbish from the body.
Our mental processes are an important component of Detox. Recognizing and releasing toxic thoughts and negative attitudes serve to provide an uncluttered spaciousness. The study of psychoneuroimmunology is proving that our thoughts affect our physical function more than we ever realized.
Purification is a practice subscribed to by spiritual masters. Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights in the desert, and Buddha learnt to fast whilst cultivating compassion and patience. Cleansing our physical and mental self provides easier access to our subtle, spiritual aspects.
Finding or creating a supportive environment to assist your Detox makes the process easier. You are less likely to sneak off for some chocolate if you are being supported by a group or sitting in a forest. Resorts offering Detox programs are often set in glorious forest settings, to encourage sinking into the simplicity of natural rhythms. Tibetan medicine believes that the pulses of the earth heal our nervous systems. Allow yourself some quiet time to tune in.
1. Total Fast
2. Juice Fasting
Juice fasting can slow or stop bowel motions. It is advisable to take psyllium husks and/or slippery elm powder to assist in maintaining movement, bowel cleansing and repair. Home water enemas, colonic irrigation or osmotic laxatives can also be used to keep things moving. Try a day or three of juice fasting in the warmer weather to see how you fare.
4. Raw Food Vegan Diets
Raw food enthusiasts shine and radiate good health. Their diets are free of animal products and consist of sprouts, sprouted breads, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds prepared in all manner of ways. Nut cheeses are an interesting delicacy. Many schools and retreats offer raw and living food programs that subscribe to a simple and logical philosophy to stay true and in balance with natural laws. Educate yourself about this way of living to ensure you receive the daily nourishment that you require.
5. Macrobiotic Fasting
Breaking a Fast
A gradual reintroduction of whole foods follows any fast. Most importantly, eat slowly. Allow your cephalic digestive processes, the ‘mouth-watering phase’, to kick in by smelling and admiring your foods. Then chew your foods well; good mastication is paramount to good digestion. Enjoy the flavours and textures after your period of abstinence. Reconfigure your relationship with food.
Perhaps start with fresh fruit salad or raw or lightly steamed vegetables. Then introduce a wholegrain, such as brown rice or millet, the following evening. Seeds and nuts are eaten the next day after. Introduce live bacteria into the bowel. Try low fat yoghurt containing an array of different bacterial strains, with a teaspoon of oat bran. Breaking the fast unwisely can undo all the good the fast has done.
Sensitivity and awareness increase during a Detox. On re-entering the world, the noise, air, water and food pollution can be down-right disturbing. Try these to assist the transition.
Crestone and Beyond
In the second paragraph under the header, What is Detox?, the author refers to the liver, its primacy in the detox process, and its 2 step chemistry process. Please bear in mind that the liver is performing a vast number of other biochemical functions which are essential for health, in addition to this 2 step detox chemistry.
The 2 step liver detox chemistry is performed by what are known as Phase I and Phase II enzyme systems. Phase I enzymes are known as the Cytochrome p 450 enzymes, a family of some 100 enzymes which take the toxin through chemical stages of transformation into an intermediate form, which is usually still toxic.
The intermediate toxin is then taken through Phase II enzymes which consist of methylation, conjugation, sulfonation, hydroxylation, glycination, and glucuronidation pathways. These enzyme driven chemical pathways render the intermediate toxin into either fat soluble or water soluble forms.
Fat soluble toxins are then excreted in the lipophilic (“fat-loving”) bile liquid which is produced by the liver in the amount of 700-1000 ml./day. This gold to green colored liquid passes through the bile duct system down into the duodenum where it mixes with foods, aiding in digestion and absorption of fats and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), and delivery of toxic wastes to the fecal stream.
If there is not adequate fiber present in the diet and intestinal tract to adsorb and bind the excreted toxins and help transport them out of the intestinal tract, then the toxins will be reabsorbed back through the intestinal lining, and transported right back to the liver by way of the enterohepatic venous pathways and portal vein. Toxins thus accumulate, and must be reprocessed.
Water soluble toxins are excreted via a hydrophilic (“water-loving”) dissolution into the watery bloodstream which circulates the toxin via blood borne transport to the kidneys for excretion via the renal tubules into the urine, down the ureters, into the bladder, and on into some urinary receptacle.
If there is not enough water present in one’s daily intake, then the efficiency of both Phase I and Phase II elimination pathways will be compromised. A touted guideline on the maximum daily water intake one can consider is to take one’s weight in pounds, divide that number by 2, and work up to that number of ounces of water per day.
That is a lot of water, in my opinion, but the number is at least a reference point for maximum daily intake. Those people who have any issues with hypertension, congestive heart failure, or kidney failure will be consulting with their physician specialists about how much water they can safely consume in a day’s time.
Good hydration makes all systems work better, especially the central nervous system. People who live in dry or high altitude climates should practice some scrutiny and vigilance about their hydration levels, particularly if they are physically active every day. One should know their physical and physiological systems well enough to know when they are even mildly dehydrated.
To over consume water above and beyond the reference noted above can result in water intoxication. This disorder will result in serious electrolyte disturbance for sensitive organs like the central nervous system and heart. Water intoxication is a serious medical emergency.
Another important consideration in one’s hydration status is to consider the effects of diuretic chemicals which one may consume on a daily basis. Chemicals such as caffeine and alcohol create an increased loss of water and attendant minerals via enhanced urinary filtration and diuretic effect. Such a diuretic loss of water and minerals must be replenished daily. If one is using diuretic pharmaceuticals then this effect is enhanced.
The metabolism of alcohol in the liver also consumes the B vitamins in its metabolism. Furthermore, alcohol has direct toxic effect on brain, heart, and liver. If you drink any alcohol, it is very important to utilize robust nutritional countermeasures to ameliorate these negative health effects. This subject is grist for another mill, but the measures presented below will help.
Genetic mutations of Phase I and Phase II enzymes are common. Everyone has some important mutations in these important enzymes. A mutated enzyme will not be as functional as it should be, but can be assisted back into good function by providing the enzyme with its nutritional co-factor. Please refer to reference #5 in the reading list at the end of the Journal writing for more information on how to determine your genetic mutations.
It is important to assist Phase I and Phase II detoxification pathways by:
1) Eating more fiber rich foods. Food fiber lists abound for your edification. An apple, pear, and orange contain about 4 grams of fiber, on average, as an example.
2) Using a fiber supplement. I recommend a psyllium based fiber as well as a fiber product from Designs for Health known as PaleoFiber. Such a combination will insure adequate soluble and insoluble fiber ratios. A total of 20-40 grams of fiber per day (food plus fiber supplement) is a reasonable goal, depending on one’s body size.
3) Eating more mineral rich foods. Generally the foods that are richest in calcium, magnesium, and zinc are the foods which are richest in all minerals needed for health. The minerals are essential because they catalyze (make possible) all of the body’s enzyme activity. Inadequate minerals relates to inadequate enzyme function. The cells of the body contain thousands of busy enzymes. They all require minerals to work. Magnesium and zinc catalyze more enzymes than all of the other minerals combined. Most average American people are zinc and magnesium deficient. This is because of the poor state of average foods grown in sub par soils and then processed by the reckless standard food industry into nutrient oblivion.
4) Using a mineral supplement. Designs for Health has a nice array. Remember, we are providing minerals to assist Phase I and Phase II enzyme function, as well as all cellular enzyme activity throughout the body. Minerals also enable electricity in the body, the production of which is also enzyme dependent. By the way, all enzymes are protein units with highly specialized functions. Enzymes are functional proteins, not structural proteins. One of the reasons we eat protein, therefore, is to supply the amino acid subunits to make protein enzyme units.
5) Using a multivitamin supplement. Both Phase I and Phase II enzyme pathways are vitamin dependent for optimal function.
6) Using foods and supplements rich in phytochemicals (plant chemicals) and other various liver detoxification nutrients. Both Phase I and Phase II enzymes are plant chemical dependent, in addition to all of the aforementioned requirements. A simple way to approach this consideration is to employ a rainbow diet daily. The rainbow diet consists of fruits and vegetables which are colored with plant pigments that imbue the food with its distinctive color from the rainbow; red, orange, yellow, green, blue. You may know these pigments as the carotenoid family of pigments, chlorophyll pigment, and anthocyanin pigments, for example. Each food plant pigment also has a certain antioxidant capacity, known as its ORAC value. ORAC is an acronym for “oxygen radical absorbance capacity,” and is a measure of how effective the food is in neutralizing oxygen free radicals (antioxidation), yet another chemical process which is important to consider as part of the overall detoxification process. The detoxification process produces a lot of oxidation byproducts which must be neutralized.
In the article above the author Sally Mathrick references various types of fasting approaches. These are all good and relevant approaches. One can consider a trial of any of these approaches.
I often recommend a protocol which is pretty simple to follow, and allows for incremental adjustments by the body, thus easing the physical and mental mindset adaptation process. This helps reduce perceived physiologic and psychological stress on the system. The protocol goes like this:
- Day 1- eliminate meat
- Day 2- eliminate dairy
- Day 3- eliminate grains
- Day 4- eliminate legumes, nuts, and seeds
- Day 5- eliminate vegetables
- Day 6- eliminate fruit
Day 7- one can now employ a variety of broths, juices, teas, and water for a variety of days. Usual fasts of this sort may last 3, 5, 7, or 9 days as toxins stored throughout the body are mobilized and processed through the Phase I and II enzyme systems of the liver.
There is no special magic to the number of days one uses the fast.
To break the fast, and reintroduce foods, all one has to do is to reintroduce food groups in the reverse order of the above on a 6 day schedule.
I generally recommend that people do a detox cleansing 2 times per year; say in spring and fall, and maybe consider starting the process on a new moon.
Another viable and simple way to consider the detoxification process is to just employ elements of it on an ongoing everyday basis, which is what I do. This is pretty simple, and it employs all of the points noted above in the writing about how to assist Phase I and II enzyme pathways.
It just becomes part of what you do inside of a day of living. It is akin to your gardening efforts. You are cultivating and sowing in your own human body garden. At least you can do that much gardening.
In summary, what one does in a daily detox program is to clean up one’s diet to consist of rich, organically clean, nutrient dense foods appropriate for one’s physiological make-up, activity level, and belief systems. One drinks adequate water to hydrate the system and assist Phase I and II enzyme pathways in the production of adequate bile and urine.
Just consider the frequency and volume of urine production as a guide to hydration adequacy, as well as the color of the urine. If the urine is darker and more cloudy, then you need more water. If you are taking B vitamins, and adequate hydration, the urine should be of adequate volume and should display a healthy, yet somewhat dilute yellow color; not a dense cloudy color. It is good to become familiar with one’s normal baseline functions and physiology characteristics.
In addition to good foods and water hydration, I utilize a variety of supplements from Designs for Health to assist not just the liver, but every organ system.
Designs for Health has an excellent array of nutrients to assist the overall detoxification processes. Without an extended explanation of each product, I will simply list some of them with a comment or two. I consider these products to be the highest quality available.
1) Detox Antiox—a capsule containing Phase I and Phase II upregulating chemistry as well as a synergistic blend of antioxidants to help neutralize the oxidation by-products of detox pathways.
2) Amino-D-Tox—a capsule containing a variety of amino acids which upregulate Phase II enzymes, ideal for people who are chronically ill due to chemical sensitivities and who are pathological or are imbalanced detoxifiers.
3) LV-GB Complex—a capsule containing a variety of nutrients for assisting bile flow and thus the proper elimination of toxins. Contains hepatocellular protective silymarin, standardized to 80% silybins. Aids in the elimination of fat soluble toxins from the liver as well as the improved absorption of fats and fat soluble vitamins.
4) Detoxification Support Packets—a packet containing the 3 excellent products listed above: 3 Amino-D-Tox capsules, 1 LV-GB capsule, and 1 Detox Antiox capsule. Usually 1 packet is used twice daily as a good starting point for detox programs. This is an excellent combo product.
5) 14 Day Detox Kit–this comprehensive kit is a good combination of some of the products mentioned in this list. With the Detoxification Support Packets, it is complete.
6) Milk Thistle—a capsule standardized to contain 80% silymarin. This phytochemical protects liver cells from direct toxicities due to alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and other exogenous toxins. Promotes the flow of bile.
7) N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)—a capsule containing the amino acid NAC which is the precursor to glutathione, the body’s most powerful and abundant antioxidant. NAC is well researched for its use in bronchial, lung, and liver disorders, and heavy metal detoxification. NAC is present in good amounts in both the Detox Antiox and the Amino-D-Tox products.
8) Glutathione Power—powdered reduced glutathione which has excellent absorbability. Ideal for patients with heavy metal toxicity or high oxidative stress. In capsule form the S-Acetyl Glutathione Synergy is superior. The very best way to take glutathione is in a liposomal form for oral transmucosal absorption called Liposomal Glutathione.
9) VegeCleanse—a premier powder containing hypoallergenic (non lectin) pea protein as the base carrier for all of the nutrients needed to support and balance Phase I and Phase II metabolic pathways. It also contains high levels of antioxidants to support safe detoxification. This single product can be used to assist the detox program fasting days, along with the broths and teas, etc.
10) PaleoFiber—an ultimate fiber product which comes as a powder or as capsules. This fiber supplement is a rather comprehensive product containing 12 different types of fiber, is hypoallergenic, and even contains good amounts of probiotics (essential friendly bacteria). Contains 8.4 grams of soluble and insoluble fiber per serving.
11) PaleoGreens—a greens food powder containing vegetable, fruit, and berry ingredients made in a paleo profile: containing no grains, legumes, alfalfa, corn, gluten, fructose, artificial sweeteners, bulk or filling agents. ORAC and high enzyme value are assured via careful preservation and processing.
12) EssentiaGreens— a greens food product densely packed with high ORAC value vegetables, cleansing alkalizing grass juices, and a proprietary blend of fruits and berries. This powder product has a cranberry-orange flavor imparted to it by the addition of inulin, a prebiotic, which does not alter insulin levels.
13) PaleoReds—a high ORAC rich powder combining over a dozen phytonutrient rich red and purple groups of fruits and vegetables. Contains natural bioflavanoid vitamin C from acerola cherry.
14) Metal-X-Synergy–a natural formula designed to help safely shed the body burden of toxic metals such as aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury without many of the common side effects found with the use of harsh synthetic chelating agents.
The nutrient products listed above can be used in an everyday detox support regimen, and can be used to assist any fasting protocol.
If you are fasting you should be taking it easy, and not be creating additional stress for your body by vigorous exercising. I know a lot of folks are exercise addicts, but this is just not natural for a mammalian physiology; to be exercising like a fanatic everyday. Exercising everyday is OK as long as you are not over-doing it and creating a catabolic chemistry in your body. Take a fast from your exercising once in a while.
On the other hand, a good burst-interval training cardio aerobic program is good for your health and endorphin levels, and your fat burning. It also makes you sweat. Sweat helps remove toxins.
While you are at it, take a fast from your worry oriented brain mind thoughts, and get a psychic detox going as well. Take a worry fast. Take a fast from automatic negative thoughts, or, ANTS. Begin to culture automatic positive thoughts, or APTS.
Most people in western cultures have been indoctrinated along lines of very superficial considerations regarding health. If you do not have health in your psychoemotional and psychospiritual life, you do not have true health in your body. The diseases that I am familiar in my time of service with over the past 4 decades are all too often regarded and treated at a physical level only.
Without attempts to move into the deeper healing of their body, mind, emotions, and spirit, true healing will be incomplete and piecemeal. Furthermore, the most important consideration to being a fully integrated human being lies in healing the trauma we took on in our early days of life.
The heart is the principal organ in the physical and energetic body through which all healing flows. The discovery of our deepest self and the discovery of the Divine should be the same discovery. This discovery occurs in a clarified heart. Please refer to Reference #7 and 8 below.
Mark (Samuel Clemens) Twain once opined a paradox, “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.”
Even so, it is not even that complicated to have good health…unless…you have lost it. Then it becomes slightly more complicated and you have to do what Mark Twain says.
Signing off from Crestone and Beyond.
Wishing you health.
- Environmental Toxins: The Elephant in the Room?
- New study demonstrates B vitamins may reduce the negative effects from air pollution
- The Plant Paradox…cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Steven Gundry, M.D. explains some interesting facts about plants and the value of ketogenic cycling as another form of fasting and health practice.
- The Environmental Working Group (EWG) Tap Water Analysis…enter your zip code at this EWG link to learn about the contaminants in your local water and how you might consider filtering these toxins out of your life.
- Your Personal Genetic Analysis…a writing on this website about genetics and how you can perform a simple and cost effective genetic analysis to determine important mutations you may have in key biochemical categories. Phase I and Phase II liver enzyme mutations are very important to consider and assist into better function as part of one’s health maintenance.
- Minding your Mitochondria…a 2014 writing on this website about the most important cellular component to maintain in good health.
- There are 4 writings on this website from 2017 about how the heart functions outside of its role of pumping blood. These considerations are the most important considerations for living a happy and healthy life that I know of. There are many many people who live happy and healthy lives in our world who would never need to read such writings. They are the living examples of a glowing heart…1) The Pulse of Life, 2) The Spiral of Life, 3) The Prayer of Life, and 4) The Beginning of Life.
- Adverse Childhood Events…a later writing on this website about the influence of trauma on our health. The traumatic imprinting we carry is the most important thing to keep detoxing and healing from.
- Skyrocketing Male Infertility May Threaten Mankind’s Survival…another reason to learn about and practice detoxification. Environmental pollution in the post WWII period puts all species at risk.
- Adverse Events Dramatically Up for Cosmetics & Personal Care Products
- Diatomaceous Earth–Un’earthing’ the Basics…this is a very good explanation of an age old substance and its uses in detoxification.