Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Detox
I moved back to LA in 2016, and since then, I've come to realize that people are either detoxing or retoxing. Makes sense, LA's air is pretty polluted, the foods that we eat have heavy metals, people are stressed out, and people know how to party in the City of Angels. How do I recommend detox protocol to a client? I tell them to do it everyday so that toxins don't accumulate in their body. And, since I recommend a daily detox, it has to be a super gentle detox. And, with detoxes, know that it's just beyond your biological being. Naturopathic detoxes and cleanses also look at mental states being a part of it all since stress and emotions can greatly impact your biological being and how you ultimately interact with other people. We're looking for wellness, right? Gotta hit all of the 3 parts of health to get there. So, I'll tell you the essentials of what I've seen to be most effective for detoxification for well-being.
The following target all of the physical emunctories/routes of excretion for clearing toxins out of the body
But first... science.
Before we go into the naturopathic essentials for biochemical detox, let's talk about the basics of biochemical detox in the body. Detoxification is a 3-step process. Phase I detoxification usually involves capturing toxins from the blood and metabolizing them in the liver into an intermediary form for it to be sent to Phase II detoxification to become fully neutralized. Phase I detox usually involves amino acids, minerals, and B-vitamins; and Phase II detox usually involves an enzyme called glutathione. After Phase II, the toxins go into Phase III, which usually puts these neutralized toxins in bile or serum, which are then either pooped out, peed out, or sweated out. Cool, lesson over, let's slide into the biochemical detox essentials.
Milk Thistle protects the liver and increases phase II detox reactions by increasing the production of glutathione in the liver. How does it do all of this? Through a phytocompound called Silymarin. Silymarin also acts as an antioxidant and reduces the effects of toxicity from alcohol and acetaminophen. Milk thistle is definitely one of my detox go-to's since it's effective for so many things and works super well.
Dandelion root and leaf. Dandelion root also shows liver-protective effects during acute episodes of liver toxicity through dandelion root polysaccharides that can be extracted via water (aka make a tea out of it). Dandelion leaf has shown liver-protective effects as well, namely with fatty liver disease, in animal models. Dandelion leaf also acts as a diuretic, meaning that water-soluble toxins can be flushed out of the body.
Beets are known to protect liver function alongside tonifying blood vessels to allow for better blood, nutrient, and toxin transport through the body. Studies show that when beetroot juice was given in animal models with acute liver toxicity, their livers were protected from toxin-induced oxidative damage. Beets also have the capacity to improve blood vessel function since beets are high in nitrates, which then form nitric acid to relax blood vessels for better blood flow.
Eat the rainbow. I like to tell people to eat different colored fruits and vegetables daily. I also like to specify eating more red and purple fruits and veggies since they have higher antioxidant capacity (aka high ORAC scores). Not only do they provide great antioxidants, but they also provide essential B-vitamins and minerals that all act in the first phase of detox in the body.
Chia seeds, when consumed after being bloomed in water, act as sponges in the gastrointestinal tract to soak up toxin-filled bile. It also acts as a great aid in defecation due to the amount of dietary fiber found in chia seeds. I usually tell people to bloom 4-5 tablespoons of chia seeds in water and then adding the bloomed chia seeds to their drinks. Some people get fancy wit their chia seeds and make puddings for them to eat in the morning with berries.
Water. So vital for detox! You need a way for your body to fully flush out the neutralized toxins from Phase II if they end up in your serum. With water and dandelion root, you'll be peeing out toxins like no other. Remember to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water to ensure proper hydration and toxin excretion. So, if you weight 150 pounds, you should be drinking at least 75 fluid ounces of water.
Exercise is another vital way to get toxins moving, flowing, and out of your system. Your skin is a major route of excretion for toxins since you get to sweat out toxins. Make sure you're doing cardio up to your tolerance level. If you're just starting to get back into a fitness routine, make sure to start off easy and then gradually progress upwards. I wouldn't want you to hurt yourself by running a marathon on the first day of your daily detox!
the following facilitate the clearing of mind and spirit of mental and emotional blockages
I like to initially recommend at least 1-2 10-minute sessions of four-square breathing a day to clients to help reduce mental stress. Studies show the benefits of mindfulness to psychological wellbeing since it reduces the pro-inflammatory reactions of stress hormones. Mindfulness also helps people understand their bodies better, with mindfulness practices shedding light on physical manifestations of internal stress and anguish.
I use flower essences to help clear emotional blockages that prevent a person from reaching global wellness from detox. I have seen the power of flower essences on a multitude of mental-emotional pictures by energetically pushing people find a path towards tackling what's preventing them from continuing forward. Flower essences are easily implemented into a daily detox routine, since drops can be added into a water bottle that you drink out of throughout the day.
There it is, an easy way to gently detox your mind, body, and soul for a happier and healthier you. If the list above did seem a bit daunting, just remember to implement 1-2 of them per week. Remember that you're doing a gradual lifestyle change to promote wellbeing. Before you know it, you'll be doing all of the things above and detoxing everyday! I've also got some hacks to make the daily detox easier to do, but I can't give out all of my secrets away! Also, there are ways to increase the effectiveness of this detox by adding a few more things. If you're looking for an individualized daily detox plan, make sure to come see me in private practice. We'll see what your barriers to health are and I'll help you tackle them bit by bit till you're a naturopathic detox guru. Comment below if you have any questions or concerns!
- Dr. B
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DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. There are no financial ties to any supplement companies, pharmaceutical companies, or to any of the products mentioned in this post. This post is not meant to treat, cure, prevent, or diagnose conditions or diseases and is meant for educational purposes. As always, please consult your doctor before trying any new treatments or supplements.