I’ve long been cynical of the hype surrounding seasonal, quick-fix detoxing. There are all sorts of supplements, courses, treatments and spa stays that sell the concept of detox support and enhancement but these things fail to address the reality of what is going on inside our bodies. Although it can make us feel like we are doing good for our health, a short, sharp detox and best will do little good and at worst can add to our toxic burden if your body cannot process and eliminate any toxins you are liberating efficiently.
The process of detoxification is constantly going on inside the body and there are many complex, cellular systems that break down toxins and allow them to be removed via the skin, urine, breath and stool. There are certainly things that we can do to enhance this process, not least, trying to avoid some of the toxin exposure, discussed below. What is important is to see this as an on-going process that never comes to an end, so employing daily, doable actions that enable your body to manage you toxin burden is really advisable.
We all have a toxic burden. No-one, however clean living, can avoid some degree of exposure. Degree of exposure, coupled with naturally ability to detox (some people are genetically more able than others), nutritional status, activity level and even state of mind can all contribute to our toxic load. Too much exposure of toxins for too long with impaired detox processes can lead to a toxic burden known to be at the route of much chronic disease, chronic fatigue, brain fog and hormonal imbalance.
This might all make a bit more sense when you take in to account the relentless level of toxin exposure the modern world throws at us. Here are just a few examples:
– Personal care products from sun-creams to moisturizer, shampoo to shower gel, make up to nail varnish remover
– Make up
– Cleaning solutions
– Pesticides and fungicides on and in our fruit and veg ( a huge subject in itself)
– Artificial flavouring and colourings in food
– Chemicals in water
– Processed oils in foods (trans fats)
– Plastics from food packaging
– Preservatives and emulsifiers in food
– That new car & carpet smell – not good
– Paint fumes
– Air fresheners
– Hair colourants
– Scented candles
We also manufacture our own toxins inside of all our cells, just from living, breathing, digestion and especially when exercising. So detoxification is a 24/7 process and how well me manage it comes down to a lot of factors.
Some people (including myself) have a certain genetic profile that makes detoxing less efficient. A process called methylation is hugely involved in breaking down toxins and if you don’t methylate well (me) this adds to the problem. Taking the pre-methylated B vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid can help.
Supporting your detox processes with the following guidelines is certainly prudent. Many of these recommendations are useful as they help the body’s production of Glutathione, produced by every cell, which supports your internal, processes of detoxing and helps protect the body from environmental toxins:
Sweat: getting hot and sweaty regularly encourages release of toxins. Saunas can be good for this too.
Skin brushing: Use a natural bristle brush and always brush on dry skin, up towards the heart.
Eat sulphur-based foods: eggs, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, onions and garlic. Sulphur not only supports liver detox processes, it is also a key ingredient for making glutathione.
Eat 4 -5 Brazil nuts daily to get a good dose of selenium, a mineal key to your body’s production of Glutathione.
Keep well hydrated
Supplements to Enhance Your Detox Processes
Milk Thistle: a medicinal herb that supports liver processes and glutathione production
N-Acetyl-Cysteine: a precursor to glutathione
B vitamins (look for the ‘methylated’ form)
and do what you can to use natural skin care and home care products and where possible eat organic fruit and veg. To find out more about the cleanest and dirtiest products and produce, this is a great website.