The Truth About Detoxification

Dec 1 08:20 2009 Vivienne Savill Print This Article

The detoxification process may sound complex but that need not be the case. Learn the truth about detoxification.

“To detox or not to detox ?” This often the question especially as we approach the silly season and the new year. This article will hopefully allay any fears of detoxification that our medical friends sometimes like to put forward,Guest Posting often in an attempt to bring disrepute onto the natural health industry.

The unfortunate truth is there are bad detoxification programs out there (such as the lemon detox diet), developed by unskilled but clever marketing people. The information in this should put your fears to rest and help you to work out if a detox is for you.

If you are showing any signs of ill health, even if these symptoms are not particularly bad or debilitating, this may be your body informing you that things are not going as tickerty-boo as they should be. You might have some muscle ache, a slight skin problem, maybe some excess fatigue, some digestive irregularities, or infertility issues. 

Although the human body is much more complex than a machine, the motor car provides a good analogue. Your motor car needs a regular service to keep it functioning and giving optimal performance. It needs the oil filters changed, new breaks pads applied, maybe some anti-rust in the radiator. The point is that the human body, despite its ability to filter out and excrete some toxins, does not always have the ability to eradicate unwanted material – instead it deposits it in our adipose tissue.

Over time different toxins (whether they be those produced by the body or those from the external environment, go deeper and deeper into the tissues. It may be at this point that you start to feel not so good. It might be at this point that you take yourself off to the doctor, who may tell you everything is normal. This is because changes are taking place at a sub-clinical level and it is only when the toxins are so deeply imbedded that they produce pathologies that can be measured by your doctor.

Obviously as a preventative health practitioner, I do not want you to progress to that point.
To get the real story on how well your liver is functioning, I recommend that my clients have a Liver Function Test. This should not be confused with the liver blood tests (LFT’s) that medical practitioners perform – these are more a measurement of liver damage. When there is liver damage, certain enzymes are produced by the liver cells and that is what is being measured by a medical liver function test.

A real Liver Function Test is performed by a private pathologist who will provide you with both a panadol and a caffeine tablet which are to be taken at a specific time. Over the following few hours, urine or sputum specimens are taken at designated intervals and these are used to test the performance of Phase 1, 2 and 3 of your liver function. Without going into great details here, if any of those phases are under or over functioning, chances are your body is not eradicating toxins effectively.

So you have decided that a detoxification program is a good idea – now how do you work out what is a good program. These days we know that a healthy detoxification eating plan eradicated the main allergy foods, excess caffeine and alcohol, encourages plenty of water and possibly cleansing teas. It should basically be a good healthy diet that still provides all the necessary nutrient and protein that the body requires.

For proper liver function, some protein is required especially for phase 2 liver function.  Without adequate protein during your detoxification, it is possible that the body will lose its ability to process toxins adequately.

A proper detoxification program will firstly work on creating good gut integrity because if you haven’t done this initially, the toxins that are being mobilized by your liver will simply be reabsorbed by the gut. The most recent valid detoxification programs have also recognized the importance of getting another excretory organ, the kidney, to work effectively also.

So by now this whole detoxification program is probably sounding a little complex. That need not be the case. Most communities will have a trained natural health practitioner who can guide you through the whole process and ensure you are using good quality products that are backed by sound research
(not the supermarket detox in a box kind).

There has been some publicity lately that has ‘proved’ detoxification as ineffective and even dangerous.
This is untrue when a well researched and supportive detox program is carried out.

Your elimination processes can become over loaded from the excessive toxic burden placed on us with our modern lifestyle. These toxins include the obvious such as alcohol, junk food and tobacco then also biological inhalents such as mould and pollen, sprays and herbicides, heavy metals, stress or hormonal imbalances just to give you an idea. For a proper detox, you  have to include all eliminative systems including the digestive tract, kidneys and liver.

First we restore  the digestive tract to optimal function using a three step method. The digestive tract is usually a major source for toxic exposure as they can seep through a faulty barrier into circulation. We aim to repair the gut lining to reduce this happening as well as populate it with good bacteria that will aid digestion and keep unhealthy bacteria at bay.

Stage 1- Remove. Here we remove any bad bacteria and waste from your digestive tract.
Stage 2- Renew. In this stage you will be renewing your digestive lining and replacing your bad bacteria with healthy ones to improve digestive function. Also there will be support of your kidney function with products to alkalize your body.
Stage 3- Release. In this final stage your liver function will be supported, completing the detox and enabling you to release toxins more effectively.

The liver needs protein, vitamins , minerals and antioxidants to deal with everyday detoxification effectively. These nutrients are provided to us in vegetables and fruit. The aim is to provide plenty of these nutrients during a detox. This is where most fasting and liquid detoxes are at fault as they do not offer the essential nutrients necessary for proper elimination.

During Phase 1 liver detox toxic substances are activated to make them more accessible to phase 2.  enzymes. After phase 1 processing the toxin becomes highly reactive and can act as a free radical. If phase 1 process is fast, (induced by caffeine, alcohol, stress and other toxins) and the phase 2 is slow then this can lead to damage of cell walls and DNA. It is critical for effective overall liver function that phase 2 keeps up with phase 1 so there is no build up of these damaging reactive substances.

This is where these reactive substances produced in phase 1 are conjuncted with amino acids and other nutrients  to produce water soluble, bound, non- toxic substances to be excreted from the bowels or urine. Most people do not have amble nutrition which can lead to decreased phase 2 function. Whilst fasting and liquid detoxes, the main nutrient withdrawn is protein and thus the amino acids are not present to make these non-toxic products. This is why for the first few days of fasting people often feel very unwell  and it is not until the body starts to break down other tissues to provide these amino acids does detoxification process return to normal.

We can also refer you to have a liver function test which is different to what the doctor will order for you. The doctor  tests for hormones produced when the liver is damaged. It does not indicate how well the liver is functioning. We can check phase 1 and phase 2 function to assess just how well your liver is coping.

The kidneys are vital  for detoxification, as toxins that are processed from the liver are often excreted by the kidneys. More substances are eliminated  from the body via the kidneys than by any other route. Detoxification will proceed more easily and safely under alkaline conditions. More alkaline blood and urine reduces oxidative injury in the kidney so it is best for you detoxification process .

Some symptoms that are associated with toxic overload are
- recurrent headaches
- muscle aching and weakness
- neuralgia
- recurrent infections
- infertility
- adverse reactions /sensitivity to environmental chemicals and odors
- chronic fatigue and lethary
- depression, anxiety and mood swings
- poor short term memory and concentration
- anaemina

If you suffer from any of the symptoms above then it may be time to give your body a well supported, scientifically researched detoxification.

The new year is the ideal time to start a detox as the Christmas hype and high social activity will slow down and you will be able to focus on giving your body the break it needs after so much indulgence. We will give you a reminder and some more information around the new year.

If you have read this far, you are obviously devoted and interested in fostering your good health, so I would encourage you to do a proper detoxification at least once.

Once you have completed this 6 week process, and have resolved to a lifestyle of low toxicity (good diet, low stress, low chemical exposure etc.) you will be rewarded with new found health. You will find yourself stepping off of the “slippery slide towards ill health” that toxicity can so often lead to.
Now doesn’t that sound worthwhile?

Help increase your quality of life.  Turn back the clock and help prevent or slow down the slippery slide towards ill health by using fully researched, quality detoxification products.  Now is a great time to start thinking about your detox and planning a fabulously healthy 2010. The process is easy.

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Vivienne Savill
Vivienne Savill

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