Detox on the run: Key supplements clean health
How often do you detox? Do you follow a regular cleansing ritual — or cleanse only when you feel especially bogged down?
Feeling rundown is a sure sign it’s time to detoxify and get a much-needed energy boost for sure. But cleansing only when you feel like you need it, or at certain times of the year, may not be enough.
While a strong, comprehensive cleanse can restore your body’s normal checks and balances, it’s the times in-between you should be concerned about. Unfortunately, while you may take a break — toxins do not.
That’s why we need to change the way we think about what “detox” means. The time has come to stop viewing detoxification as a periodic cleanse, but rather as an ongoing process. Our constant, daily exposure to toxins makes this shift in our thinking a must.
So does this mean you should cleanse daily? Because more formal periodic cleanses can generally remove a significant amount of protein and fats from your diet in favor of greens, vegetables, vegetable juices, herbal teas and broth, doing so daily is just not sustainable or even healthy.
But here’s what you can do for a more balanced approach…
From a detox maintenance standpoint, there are three important steps to follow: mindfulness, diet and exercise.
Being mindful is one aspect of detox maintenance that’s fairly simple to do. Consider all the small decisions you make each day: salad or burger; fruit or brownie, stairs or elevator. You know what the right choices are; it’s a just a matter of integrating them into your daily life.
The diet part is merely the practice of addition and subtraction. You add organic fruits and vegetables, particularly deeply colored fruits and cruciferous vegetables, which are rich in nutrients and antioxidants. You focus on lean protein and whole grains and drink a lot of water. On the subtraction side, you reduce or eliminate alcohol, caffeine, sugar and processed foods.
Exercise is even easier. Gone is the emphasis on extreme workouts. A 30 minute daily walk is really all you need to increase your metabolism and promote toxin removal. Small adjustments in your work habits, such as taking frequent breaks from desk work is also very important: take a few minutes to stretch or do a few jumping jacks throughout your day. Studies have shown that even just standing instead of sitting has been shown to be beneficial.
I also recommend incorporating a meditation practice. Uncontrolled stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, contribute on a physical level to chronic inflammation with its many harmful effects. A ten minute daily meditation can help counteract them.
Other tools for stress reduction include yoga, Qi gong, Tai chi, spending time in nature, engaging in art, music and laughter.
Many body systems participate in ongoing detoxification, the liver being the primary organ involved in breaking down toxins for elimination. In addition to the liver, the skin, lungs, lymphatic system and kidneys are also involved with detoxification:
- Dry brushing your skin, using alternating hot and cold, and sweating can enhance skin elimination.
- Deep breathing, practiced in many traditions for thousands of years, enhances elimination through the lungs, increases oxygenation of the blood, and also stimulates movement of lymphatic fluids — essential processing channels for cellular waste.
- Using a rebounder is another way to stimulate lymphatic flow.
- Hydration is an often neglected, but provides crucial support for detoxification, which actually protects the kidneys by diluting toxic wastes.
- Alkalinizing your body through dietary adjustments also enhances the kidney’s detoxification capabilities.
Numerous cleansing allies in the form of herbs, minerals and amino acids can provide extra detoxification support. Quite often, these botanicals and nutrients support your liver, the organ most responsible for detoxification, and provide critical co-factors for your body’s network of detoxification pathways.
The liver actually goes through a two-part process to remove toxins. In the first step, it absorbs toxins from the bloodstream and breaks them down. Botanicals, such as milk thistle and dandelion extracts, are known to support this process.
Milk thistle has been the subject of major interest in the scientific community because of its powerful beneficial effects on the liver, thought to be due to its multiple antioxidant properties. Milk thistle is a jack-of-all trades when it comes to its antioxidant activities including scavenging free radicals, binding excess free iron and copper, inhibiting damaging signaling pathways, activating genes that synthesize protective molecules and even interacting with the bacteria in your gut microbiome.
The liver makes toxins water soluble, allowing them to be easily excreted from the body. Here, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), N-Acetyl Cysteine NAC and alpha lipoic acid can support the process.
These and other detoxification pathways need specific co-factors, such as zinc, magnesium, and B vitamins to run your “detox machinery” similar to an assembly line where there are specific steps that take a “product” from one station to another. In the case of detox pathways, there are chemical reactions at each step requiring certain vitamins and nutrients that sequentially enable toxins to be broken down and safely eliminated.
I recommend ecoDetox™ to provide comprehensive support, with a carefully conceived formula that puts all these ingredients together in one capsule. Incorporating unique blends of traditional Asian botanical extracts, antioxidants, amino acids and other nutrients, ecoDetox™ helps protect against free radicals, supports healthy methylation activity and helps maintain vital energy levels, providing total-body support for detoxification and optimal cleansing.*
Flushing heavy metals
In addition, I find in my clinical work that many of my patients have a burden of heavy metals. This is not surprising since even the most careful individual can’t avoid daily low level exposures. Most people are surprised to find they have elevated levels of lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic, since they can’t identify a specific exposure. This is the reality we face.
Fortunately, we have some natural tools to clear these dangerous metals from our bodies. What I have found most effective and safe is a combination of modified citrus pectin and alginates. Modified citrus pectin (MCP), made from the pith of citrus fruit peels, unlike regular pectin, has been altered to reduce the size of its molecules, making it highly absorbable from the GI tract into the general circulation. Its eggbox-like structure strongly traps heavy metals so they can be removed from the body. Studies have shown a dramatic increase in urinary excretion of heavy metals with ingestion of MCP.
Alginates from seaweed work in a complimentary way. They stay in the digestive system mopping up toxins that are incoming from water and food, and preventing a common problem of reabsorption of toxins excreted through the bile. This combination of alginates and pectin, called PectaClear®, was conceived after studies were published using both of these natural compounds to treat those exposed to radioactive isotopes after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
The time has come to stop viewing detoxification as a single event but rather as an ongoing process. Our daily exposure to toxins makes this shift in our thinking a must. The key is using the body’s own detox systems — and optimizing them. Through good nutrition, exercise, mindfulness and careful supplementation, we can help the body’s detoxification systems run at peak capacity. In turn, as toxins are removed, we feel better and improve our long-term health.