"I'm addicted to sugar"
We’ve all heard or thought this before. Considering the American palate for highly processed, overly sweetened foods and the ubiquitous nature of sugar in advertising, we see evidence of a concerning shift. Sugar’s role in the American diet has moved beyond a character actor and into a starring role. Further, as discussed in the previous post, Sugar. How Much Is Too Much?, we consume far more sugar than is recommended for our health. But the question remains—are we addicted?
More please: How sugar affects the brain
While an ICD-10 code for “sugar addiction,” has yet to be established, an increasing body of research tells us that sugar has addictive effects on the brain.1,2 Like sex and drugs, consuming sugar stimulates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that gives us a sense of euphoria and controls the reward and pleasure centers in the brain. But what may have evolved as a survival mechanism has gone rogue.
The caveman sweet tooth
From an anthropological perspective, we are hard-wired for sweetness. The pleasing taste of sweet foods was a conditioned reward, one which could increase early man’s survival odds. In times of food scarcity, a preference for more nutritionally dense foods might have provided the energy required to continue the hunt, outrun a predator, or simply avoid starvation.
Flash forward a few hundred thousand years, and sugar is exponentially more abundant. Consistent intake of concentrated sugar can lead to changes in the brain’s dopamine receptors. Similar to increased drug or alcohol tolerance, over time, more sugar is needed for the same “high.”
Cookies and cocaine
So, the more you eat, the more you want. But, as for being “addictive” animal studies have shown sugar consumption to have drug-like effects. These include sugar-related bingeing, craving, tolerance, and withdrawal. In fact, according to a Connecticut College study, Oreo cookies cause more neural activation in the brains of rats than cocaine.3
For many individuals, the only way to stop over-consuming sugar is to stop the cravings. But the only way to end the cravings is to stop feeding them with sugar. So, in addition to cutting out the obvious forms of sugar—candy, baked goods, etc.—it is important to be aware of the less obvious forms of sugar in your diet. Over the course of a day, small quantities can add up, keep your cravings alive, and thwart your efforts to take control of sugar. So become a sugar sleuth. Here are five tips to get you started.
5 Tips for Identifying Added Sugars
The journey to a healthy relationship with sugar starts with awareness. Watch for the next post in this series, which will feature strategies for taking control of sugar.
Estrogen is a vital hormone that helps support the reproductive organs. Its metabolism is linked to diet, lifestyle, and genetic makeup.
Just like our bodies, our surroundings too carry varying degrees of estrogen. Plastic containers, nail polish, receipts—our households feature more of the hormone than most people know. And while the body can absorb these environmental estrogens (also known as xenoestrogens) in the same way it can produce estrogen naturally, it’s important to maintain a sense of balance.
This is because estrogen dominance—that is, the dominance of estrogen over progesterone—can lead to undesired health effects.1,2
This is where an environmental estrogen detox may serve you. There are a number of steps you can take to help reduce the amount of estrogen in your environment:
These are just some of the steps you can take to help lower estrogen levels in your environment and body. Note that an estrogenic detox is best completed by making small, conscious changes.
Submitted by the Metagenics Marketing Team
by Deanna Minich, PhD, CNS, IFMCP
You’ve likely seen, or heard, the detox debate. Experts, celebrities, and news outlets have reported the importance of detoxing or doing a cleanse. Over time, it’s thought that an accumulation of environmental toxins weighs us down, saps our energy, and prevents us from living our best lives. As a result, the best way to reduce the “toxin burden” is to bring in everyday strategies to remove them and to have dedicated times of year to do a bit more for a whole-self reset.
Of course, there’s also the school of thought that suggests that our bodies are built for detoxing, and we don’t need a special diet or product to clear out the system. Detox is just a waste of time, they say. Well, there is no doubt that the body does regular cleansing through breathing, urinating, defecating, crying, secreting, and exfoliating, but are we always doing it efficiently?
With all the current data on pharmacogenetics and even nutrigenomics, we now know that every individual is different when it comes to the efficiency of toxin removal. So how would you know if you are one of the “chosen ones” who needs a detox? Let’s look at the body systems from physical, emotional, and mental perspectives, as they may provide the clues.
Let’s begin by looking at what “detox” means. Over the last two decades, this word has taken on a much more dynamic meaning. In the United States, we encounter over 80,000 different chemicals,1 and an estimated 4 billion pounds of chemical pollutants from plastics, pesticides, solvents, heavy metals, etc. enter into our environment, finding their way into the air, soil, food, water supplies, our clothing, and eventually, into our bodies.2 Every year, the toxic load continues to increase. Scientists now estimate that everyone of us carries at least 700 contaminants within our bodies!3
While it is true that the human body is well-equipped to rid itself of these potentially harmful chemicals, the sheer volume of what we’re now exposed to can overburden our natural detoxification processes and allow the toxins to accumulate in our tissues.
One of the first indicators that we may be harboring a toxic burden is to look at changes in the body’s immune system, such as increased susceptibility to colds, flues, and becoming sick.4 Additionally, generalized joint and muscle aches and pains, food, environmental or chemical sensitivities, headache, lethargy, weakness, and even abdominal pain could be signs that you need to help your body relieve some of the accumulated toxins.
When we look at detoxification, we don’t just want to look at the removal of physical toxins that weigh down our bodies. We can also be burdened in other areas of life, including emotional and mental aspects that can arise from many areas in life—from the company we keep to physical and psychological stressors to sleep habits.
In addition to emotional toxicity, we may also experience mental toxins. Perhaps the most pervasive are the limiting thoughts that invade our minds throughout the day like, “Nobody cares what I think,” “I’m just not good at new things,” or “I can’t say no.” Years ago, I heard we have up to 80,000 thoughts each day, and most of them are negative. Regardless of the exact number, it’s probably reasonable to think that most people are not thinking positively most of the time. These types of mental toxins could add up to mental stress, leading to an inability to concentrate and even sleep. And, without proper sleep,6 we may not be allowing for the flux of toxins out of the brain.
Steps for daily detox
No matter where the toxic burden originates from, there are simple steps to take to help your body detox.
1. National Resources Defense Council. https://www.nrdc.org/issues/toxic-chemicals. Accessed October 17, 2018.
2. http://scorecard.goodguide.com/env-releases/us-map.tcl. Accessed November 5, 2018.
3. Onstot J et al. Characterization of HRGC/MSUnidentified Peaks from the Analysis of Human Adipose Tissue. Volume 1: Technical Approach. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Toxic Substances; 1987.
4. Sears ME et al. J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:356798.
5. J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:356798.
6. Inoué S. Behav Brain Res. 1995;69(1-2):91-96.
7. Ishii H et al. http://www.clinexprheumatol.org/article.asp?a=2136. Accessed 10/17/18.
8. Guan Y et al. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015:824185.
Nobody likes uninvited guests. This includes toxins and pollutants such as heavy metals and pesticides from the air, water, and soil that bombard our bodies every day. Over time, these “guests” can build up and can contribute to mild issues such as brain fog, tiredness, aches, and skin complaints.1,2 This is when it is important to understand the three phases of your body’s natural detoxification processes. Here’s what that looks like:
Phase I: Reaction
In the first phase of metabolic detoxification, your body reacts to toxins by using enzymes (known as P450 enzymes)3 that act to turn the toxins into free radicals. This is a good thing: Free radicals are a natural occurrence that, when balanced, should not be an issue; it is when free radicals become imbalanced that they are considered an issue. Through this conversion process, toxins become water-soluble molecules that are easier for your body to get rid of via the kidneys (and eventually through the urine).3
Phase II: Neutralization
Welcome to the activation phase of detox! After Phase I, some toxins are rendered as more reactive than before. In Phase II, these products are attached to other water-soluble substances to increase their solubility and make them easier to eliminate through urine or bile.3 This process is called a conjugation reaction, and requires co-factors (metal ions or co-enzymes) to make it happen.3
Phase III: Transportation
Like a ferry that brings cars and people from Point A to Point B, the transporters of Phase III help ensure the water-soluble compounds created in Phases I and II are excreted from your cells. Before this occurs, Phase III neutralizes the compounds and binds them with dietary fiber. From here, it’s literally a flush when the toxins are excreted.3
1. Goldman RH et al. The occupational and environmental health history. 1981 Dec 18;246(24):2831-6.
2. Nelson et al. 2011.
3. Liska D. The Detoxification Enzyme Systems. Altern Med Rev.1998 Jun;3(3):187-98.
4. Infographic: The 3 Phases of Detoxification. Metagenics Institute. Available at: https://www.metagenicsinstitute.com/ce-education/clinical-tools/3-phases-detoxification. Accessed August 30, 2018.
Submitted by the Metagenics Marketing Team
Add These Detoxifying Foods to Your Shopping List
Detox is a hot topic nowadays. Many detox programs promise to cleanse your body harmful compounds, and others tout weight loss and additional health benefits. Unfortunately, many of these detox methods involve a major dietary overhaul or giving up solid foods altogether, which may actually be harmful to your body.1 Because your body is in constant detox mode, you can encourage this process, correctly and effectively, by simply eating the right foods.
Scientific research has found that the nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants found in certain whole foods can help support the liver’s detoxification pathways, prevent the buildup of toxins, and support overall health.2-4
Chemicals and toxins are everywhere, but your body is built to fight back. Here are six of your top nutritional allies:
1. Cruciferous vegetables & leafy greens
Spinach, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are among the folate- and chlorophyll-richgreens that support the body’s detoxification process by helping to detoxifythe blood and cleanse the intestines.2,4-7 All the more reason to go green!
Broccoli deserves some special attention for its high concentrations of glucoraphanin, which is converted in the body to sulforaphane—an active compound associated with many positive health benefits, including its role in inducing phase II detoxification enzymes and support for overall liver health.8-10
Used in many anti-inflammatory and detoxifying recipes, turmeric contains a powerful substance called curcumin, a polyphenol with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Science has found curcumin to play a role in modulating cellular response to oxidative
stress—demonstrating hepaprotective and therapeutic effects on liver health.11,12
Commonly used in bread products, oils, and dressings, sesame is flowering plant that maybe beneficial for detox. Sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine—both of which are found at high levels in sesame—are precursors to the production ofglutathione, a key antioxidant in the detoxification process.4
These pretty-colored veggies contain betanin, which can help repair liver cells and help support detoxification processes in the liver.13,14 It’s also great for digestion. Tell toxic chemicals to “beet” it!
No party spread is complete without it! Avocado has high concentrations of the antioxidant glutathione, which has been found to neutralize free radicals to support and protect the liver—i.e., your detoxification powerhouse.4,15,16
Why guacamole? Avocado in this form often uses other healthful ingredients, like cilantro. Also known as coriander, cilantro contains oils with antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidative properties.17 Pass the guac, please.
Alongside its knack for warding off vampires, garlic may be beneficial for clearing out toxins. The sulfur-containing compound allicin, which gives garlic its unique and strong-smelling aroma, may enhance antioxidation and detoxification capabilities18,19 and has also demonstrated hepatoprotective effects against heavy metals in the liver.20
Incorporating more of these foods into your diet can help support detox processes. Add them to your shopping list today!
1. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/detoxes-cleanses. Accessed November 15, 2018.
2. Guan YS. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:824185.
3. V Marco. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2011;63 Suppl 1(S1):82-89.
4. Hodges RE. J Nutr Metab. 2015;2015:760689.
5. Suparmi S. J Toxicol. 2016;2016:8515089.
6. https://www.healthline.com/health/liquid-chlorophyll-benefits-risks. Accessed November 15, 2018.
7. Welzel TM. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007;16(6):1279-1282.
8. Kikuchi M. World J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(43):12457–12467.
9. Yoshida K. World J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(35):10091–10103.
10. Glade MJ. Nutrition. 2015;31(9):1175-1178.
12. García-Niño WR. Food Chem Toxicol. 2014;69:182-201.
13. Krajka-Kuźniak V. Br J Nutr. 2013;110(12):2138-2149.
14. Clifford T. Nutrients. 2015;7(4):2801–2822.
15. Kaplowitz N. Yale J Biol Med. 1981;54(6):497–502.
16. Sacco R. Minerva Gastroenterol Dietol. 2016;62(4):316-324.
17. Mandal S. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2015;5(6):421-428.
18. Bayan L. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2014;4(1):1–14.
19. Wu CC. J Tradit Complement Med. 2012;2(4):323–330.
20. Nwokocha CR. Food Chem Toxicol. 2012;50(2):222-226.
Submitted by the Metagenics Marketing Team
Heavy metals, pesticides, and xenoestrogens
The industrial, chemical, and technological revolutions benefited us in many ways but have also led to a highly toxic world. If we could take a look inside the food and supplements that we put into our bodies, we would expect them to not contain heavy metals and pesticides. However, this simply is not realistic given our modern environment, where we are regularly exposed to toxins through water, food, air, personal care products, and other elements such as:
While this information may come as a surprise, we are not incapable of protecting ourselves from exposure to toxins. Here are four critical ways that we can protect ourselves:
1. Be aware of safety guidelines Action begins with awareness that we need to protect ourselves from daily exposure to toxins. Regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publish information and set forth safety guidelines for heavy metal intake and other manageable exposures.5,6 Being aware of these safety guidelines is a great first step toward living a cleaner lifestyle.
2. Detox your home We think our homes are safe, but they are actually where we can be exposed to heavy metals and xenoestrogens—compounds that imitate the hormone estrogen. Xenoestrogens include brominated flame retardants (BFRs) commonly found in mattresses, carpet, electronics, and more. Older homes can also harbor lead paint. Aluminum has been found in pots, pans, and various personal care products. Even scented candles and air fresheners can contain xenoestrogens and other harmful compounds.7
Plastic containers are another place where xenoestrogens lurk. While convenient, plastic containers such as water bottles and bags include chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body. Two of these chemicals, bisphenol-A (BPA) and bisphenol-S (BPS), are especially detrimental in extreme temperatures, as high heat can cause both to break down and leach into foods and liquids.8 Use glass or stainless-steel containers instead of plastic to reduce exposure.
3. Shop smart One of the easiest ways to reduce toxin exposure is by shopping smarter at the grocery store. Look for organic varieties of produce listed on the Environmental Working Group “Dirty Dozen” list, as these items have been associated with high pesticide residue levels.9 For shoppers on a budget, produce listed on the “Clean 15” are identified as non-organic produce with the lowest pesticide levels.9
For animal products, select organic meats whenever possible and pick wild-caught seafood over farm-raised. Not all fish are created equal, and in the deep blue sea, smaller is better as they are gobbled up by larger fish, thereby beginning the cycle of contaminants compounding and building in potency until they reach your plate. Because large fish such as tuna and swordfish are higher on the food chain, they usually harbor greater concentrations of toxins and contaminants being dumped into oceans and lakes than their food source (e.g., smaller fish).
4. Drink filtered water. The tap water in your area could be harboring heavy metals, pesticide runoff, and environmental estrogens like fluoride, chlorine, and other chemicals. In a 2008 study across nine states, the US Geological Survey found municipal water to contain 85 man
made chemicals.10 However, adequate water is important for so many bodily processes—including detoxification—so purchase a quality water filter to stay hydrated while keeping toxins at bay.
Submitted by the Metagenics Marketing Team
The Price of Cocktails Is Even Higher Than You Think
The subject of drinking alcohol stirs up passion in many people: They either love it or they’ve sworn off of it, while many simply enjoy the occasional happy hour to socialize and unwind. But what does an excessive amount of alcohol actually do to your body?
It’s important to note the effects of alcohol vary from person to person. Many people associate modest amounts of alcohol with confidence and a warm, buzz feeling. But the short-term effects of overindulgence may include drowsiness, slurring of speech, poor coordination, nausea, vomiting, speech impairment, lack of judgment, blackouts, and possible emotional changes along with a painful morning-after hangover. And the truth is, most people have experienced at least some of these effects at some point, because it’s easy to lose track of how much we drink and how quickly—crossing the line from a moderate, normal amount to an excessive, unhealthy amount.
Casual Consumption vs. Abuse
Of course, it’s perfectly okay to enjoy a drink every now and then, but it’s important to be mindful of how much you consume in a given week and how much you consume in one sitting. More than five standard alcoholic beverages in one session is considered binge drinking, and more than nine per week is also considered abuse.1-2 So what exactly are the long-term effects of chronic alcohol abuse? While excessive consumption is harmful to anyone—often with severe side effects—chronic alcohol abuse affects each person differently.
Most immediately, alcohol impairs the connections between the central nervous system, brain, and body. The brain is the control center of the body, and it is arguably the most important organ we have. Not only does alcohol impair brain functioning, it can actually cause brain damage,3 and over many years, it can actually shrink the brain.4 Cognitive impairment, behavior changes, and hallucinations are also common, along with blackouts, slurred speech, and numbness and tingling in the extremities. Over time, alcohol abuse can damage the central nervous system. Common signs of central nervous system degradation include muscle cramping and poor coordination.
And the negative effects do not stop there. Other areas include:
The good news? Studies have shown that one glass of red wine per day for women and two per day for men can be cardio protective. 11 But again, anything more than the recommended amount might be problematic.
Always Drink Responsibly
Over consumption on a regular basis can cause the body to become dependent on alcohol. For those who are genetically prone to addiction (i.e., an addictive personality), it can be especially challenging to monitor drinking habits. Either way, dependency makes quitting even harder. That’s why it’s important for even social drinkers to realize the effects alcohol has on the body, so when they choose to drink, they may be more inclined to do so responsibly.
Before indulging in a drink or two, it’s important to be cognizant of the detrimental influence alcohol can have on our bodies—which extends far beyond impaired motor skills. If you or someone you know may be suffering from alcohol abuse, seek help as soon as possible.
Submitted by the Metagenics Marketing Team
Racing Past Crohn’s: How Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Helped Lawson Aschenbach (Part 1) | Metagenics | Blog
Mental clarity, fitness, and good health are vital in racing, so a debilitating illness can threaten a professional race car driver’s career as well as his health. We sat down with seven-time professional sports car racing champion Lawson Aschenbach to learn how he used personalized lifestyle medicine to help manage his Crohn’s disease and return to the winner’s podium.
Let’s start with your professional background. How did you get into racing?I got into racing when I was 8 years old. My dad introduced my older brother and me to go-karting. It was a hobby at the time but quickly became my passion.
What is your schedule like? How much are you home? How often do you travel?I’m on the road between 150 and 200 days a year. That could be for race weekends, testing, or PR events. It’s difficult to stick to a schedule when you’re always traveling, so preparation has become an essential aspect of my life. I have containers for all the supplements I’m taking, and everything is premeasured before I leave for every trip.
When I’m racing, I’m either at the track or the hotel. I might be practicing, qualifying, or racing on those days, but I stick to a strict schedule. I go to bed at the same time every night; I wake up at the same time every morning. I make sure my health, focus levels, and body are in line to perform at a maximum level.
When I’m home, it’s a straightforward routine. I wake up, get breakfast, and go work out. There are a variety of exercises I use to keep myself in shape during and after the racing season. My afternoons involve office work and family. I try to spend as much time as I can with my wife and daughter. I’m enjoying fatherhood. It was an incredible experience bringing a baby into the world, and my daughter just turned 2 in December.
You were diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. How long were you having symptoms before you were diagnosed? How did your diagnosis come about?I initially started having digestive problems in middle school when I was 12 or 13 years old. After lunch, I would get embarrassing gas issues. It came out of nowhere and continued until I found the trigger, milk. Two cartons of milk were the daily lunch beverage at the time, and when I replaced it with something else, the issues stopped. It seemed strange to me that I could drink milk with no problems until that day.
Fast-forward to 2012 when I was experiencing continued gas, horrible bathroom experiences, dizziness, lethargy, a B12 deficiency, and insomnia. I wasn’t recovering from workouts either. It got to the point where this was starting to affect my career.
At one point I demanded a colonoscopy. I don’t know many people that would request one of those! But I had to get to the bottom of this, and sure enough, I immediately got a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease.
How old were you when you were finally diagnosed?Twenty-eight. My disease progressed quickly until the diagnosis. And to make matters worse, that was a rough time in my life because the racing world had taken a considerable hit during the economic crash. Stress became a part of my issues, and I believe it advanced all my symptoms at a much faster rate.
In some ways, I’m glad it happened because it forced me to figure out my health issues. Not only was it affecting my career, but also my life.
How did your illness affect your racing? How did it affect your life outside of racing?The most critical attribute in a driver is focus, and fitness is a big player in that ability. When you start getting tired, you start losing attention, and at 170 miles an hour, that can lead to disastrous results. Not to mention the fact that we’re in close quarters. We’re battling, trying to go for fast laps, and continuously searching for a split-second opportunity to pass someone.
When inflamed, I noticed my energy levels were declining. My workouts weren’t very promising, and the recovery times were slow. The combination of lack of sleep, lethargy, and consistent gastrointestinal issues created a lack of focus when I was in the car. When I was asked to do a two- or three-hour stint during an endurance race, I was having a hard time finishing it.
When things start happening, people take notice. It was a scary time. I knew I couldn’t continue this way for another season or else my career could end.
What was your experience with traditional medicine in treating Crohn’s disease?Immediately after my diagnosis in early 2012, I was prescribed an anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drug. My doctor mentioned that we needed to get to the bottom of this, or I was on the path to resection surgery to remove part of my colon. Talk about scared straight!
He said I was going to take a pharmaceutical for the rest of my life while throwing out some stat that 90% of all Crohn’s patients never get to complete remission. It was a frustrating thought, but anyone that knows me understands that I never back down from a challenge!
How long was it before you were introduced to medical foods and personalized lifestyle medicine as a management option for Crohn’s?I did a significant amount of research after my diagnosis to try to figure out another way without taking pharmaceuticals. I was willing to do whatever it took. My symptoms were getting worse each day.
I reached out to a friend who learned of alternative methods to manage his battle with colitis. A nutritionist helped him manage his symptoms using diet and supplementation. He went from yearly hospital visits to living a more happy, healthy life.
I set up an appointment with the nutritionist, and that was my introduction to the world of lifestyle health plans and Functional Medicine. This was the turning point in my journey.
What was your experience with UltraInflamX Plus 360® Medical Food?Within 24 hours of using the product, it was life-changing. Almost all of my gastrointestinal issues subsided, and I immediately felt like a different person.
I had a new lease on life, and my mood changed accordingly. I felt that I could tackle any race in the world, and I had the health to back me up! I can say, without a doubt, that UltraInflamX Plus 360 changed my life!
How have your life and your racing changed since you switched to a personalized lifestyle medicine approach to managing Crohn’s?First and foremost, I have more energy. I’m recovering faster from workouts and races. I’m sleeping better, my focus level is at an all-time high, and, most importantly, my driving ability has been raised to a new level. Driving three-hour stints is no problem anymore, and I’ve been very fortunate to win four championships since being introduced to lifestyle medicine.
As a driver, we’re dealing with extreme temperatures-inside the car, it can be 130, 140 degrees. We don’t have a lot of driver comfort options, and our arms, legs, and head are constantly moving. It’s vital that you can zero in on what you’re doing, because you may only get one shot to pass someone during an entire race.
Nowadays, if there’s an opportunity, I’m going to take it. I’ve been fortunate to win a lot of races because of that desire and dedication. I feel I’m driving better than ever, and it’s showing in the results.
Lawson Aschenbach is a seven-time professional sports car racing champion. He started racing karts at the age of 8 and went on to win state, national, North American, and four Grand National Championships. In 2005, he finished on the podium in his first sports car race and then burst out onto the scene in 2006, winning the SPEED World Challenge GT Championship in his rookie year. Aschenbach has over 35 professional race wins and currently competes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Pirelli World Challenge Series.
How many of your patients complain of fatigue and lack of energy? These symptoms may be indicators that your patients might benefit from a metabolic detoxification program. Metabolic detoxification is the body’s natural ability to metabolize, neutralize, and excrete potentially harmful substances while temporarily reducing incoming potentially harmful chemicals or pollutants. A metabolic detox program supports this natural process when the body is unable to keep up with its toxic load.
Why detox? It’s not just a fad. Metabolic detoxification supports liver function and can help patients shift poor dietary habits, and since they may feel an immediate difference, it can help improve compliance.
Setting up a group detox connects patients with similar needs and desired outcomes, and it may benefit the practitioner as well: Since group sessions allow for cost sharing, it’s more affordable for the patients, which can inspire more patients to participate.
Get started. You can determine which patients will benefit most from a detox by having them respond to a detox screening questionnaire. This could be used as a subjective review of the patient’s systems along with your physical examination to determine to what extent detoxification support may help and the ideal duration of detoxification. You’ll also be able to use the responses as a baseline to evaluate progress following the detox protocol.
Based on the number of patients who express interest in learning more, set a date and location for your presentation. Create a flier to hand to patients or leave at your front desk. Print out a sign-up sheet for patients to register immediately before or after a clinic visit. Promote the session on your social media and sharing sites. Suggest that your patients invite their spouses or friends if they feel they would be interested or may be good candidates. As an incentive, you might consider waiving the registration fee for patient partners.
Finally, order enough detox kits to have on hand for purchase based on the number of attendees who register. Remember, people will be more likely to participate in the group detox if they can start quickly and don’t have time for their excitement to wane.
Create your presentation. As you pull your presentation together, there are several elements that should be included:
After the event. Create a group email list or a social media site where patients can regularly “check in” with you (and one another) for added support during the detox process. This added social support and encouragement is helpful for successful outcomes. Follow up with patients several times during the process as well as afterward to get feedback on their progress and to get feedback for future group detox events.
Additional event tips. In addition to guidance provided throughout this post, here are a few additional tips to help you and your patients get the most out of the event:
Ready to get your group detox started? Follow these guidelines to help ensure it’s a success!
Submitted by the Metagenics Marketing Team
There’s been plenty of buzz in recent years around the word “detox,” but your body is not the only thing that can be exposed to toxins. Your whole way of life might be exposing you to emotional toxicity, too.
We take the trash out from our homes on a regular basis. This allows us to discard what’s no longer useful and keep our living spaces clean and pleasant. If we neglect this responsibility, the consequences are hard to ignore: overflowing waste baskets, unpleasant odors, and possibly the invasion of pests!
Unfortunately, emotional garbage is not so easy to detect. Bad habits, negative thoughts, toxic people, and unhealthy situations can overwhelm your personal space and accumulate clutter in your mind. Over time, both internal and external stressors cause your mental waste bin to become full. If you aren’t careful to filter out what you don’t need, that waste bin can overflow—and lead to a very unhealthy life!
There are plenty of ways to minimize toxicity in your life. Consider these nine steps to start reducing stressors today.
1. Change your self-talk
What are you thinking about right now? What did you think about when you first woke up? Believe it or not, your answers say a lot about you and your health.1 Your thought patterns are an integral part of your overall well being. Over time, repeated thought patterns influence behavior and beliefs.1 When your thoughts are mostly negative, it can feel like you’re stuck on a “not-so-merry”-go-round.
Remind yourself, too, that you can’t always trust your own thoughts to be impartial. Sometimes you have to hit the pause button, take some deep breaths, and talk yourself off the ledge. And that’s okay. To break free from a negative thought spiral, try a relaxing, rejuvenating activity (e.g., read a book, practice yoga, tend to your garden, or listen to a favorite record) to lift your spirits and get your mind focused on something new.
2. Reevaluate your habits
We all have bad habits. Some habits are relatively benign, like biting your nails or smacking your lips when you chew. But others, like hitting the snooze button, comparing yourself to other people, and picking fights with friends or partners, can actually be toxic to your well being.
The first step toward improvement is self-awareness. To start, make a list of your habits and mark an X next to the not-so-good ones. As you build your self-discipline, remember to be patient with yourself. Studies say it can take about two months (not 21 days) to make or break a habit!2
3. Walk away from bad relationships
Good friendships matter. In fact, research conducted over a ten-year period found that individuals with a stronger network of friends were 22% more likely to outlive their lonelier counterparts.3 But where good friendships can support your health, bad ones can do just the opposite.
Pay attention to how you feel after hanging with certain people. If you’re always left feeling distressed in one way or another, it may be best to start distancing yourself from them. Don’t feel obligated to keep up friendships (or romantic partners) that cost you your mental and emotional sense of peace.
4. Disconnect from social media
Social media is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it helps us stay connected with friends and family. On the other hand, it’s a hotbed of competition, comparison, and drama. Taking a break from social media can clear mental clutter and help you focus on the here and now.
Evaluate your feelings after using Facebook, Instagram, or any other social network, then ask yourself why you feel this way. It’s a good idea to delete or un-follow highly negative people or those who stir up bad feelings whenever you visit their pages or see their posts. Doing this can spare you those negative emotions and allow you to focus your energy on more positive things.
If nothing else, social media can be a real time killer. The time you save on scrolling could mean more time spent on hobbies or with loves ones.
5. Downsize your wardrobe
Clothes are a necessity and a fun way to express personal style. Unfortunately, they are also an easy thing to hoard. Physical clutter can lead to mental clutter. If sartorial clutter has taken over your bedroom, you may be in need of a closet purge.
The clothes you wear can affect your mood and your confidence, so it’s important that you feel good in them. Are any of your duds, well…a dud? Find out by doing a quick survey of every item in your wardrobe. Ask yourself: Would I feel good wearing this tomorrow or to an upcoming event? If the answer is no, it may be time to let it go. If you choose to donate, you can feel good knowing that your preloved apparel might work equally well for someone new.
6. Reorganize your work space
While the importance of keeping a clean home seems like a no-brainer, your work area can be an easy thing to neglect—until you find it’s covered in “organized” piles of paper and old business cards. According to science, a clean, organized work space can boost productivity. In fact, a Harvard study found that students who worked in a tidier environment remained focused for 7 ½ minutes longer than messier students, who were more likely to experience frustration and weariness.4
Giving your desk or work space a weekly once-over means you are less likely to be invaded by dust bunnies and more likely to check items off your to-do list.
7. Turn off the TV
It’s easier than ever to get hooked on television. The average American adult watches five hours of TV per day (wow!), and about 50 percent of Americans use some kind of streaming service—a number that’s been steadily rising.5
As statistics show, what we spend much of our free time doing is more passive than active, and that mindset may spill over into other areas of life. Although entertainment is not all bad, moderation may be the best approach to screen time. Increased television watching is associated with lower physical and mental vitality and may be linked to chronic health conditions.6,7
If this feels relevant for you, consider cutting your quality time with the tube by a small amount each day. Replace that time with a physical activity or creative hobby, which—according to research—can promote overall well being 8.
8. Reassess your diet
The benefits of a balanced diet go beyond your physical body. It can also make you feel good mentally. Eating foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can protect your brain from oxidative stress, support brain function, and help stabilize your mood.9 There’s also plenty of evidence showing that when your body is low in certain essential nutrients, such as vitamin D and omega-3's, it can negatively impact mental health.10,11 If you’re stuck in a funk, your diet may be playing a role.
To help combat those blues and support your health, start by incorporating wholesome snacks into your day, like nuts, fruit, or string cheese, and eat plenty of nutrient-dense greens whenever possible. Stock your fridge or pantry with things you enjoy that won’t make you feel guilty. And to set yourself up for success, rid your kitchen of sugary, greasy snack foods so you won’t be tempted to indulge.
9. Keep a journal
Had a bad day? Feeling low but you don’t know why? Write about it! Reading what you wrote a few days later may give insights on things that can be reduced or eliminated to avoid future bad or unhappy days.
Writing is one of the best ways to release bad feelings. Writing down your thoughts can feel just as good as venting to a friend. And because your thoughts are recorded in one place, it’s much easier to pick up on patterns in your thoughts and behavior—helping you prioritize problems, identify triggers, and work through anxious feelings.12 Anyone can do it!
When life gets too complicated, well being silently suffers. And though we all have different thresholds for toxic overload, most of us could benefit from taking some steps to detox our lives as well.