by Deanna Minich, PhD
As you read through health magazines or blogs, you probably see all kinds of articles or ads promoting the next great miracle product: a detox or cleanse. The influx of products—many of which have no scientific evidence backing their promised efficacy—has led many to think that detox is just a scam or a fad. However, that is not the whole truth.
Although some of these products might be ineffectual, there are also many reputable items and programs out there that actually do work. It is these that will withstand the test of time and demonstrate that true metabolic detox is not merely a fad.
Not convinced? Read on and find out why you should give it a shot!
We Live in a Toxic World
The industrial, chemical, and technological revolutions greatly benefited us in many ways, but they have led to a highly toxic world. Environmental exposure to pollution, chemicals, and other toxins is linked to a variety of noncommunicable diseases,1 including cancer, asthma, neuro-development conditions, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.2
Everyone is exposed to a number of toxins through their water, food, air, personal care products, and other elements in the environment. These include:
It Requires Support
Your body has its own detoxification process, which in the scientific and medical community is often referred to as bio transformation. There are three steps to this process: bio transformation, conjugation, and elimination.
During the first stage, toxic molecules, which might come from the outside world or from metabolites of your own body processes, get molecularity transformed into a different molecule. Sometimes it becomes less toxic, but many times, it actually becomes more toxic! Luckily, the next step mollifies it into a less toxic molecule. In this phase, the molecule combines with another molecule to create something that the body can eliminate. The third step is elimination, which in some discussions on detox is excluded but is just as important as the other two steps. Once your body has transformed the toxic elements into a benign molecule, it must be excreted through your urine, feces, or sweat.
All of these processes occur whether you are on a metabolic detox regimen or not, but they often need help! Each phase requires certain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients. If you have more toxins, then you will need more of these nutrients to handle the increase in the processes while your body tries to remove them from your system.
Some people have genetic differences that alter their detoxification pathways. In some instances, it speeds up either stage one or stage two. In others, it slows a stage down. Certain foods, medications, and other factors also might impact the efficacy either positively or negatively. In these instances, you might also require additional support to handle the detoxification process.
If two stages are not in sync, problems might arise. If you churn out more toxic molecules from stage one without being able to handle stage two at the same rate, then all of a sudden you have a backup of potentially troublesome molecules in the body. Similarly, if you finish stage two but cannot eliminate the toxins, they might get recycled, causing issues.
Good detox programs provide you with the food, nutrients, and herbs that support your body’s own natural detoxification system to ensure it works smoothly, in sync, and at the speed you need.
Nutrients Needed for Metabolic Detoxification
You want to ensure that you have the nutrients necessary to support the bio transformation and elimination process to get rid of the toxins in your body. You can also incorporate foods known to support the process,6 such as green tea, curcumin, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, and dandelion. Additionally, you want to support your liver, your kidneys, and your gut, the three systems most heavily involved in detoxification.
First and foremost, the process needs energy to undergo the different stages of detox! Phase one requires antioxidant support, since it typically releases a lot of free radicals. Nutrients to ensure you consume to support your phase one include:
Creating a Metabolic Detox Diet
Many of these nutrients are found in a generally healthy diet made up of primarily plant foods and whole foods. Thus, an essential step in providing your body with these nutrients is replacing calorie-dense foods with little to no nutrition, such as the highly processed foods rampant in the typical Western diet, with nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean protein, and healthy fats. Furthermore, switching to an organic diet has been shown to significantly lower the level of pesticides in the body even in a short period of time.
To take it a step further, you want to incorporate a detox diet that emphasises certain foods, nutrients, and herbs known to provide support for the pathways. A good detox diet not only provides you with the nutrients your body needs to process and eliminate the toxins you face every day, but it also should have the nutrients you need for all the other processes your body undertakes, as well as your daily activities!
Don’t forget to mitigate your exposure to environmental toxins as much as possible through using air and water filters, consuming organic foods, limiting your plastic use, and more.
So, is detox a fad? NO!In the highly toxic environment in which most people live, our body requires support to do its natural practice of eliminating toxins. In fact, it is essential not just to do a metabolic detox or a cleanse as a one-off, but to adopt a detoxifying lifestyle that provides a defence against the toxins to which you will be inevitably exposed.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.References:
About Deanna MinichGuest blogger Dr. Deanna Minich is an internationally recognized health expert and author with more than 20 years of experience in nutrition, mind-body health, and functional medicine. Dr. Minich holds Master’s and Doctorate degrees in nutrition and has lectured extensively throughout the world on health topics, teaching patients and health professionals about nutrition. She is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, a Certified Nutrition Specialist, and a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner. Currently, Dr. Minich teaches for the Institute for Functional Medicine and for the graduate program in functional medicine at the University of Western States. Her passion is bringing forth a colorful, whole-self approach to nourishment called Whole Detox and bridging the gaps between science, soul, and art in medicine.
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