Functional Medicine – Detoxification
Detox 101: What You Need To Know
To begin with, it’s important to have a good understanding of what detoxification really is and how it can affect your health.
The body has some amazing and very intricate processes to deal with all the substances to which we are exposed — from our food to environmental chemicals, hormones, pesticides, and so on. Our liver is the major organ of detoxification, and there are a host of specific detoxification pathways that help keep the body unencumbered from toxic accumulation. When we eat food, it’s broken down and eventually passes through the liver, which filters the blood, removing any toxins. From there, much of the toxic burden passes through the bile into the intestines, where it can exit the body.
We are being bombarded by thousands of harmful chemicals and environmental pollutants. If that wasn’t enough, consider the over-use of antibiotics and other prescription drugs, our over-indulgence in commercially processed foods, alcohol and tobacco use and our ever increasing stress loads and you have a recipe for disaster.
Functional Medicine Approach to Detoxification
It is impossible to avoid toxins completely! With that realization, the importance of supporting the body’s efforts to eliminate accumulated toxins cannot be overstated. But how we go about this can be quite confusing to people. There are many programs and theories about “detoxification” out there. They range from the benign but ineffective to the potentially dangerous and foolish. At the most foundational, biochemical level, detoxification is a process that takes place every day in several organs of our body. These organs are well equipped to help us detoxify but they are often simply over worked. They become deficient in key nutrients that are required to be present in abundance in order for our system to actually eliminate toxins from the body.
We teach you a well-balanced, scientifically sound method of cleansing and purifying your body. You will learn about the importance of what you eat and when you eat it. We’ll also focus on appropriate exercise, stress management and other techniques, like far infrared sauna, dry skin brushing, Epsom salt baths and homeopathic remedies that will assist in safely releasing toxins from your body.
Successful detoxification is something that we each should do periodically throughout the year. It can greatly improve our health and vitality. Our patients report improved energy, clarity of thought, better sleep, better skin, less irritability, relief from digestive problems and weight loss.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve heard that just doing a water or juice fast is the best way to detox. Is that right?
Many of us get a large portion of our toxic burden through the foods we choose to eat. So reducing the intake of those foods will decrease the amount of new toxins coming in to your body. Dietary modification should be a part of any good detoxification program but it isn’t enough. We need to really load up the body with the key phytonutrients, antioxidants, proteins and fats that will help our body deal with the toxins that are already trapped in our tissues and cells.
How often should I do a detox or a cleanse?
We ideally want to maintain a lifestyle that is as “clean” as possible but let’s face it, no one is perfect and some toxins are unavoidable such as air we breath in so periodic detox or cleansing is needed. We recommend that the average person do a 21-day cleanse program every 6 months.
My friend did a cleanse and felt horrible while she was on it. Is that normal?
Absolutely not! Occasionally a person will feel some achiness or fatigue or even a mild headache as they begin a detox program. This is usually just a sign that they are “stirring up” more toxins than they can eliminate. We see that as a problem and will advise you to slow down and add a few simple at home procedures to release toxins in a more balanced way.
Should I expect to lose weight on detox program?
Many people do lose a significant amount of weight while detoxifying their bodies. There are several reasons why that happens. First, simply avoiding foods that are not ideal for their body will often decrease calories as well as water retention and inflammation. Second, toxins in our bodies sabotage the normal functions of our cells. When there is a decrease in the amount of toxins, there is often an increase in cellular energy and our metabolism works more efficiently. For some people, detox is the key to jump starting weight loss.