Why detox?

More than ever in our modern society we are exposed to a greater amount and wider variety of toxins. Toxins include pesticides, heavy metals, medications, intestinal microbes, food additives and pollution. Coupled with a decline in the quality of food we consume, these factors represent a serious health concern for the population of our modern era and our off-spring. Clinical experience supported by scientific research strongly suggests that toxins play an important role in many of our modern diseases and assisting the body's removal of these toxins leads to the improvement of many conditions, making us feel much better. It is by removing a large aggravation to the body and allowing the body's own healing mechanisms to proceed unhindered that a detox process allows proper healing to take place.

A recent World Resources Institute report concluded that common pesticides are a likely cause of immune suppression for millions of people throughout the world. Another wide spread toxin found commonly in Australia and New Zealand is mercury in fillings, which is now confirmed to be released into the system and have a detrimental effect on at least the immune system and the brain. Another common toxic factor present within most people is 'unfriendly' gut flora which has been linked to many health problems throughout the body not confined to just the digestive system. Many of these unfriendly or pathogenic microbes release toxins which are able to enter the blood stream and cause havoc.

We can reduce but cannot avoid many of the toxins of our modern lives. It is therefore essential that we assist the body with its rubbish removal on a daily basis by eating good quality food and ensuring good bowel motions. A once yearly focus on detoxification will give the body a good spring clean.

"It is by removing a large aggravation to the body and allowing the body's own healing mechanisms to proceed unhindered that a detox process allows proper healing to take place"

How does the body deal with toxins?

Luckily the body has many inbuilt mechanisms to process and eliminate a vast amount of toxic molecules every day. None of the body's waste removal systems occur by chance. It involves a highly sophisticated and coordinated set of biochemical mechanisms that occurs in a chain like event. If any link in the chain is broken or not functioning well the process of toxin elimination becomes impaired and the body will retain toxins.

The major organ for processing toxic molecules is the liver. The major organs for eliminating these waste molecules so they are not reabsorbed and reactivated are the bowel via feces and good microbes, and the kidneys via urine. The minor organs of elimination are the skin via sweat and old skin cells and the lungs via gaseous exchange. Metaphorically speaking the mind is an organ of elimination as it detoxifies negative and harmful thought patterns and conditioning that is known to contribute significantly to ill health.

The role of the liver in detoxification

Drugs or toxins exert their effects by having a very precise molecular structure. The liver detoxifies most of these molecules through a two-phase process known as Phase 1 and Phase 2. These processes render the toxins less toxic by altering their molecular structure to make them water soluble, less likely to cause damage and easier to excrete. Phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification systems must be in balance and specific and adequate nutrients are required for these processes to take place.

The liver's ability to detoxify is slowed down by:

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Excessive alcohol, junk foods or processed chemicalised foods

  • Overeating

  • Regular exercise

  • Liver disease

Conventional liver function tests only measure liver cell damage not the functioning ability of the liver to detoxify. There are liver functioning tests which measure the detoxification ability and may be required in some cases before embarking on a detoxification program. All blood passes through the liver, it is the main protection for our internal environment against damaging toxins.

Liver efficiency is supported by:

  • Specific food supplements such as chlorella and spirulina

  • Traditional unprocessed fats such as butter and the fats that accompany meat. Naturally occurring saturated fats stimulate the bile flow which clears the liver

  • Good quality protein from unprocessed natural meats, eggs and dairy for the many enzymes involved in detoxification

  • Regular exercise

  • Avoiding alcohol and junk/fast foods

The role of the kidneys and water in the elimination of toxins

The kidneys play an important role in the elimination of internally derived toxins. To support this process it is important to drink adequate amounts of pure water - well filtered or spring water, especially while undergoing a detox process to effectively flush the kidneys regularly and avoid the use of caffeine and alcohol which unnecessarily irritate and over stimulate the kidneys.

Exercise which produces a light sweat, and raises the heart rate potentiates the removal of toxins and the circulation of essential nutrients to all areas of the body. Fat cells are a general storage area for toxins and exercise helps break these down.

What about herbs?

The following herbs are useful for detoxification.

  • St Mary's Thistle: Thistle: Improves detoxification by directly acting on the liver. Stabilizes, protects, and improves regeneration of liver cells. This herb is also a potent antioxidant

  • Dandelion Root: Improves elimination via the liver, bowel and kidneys. It achieves this by stimulating bile flow from the liver and gall bladder and by its gentle cleansing, diuretic effect, on the kidneys

  • Green Tea: Potent antioxidant, particularly for the central nervous system and cardiovascular system

  • Tumeric: Traditionally used for detoxification of the blood. Its potent antioxidant and antiinflammatory protect the liver

  • Cascara: Gentle stimulating laxative with antiparasitic and liver stimulating actions

  • Schisandra: Protects the liver from toxins and has a positive effect on phase I and II detox enzymes

Other factors related to detox

Many household chemicals will cause immediate toxic effects if ingested, inhaled or come into contact with your skin.  Long term, low grade exposure to these chemicals may contribute to or aggravate conditions such as allergies, asthma, anxiety, frequent colds and flu’s, low energy and stubborn obesity.  Reducing your exposure to chemicals by using safer alternatives will help to improve your health and wellbeing.

It is generally advisable to avoid all food additives including flavours, colours and preservatives. A number of chemicals have been tested individually for toxicity (mostly on animals) and are said to be OK for human consumption, but there is very little information available on the long term combined ingestion of these common chemicals.

Mercury is a toxic metal present in mercury fillings or amalgam fillings, body talcum powder, contaminated seafood, cosmetics, plant fungicides, fabric softeners, pesticides, photo engraving and wood preservatives. The most significant source of mercury for most people is amalgam fillings. There is strong evidence that the mercury from fillings affects the rest of the body especially the brain and is best avoided.