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Alternative Approaches: Safe and Sensible Detoxification
Safe and Sensible Detoxification
I recently received this question about liver cleansing:
My friends are doing a community liver cleanse and I was wondering how you felt about a liver cleanse/detox?
There is something appealing about the idea of GETTING RID OF whatever isn't working in a particular organ. I have always avoided them; however, because I was (and remain a bit) nervous about what type of healing reaction (as I have heard it called) I would get. I've heard people having quite amazing results, even seeing stuff like stones and weird color things in their stool.
I shudder when I hear about detoxing and liver cleanses. I have treated many complications from these detoxification fads and it can take a lot of effort to repair the side effects. Liver cleanses are a popular practice - an appealing quick short cut to washing away all sorts of imbalance in the body.
In a very healthy person or a very sick person, the right kind of detoxing and cleansing could be beneficial. However, for most people, cleanses arouse the system abruptly and make you feel a false increase in energy.
People tell stories of passing stones and odd things while on a liver flush, etc. However, what may look like stones is usually a soft, saponified complex of minerals, olive oil and lemon juice produced within the GI tract in response to the cleanse. These flushes actually can have the effect of contracting the gallbladder and increasing the chance of trapping any gallstones - leading to all sorts of problems.
While a seasonal fast/cleanse in a healthy person can have benefits, in someone who is stressed they can lead to increased toxicity. The body's detox capacities are set to occur in phases. Phase one detoxifies many toxins by turning them into even more toxic toxins so that Phase Two can remove them from the body.
During fasting certain detoxification enzymes are relatively resistant to depletion by fasting and can be significantly induced by the products of fasting such as ketones and xenobiotics released from stored fat. On the other hand, the conjugating enzymes that break down Phase 1 toxins are heavily dependent on certain substrates that come from protein, vitamins and minerals and these conjugating enzymes are consumed rapidly under the states of high xenobiotic load or oxidative stress produced by fasting. The end result is that the substrates needed for Phase Two detoxification are not provided for and there is a marked rise in highly toxic bioactive intermediates and free radicals with a concomitant decrease in Phase 2 detoxification activity.
All that means is - fasting and cleanses can result in an unbalanced detoxification system leading to marked oxidative stress and that may be particularly deleterious to those who are chronically ill and whose antioxidant reserves are already exhausted or significantly weakened.
Healthy detoxification is not about embarking on some rigorous, purging "liver and/or bowel cleanse." Detoxification does not depend upon fasts, enemas, and intensive bowel cleansing. It is more beneficial to implement moderate but effective daily people friendly detox routines.
You can get the effect you are looking for without any disruptive side effects.
Your body naturally and automatically detoxifies itself. All you have to do is to ensure that those natural detoxification processes can do their job. The natural detoxification systems of your body depend upon the right supply of enzymes. These enzymes depend upon getting the right combination of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other healthy nutrients.
Five Tips for Sensible Detoxification
1. Pesticides, herbicides, and poisonous agricultural chemicals in food and water are a primary source of toxins. The organs of detoxification have difficulty breaking them down and eliminating them. These toxins then get stored in the body where they damage cells, create premature aging, and contribute to degenerative diseases. Therefore, eat organic foods as often as possible.
2. Eat a variety of health supporting foods because every day your dietary needs vary depending on physical activity, stress, climate, season, weather, emotional, mental, and physical demands.
3. Eat an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits. These contain a variety of vitamins and minerals and other protective substances that prevent cell wall damage. They are also the most purifying foods for the body. Eat 7-13 servings of vegetables and 2- 4 servings of fruits a day. Fresh, organic vegetables and fruits are the primary components of a cleansing diet. Fruits and vegetables provide phytonutrients that help prevent cancer, heart disease, glaucoma, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.
4. Drink enough water - 1/2 oz per pound of bodyweight. As you liberate stored toxins, you will need plenty of water to flush them quickly out or your system. Evenly spread your water intake throughout the day. Drink only clean, pure water.
5. Fiber rich foods are important for cleansing the colon and lungs. Sufficient fiber in the diet can reduce the incidence of some cancers by 60% or more. All fiber improves the functioning of the intestines. Fiber encourages healthy bacterial growth in the colon, assists in nutrient assimilation, and aids the formation of anti-cancer short-chained fatty acids. The most balanced approach to including more fiber in your diet is to eat a variety of the different types of fiber in whole foods.
Are You Toxic?
Check each symptom you have:
* Stiff neck and shoulders
* Sore muscles
* Spinal problems
* Poor flexibility
* Poor judgment, planning and organization
* An inability to make decisions
* Having a hard time relaxing
* Lacking enthusiasm and vitality
* Poor resistance to illness
* Muscle, ligament and tendon weakness
* Allergic sensitivities
* Irritated and watery eyes
* Acne or other skin problems
* Bowel problems
If you have 3 or more of these symptoms you would benefit from safe and sensible detoxification.
Consumerlab.com is building a database of natural remedy brands that it tests and rates. Not all are yet available.
Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration has a program called MEDWATCH for people to report adverse reactions to untested substances, such as herbal remedies and vitamins (800-332-1088).
A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions.
Mary Ann Copson, a Certified Licensed Nutritionist and a Wellness and Life Coach is the founder of the Evenstar Mood & Energy Wellness Center for Women. You can visit her online at www.evenstaronline.com or reach her by phone at 434-263-4996.
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