There are a few things in life that are predictable: picking the slow line at the checkout, a 4–car accident 15 minutes before the end of your shift and that on January 1st, zillions of people will partake in some cleanse or detox program. The gyms are packed, meals are meticulously planned and inevitably someone is starting an “apple cider vinegar cleanse” endorsed by their favorite celebrity.
Let’s talk detox.
Doing almost anything followed by the phrase “I found this on the internet” can really harm your body. Which is why these random detox/cleanse products really makes my skin crawl.
The good news is 99% of the population can see unbelievable benefits from doing a detox a couple times a year. Weight loss plateaued? Headaches? Workouts not going so well? Brain fog/fatigue? Poor sleep? Weird skin thing? Read on…
First, let’s break down Detox versus a Cleanse.
A cleanse focuses on restoring gut function. Like removing the gunk and bad bacteria. A detox removes toxins from your body, which are the very things that cause some health complaints.
When I say “detox”, I’m not referring to an overnight stay at the clinic
near the railroad tracks where you get buzzed in at 2 a.m.
I’m talking about a Clinical Detox protocol that supports your body’s natural detox process. If done correctly, it not only helps restore your gut function, but can make you feel fricking amazing when you’re done. Why? Because you’re giving significant support to your over-worked detox system.
I’ll break this article into three chucks:
- The (scary) Stats.
- How our bodies get rid of toxins.
- What you can do to get rid of toxins.
The (scary) Stats.
We are all exposed to countless toxins EVERY SINGLE DAY; exhaust, bacteria, food additives, chemicals, pollutants, mold, medications, coffee, heavy metals or even just byproducts of normal metabolism (ex. protein is broken down into ammonia).
More than 83,000 synthetic chemicals alone have been introduced into our environment. But surprise! The vast majority of industrial chemicals haven’t been tested for health effects before they were put on the market and ZERO have been tested to see how they interact together. For example, combining dish soap with bleach creates a very neurotoxic gas. (*see The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for more harrowing details).
There is also strong evidence that even low-dose chronic exposure to toxins can lead to impairment and disease. That’s me and you.
Want to see how your community ranks for toxins (be prepared for some eye-opening statistics)?
- 2017 report on the volume of chemicals released into the environment (you can’t guess which state is #1)
- more in-depth search tool for your area.
In 2017, the Lancet published a study showing that pollution kills more people than everything else combined (around 9 million people a year).
Read that last line again.
Why is this important to YOU? Because if your body becomes overloaded by toxins, and can’t get rid of them fast enough, it can grow into bigger issues like chronic fatigue, cognitive difficulties, Alzheimer’s, cancer, depression, autism, insomnia, infertility, fibromyalgia, cardiovascular disease (to name just a few).
How do our bodies get rid of toxins?
“There are well-defined metabolic pathways in the body that are responsible for converting toxins into chemical compounds, making it easy for the body to eliminate them (primarily through the urine or stools).” – Dr. Aaron Hartman
Most toxins are fat-soluble. This means they only dissolve in fat. Our body does a pretty good job of getting rid of some toxins through daily poops. The ones left behind get stored in our fat cells (hence fat-soluble) where they feel all safe and snuggly. In order to get rid of them we need to make them water-soluble so we can pee, poop or sweat them out.
We have a very sophisticated system of doing this in 2 phases.
PHASE I: Toxins hiding in your fat begin to turn into water soluble molecules called “intermediates”. They become “we’re-at-the-halfway-point” particles that are more reactive (dangerous) than the original molecule. Adding to the fun, free radicals (dangerous) are created during this process.
So now we have two dangerous particles to deal with.
PHASE II: Free radicals get neutralized (pew pew!). And toxins are eliminated by making them water soluble. Meaning, you can now pee, poop and sweat them out. The only hiccup is your body needs specific nutrients to do this. If you don’t provide these to your detox organs, things get backed up in Phase I (like a traffic jam). *It’s why most people who lose weight quickly or do some random detox don’t feel good for a few weeks and quit. Toxins are liberated from fat then backed up in Phase I.
What you can do to get rid of toxins.
There are foods that naturally help your body to DETOX like kale, broccoli, almonds and fish. Eating fibrous foods and drinking plenty of water is critical as well. For a concise food list, weekly planner and recipe guide designed by the Institute of Functional Medicine click here.
Need to take the guesswork out? Consider a carefully designed detox program.
But here’s your warning – if you find a detox program called something like ‘DeTOX2400’ or a reality show star is promoting it – RUN.
A clinically developed detox is a smarter answer: it simplifies and expedites this process in a clinically developed way (someone with an actual degree in medicine/nutrition developed it). It should include things like:
- (simplified) A list of foods that support detox plus simple recipes for busy people. Plus, a list of no-no foods.
- (simplified) A “do this today” handout. My favorite part. I have no time for anything complicated.
- (expedite) Supplements that get your gut poop-ready. If you’re not making a #2 on a regular basis, you’re just recirculating the water-soluble toxins back into your system.
- (expedite) Supplements that support detox organs (liver, kidneys), the detox process and overall gut health. Foods + supplements = quicker detox period.
- (simplified) Other short tips/information on movement, sleep, hydration and stress management. A legitimate detox protocol should include these.
*Supplements should be from a GMP or third-party certified facility like Xymogen, Quick Silver, Designs for Health, THORNE or Metagenics. Unfortunately, high-quality companies like this do not sell to the general public.
*Contact me for access to one of these well-designed detox protocols. Readers of LawOfficer.com also get a 15% discount. Just mention that you read about it here.
Disclaimer: 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.
The medical and/or nutritional information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site.
SUTTON, P., WOODRUFF, T. J., PERRON, J., STOTLAND, N., CONRY, J. A., MILLER, M. D., & GIUDICE, L. C. (2012, September). Toxic Environmental Chemicals: The Role of Reproductive Health Professionals In Preventing Harmful Exposures. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4682569/
Grant, D. M. (n.d.). (1991) Detoxification pathways in the liver. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1749210
Janine holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition, is a Certified Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer. She is also a retired Police Officer and Marine Veteran, who gets the unique needs of First Responders.
After almost 20 years in Law Enforcement and lecturing her co-workers about their eating habits, she retired and founded www.OnPointNutrition.Org. Her purpose is to help others through precise nutrition.
For snack-sized bits of useful information, follow Janine on Instagram at @Janine.OPN