We use more than 80,000 toxic chemicals every day and more than 1,000 new ones are being developed every year! What’s even more astounding is the fact that many of these toxins are stored in our fat cells and cause hormonal havoc within us. If you’re currently experiencing lethargy, difficulty concentrating, joint pain/stiffness, headaches, bad breath, strong body odour, acne, psoriasis, water retention, abdominal bloating, excess body fat, difficulty losing weight, PMS, indigestion, or constipation, a simple detox could be just the needed boost to turn your health around and shed those excess pounds.
Most toxins are fat soluble, meaning the inside of a fat cell offers the perfect environment for them to set up shop. Once we begin to metabolize fat cells, through weight loss or exercise, those stored toxins are released. If we lack sufficient nutrients to aid optimal liver function, we’re setting the body up for extra stress. As you’d expect, this toxic buildup leads to a dramatic increase in long-term health risks. And it certainly doesn’t leave us feeling our best in the short term either. Complaints such as headaches, weight gain, acne, PMS, and poor memory are common, which isn’t surprising given that the brain and the glands responsible for releasing the hormones are affected most by toxin exposure.
Regardless of the source, all toxins must be processed through the body via the detoxification pathways in the liver. With a few simple dietary and supplement suggestions you can rebalance your liver’s natural detoxification pathways. In clinical practice I typically prescribe one or more of these recommendations for a minimum of two to six weeks, though most of the suggestions are safe for long-term use. To get started you should avoid tobacco, alcohol and coffee, including decaffeinated coffee, processed foods, white sugars and simple carbohydrates. During your detox you should remove all possible food intolerances including dairy, soy, eggs, citrus, nuts, wheat and gluten. At the end of your detox you can slowly reintroduce each item one by one, so that you can connect symptoms with food choices. For a detailed detox outline and menu plan please revisit The Hormone Diet.
Your detox should contain the following ingredients:
1. Probiotics/Acidophilus: Probiotic supplements should be part of any detox because they assist with bowel cleansing and prevent constipation. Acidophilus supplements also assist with allergies, immunity and skin health. Simply put, a proper bacterial balance in the digestive system must be present to establish a basic foundation of health.
2. Liver and bowel cleansing formula: Look for a formula that contains milk thistle, dandelion, turmeric, artichoke and/or beet leaf. These herbs improve the flow of bile and aid liver function. Supplements of indole-3-carbinol help to support with this detox phase, particularly the breakdown of harmful excess steroid hormones like estrogen and testosterone. A normal dose is 200 to 400 mg daily and it can be used up to three months. Clear Detox Hormonal Health and Clear Detox Digestive Health are specially formulated to support your liver and the removal of excess estrogen and toxins.
3. Multivitamin/Mineral: Take a multivitamin daily to support your energy, metabolism and clean-up during a cleanse. Consider supplementing with the nutrients required to protect the liver, including copper, magnesium, zinc with an additional 1,000 to 2,000 mg of buffered vitamin C daily. Remember that a deficiency of just one nutrient is enough to slow your metabolic rate and increase the risk of disease if your body is not properly supported during the detox.
4. Omega-3 fish oil: Fish oils are highly anti-inflammatory and assist with hormonal balance. They also moisten the skin from the inside out and have been proven to aid weight loss. Fish oil also supports your immune system to function at its best, and helps to clear away any toxic build-up.
Allow yourself time to rest if you feel sluggish. Drink lots of water and take extra vitamin C to reduce detox symptoms. By the third or fourth day, you should feel your energy increasing and mental focus improving. If you typically drink a lot of coffee, decrease the amount you consume slowly throughout the first few days to minimize the effects of caffeine withdrawal. Also, drink at least two litres of water per day. Reverse osmosis water is best; spring water should be your second choice. Distilled water should be avoided because it may draw minerals out of your body. If you need encouragement and motivation to keep you on track, remember this:h The more severe your detox reactions, the more you really needed it!
Natasha Turner, N.D., is a naturopathic doctor, Chatelaine magazine columnist and author of the bestselling books The Hormone Diet, The Supercharged Hormone Diet and The Carb Sensitivity Program. She’s also the founder of the Toronto-based Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique and a regular guest on The Dr. Oz Show and The Marilyn Denis Show. For more wellness advice from Natasha Turner, click here.
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