Detoxification

Mar 22, 2021

Fresh ginger, fruit, and kale Our bodies have several detoxification pathways that include the skin, liver, kidneys, lungs, colon and lymphatic system. These systems act as filters that remove toxins and other by-products that the body doesn’t need or no longer has use for.

We are exposed to toxins on the daily. From air pollution, synthetics, radiation, molds, chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides to refined and highly processed foods. Depending on where we live can also have a huge impact on our toxic load. I.E. Living near a refinery. When our bodies become overburdened and have problems processing these toxins, it may present as a rash on the skin, food allergies, or other alarming symptoms.

While limiting processed foods, alcohol, and other toxins can relieve some of the burden to our bodies, relying solely on detox programs and doing them often can sometimes be more harmful than good. Not only can it create addictive behaviors, but you might be more likely to eat poorly and exercise less often because you are relying on a regular detox supplement or program. And as mentioned above, your body knows how to detoxify. Maybe the question we should be asking ourselves is how can I support my own body’s detoxification systems through food, lifestyle and limiting environmental exposure, with the occasional detox support when needed?

This is not meant to make you feel worried or paranoid about every little toxin that you encounter in your life, but rather to be more mindful and aware of  your surroundings.  Anything from the products we use on our bodies and the cleaning products we use in our home, have the potential to contribute to your overall toxin load.

When we might need that extra support from herbs, teas, or a natural detoxification program/product, it is important to follow the tips below:

  • Start super slow and work your way to the recommended dose. This allows your body to adjust to the changes, prevent intense “die-off” reactions and to determine if you are having any strong negative effects to the product.  
  • Follow the instructions on the bottle/package and make sure to read the warnings thoroughly. Health Canada has strict guidelines and regulations that ensure the product has been tested and reviewed for safety and efficacy. Taking more than the recommended amount (which is never advised unless your practitioner has instructed you to do so) may cause serious/permanent damage.
  • Listen to your body! For example, if you feel intense stomach cramps, light-headiness, are vomiting, or any other severe or serious side effects, STOP immediately and seek medical attention if necessary. Do not try to push through these strong reactions – your body is trying to tell you are moving to fast or this is not the right product for you.
  • Avoid intense physical activity and support your body with slow, easy movements and meditation practices like yoga. Pick a time, like the weekend, where you are able to rest and relax
  • Move through the program at your own pace and make changes based on how YOU feel. Just because your friend felt amazing on a certain detox program doesn’t mean it will work for you.
  • If you are sensitive to herbal tinctures or capsules, trying a variety of herbal teas might work better for you. Most teas are less concentrated than the above options.

Note: Detoxification and cleansing is not for everyone. Especially if you have an illness, are under stress, on any medications, and/or suspect a mold/toxin overload in your body. Forcing your body to “detoxify” and “purge” in these conditions can have some serious side effects and should never be done without guidance and supervision from a practitioner. 

Intermittent Fasting

Studies show that intermittent fasting can improve numerous risk factors for heart disease such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides and inflammatory markers (i). However, if you are under a lot of stress, have certain medical conditions, or any other health concern, this might not be right for you. I know it is a popular trend right now, but it is not for everyone. Make sure to speak with your health care provider to see if intermittent fasting is right for you.

Hidden Toxins in Everyday Products

A lot of people don’t realize how products like perfumes or household cleaning products can have a negative impact on our health. Chemicals like parabens, BHT, etc., are found in many of these products and are scientifically proven to be hazardous to humans. For a more detailed list of these products, toxic chemicals, and natural alternatives, see this article HERE. Some common products that may contain toxins include

  • Household Products
  • Artificial fragrances
  • Plastics
  • Cosmetics/perfumes
  • Air Fresheners

“A new EWG analysis of more than 400 cleaning products released showed only about a quarter of them adequately disclose their ingredients. Many companies use vague terms, such as “preservative” or “colorant,” instead of listing the specific chemicals they use. More than two-thirds of products list only “perfume” or “fragrance,” terms that can mask potentially harmful, persistent chemicals such as galaxolide, a skin irritant and possible hormone disruptor that’s highly toxic to aquatic life.

Moreover, most cleaning products contain ingredients that can cause harmful respiratory effects. They include common antibacterial agents such as sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach) and quaternary ammonium compounds.” (ii)

Herbs Commonly Used in Detox Supplements/Teas

  • Milk Thistle
  • Burdock Root
  • Red Clover
  • Turmeric
  • Dandelion Root
  • Nettle
  • Cilantro

To learn more about some of these herbs might benefit you, see this blog post HERE

Foods That Support Detoxification Pathways

  • Cruciferous Vegetables
  • Turmeric
  • Garlic and Onions
  • Green Tea
  • Dandelion greens and other dark leafy greens
  • Berries
  • Beets
  • Lemon
  • Artichokes


Including these foods, herbal teas, and avoiding/limiting the mentioned toxins above, can support your bodies detoxification pathways and may help you have more energy, less brain fog and inflammation.

All information and tools presented and written within this article are for educational and Informational purposes only. Any nutrition, lifestyle and product recommendations are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Before starting any new supplements, diet and exercise program please check with your doctor or practitioner.

(i) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting#TOC_TITLE_HDR_6

(ii) https://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2016/05/time-cleaning-products-come-clean-ingredients

Sources:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1253722/

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