When you first hear the word “detox,” you may think about weight loss. But the benefits of detoxing are significantly more than simply losing weight. Detoxing rids the body of harmful chemicals that contribute to symptoms and chronic diseases. This article will discuss why toxin elimination is vital for optimal health and healing.
What Can Toxins Do to the Body?
The negative health consequences of toxin exposure have been ever-increasing since they’ve been pumped into our products, manufacturing, and ultimately, our environment (especially here in the United States).
Toxins make their way into our bodies through skin absorption, inhalation, and ingestion, disrupting cell membranes, inhibiting normal signaling processes, interfering with hormones, and damaging enzymes and DNA.
With the amount of harmful chemicals in our environment, it’s no surprise that people are struggling more than ever with the negative health consequences of toxins like:
- Cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Anxiety, Depression, and Mood Disorders
- Weakened Immune System
- Fertility Issues
Are You Safe From Toxin Exposure?
The amount of environmental toxins has skyrocketed to the point almost all conventional products contain at least one toxin. In fact, your water and food sources may even be contaminated with toxins.
These toxins include everything from:
- Pesticides/ glyphosate (found on the majority of our food)
- Microplastics (some people may eat a credit card’s worth of plastic a WEEK!)
- Heavy metals (even our chocolate is contaminated with lead and cadmium)
- Estrogen-mimicking chemicals (found in beauty products, plastic containers, household cleaners, and fragranced products)
While you can’t eliminate toxins completely from your life, you can become aware of where they are hiding so you can do your best to avoid them and reduce the toxin load on your body.
How Toxins Accumulate in the Body
While our body does have a detox system, human evolution has yet to catch up to the fast influx of toxins in our daily environment that bombard us every day. We are exposed to hundreds of harmful toxins every day, whether we are aware of it or not.
You may be exposed to small amounts of toxins in your morning cereal, shampoo, body lotion, new cozy blanket or sweatshirt, and candles/ air fresheners. While minute amounts of toxins may not cause total chaos in your body, it’s the accumulation of toxins and, ultimately, the toxic load that causes havoc. They all add up!
What happens is that your detox system is being flooded with toxins constantly, and it can’t keep up. Imagine a firehose on full blast. This is what your detox system is faced with…it’s overwhelmed beyond belief!
The excess toxins then circulate throughout the body, causing damage to your cells and communication systems. And here’s the kicker…toxins can impair your detox system even further, making matters (and your symptoms) worse!
This is why the benefits of detoxing are incredible! Once you eliminate the stressors on your cell’s health, your entire body can function better and make you feel better than you have been for a while.
Why Do Some People Retain More Toxins?
Some people may be more susceptible to retaining more toxins and, therefore, experiencing negative impacts more intensely.
Reason’s why some people retain more toxins:
- Poor elimination (only having 1-3 bowel movements a week)
- Excessive exposure to toxins
- Overwhelming toxic load
- Young or old age (babies’ detox systems are fully developed and the elderly likely have a greater toxic load after years of exposure)
- Gut dysbiosis or microbiome imbalances
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Poor diet
- High-sugar and low-protein diets
- Chronic stress
- Genetics related to detoxification (like MTHFR gene mutation)
If you struggle with one of these factors above, regular detoxing can significantly help your overall health and symptoms and prevent future conditions from manifesting.
Benefits of Detoxing
- Boosts energy
- Lowers inflammation
- Increases liver function
- Enhances skin
- Aids in weight loss
- Helps digestion
- Protects cellular health
- Enhanced immune response
How Does A Detox Work?
The goal of a detox is to reduce your exposure to toxic and harmful chemicals while also implementing nutrition and lifestyle strategies to promote optimal elimination of toxins from the body. Your liver, kidneys, gut, lymphatic system, and sweat glands all work together to reduce the buildup of these chemicals. So, during a detox, these are the main systems that you should to support.
Supporting the Body During Detoxification
- Avoid as many environmental toxins as possible in the first place (you don’t want to stay in the same environment that created the mess).
- Drink lots of filtered water to stay hydrated to promote excretion.
- Eat organic, whole foods to provide your body with nutrients vital for detox and to avoid pesticides.
- Consume cruciferous vegetables, green tea, onions, garlic, and cilantro which are known to be detox-supporting foods.
- Focus on fiber-filled foods to encourage bowel movements to eliminate toxins from the body
- Boost your antioxidant reserve since some byproducts in the detoxification process can cause oxidative damage.
- Prioritize sleep which is necessary for optimal detoxification.
- Encourage movement to help your lymphatic system get moving. (rebounding, yoga flows, dancing).
- Reduce inflammation with omega-3 fatty acids.
- Sweat out heavy metals through exercise or the sauna.
- Dry brush to promote lymphatic flow and clear skin for easier toxin excretion.
Should You Detox?
Because of the extensive amount of toxins in our everyday lives (that is inescapable), everyone could experience the benefits of detoxing.
But depending on what kind of toxins have accumulated in your body, specific protocols should be used for best results. This is why personalized medicine with the help of comprehensive labs is key to successful detoxification. You may need extra support with binders, opening detox pathways, and the best detox tactics for your exposures.
Consult Dr. Dersam, Integrative and Functional Medicine Doctor in Arizona, Before Detoxing
Before doing a detox, consult a Functional Medicine Doctor to ensure you support your body correctly. Depending on where your body needs the most support, you could end up causing more harm than good.
For example, this can occur if you support phase 1 liver detox without opening up all drainage pathways and support phase 2 first. It could lead to an increase in harmful byproducts and greater oxidative damage.
With an Integrative and Functional Medicine Doctor, you’ll have the opportunity to run functional lab tests which will provide you insight into exactly what your body needs for your detox protocol. If you’re looking to eliminate your symptoms, support your cellular health and embrace a healthier life, contact Dr. Dersam’s office today at 480-621-8638.
Dr. Cheri Dersam
Dr. Dersam is board certified in both Integrative and Emergency Medicine and fellowship trained in Functional Medicine. Dr. Dersam focuses on a personalized approach that empowers each patient to achieve optimal health in mind, body and spirit.