This time of year, you’re probably hearing all about “detox” programs of every kind and wondering if they’d be right for you. Sometimes the goal is weight loss or overall wellness, but many times these programs give temporary results at the expense of your sanity (and money). Extreme restriction, drinking gallons of lemon water with cayenne pepper, or eliminating entire macro categories are some of the more common ones we hear–and trust me when I say that these will not truly give you the detoxification you’re hoping for.
So, what will truly help you eliminate toxins? Let’s start from the beginning. Toxins are any substances that can have harmful effects on your body. Although we can work to minimize our toxin exposure, many are unavoidable in our world today. In fact, the body’s basic metabolic processes even produce toxins. The important part is keeping your “toxic load” manageable.
Think of yourself as a bucket–each day toxins are added via food, plastics, stress, pollution, etc. Your body is built to eliminate what it can to keep that bucket from overflowing. But it’s your job to minimize what goes in the bucket and to make sure your body has what it needs to empty out what it can!
This is why some people can tolerate alcohol, fragrances, and medications better than others–their bucket isn’t overflowing! The liver uses two phases to help lower the toxic burden. Most of the toxic compounds in the body are fat soluble. In Phase 1 detoxification, the liver changes the compounds into something called intermediary metabolites. These are actually MORE toxic than their original form, which is why it’s so important for the liver to execute Phase 2 quickly! In Phase 2 detoxification, the metabolites are attached to specific molecules that make them non-toxic and water soluble so that they can be eliminated via the urine and stool. When this process isn’t functioning properly, every other system is going to be compromised!
More often than not, people wait to seek help until after their toxic bucket has spilled over. Instead, it is important that we periodically ensure our body is able to eliminate these toxins and that our liver is able to function well enough to keep that toxin bucket from overflowing. A TRUE detoxification program will provide nutrients to support both Phase 1 and 2 liver detoxification. If a program doesn’t even address liver health, it’s probably not doing the detoxification it promises and you might be doing more harm than good. Invest in a quality program that provides your liver with the nutrients it needs to effectively function long after you’ve finished the program.
Show your liver some love this year!