At least once a week, I get asked about the need to detox from a patient or a friend. Some of them read about it or saw it on TV, others were approached by a friend or colleague selling a detoxification product. Their concerns are always the same – is it safe? Is it effective?
What is a detox anyways?
When the word detox flies around it’s sometimes hard to grasp what does that really mean?
Detox is many ways is like the word exercise – it can mean a casual stroll in the park to one person, and an ultra marathon to another. Detox can mean everything from adding nutrients and herbs to support the body in removing toxins, to changing your diet or lifestyle habits. Detox means different things to different people.
While there is a range of companies and people offering this much heralded health fixer, the question remains can it really help?
Our bodies are toxic, we live in cities filled with pollution from transportation on the ground and overhead, we live near farms that spray their fields with pesticides and use bio-solids as fertilizer. We live in home renovations or near construction sites. From the air we breathe, to the food and water we ingest, our body’s encounter toxicants on a daily basis.
There is no doubt in my mind that we all have some exposure to chemicals that are better suited to the outside of our bodies rather than inside.
What should a detox do?
Detoxes help the body to remove these unwanted toxicants, and in doing so, can help us to remove chemicals, solvents, metals and molds that are stopping our body from performing optimally. It sounds pretty good, we can get rid of brain fog, improve our memory, regain dexterity and provide our body a chance to heal.
However, it isn’t that simple.
Our body naturally gets rid of unwanted guests, those it doesn’t recognize, through our organs of elimination and in the form of sweat, breath, urine and bowel movements.
For a detox to be effective: helping you to feel better and causing no harm – there are a few things you need to take into consideration before you chase down this unicorn.
- Ensure the organs that clear the body are running optimally. Your efforts to clear out stored toxins are done in vain if they siting in another site in the body, simply moving location. Often this generally results in you feeling worse not better because these toxins are now active and being reabsorbed instead of removed. To clear the body, you need to have the organs of elimination supporting you.
- Avoid creating a supplement/medication time bomb in the body. Sometimes the detox you are participating in is going to impact the Over the Counter, Recreational or Prescribed drugs or supplements. This can result in an over or under dose – which may make you feel unwell.
- Use the right product for your body. Just like every key doesn’t fit into every lock, a one size fits all detox product may not the right one for you. Different toxins bind with different ingredients. It is important to ensure the product you are using is right for your toxin exposure.
- Be aware of side effects. Detoxing can happen very slowly, so slow that some people may not notice it is happening, or can happen very quickly and can knock you on your keister. Releasing toxins into the body can make you feel like a 100 bucks or a piece of hot garbage. Be careful – and always consult a professional that can help you pick a product that fits your needs and goals.
Common detox symptoms include:
- intense sweating,
- skin eruptions/rashes or acne,
- flu-like symptoms,
- severe fatigue,
- body pain,
- diarrhea/constipation and more.
- Don’t Detox in Isolation. Taking a pill or drinking a solution to remove toxins is only going to help you if you also remove the sources of toxins in your life and support the systems that are eliminating them so they don’t reabsorb them. Are you changing the pressures that are on your body so that you are able to reduce further absorption or are you just refilling the space you are making?
Do we need to do it?
Toxicity is at the root of many health problems. Yes, I believe it is important to do it, but I think that it is important that you have a planned approach so that your efforts are successful.
The Author, Christina Carew, is a naturopathic doctor who practices functional and strategic medicine in Toronto and King City. As a medical investigator, she is in the business of changing people’s lives. Dr. Christina focuses on finding the biomedical reasons for symptoms that are often unique to each patient and helps her patients remove the obstacles that stand in the way of living a healthy vibrant life. Want to know if her approach is right for you – sign up for a free 20-minute consult at http://www.healingme.ca/book-appointment-naturopathic-doctor/
Note: This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed health care worker.