Do you really need to detox your body?
The question is: do you really need a detox diet to help your body, as the detoxification process is something that the body does daily per se? Or do you need radical changes, at least where it is possible, to keep the body in optimal health?
Detox (short for detoxification) became a very popular dieting strategy and the hottest health topic of the 21st century. A growing body of scientific research shows that toxic chemicals in our environment are one of the leading factors to affect your body and cause countless health issues. The individual’s response to toxicants may vary from person to person. It can become manifest as allergies or autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia or atherosclerosis, arthralgias or chronic fatigue syndrome, maybe even cognitive dysfunction etc.
Are toxins toxic?
The role of detoxification is to eliminate substances considered toxic to your body. They can be internal by-products of your metabolism e.g. lactic acid, ammonia, uric acid, creatinine, carbon dioxide, as well as external toxins such as chemicals, artificial food, heavy metals, pesticides, additives, alcohol, tobacco and even certain beauty products which you may have been exposed to. All these toxic substances can be damaging to your DNA, cell structure and immune, neurological and endocrine systems.
The toxins that were not removed from the body due to the “natural detoxification pathways” being owerwoked, can be found in the bloodstream and in your adipose (fat) tissue. They may cause inflammation both in the body and brain. The higher the amount of those toxins in your body, the more severe symptoms you may experience.
How does it work?
To keep the body clean you have organs which help you to remove toxins from the body. They are the kidneys, lungs, skin, colon, lymphatic system, but the star of the detoxification show is the liver. The work goes on continuously to eliminate compounds that are no longer needed for the body.
There are two types of toxins: water soluble and fat soluble toxins.
The kidneys are responsible for many functions in your body such as the regulation of fluid balance and different electrolytes as well as blood pressure, maintenance of acid-base balance and production of some hormones and activation of vitamin D etc. Among them, one of the most important functions of the kidneys is removing water-soluble toxins from the blood through the urine.
However, prolonged exposure to excess toxins, alcohol consumption, different medications, chemotherapy, and high blood pressure etc, over time can damage your kidneys. It can result in the accumulation of poisons in your body and waste products can get back into the bloodstream, causing nasty symptoms.
The liver is a vital organ and among the 500 different tasks it performs, one function is to convert fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble compounds, as fat-soluble toxins are more difficult for the body to eliminate. After conversion, they can be removed easily through the lymphatic system, kidneys (urine), lungs (expelled air), skin (sweat) and intestines (faeces).
Unfortunately, there are a variety of factors which may cause the liver injury such as viruses, excess alcohol use, obesity, poor diet, chronic liver disease, autoimmune disorders, fungal mycotoxins e.g. aflatoxin, long-term medications and exposure to a wide spectrum of chemicals.
When liver failure occurs, it can be undetected, as there may not be any symptoms. For this reason, the liver is often called a silent organ because it does not contain nerves. When symptoms become apparent, the liver damage may already have reached an advanced stage and result in a life-threatening condition. In the UK liver disease is on the rise. Approximately 20 % of people are at risk of liver disease and this condition has become the fifth largest cause of death in the UK (1).
If you are having some of the symptoms listed below, it could be that you are suffering from impaired liver function and have already built up high toxin levels in your body and we need to talk.
✓ Foggy head/Headaches/Poor memory
✓ Joint ache/Swelling in the legs
✓ Excessive sweating
✓ Digestive issue/Abdominal pain/Constipation/Diarrhoea/Loss of appetite/Nausea or vomiting
✓ Pale stool color/Bloody or tar-colored stool/Dark urine color
✓ Psoriasis/Acne/Tendency to bruise easily/Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)
✓ High blood pressure/High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides
✓ Inability to lose weight
✓ Moodiness/Anxiety or depression/Fatigue
But there is also good news. The liver has the capacity to regenerate itself (2)… but under the right circumstances. A healthy, well-balanced diet with the correct supplementation may help the liver cells to regenerate.
Do you really need a Detox Programme?
These days, people are faced with so many environmental toxins that it is vital to keep the liver and other organs of detoxification functioning properly. The harmful toxins you are exposed to significantly deplete your mineral and vitamin status in the body. But vitamins and minerals are essential to perform the detoxification efficiently.
Many religions use the holy season of Lent for this purpose and there is scientific proof that it benefits both physical and mental health. One of them, the Daniel Fast, is a partial fast and followed for 21 consecutive days. This focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. During this time all animal sources of protein are avoided. The only beverage allowed is water. Different studies show that the holy season of Lent leads to meaningful improvements in blood lipids, blood pressure, and biomarkers of oxidative stress (3, 4).
Does the holy season of Lent make you think about a detoxification programme? Indeed, Lent may well bring this to your mind. I would say that everybody needs, from time to time, to follow the holy season of Lent or some detoxification programme, whatever you decide to call it. It is a good non-pharmacological intervention to improve your health and increase longevity, where at least for a period of time you can avoid food with additives, preservatives, sweeteners, animal proteins, refined carbohydrates, flavorings and alcohol.
Plant-based foods contain a complex mix of useful phytochemicals, minerals, vitamins and fibre that help to significantly improve the detoxification process. This may help you to reduce by 70% (5) the chance of developing obesity, heart disease (6, 7), type 2 diabetes (8), inflammation (9), and cancer (10).
Who would have thought to find such great nutritional advice in the Bible? But if it gives so many health benefits why not use it today? And especially when scientific research confirms the great power of healing foods.
I wish you great health and happiness!
Yours ever Alla_Nutrition
If you would like to be free of pain and make your life more enjoyable, you can contact me to book a Skype consultation via my “contact” page.