Monitoring my clients’ detoxification ability is an integral part of what I do every day, and there is always new research coming out (particularly in the area of genetics for example) which can help me understand how to provide a unique and individualised treatment plan for my clients and not just any old “off-the-shelf, near-enough-is-good-enough” program.
Detoxification is something our bodies are designed to do
There are toxins in our bodies all the time. They come in from the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. They include things like alcohol, medicines and all sorts of chemicals. These are what we know as exogenous compounds because they come in from external sources. But we also have endogenous toxins which are a result of our own internal metabolic processes and internal biochemistry as we go about digesting our foods, making our hormones and keeping our internal environment under tightly regulated control (As a side note: the more I learn, the more amazed I am by how our bodies work. It’s one of the things I love about naturopathy).
Why might you need to do a detox?
Unfortunately for most of us, we live in a modern world, in big cities. Our water is not from a pure mountain spring. Much of our food is grown in bulk under the influence of pesticides and fertilizers and other growth-promoters. Or worse still it is manufactured or processed in a factory into something we call “food”. We live in homes riddled with chemicals in paints, furniture and flooring and surrounded by plastics. We are rarely more than a metre from an electronic device emitting electromagnetic radiation. We live busy lives with competing demands which put us under constant stress which plays havoc with our own biochemistry.
Given all of that, it’s a wonder we are still functioning at all! But we are, largely due to our amazing ability to detoxify.
However, it’s no wonder that sometimes our system is put under so much pressure that it starts to buckle. That’s where going through a detox(ification) program can be an excellent idea once in a while.
What should your detox plan look like?
A good detox plan will take into account all of the following as they apply to you:
- Detox pathways – Our liver is our major organ of detoxification. However, it’s not the only means by which toxins leave our body. Other routes of elimination are the kidneys, the skin and the lungs. Sometimes we need to help out the liver by giving these other organs some attention (and vice versa).
- Let’s talk about bowels – they need to be moving regularly. If you suffer from constipation then the likelihood that you are hanging onto toxic waste (and it is getting back into your bloodstream) is increased. To use a manufacturing analogy, I don’t want to speed up the production line of waste coming from the liver if there is a blockage in the dispatch department!
- The integrity of your intestinal lining – Many of us have incurred damage to the lining of our lower digestive tract (like a hose full of holes) which may mean things get into bloodstream which shouldn’t do. So, one of the first steps might be to heal up that gut.
- Genetics – There are some common genetic variants which can affect our ability to detoxify. These might include the COMT or MTHFR genetic polymorphisms (variations in the way your biochemistry works). For some, this is an issue and it may be that simple gene testing is warranted to understand whether that applies to you and then we can work out how best to deal with it.
- How is your liver functioning? – There are 5 main detoxification pathways in the liver. Often some are working better than others. A simple urine test (called a Functional Liver Detoxification Profile) can provide much detail to help identify weak links.
- The big picture – are there aspects of your lifestyle, your diet, your relationships that are contributing to your ill-health?
Based on an assessment of these factors along with your diet and lifestyle, health history and any symptoms you might be experiencing we put together a plan that will work for you. Maybe it will be a simple 21 day detox program tailored to your needs. Or it could be that we need to go gently over an extended period of time. That’s what we work out together.
So, please don’t waste your money or risk your health on a quick-fix program which doesn’t take any of the above into account.