Detoxification is very hot topic today. Unfortunately, it is often practiced as a self-help procedure; without professional support one may be compromising safety and effectiveness.. For example, some people use detoxification as a weight-loss program;however, those who are dieting may be unaware that rapid breakdown of fatty tissue can result in a surge of toxins being released into the circulation requiring careful monitoring of the detox process.
The following symptoms can usually indicate a need for a detoxification: nausea, constipation, bloated feeling, heartburn, headaches, insomnia, cancer sores, cough, itchy ears, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing attacks, exessive mucous formation, pain or aches in joints, mood swings, acne, hair loss, exessive sweating, fatigue, restlessness, craving certain foods, water retention, excessive weight, frequent illness, poor concentration.
I would like to talk about different types of naturopathic detoxification, all of which may be beneficial, but each providing a different degree of cleansing.
- Gentle detox is usually the first step toward even the most complex detoxification. It is a non-specific, though safe initial method that naturopathically addresses the whole person and is concerned with reviewing and modifying lifestyle, diet, and potential stressors which contribute to body toxicity. Before we even start talking about the detox itself, we encourage a change of diet for a few weeks. We stress the importance of a healthy diet, that is the incorporation of organic vegetables and whole grains, and moderation in meat and fish consumption. We attempt to eliminate sugars and processed foods and to uncover food allergies, the presence of which may inhibit the patient’s healing potential.
Note that Hydration is a vital part of any kind of detox. I advise that people consume half of their body weight in ounces of water during the detox. For example, a 150 pound person should drink 75oz of water a day, or approximately 9 cups a day.
2. Toxicity assessment I like to evaluate the toxicity status of each patient using a questionnaire, performing lab tests, and assessing their environmental exposures. I may order some genetic testing that assesses the liver’s ability to detoxify. This helps to determine whether or not the patient should avoid some medications, and what dietary modifications are required to improvethe functionality of specific detox-related metabolic pathways. We are now ready to address a more specific detox program.
3. Toxin specific detoxification is another type of program. Naturopaths are well trained in sequencing patients safely through detox phases of excretion, liver detoxification, and immune system support. It is important to ensure effective release of toxins, while minimizing the risk of re-toxifying the body. Some patients may require chelation of heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and cadmium. Others may have been exposed to solvents, PCPs and chlorinated pesticides and may need nutrient- specific detox and colon hydrotherapy. It might be necessary for such patients to use heated rooms such as saunas, steam rooms etc. While detoxing, it is important to ensure the intake of adequate nutrients and protein sources.
4. Reducing exposures. To reduce toxic load, I encourage patients to read labels, drink cleaner water, and become aware of significant sources of toxic exposure in their environment. I always encourage patients to buy organic fruits and vegetables, and to select free- range meats. The following link will make shopping easier for you: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/
In summary, detoxification can be an important step in the pursuit of good health. It is a process best performed by a trained and experienced professional.