Detoxification is a natural, complex process that occurs in everybody’s system, working to remove toxins from the body. These toxins are cell waste, inflammatory bi-products from the immune system, bacteria, xenoestrogens and old hormone cells; all of which, if left in the body, can cause imbalance. The body cleverly removes everything to maintain the homeostasis that keeps us thriving. We all have different abilities to detox, and compromised detoxification can lead to a higher toxic load, thereby increasing the risk of inflammatory skin conditions, congested skin and dull complexions, which can all lead to accelerated aging.
Toxic matter also comes from the air we breathe, the food we eat, the products that we use in our buildings, cars or beauty bags. These toxins are broken down and eliminated by our liver, and excreted through urine, sweat and our bowel movements. It is therefore absolutely essential to support the healthy functioning of our digestive system, including the liver, by limiting toxic burdens where we can. These include alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceutical drugs (where possible), and recreational drugs. By including potent nutrients and healthy lifestyle rituals, we have the ability to positively influence detoxification.
Supporting foods, supplements and weekly rituals:
It is a well known fact that fiber helps our bowels regulate, but it is the magic balance of plenty of fiber plus plenty of water that helps us with bowel regularity. Aim for between 30g-38g of fiber daily from fibrous plant foods such as root vegetables, nuts, legumes and smoothies; and include a daily minimum of 1.5 liters of stimulant-free fluid e.g. filtered water, herbal teas or infusions. Spice up your detoxification capacities by adding spices that contain potent antioxidants to your meals, such as turmeric, cilantro, parsley and saffron.
While adding these essential nutrients can help support your gut and liver function, and aid toxin clearance, it is also necessary to know which foods to avoid that may be adding to your toxic load. Eliminate, or limit processed foods, as they are often packed with chemical preservatives and colorings which burden the liver. Always try to eat organic foods where possible. Caffeine and alcohol are also liver stressors, so limit their intake and take cyclical breaks from these foods to allow your liver to clear, allowing it to focus on its daily tasks. Short, guided juice cleanses can be a good opportunity to avoid these stimulants, and potentially boost your natural detoxification. Many have reported post-cleanse skin improvements.
Saunas have been in the limelight in recent times, but saunas have, in fact, been used in naturopathic therapeutics for decades as a positive lifestyle support for detoxification. Heat makes us sweat, and it also promotes circulation, which can expedite the removal of toxic matter. Also, regular low and high-tempo activity helps to utilize fat stores efficiently, so toxins can be released and excreted. This is a win-win for whole body health and better skin.
Supplements for detoxification:
Methylated B vitamin complex - these are B vitamins in their most bioavailable form. They can help to support the methyl cycle - an important process in detoxification.
Alpha lipoic acid - a potent antioxidant that boosts the work or our master antioxidant - glutathione.
Antioxidant complex - find a formulation that includes selenium, vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene to enhance liver detoxification pathways.
Probiotic/prebiotic formula - this supports the gut microbiota for a healthy gut barrier, regularity and liver support.
Beet powder - the betaine compound, found abundantly in beets, is known to supercharge detoxification. If you feel super sluggish, have ongoing inflammatory skin issues, or are just keen to investigate your toxic body burden, there are things you can do to address these issues. You can carry out toxic load testing through blood tests, fat biopsy and urine and hair analysis, via a registered health practitioner. Take control of your body and feel the results!