Let’s face it. Our environment is quite messed up. Our technological advances are pretty amazing. I love the fact that I can communicate with you through the computer even if you’re halfway across the world. But this has come at a cost, in what we’ve done to the environment and food supply.
The start of Charles Dickens’ famous book, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” certainly fits here.
Despite all the problems, the human body is amazing at adapting. While it can handle the worst of situations and often go on for years like this, in the end, you’ll pay a price for a toxic lifestyle. The body is built to detox, yet this can function be supported through a variety of methods, and it doesn’t have to be hard.
Let’s talk about a few of the issues first.
If you live in a major city, the mere act of breathing is causing you to come under heavy metal attack. Different numbers have been thrown around, but it seems like living in a major city is the equivalent of somewhere between smoking 1/6th of a cigarette to full packs of cigarettes every day, in the amount of particulate material you consume.
Our food supply, unless you eat exclusively organic, is loaded with pesticides and other toxins. This becomes worse the more you move up the food chain. Animals bio-accumulate toxins. A cow that eats pesticide covered grains, not to mentioned being pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, is going to have a higher toxin load than a vegetable just sprayed with poisons.
The same is true of fish. The bigger the fish the more mercury, PCB’s and other harmful chemicals. Thus tuna and swordfish aren’t recommended for pregnant women, and probably best avoided by everyone. But small fish like sardines and anchovies can be much better. And, of course, the location they come from is very important.
Then there is radiation. The nuclear fallout of Fukushima seems to be getting worse, especially on the West coast where I live. It is probably best to avoid any fish or seaweeds from the Pacific ocean.
And you may be surprised to find just how toxin many common household items are from the carpet to mattresses, clothing, cleaning supplies, cooking ware and much more.
You’d think with all this it would be impossible to survive. But as I said before the human body is amazing at detoxing. All of these problems can take years to show up, contributing to something like cancer.
The good news is you can help. And there are only two main things you must do.
- Reduce the number of toxins you are exposed to
- Support the body in removing the toxins it is exposed to
How the Body Detoxes
The human body has several pathways to detox. The principle organs used in the process are the kidneys and the liver. The kidneys, with the bladder and urinary tract, remove most of your water soluble toxins. And if they can’t be eliminated they’re typically moved of into your fat cells for storage where they’ll do the least harm. (Yes, that means the more body fat you carry the higher likely toxin load you have.)
The liver is the main organ for detoxification. It handles almost all toxins that come into the body and thus it has a big job. Its functions are broken up into three phases.
Phase 1 is the enzymatic activity of chemically turning fat soluble toxins into a water soluble form. With adequate nutrition and support, and not too heavy of a toxic load, this job can be done well.
Phase 2 is called conjugation which is to make the toxins more soluble. Apparently Phase 1 isn’t sufficient, and can make the toxins more reactive and toxic, causing massive oxidation. Phase 2 works to increase solubility and decrease toxicity further typically by attaching certain compounds (often sulfur-containing) to the toxin.
Phase 3 is about transporting the toxins out of the body. Now that the toxins are water soluble they are much easier to remove from the body.
All three phases must be working efficiently to keep you free from being overburdened by toxicity from the environment.
Lifestyle to Support Detox
Different processes in the body are anabolic and catabolic. Another way to think about this is as growing and maintaining or removing and detoxing. As you must do both of these in order to survive it is best to cycle through them. This naturally happens on a daily basis, but you can also build it into periods of time in your life.
What that means is you take some time to support your body in detoxing. You can either do this consciously or your body will force you to do it by getting sick. The common cold, or flu, can be more than just a viral infection, but as a time to make you rest, eat less, and focus on clearing out some of the built up “crap” within your system.
But if you become radiantly healthy (health beyond danger) your body will not need to do this because the detox systems are working well enough that you don’t need to go through these problems. Your immune system will be strong enough to fight off all invaders as its not constantly overburdened by toxicity.
One of the simplest, yet most effective, methods of supporting your body in detoxing is too fast. There are many types of fasting.
- Water fast
- Juice fast
- Fruit and vegetable fast
- Nutritional fast
- And others
All of them can be good. And you don’t need to go on a week long fast to get benefits. A 24-hour period will help. Building fasting into your regular schedule can be one of the best things you do for health. 24 hours of no food once a week is a great plan recommended by Paul Bragg in his book The Miracle of Fasting. This is something I frequently did in the past.
Now I typically follow an intermittent fasting schedule so I’m not eating roughly 16 hours out of any 24 most days of the week. This is a sustainable lifestyle for me. And I can only imagine how well my body can detox every day doing this.
There are some people that find fasting too uncomfortable for them. The reason for this is the body begins to detox, throwing toxins into the bloodstream, often without having the nutritional components it needs to properly handle it, which can create some chaos and negative symptoms. Thus, these people really need the benefits but must be smarter in how they do it.
Another thing that I do on a regular basis that helps detox is to sit in an infrared sauna. Besides the liver and kidneys, one of the major detox organs is your skin. You can remove both water and fat soluble toxins through the skin, and they don’t need to travel throughout your eliminative systems nor liver to get removed, where they can become reabsorbed into your cells for storage at any point along their travels. That’s big!
Its great to do some additional periodic detoxing once in awhile. Listen to your body on when you need it. Of course this only works if you get in tune with what your body tells you. Many people love to use the change of seasons for this. Spring cleaning can go beyond removing excess stuff from your house, but can include the same thing with your body.
Foods and Supplements that Support Detox
Avoiding toxins in your food is very important of course. This means eating organic whenever possible. An understanding of what the worst culprits are helps too. The same goes for what you drink. Tap water in most cities is full of problems so getting on spring water is my favorite, but at least get a high quality filter (note that some of the worst pollutants are harder to remove than you might imagine).
Ancient people’s use to regularly eat clay. This is called geophagy and is a practice done by almost every mammal. Clays have a large amount of surface structure and a negative charge that draws toxins into it. Activated charcoal is much the same. It is fed to people that have overdosed on drugs and alcohol as it will neutralize the poisons. This can work much the same with food you eat if it isn’t of the best quality. Take it with food and you can neutralize the toxins in the digestive tract before they’re absorbed and stored in your body.
Another important aspect is hormones. Most people don’t think in these terms, but excess estrogens are very much like other toxins in your body. One of the best ways to deal with these is to eat lots of cruciferous vegetables. Compounds in these, DIM and I3C, help to detox the body of bad estrogens.
Another supplement I’ve just started taking is iodine. This mineral is critical for every cell in your body to function. It is very important for your thyroid and thus all your hormones. Its also a very potent antioxidant. Since most health conscious people don’t consume iodized salt, it is found very little in the diet. Sea vegetables have some, but typically people need more than they may get just from eating. Thus a supplemental form is useful as it is said that 70+% of people are chronically deficient.
Not only is it used in the body but having an adequate supply stops the absorption (and may help to eliminate) chlorine, flourine, bromine and radioactive forms of iodine within the body. All of these halogens can cause lots of problems in the body. Having a good supply of natural iodine will be the best thing you can do to eliminate these problems.
To remove heavy metals you can consume several foods. The algae, chorella, is probably the best one of them all. Carrying 10% chlorophyll this algae is able to pull heavy metals out of your cells. Some other great options are cilantro, seaweeds and miso soup. Miso contains dipicolinic acid and seaweeds have alginate which all bind to heavy metals. (Check out the jinged up miso soup here for both a building and detoxing, great tasting recipe.)
Of course making sure you have an adequate supply of all vitamins and minerals will be important because of the complexity of the body as well.
Super Herb Options
Different compounds can support any one of the liver detox phases. Its rare to find something that covers more than one. But Schizandra is one of those rare herbs that supports both phase 1 and 2 of liver detoxification.
Many of the medicinal mushrooms are helpful in detox too. It is important you make sure you mushrooms are free of radiation since they can absorb it easily from the environment. (All of ours are tested to be free of radiation). If they past this test they can help in this process as well.
For instance, Chaga is the highest cesium containing “food” in the world. This is the natural form of Cesium (134 versus 137 which is radioactive). Not only will this help prevent you from absorbing radioactive cesium, but cesium is one of the most alkaline substances in nature and has been correlated with lower cancer rates.
There are lots more details that go into detoxification, but this article was meant to give an overview along with several processes you can follow and investigate further to support your body in detoxing.
- Longevity Now Conference 2014
- Breathing in Beijing
- Metabolic Detoxification at LEF
- Phase 1 and 2 Liver Detoxification