Detox: Helpful or Hype?

Super detox tea, cleansing juice fast, I have even seen one called parasite purge, I kid you not,  the products are EVERYWHERE! But do they really work and do you even need to detox? I have met quite a few people that have some misconceptions when it comes to cleansing and detox so I thought I would clear some things up.

While it is true that the allopathic medical definition of detoxification refers to the process of withdrawing a person from dependence on a habituating drug, in actuality, your body is always capable of detoxification because it is simply the metabolic process by which toxins are changed into less toxic or more readily excreted substances. Individual cells get detoxified in the lymph and circulatory system. The liver is the principle organ of detoxification, assisted by the kidneys and intestines. Toxins can be excreted from the body by the kidneys, bowels, skin, and lungs. Detoxification treatments become necessary when the body’s natural detoxification systems become overwhelmed. This can be caused by long-term effects of improper diet, stress, overeating, sedentary lifestyles, illness, and poor health habits in general. Some people’s digestive tracts become unable to digest food properly, due to yearsof overeating and diets that are high in fat and processed foods and low in fiber (the Standard American Diet -SAD). When this happens, food cannot pass through the digestive tract efficiently. Instead of being digested properly or eliminated from the bowel, food can literally rot inside the digestive tract and produce toxic by-products.

de·tox·i·fi·ca·tion

(dē-tŏk′sə-fĭ-kā′shən) n.

1. The process of detoxifying.
2. The state or condition of being detoxified.
3. Physiology The metabolic process by which the toxic qualities of a poison or toxin are reduced by the body.
4. A medically supervised treatment program for alcohol or drug dependence designed to purge the body of intoxicating or addictive substances.   

What is a detoxing and cleansing program?

Basically, this generally entails one to follow a structured program that is based upon a diet change (juice fast, vegan) or supplement regimen  in order to try to eliminate from the body some of the toxins and parasites that often build up over time.

We live in a toxic society that is bombarded by chemicals, they are in our cleaning products & beauty products as well as being in our  air, food and water. When working properly, our bodies are constantly eliminating harmful substances through the detoxification pathways of the kidneys, liver, lungs, skin and colon. Unfortunately, many toxins can remain in the body, either lodged in the fat cells or in the organs or intestines, for optimal health it is important to try to help the body from time to time to eliminate these things.

A car could possibly run a very long time without an oil change but eventually this neglect will cause excessive wear and tear on the engine and the cars potential will be affected. Regular maintenance can prolong  peak performance. It is the same with us, Why wait until there is a problem?

Detoxification is one of the most recognized and  used treatments  in alternative medicine. It is based on the principle that illnesses can be caused by the accumulation toxic of substances (toxins) in the body. Eliminating existing toxins and avoiding new toxins are essential parts of the healing process. Detoxification  & Cleansing programs can utilize a variety of products & techniques.

Purpose

Detoxification is helpful for those suffering from  chronic conditions, including allergies, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, chronic infections, depression,diabetes, headaches, heart disease, high cholesterol, low blood sugar levels, digestive disorders, mental illness, and obesity. It is helpful for those with conditions that are influenced by environmental factors, as well as for those who have been exposed to high levels of toxic materials due to accident or occupation. Detoxification programs are often useful for those suffering from allergies or immune system problems that conventional medicine is unable to diagnose or treat, including chronic fatigue syndrome, environmental illness/multiple chemical sensitivity, and fibromyalgia. Symptoms for those suffering these conditions may include unexplained fatigue, increased allergies,hypersensitivity to common materials, intolerance to certain foods and indigestion, aches and pains, low grade fever, headaches, insomnia, depression, sore throats, sudden weight loss or gain, lowered resistance to infection, general malaise, and disability. Detoxification can be used as a beneficial preventative measure and as a tool to increase overall health, vitality, and resistance to disease.

Origins

Detoxification methods of healing have been used for thousands of years. Fasting is one of the oldest therapeutic practices in medicine. Hippocrates, the ancient Greek known theas “Father of Western medicine,” recommended fasting as a means for improving health. Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional healing system that has developed over thousands of years, utilizes detoxification methods to treat many chronic conditions and to prevent illness.
Detoxification treatment has become one of the cornerstones of alternative medicine. Conventional medicine notes that environmental factors can play a significant role in many illnesses. Environmental medicine is a field that studies exactly how those environmental factors influence disease. Conditions such as asthma, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity, and many others are strongly influenced by exposure to toxic or allergenic substances in the environment.
The United States Centers forDisease Control estimate that over 80% of all illnesses have environmental and lifestyle causes.
Detoxification has also become a prominent treatment as people have become more aware of environmental pollution. It is estimated that one in every four Americans suffers from some level of heavy metal poisoning. Heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic, are by-products of industry. Synthetic agriculture chemicals, many ofwhich are known to cause health problems, are also found in food, air, and water. American agriculture uses nearly 10lb (4.5 kg) of pesticides per person on the food supply EACH year. These toxins have become almost unavoidable. Pesticides that are used only on crops in the southern United States have been found in the tissue of animals in the farnorth of Canada. DDT, a cancer-causing insecticide that has been banned for decades, is still regularly found in the fatty tissue of animals, birds, and fish, even in remote regions such as the North Pole.  Additionally, this problem is compounded because humans are at the top of the food chain and are more likely to be exposed to an accumulation of toxic substances in the food supply. For instance, pesticides and herbicides are sprayed on grains that are then fed to farm animals. Toxic substances are stored in the fatty tissue of those animals. In addition, those animals are often injected with synthetic hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals. When people eat meat products, they are exposed to thefull range of chemicals and additives used along the entire agricultural chain. This build up of toxins is referred to as bioaccumulation.  Many blame the bioaccumulation of toxic substances over time for many physical and mental disorders, especially ones that are increasing at a rapid rate. As a result, detoxification therapies are increasing in importance and popularity

For best results: For three days leading up to your detox or cleanse, eliminate: alcohol, sugar, dairy, wheat, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and packaged, boxed, canned or fast food. People going on a juice fast usually eliminate meat and poultry. Up your intake of raw vegetable salads and lightly steamed vegetables.

Ellice’s recommends taking the ZENDOCRINE® DETOXIFICATION BLEND for at least the 7 days before your detox. dōTERRA Zendocrine Detoxification Blend is a proprietary blend of therapeutic-grade essential oils including Tangerine, Rosemary, Geranium, Juniper Berry, and Cilantro. Studies of these oils have been found to support healthy liver function.

Effective Detoxification therapies activate and assist the body’s own detoxification processes. For best results, try to eliminate additional exposure to toxins and strengthen the body and immune system so that toxic imbalances won’t occur in the future.

Everyone should try to eat some fresh fruit and vegetables at least once or twice each day. There are numerous school’s of thought regarding diet, but the best advice is to eat what is in season, makes you feel good, is fresh, well-balanced nutritionally and is predominantly organic whenever possible.

We have numerous articles regarding diet throughout our website but always adopt a common sense approach.

Try what works for you. Some people do well on a diet of grains, raw foods and fruit. Others need a wider variety. Never forget, the body is a tool and is meant to work for you.

GET READY

You may also want to take this time to rid your kitchen of any foods or beverages that might tempt you during your detox.

Plan your menu for the week and make time to grocery shop. If you don’t normally buy organic, look for local farmers’ markets, health food stores, or grocery stores with a good selection of organic foods. If you’re not able to buy all produce organic, get a fruit and vegetable wash to help rid your produce of pesticide residues, waxes, and other undesirable chemicals. If you are going on a detox diet, see a sample menu. If you are going on a juice fast, have all of your produce ready and storage bottles if you will be preparing larger quantities to last you through the day.

Prevent Caffeine Withdrawal

If you drink caffeinated beverages on a regular basis, you may experience headaches, tiredness and other caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Here are some tips on how to prevent it:

  • Gradually decrease your caffeine intake prior to starting the detox.
  • Switch to lower-caffeine green tea, white tea, matcha, or oolong tea.
  • If it’s the bitter taste of coffee you miss, try a caffeine-free herbal coffee substitute.
 Drink More Water

Your body needs plenty of water during a detox diet. Drinking lots of water keeps you hydrated and may help flush out toxins, so be sure to drink at least eight glasses of filtered water daily. Also try having a cup of room temperature or lukewarm filtered water with lemon in the morning.

Tools for Detox Success

Some practices may help promote cleansing throughout your detox diet. Exfoliating your skin with a dry brush, for instance, may help support circulation and prompt the passage of toxins from your lymph.

To enhance relaxation as you detox, consider buying some essential oils to add to your bathwater or use for massage. Incredibly calming, lavender oil may be especially helpful for those suffering from caffeine-withdrawal-related headaches.

 Know What Not to Cut Out

Don’t stop taking any prescription medications while on a detox diet. Discontinuing certain medications can have serious, possibly life-threatening consequences.

During the detoxification process, many experience side effects of fatigue, malaise, aches and pains, emotional duress, acne, headaches, allergies, and symptoms colds of and flu. Detoxification specialists claim that these negative side effects are part of the healing process. These reactions are sometimes called healing crises, which are caused  by temporarily increased levels of toxins in the body due to elimination and cleansing. 
It SHOULD NOT look like this:
giphy
If you want to see what a detox looks like in real life, follow me on instagram !  I will be sharing all the tasty, nourishing, REAL food my body needs to get rid of those nasty toxins @ellicecampbell

Research and general acceptance

Although environmental medicine is gaining more respect within conventional medicine, detoxification treatment is scarcely mentioned by the medical establishment. The research that exists on detoxification is largely testimonial, consisting of individual personal accounts of healing without statistics or controlled scientific experiments. In the alternativemedical community, detoxification is an essential and widely accepted treatment for many illnesses and chronic conditions.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen. 

References

detoxification. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Retrieved January 8 2015 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/detoxification

detoxification. (n.d.) Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary. (2010). Retrieved January 8 2015 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/detoxification

Detoxification. (n.d.) Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. (2008). Retrieved January 8 2015 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Detoxification

Periodicals

Alternative Therapies Magazine. P.O. Box 17969, Durham, NC 27715. (919) 668-8825. http://www.alternative-therapies.com.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 1114 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60004. (847) 818-1800.

Organizations

American Holistic Medical Association. 4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 201, Raleigh, NC 27607. 〈http://www.holisticmedicine.org/index.html〉.
Cancer Prevention Coalition. 2121 West Taylor St., Chicago, IL 60612. (312) 996-2297. http:\\www.preventcancer.com.
Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 7510 Northforest Dr., North Charleston, SC 29420. (843) 572-1600. http:\\www.coem.com.
Northeast Center for Environmental Medicine. P.O. Box 2716, Syracuse, NY 13220. (800) 846-ONUS.
Northwest Center for Environmental Medicine. 177 NE 102nd St., Portland, OR 97220. (503) 561-0966.

Other

A Citizens Toxic Waste Manual. Greenpeace USA, 1436 U St. NW, Washington, DC 20009. (202) 462-1177.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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