Let’s talk about our Liver, Bowel and Kidneys as these are major detox systems in our bodies.
Our liver is an amazing organ that is responsible for numerous processes, including converting hormones, producing adequate amounts of cholesterol, it produces bile which is then stored in the gallbladder for fat metabolism, is responsible for detoxing and protecting our bodies from nasty toxins via phase 1 and 2 detox pathways, it also helps with stabalising blood sugar levels and storing excess sugars as glycogen, storage form of carbohydrates. As you can see our liver has a pretty important and busy time day in day out!
Our kidneys eliminate water soluble by-products and toxins that our liver convert’s and our bowel does a very similar process. We also have microbes in our gut that help with detox processes and bowel health. Our digestive system is amazing and often over looked when addressing other health concerns.
But do they need a helping hand?
As we all know detox supplements are common and have some amazing marketing, but majority of the time, unless there is some health concern at play, detoxes are not necessary, also many of the over the counter detoxes can do a lot more harm than good.
We live in a time where processed foods are common, our water contains chemicals, we use excessive amounts of topical cosmetics and skincare products, our homes are full of chemical cleaners, our food is sprayed with pesticides, we consume a significant amount of medications and often live in built up residential and city areas where we are often exposed to excessive environment pollutants. So sometimes it can be ideal to give our body a little helping hand.
When should you not detox or you should commence detox under the care of your healthcare professional?
If you do decide to commence a detox program it is important to take a few factors into consideration. If you are on a regular prescription medication it is important to consult with your healthcare practitioner to ensure there is no interaction between the medication and supplements you are taking as many liver herbs and supplement can increase the metabolism of your medication which means you will be clearing your medication too fast and it can become ineffective.
If you are constipated or have some form of bowel condition. Our bowel along with our kidneys are responsible for removing toxins and by-products from our bodies so if you have any issues with your bowel it is important to talk to your healthcare professional about your bowel concerns as increasing liver detoxication can result in more harm than good as we will just be recirculating toxins as our elimination pathway is not working effectively.
When are detoxes necessary?
I personally will consider a liver and bowel detox when I have a client present with NAFLD (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease” or AFLD (Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease). NAFLD is becoming more and more common and affecting some children as young as 9 years of age due to poor diet and lifestyle choices.
Also skin conditions such as Acne as well as Hormonal conditions, Migraine and Headaches, Fatigue and Digestive concerns can sometimes benefit from a individualised detox, but it most definitely comes down to each persons individual needs.
Often you will hear that our bodies are fully equipped to detox without a helping hand but what we have been exposed to the in the last 100 years is a lot more then what our bodies would have been previously equipped to handle.
In the last 100 years we have seen the introduction of some very toxic pesticides, a dramatic change in diet and obesity is now a very big concern, chemical based preservatives and additives, high sugar diets, synthetic nutrients, environmental toxins such as exhaust fumes and chemicals released from factories, a lot more chemical based skincare products and a boom in prescription medication so it would be safe to say we probably have a lot more exposure then we originally thought we would.
What does a detox look like and how often should you detox?
Personally, detoxes I use with my clients are majority lifestyle and diet based occasionally we will introduce herbs and nutrients where necessary but it definitely comes down to each client’s personal circumstances.
I personally think a detox 2 times per year can be a good little pick me up and gives your body a little down time for a couple of weeks.
Detoxes can be a great short term pick me up for those feeling a little sluggish at times but a great way to approach a detox or just improving your everyday health without all the pills and potions is by following a few dietary and lifestyle tips.
Keeping it simple is a great way to stay on track and see changes:
- Avoid all processed foods and sugars
- Ensure you are not consuming preservatives and additives
- Increase your intake of filtered water to 2-3 litres per day
- Look for natural alternatives for household cleaners
- Use natural personal care items such as body washes and other skincare products- our skin is an elimination pathway but it also absorbs approximately 60% of what we put on our skin and this is then absorbed into our blood stream which the liver and other detox systems need to deal with.
- Introduce indoor plants to your home to help clear the air
- Consume a whole food diet that focuses on fresh natural food
- And the scary part, avoid coffee and alcohol
All in all detoxes can be great when needed but just by minimising, where we can, chemicals and toxins our bodies can do a pretty good job without the need of detox products.