Why your body does it better than a juice cleanse
“Detox” is a word that gets thrown around a lot every January. Besides being an aggressively used marketing term, what does it really mean in the context of your body? And do you really need to rely on celery juice and laxative tea to keep your body healthy?
The answer is both, very simple and very complex. It’s simple because you certainly do not need to rely on fad products to get rid of toxins – your body has got it covered. However, this is also where the complexity lies; there are multiple organs, tissues and processes that maintain your body in homeostasis (or in balance). And they work together beautifully to keep you thriving. What this means though, is that there is no one magic potion that will cleanse your body after a heavy weekend.
Whilst there might not be a quick fix, you can support your body’s natural detoxifying ability through evidence-based strategies, and the HUM2N team of world-class experts is here to coach you through the journey. In this article, we will delve into the science behind your body’s natural detoxifying mechanisms, discuss why it’s important that these mechanisms work optimally and list some of our top strategies in supporting your in-house detox capacity.
Detoxification and toxins: what’s the issue here?
Detoxification is the natural process of eliminating unwanted substances from your body safely. You are exposed to these substances all the time as you interact with the environment – toxins produced by microorganisms, pollutants, natural plant toxins, excess vitamins, BPAs and so on. There are also toxins you produce yourself as part of normal metabolism, such as ammonia from protein digestion.
Our bodies are designed to be very robust, and exposure to toxins is very normal as long as it is dealt with correctly and optimally.
So how does your body detox? It’s time to meet the team in charge of detox.
Amongst hundreds of other activities, our liver plays a key role in our body’s defence. In fact, it’s the first line defence against toxins. Every day, the human organism may be exposed to hundreds of exogenous chemical substances in food and drink, in the air, and in drugs . This key organ filters the blood that leaves the stomach and intestines, and processes it by breaking down, balancing, and creating nutrients, along with getting rid of drugs and other poisonous substances.
The liver has two main phases of detoxification, which rely on the expression of a wide variety of enzyme systems that transform harmful substances into forms that can be safely excreted . Therefore, optimal functioning of the liver and its enzyme systems is important. However, when the liver is damaged, it cannot function as well. There is growing concern about endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that can be found in our environment [2,3]. “EDCs can exert effects either as unchanged substances or after their biotransformation into metabolites that may be more potent than the parent compounds”  eliciting negative effects on health. In the liver, exposure to EDCs has been linked to hepatic injury and the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) . NAFLD may result in altered detoxifying capacity. Other factors that may alter the liver's ability to defend your body include alcohol, genetic mutations, amongst other factors.
The role of the kidneys is to excrete wastes, toxins, and excess water from the body, in the form of urine. Urine travels through tubes known as ureters and into your bladder for excretion.
When the kidneys are damaged, they can't filter blood as they should. The result can be a build-up of waste in your body, as well as other problems that can harm your health . “Worldwide, diabetes mellitus is the most common cause of chronic kidney disease, but in some regions other causes, such as herbal and environmental toxins, are more common” .
Firstly, your liver’s detoxification pathways need an abundance of specific nutrients to function properly . Therefore, the digestive system plays a key role here as it breaks down foods into nutrients that can be utilised by your cells. In fact, some findings indicate that specific foods may upregulate or favourably balance metabolic pathways to assist with toxin biotransformation and subsequent elimination . Secondly, the liver receives blood from the digestive system in order to process it as described in the previous paragraphs.
Skin is the largest organ in your body. Your body expels toxins, such as heavy metals, by dermal excretion (or sweat) which is why the skin is so crucial in the detox process. Because sweating aids in the removal of toxins, exercising and going to the sauna can assist ensure that the toxins you're trying to get rid of leave your body efficiently and effectively .
The lymphatic system transports a fluid called 'lymph' around the body. This fluid travels through lymph nodes (glands) located all over your body. It is like the “sewage system” that protects the body from disease by removing germs (bacteria, viruses and parasites) and toxins (poisons), and helping to destroy cells that are old, damaged or abnormal . Enhancing lymph movement therefore improves the detoxification process, whereas factors like sedentary lifestyle, stress and tissue injury can restrict the flow of lymph.
The HUM2N approach to detoxification:
Detoxification is a natural process of eliminating unwanted substances from your body, and you can support your hard-working organs and systems in the process. Whilst this might not be as simple as drinking a few teas, some sustained changes to your lifestyle habits can absolutely help.
Here are 10 healthy lifestyle habits that promote detoxification:- Drink more water: it’s hard to get enough water but really focus on this goal as it’s important to make sure your body has enough liquid for excreting those toxins.
- Eat a rich and nutritious diet to make sure you have all the nutrients needed for optimum detoxification processes. Many enzymes involved in liver detoxification rely on nutrients from your diet to function. Whilst ideally, you would meet your nutrient requirements through food, this isn’t always easy. Consult one of our expert Nutritional Coaches to support you on your nutritional goals. Also consider taking a broad-spectrum multivitamin such as the Master Nutrient Plus and/or custom formulated intravenous infusions to help with detoxification.
- Drink alcohol sparingly and try out some non-alcoholic alternatives. At minimum, adhere to the government recommendations and enjoy your drinks responsibly. Your liver will thank you!
- Get your sweat on! Exercise and treat yourself to regular sauna sessions – this will help flush out toxins such as heavy metals.
- Choose BPA-free products like water bottles and food storage products. Look for products specifically labelled 'BPA-free’. Choose cosmetics labelled ‘paraben-free’.
- Consult your HUM2N coach about our Detox Stack. This is a powerful combination of supplements that supports metabolic detoxification by facilitating the primary digestive and excretion pathways. It helps convert toxins into less harmful chemicals, making it easier for the body to eliminate them primarily through the urine or stool.
- Support your liver function with a Detoxifier.
- Stay away from unnecessary medication and recreational-drugs; your liver treats them as toxins, putting an extra-strain on the already busy organ. Avoid misusing paracetamol to alleviate hangover symptoms, as this has been shown to increase the risk of liver damage in some studies . Instead, try out whole body cryotherapy.
- Stretch, walk, move regularly throughout your working day to get that lymph flowing.
- “Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) massage is widely accepted as a conservative treatment for lymphedema”, but may also be useful for healthy individuals.
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