Detoxification is something our bodies do naturally. Unfortunately, things are much different for us now than they were for our ancestors. While they were exposed to very few environmental toxins as little as 75 years ago, the same cannot be said for us today. We are simultaneously being overloaded by external toxins and under-supported by our diets because our diets are not balanced enough to keep our natural detox processes robust.
In the Natural MD Radio detoxification series, I talk about everything you want to know – what it is, what is, what it isn’t, how it can help, and when it can harm. I've talk about the impact of what too much detoxification can have on your health, as well as the differences between metabolic and physiologic detoxification, and the dangers of fad detoxes. I want to wrap up this series discussing the very powerful role foods and supplements can play in supporting on our body’s natural detoxification processes.
I dive into the steps of a 12-week detox program, share some of my favorite herbs for supporting our natural detoxification processes – including the historical and scientific support for them – and give tips for limiting exposures to harmful toxins in your home, food and household products.
As a special gift, you get access to the Natural MD Detoxification Foods Guide. It’s totally FREE and you can use it to bolster up your next grocery shop with all the nutrient-rich foods I talk about in the podcast – and more! Download your copy here – no sign-up required.
Is Detox a Real Thing? Understanding Body Burden
‘Detox’ – you can hardly miss hearing about it. Every day it seems there is a new detox program or cleanse promising to help us get healthier, slimmer, sexier. But what led us to believe that we needed to get ‘cleaner' or to detox? And is detoxification even a real thing? In this episode I discuss real detoxification and how it’s different from common ‘detoxes’ – including why popular detoxes may not be so healthy after all. You’ll also learn what body burden is and the environmental exposures that contribute to this, how environmental toxins affect us and what we can do to protect ourselves and our families, and why it’s so important for us to take action now.
In this episode I discuss:
- The difference between detoxification and ‘detoxes'
- The environmental exposures that we should be aware of
- What you can do to protect yourself and your children and why we have to be the ones to do this for ourselves.
- Healthy eating vs. orthorexia
- How environmental chemicals can cause metabolic problems
- Can endocrine disruptors affect the next generation
- How the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fails to protect us
How Detoxification Really Works
I'm sure that you've heard of different detox programs – and perhaps you've even tried one. Conventional medicine and wellness ‘quack-busters' criticize these detoxes, sometimes for good reason – not all are based on solid and safe principles and some can even be harmful. But did you know that metabolic detoxification is much different than the popular use of the term detox? I’m referring to the real and important process our bodies do every single day to ‘self-clean.’
In this episode you’ll learn what detoxification is, how it works, and why it matters for our health and the health of our children. You’ll also get answers to common questions surrounding eating organic, early vaccinations, and what role our genetics and other important body systems play in detoxification.
Making a Difference in Your Health,
and Women’s Lives
In this episode I discuss:
- The physical symptoms and health complications can be associated with ‘body burden'
- Pesticides that are related to learning problems in children
- What's causing early puberty in girls
- How a detox is different from metabolic detoxification
- It is worth the price to eat organic – and how to do it on a budget
- The role of genetics in our detoxification power
- Is Tylenol safe to use during pregnancy and early vaccinations
- The dynamic duo of detoxification and elimination
- The role of intestinal health and the microbiome in detoxification
Detoxification: Does Your Diet Really Matter?
There is hardly a detox out there that doesn’t include a food component focused on eliminating specific foods. And while there is reason for this, it can be taken to the extreme and you may actually restrict foods that support detoxification in the long run. Why? Detoxification actually depends on good nutrition to work optimally – meaning it requires the support of vitamins and minerals from our food, and enough of them. So how do we use diet in the right way?
In this episodeI I explain what ‘food as medicine’ really means and show you “the why” behind your body's need for specific nutrients to support detoxification. You’ll also learn about the word ‘phytonutrient’ – perhaps one of the most important food words to know to help you stay optimally healthy in today’s world – and some of my favorite detoxification ‘power foods’ for these nutrients. You’ll also get answers to the big question of ‘is food enough?’
In this episode I discuss:
- What ‘food as medicine' really means
- The relationship between food and detoxification
- The phases of liver detoxification
- What phytonutrients are and why are they important
- How modern life affects our nutrition
- The phytonutrient gap
- How do today's foods stack up against our ancestors'
- How do commercial fruits and vegetables compare to organic
- Do we need to take supplements
- How to use herbs and spices to support digestion
Also click here for my article How to Detox Every Day: Top Ten Foods and Herbs to Support Natural Detoxification
Herbs for Detoxification: What Really Works
The body’s natural detoxification system is powerful, but with chronic toxin exposure at sky-rocketing levels, it can easily become overwhelmed and underfunctioning. This where taking steps to reduce toxin exposures and providing extra detoxification support can make a world of difference. In this episode, we’ll dive into what you can do to keep your natural detoxification system supported – from reducing exposures in your environment, home and personal care products to learning about specific herbs and nutrients that nourish and stimulate detoxification. We’ll also review my 12-week detox program so you have a step-wise approach to implementing changes without the overwhelm.
In this episode I discuss:
- Symptoms that your detoxification system may need extra support
- What to do to keep your detoxification system supported
- The 12-Week Detox Program
- How to reduce environmental exposures
- The danger of chemical preservatives
- What to look for in healthy makeup alternatives
- How to optimize dietary support
- Health benefits of bitters
12-Week Detoxification Plan
- Week 1: Start Reduce Exposure
- Week 2: Start Optimize Dietary Support
- Get 35g fiber/day
- Get 8-10 servings per day of fruits and veggies
- Add in herbs/spices to your cooking
- Week 3: Start Support Gut Health/Flora
- Probiotic rich foods, probiotic
- Week 4: Start Nutrient and Botanical Elimination Support
- Goal Get your bowels going daily
- Flax: 2 TBS ground seeds/day
- Week 5 Start Nutrient and Botanical Detoxification Support
- Bitter herbs – here's my podcast episode on bitters
- Curcumin: Dose 500mg 2-4x/day
- Milk Thistle: Dose: 200mg TID standardized to 80% silymarin
- Artichoke: Dose 320mg once daily to 600mg TID (Contraindicated in Ragweed allergy)
- Broccoli Extracts (sulforaphane, DIM, I3C) Dose: I3C: 250-450mg/day, DIM: 100-200mg/day
- Week 6: Continue above
This plan is not meant for pregnant or nursing women; discuss supplement use with your primary care provider if you’re on medications or have medical conditions.
Can Cleanses and Detoxes Tank Your Thyroid?
Cleanses, detoxes, and fasts are an important part of many cultures, and are certainly having their moment in the sun with an abundance of juice, bone broth, and even coffee enema cleanses to choose from pretty much on any health website you can find. While science has shown us that that certain types of fasting can have merit for some people, not all cleanses and detoxes are equally healthy and nutritionally balanced – and not everyone responds with glowing health.
Listen to this episode where I share a cautionary tale of ‘too much of a (possibly) good thing'– gone wrong – and what to be cautious of when doing a cleanse, fast, or detox, in particular, the potential risks to our thyroid health.
Should You Detox Before Getting Pregnant?
Should you detoxify before getting pregnant? As a midwife and medical doctor specializing in women’s health, I get this question often. And if I had gotten this question ten years ago, I might have said no. But a lot has happened in the evolution of health challenges our kids are facing the last decade or so that has given me pause. Our kids are facing alarming and increasing rates of allergies, eczema, autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and even cancer. The next generation’s life expectancy has also shockingly declined compared to our own.
For at least 3 decades, evidence from environmental health studies has led to growing agreement amongst scientists and many health professionals that environmental toxins are playing a role in the incidence and prevalence of these and other health conditions in the United States. Scientists estimate that at least 30% of childhood asthma and 5% of childhood cancers are a result of chemical exposures.
For a discussion about whether detoxing before pregnancy is important, whether it’s important for you, and how to do it safely, head over here my comprehensive article – and my podcast episode if you’d rather listen.