Daily Detoxification Strategies
The modern world is full of environmental toxins. It is estimated that there are over 80,000 toxic chemicals used regularly in the US. There are over 500 chemicals stored in our body and the average individual has at least seven pesticides tested in their urine (1, 2). It is imperative to have a daily detoxification lifestyle to get these unwanted toxins out of our system.
Some environmental toxins are easier to eliminate than others. The most challenging toxins to get rid of are the hydrophobic or fat-soluble toxins and heavy metals. We take in many of these from industrial exposure, flame retardants and paint fumes as well as pesticides and herbicides.
The Bodies Detoxification Processes:
The major detoxification organs of the body include the liver, kidneys, skin, respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, urinary tract, etc. The liver uses a dual phase enzymatically driven system to neutralize and prepare the vast majority of the toxins we encounter for elimination from the body. Both of these steps must have adequate resources in order to work perfectly to properly rid these toxins.
In phase I detoxification, the liver takes fat soluble toxins and makes them more water soluble. In phase II detoxification the liver uses enzymes to inactive the toxins and bind them to bile and other molecules for elimination (3). We can assist the liver and the rest of the body in eliminating toxins with several lifestyle interventions.
Major Detoxification Pathways:
We detoxify through 4 major systems that make up the acronym PURE:
1) Perspiration: Sweating – the better we sweat the better we move toxins out of the body. Sedentary lifestyle where we stay indoors in air conditioning limits our ability to move toxins. Get outside, exercise regularly and use infrared or sweat sauna‘s.
2) Urination: The more we pee the more toxins we move out of the body. Lack of water intake reduces our ability to move toxins out of our system.
3) Respiration: The better we breath (deep as well as often) the more we move toxins out of the body. Sedentary lifestyle reduces this form of detoxification and stress and forward head posture force us into short, shallow breathing habits that aren’t effective at moving toxins.
4) Excretion: The more we defecate the more we move toxins out of our body. Constipation stagnates potent toxins that inflame us. We should be moving our bowels 2-3x daily as our body should naturally eliminate what it consumed within 12-24 hours after eating it.
Any longer and the digested food putrifies and becomes a breading ground for bad microbes. These bad microbes then produce a rampant amount of toxins that are destructive to the body and create poor quality of life.
Daily Detoxification Dietary Steps:
Daily detoxification begins with our lifestyle routines. The first step is to eliminate toxins from our diet and remove all sugars and grains. Sugars and grains stimulate insulin release and a metabolic shift towards fat storage and increased inflammatory conditions. Without sugar and grains the body will be more effective at eliminating toxins. Build your meals around healthy fat sources, anti-oxidants, clean proteins and fiber.
Healthy fat sources include coconut products, avocados, extra-virgin olive oil and sprouted flax, chia, hemp and pumpkin seeds. Anti-oxidants are found in abundance in berries, citrus fruits, vegetables, herbs and raw cacao. Clean proteins are found in organic poultry, wild caught fish, 100% grass-fed beef & bison and 100% grass-fed, fermented dairy.
Intermittent Fasting for Detoxification:
Engage in intermittent fasting strategies each day or every other day. This may include a 16-20 hour liquid fast each day where only clean water, herbal teas, fermented herbal botanicals, and green juices (without fruit) are consumed. Or one may choose to fast for 24-36 hours once a week. Intermittent fasting allows the body to shed off inferior cells and dump toxins out of the fat cells and deep within organ tissues.
The best way to begin fasting is by giving your body 12 hours between dinner and breakfast every single day. This allows 4 hours to complete digestion and 8 hours for the liver to complete its detoxification cycle. After this is a standard part of lifestyle, try taking one day a week and extending the fast to 16-18 hours. Eventually, you may choose to do a full 24 hour fast each week.
During the fasting period it is great to drink cleansing beverages such as fermented drinks, herbal teas, water with infused superfood extracts, water with lemon or apple cider vinegar, etc. These enhance the cleansing process by providing anti-oxidants and micronutrients that enhance healing and detoxification.
SuperFoods and Sulfur Rich Foods:
Certain superfoods help the body to eliminate toxins more effectively. These include foods that are rich in chlorophyll like wheat, barley and oat grasses, cilantro, parsley, spinach, spirulina and chlorella. Superseeds like chia, hemp and flax are rich in anti-oxidants and fiber which help neutralize toxins and bind them for safe removal.
Other foods rich in sulfur containing amino acids help to boost the bodies stores of glutathione which helps shuttle toxins out of the cells. These foods include non-denatured grass-fed whey protein and 100% grass-fed raw cheese, organic eggs, avocados, red onions and cruciferous vegetables. Other great sources of glutathione boosting herbs include turmeric, milk thistle, garlic, rosemary, cinnamon and bilberry.
Drinking lots of clean water with anti-oxidant extracts such as fresh squeezed lemon or herbal botanicals is especially helpful. Water helps flush the urinary and gastrointestinal system out and regulate the gut microenvironment. Adding in anti-oxidant extracts helps the body neutralize the damaging free radical stress that toxins create.
Regular Exercise & Sunbathing:
Healthy movement patterns including exercise that forces deep respiration and perspiration helps to remove toxins. Exercise also helps improve circulation in both the cardiovascular system and the lymphatic system and improves the bodies own anti-oxidant production. Good circulation and intracellular anti-oxidants are critical for healthy detoxification processes.
Infrared saunas or appropriate sun bathing can also be very effective for stimulating toxin removal through perspiration. Sun bathing adds the benefit of increasing vitamin D3 synthesis which boosts the intracellular anti-oxidant glutathione as well.
10 Best Strategies for Daily Detoxification:
1. Drink Hydrating Fluids: Be sure to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of clean, filtered water daily. Adding lemon/lime or apple cider vinegar to your water enhances the detoxifying effects.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Keep grains, sugars, bad fats and commercialized meat out of your diet. Load up on non-starchy veggies, low-glycemic fruit (lemons/limes, grapefruit, berries, granny smith apples), organic meat, good fats (coconut, grass-fed butter/ghee, olives, olive oil and avocados). Use herbs in abundance and fermented foods and tonics like apple cider vinegar
3. Practice Intermittent Fasting: Doing a liquid fast for 16-24 hrs daily or even just a few days a week can be an incredible practice to improve detoxification pathways. I personally enjoy doing 16-18 hour fasts daily where I eat my meals between a 6-8 hour eating window (12-7pm for example).
Outside of meal times I drink plenty of water, greens powders or green juices sometimes and herbal teas. For more info on intemittent fasting read this article
4. Regular Exercise: Moving your body improves your respiration and perspiration outlets. It also helps mobilize body fat stores where many toxins reside and gets these toxins into our circulation. I recommend doing a lot of low-intensity movement each day such as walking, light bicycle riding, dancing, recreational sports, etc.
I recommend doing high-intensity strength training several times per week in the form of resistance training and surge training.
5. Juice Greens or Use Greens Powders: Juicing greens provides a tremendous amount of chlorophyll and phytonutrients that enhance the detoxification process. To learn more about proper juicing strategies read this article. I also recommend using greens powders such as Organic Supergreens here
6. Use an InfraRed Sauna: Fantastic way to boost your detoxification processes. Read this article on Sauna usage.
7. Use Essential Oils: Using an essential oil diffuser in your home and applying essential oils can be of great benefit for detoxification.
8. Practice Oil Pulling: This is an outstanding way to remove microbial debris from the body on a regular basis. Read this article for more info on oil pulling.
9. Improve Your Gut Motility: Improving bowel movement frequency and consistency is a key detoxification concept. Consuming an anti-inflammatory diet with good fiber sources such as chia seed and flax seed, using bone broths, fermented foods and probiotics will improve bowel motility.
10. Use Activated Charcoal: Activated charcoal has millions of tiny pores that capture and bind materials in an absorbent manner, much like a sponge. Due to the absorbent qualities they can grab over 100 times their own weight in toxins. Charcoal also helps to disrupt protective biofilms that bad bacteria, yeast and parasites will develop to protect themselves.
Sources For This Article Include:
- Mills PK, Zahm SH. Organophosphate pesticide residues in urine of farmworkers and their children in Fresno County, California. Am J Ind Med. 2001 Nov;40(5):571-7. PMID: 11675626
- Heudorf U, Angerer J, Drexler H. Current internal exposure to pesticides in children and adolescents in Germany: urinary levels of metabolites of pyrethroid and organophosphorus insecticides. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2004 Jan;77(1):67-72. PMID: 14551781
- Liska DJ. The detoxification enzyme systems. Altern Med Rev. 1998 Jun;3(3):187-98. PMID: 9630736