7 Supplements to Detoxify Your Body
You have wondered why many people are talking about the need to cleanse and detoxify our bodies? Our society today has had extraordinary technological breakthroughs that have simplified and improved many areas of our life. Unfortunately, this technology has also left a mist of toxicity that is effecting all life on Earth. Human health in the 21st century and beyond will be based around our ability to limit exposure, adapt to the environmental stressors, detoxify and heal.
We have over a hundred thousand industrial chemicals in our immediate environment that we are being exposed to daily. Researchers have now found through various studies that the average individual living today has at least 700 known toxins in their body. These toxins can be found in every major area of the body including the blood, skin, fat tissue, vital organs and even in the brain (1, 2, 3, 4).
Why We Need To Detoxify
These toxins affect our hormones, our complexion, our energy and our mood and mental function. The purpose of this article is help you understand how toxins are classified and what systems are critical to the detoxification process. Additionally, I review 7 supplements to detoxify your body that I use regularly myself and with clients to help them adapt to the toxic stressors of our modern society.
Here are the most common symptoms associated with a build-up of toxins in the body. If you are struggling with these, it will be important to begin a process to strengthen your major elimination systems in order to detoxify your body.
2 Major Classifications of Toxins:
When it comes to toxins, some of them are produced within our body, while other are produced outside of our body and make their way into our body through ingestion. While we will never completely eliminate these toxins, our job is to the best we can to reduce our exposure.
Exotoxins: These are the toxins that most of use immediately think about. They are chemicals or hazardous substances that come from outside of our body and make their way in.
This would include the toxins from the air we breathe, the household cleaning agents we are using, personal hygiene products, food and drinks we are consuming, lawn care products, car exhaust and much more. In addition, we are dealing with environmental radiation and electromagnetic stressors from our portable devices and cell towers.
Endotoxins: These are substances that are produced within our body that are potentially hazardous to our system. This would include toxins produced by our gut bacteria, molecules formed by incomplete liver conjugation and ammonia which can rise due to inadequate kidney filtration.
The exposure to many of these chemicals is normal and actually considered a hormetic stressor that improves our bodies ability to handle and adapt to stress. However, when we get an overabundance of these molecules, our system becomes overwhelmed and unable to adapt.
5 Regions of Detoxification:
Toxins can and do affect every system and organ of the body. However, there are 5 major areas we look at when it comes to effective detoxification.
Each of these areas must be working well in order to properly neutralize and detoxify the hazardous compounds we are exposed too.
We have trillions of cells within the body and they each contain antioxidant systems that help to protect the intracellular organelles. When the cells are unable to detoxify, they end up accumulating excessive toxins and oxidative stress that damages the mitochondria and DNA. Overtime, this process creates DNA mutations that can lead to chronic diseases such as cancer and autoimmunity.
As impurities are able to get into the blood stream they provide a consistent stream of flow into the various cells, tissues and organs including the brain. Additionally, these toxins can damage the red blood cells and reduce the body’s ability to bring oxygen and nutrients to the cells. Overtime, toxic blood leads to cardiovascular and neurological challenges.
The liver is the primary organ that deactivates toxins. This process transforms toxins debris into a form that allows it to be removed by the body.
As the level of toxic burden grows, the liver gets more sluggish and overwhelmed and unable to neutralize hazardous chemicals in our blood stream. It is very important to strengthen the liver in order to adequately detoxify the body.
Bowel motility is an essential component to healthy toxic elimination. We should be moving our bowels at least 1-2 times per day and our food wastes should be getting out of our system within a 24 hour period.
This means that if we consume a meal at 12pm on Wednesday, than we should have eliminated all the waste from that meal by 12pm on Thursday at the latest. If the bowel material is able to sit in our intestines, it becomes a breeding ground for bad bacteria, yeast and parasites.
This leads to a fermentation and putrefaction process that allows for enormous amounts of endotoxins to be released throughout the blood stream. This massive release of toxic compounds can overwhelm the liver and slow down all the body’s ability to detoxify all together.
The kidneys are critical to filtering and removing toxins through the urinary system. Additionally, it takes urea out of the body and when it is functioning poorly it can lead to elevated ammonia, which is extremely toxic to the brain.
Poorly functioning kidneys are also major contributors to blood pressure problems and cardiovascular disease. It can also lead to swelling in the legs and sodium and potassium imbalances. Read this article for an in-depth kidney cleanse program.
Best Supplements To Detoxify:
There are many lifestyle interventions to help enhance our detoxification pathways, including healthy diet, intermittent fasting, exercise, super hydration, juicing vegetables, cleansing foods, infrared sauna, deep breathing and more.
I have written extensively about all of these cleansing strategies in the past, but this article is meant to focus on some of my favorite supplements to help detoxify. This is NOT meant to be an exhaustive list, just some of the top things I use to help my clients detoxify their body.
I have also created an online program called the Cancer Cleanse that details all the best natural cleansing strategies. Pick up the free Cancer Cleanse E-guide here so you can learn more about the best cleansing foods and once you add your email, you will also get my free video training series on effective cleansing and healing lifestyle strategies delivered in a series of emails over 2 weeks.
Glutathione (GSH) is a very special antioxidant compound that provides the greatest antioxidant protection within the body (5). Every cell in the body produces glutathione. Many longevity scientists believe that the level of glutathione in our cells is predicative of how long we will live (6,7, 8).
Glutathione has been labeled the “master antioxidant” due to its essential role in maintaining all other essential antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E in their active forms.
Glutathione is critical to cellular detoxification as it acts like the cell’s security guard, protecting the delicate genetic material from free radical stress. It is estimated that every cell within the body must face 10,000 strikes by free radicals each day. Glutathione is the key player in disarming these free radicals and cleaning up any mess they make before lasting damage occurs.
Recommended Glutathione Supplementation
Glutathione is rapidly broken down in our digestive tract, so supplementing is tricky. Research has shown that three forms have a direct impact on glutathione levels. All three of these work great, so experiment and see what works best for you.
1. N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
This compound is a precursor to the major anti-oxidant glutathione. Research has indicated that it is very effective for upregulating glutathione levels and reducing oxidative stress in the body and helping the liver to detoxify.
Recommended Dosage: 400-1200 mg daily with or without food in 2-3 dosages throughout the day.
2. Liposomal Glutathione
This is a great form to supplement with as it is glutathione combined with liposomes. The liposomes help to get the glutathione through the digestive tract and into the cells. Be sure to avoid the use of soy lecithin with this and opt for a sunflower lecithin instead.
Recommended Dosage: 200-500 mg taken 1-2 times daily away from food
3. Acetylated Glutathione
This form of glutathione is very similar to liposomal glutathione in that it passes through the gut and passes diffusively into the cells of the body. The acetylated bone is then cleaved by enzymes within the cells without requiring any energy expenditure.
Recommended Dosage: 200-500 mg taken 1-2 times daily away from food
My personal favorite form is the S-Acetylated form due its superior absorption and perishability compared to NAC and Liposomal glutathione. This is why I created Super Glutathione, which is an advanced form of S-Acetylated glutathione
Alpha Lipoic Acid:
This is a very unique and powerful anti-oxidant that has both water and fat soluble properties. This characteristic means that it can be go in and out of major organs such as the brain, liver and nerves.
Lipoic acid helps to upregulate glutathione levels indirectly by regenerating other anti-oxidants such as vitamin C, E and CoQ10. Lipoic acid protects the mitochondria, the energy producing factories of cells, from oxidative stress and toxicity like nothing else (9).
There is tremendous research evidence indicating that ALA maintains insulin sensitivity, optimizes blood sugar levels and strengthens blood vessels (10, 11). Additionally, it improves adrenal output, strengthens the gut lining and protects against leaky gut syndrome and helps the liver to detoxify effectively.
ALA also helps to reduce inflammation and balance the tone of the immune system in such a way that it reduces autoimmune activity (12, 13). The versatility of alpha lipoic acid makes it stand out as one of my absolute favorite supplements to help protect the mitochondria and support cellular and liver detoxification.
The R form of alpha lipoic acid is far superior than the S form.
Recommended Dosage: Take 400 – 800 mg of R-alpha lipoic acid daily 1-2 times daily with or without food
This compound is one of the most powerful liver detoxifying agents. The active compound within milk thistle is called silymarin. Research has demonstrated that milk thistle supplementation helps to boost 2 major intracellular antioxidants, glutathione and superoxide dismutase (14).
One study indicated that silymarin increased glutathione levels in the intestinal and liver cells by 50% (15). This can help protect the intestines from damage leading to leaky gut, ulcers and colitis. It also helps support the bodies ability to detoxify effectively.
Milk thistle also helps protect the liver, thyroid and immune system from radiation stress. Gamma radiation is a serious risk factor for the development of thyroid problems and various cancers. Milk thistle is one of the best defenses against the damage that radiation produces (16).
Selenium is a trace mineral that acts as an anti-oxidant that plays a key role in detoxification and immune regulation. There are strong links between selenium deficiencies and the development of autoimmune conditions, especially those effecting the thyroid gland (17, 18).
Selenium also has a strong binding affinity for mercury and other heavy metals. This magnetic like effect sucks these heavy metals out of the blood stream and creates a new substance such as a Hg (mercury)-Se compound that gets flushed out of the body.
Recommended Dosage: I recommend doing 200-400 mcg of L-selenomethionine daily with or without food for heavy metal detoxification, immune improvements and thyroid health.
Chlorella and Spirulina:
These single celled algae are potent sources of chlorophyll and trace minerals (21). Chlorophyll is the plant based compound that allows these organisms to produce energy from photosynthesis or from the sun’s photons.
Chlorophyll also helps to purify the blood by binding to toxins and improving the body’s ability to bring oxygen to cells (22). By improving oxygen delivery to cells, it upregulates the intracellular energy production and anti-oxidant systems.
Additionally, these algae are a great source of magnesium and zinc, which are a key part of the bodies detoxification system.
In the case of chlorella, it contains the phytonutrient sporopollenin, which is able to bind neurotoxic debris extremely well (23). This includes heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, lead and biotoxins like mold, lyme, tetanus and tuberculosis toxins.
Best Dosage: 2 – 4 grams taken in multiple dosages in either capsules, tablets or dried powder with or without food. I personally use organic supergreens that contain spirulina, chlorella and tons of other cleansing green juices to help detoxify the body on a daily basis.
Activated charcoal is a unique compound that acts like a sponge, gobbling up toxic debris and expelling it from our system through the stool. A sponge absorbs toxins, but the toxins can be released by a simple squeeze. Charcoal on the other hand, “adsorbs” rather than “absorbs,” material, meaning that it is able to grab and hold onto substances at a molecular level so they are unable to escape.
Activated charcoal can take in outside materials weighing over 100 times its own weight (24). This is unheard of with any other natural substance although bentonite clay is close behind. This is why charcoal is used to pull toxic oil spills from the oceans and lakes and why it is commonly used in emergency rooms for individuals who overdose on drugs. It is literally lifesaving in both of these circumstances!
Research studies have shown that activated charcoal decreases the toxic load on the body by over 60% with daily use (25). This is due to its ability to bind and grab up chlorine, pesticides and herbicides, bacteria, viruses, yeast, parasites, toxic chemicals and endotoxic metabolites.
Recommended Dosage: For best results take 500-1000 mg daily on an empty stomach away from food or other supplements. I recommend at night before bed.
You can take up to 2 grams – 3x daily if you are doing a stronger cleanse. If you experience constipation while using, try adding in more magnesium, water and possibly fiber. If constipation persists, back down your dosage. I use Activated coconut charcoal here