Detoxification — Who Needs to Detoxify?
No matter how healthy you consider yourself to be, your body faces challenges on a daily basis from toxins that bog down your organs of detoxification.
And unfortunately, many of these toxins affect the optimal health of your bones, blood, fat tissue and brain tissue, muscles, and other organs.
They can affect cell function, hormones, or the immune system.
That’s why it’s important to understand why you might benefit from a regimen of detoxification.
Where Do All These Toxins Come From?
These toxins are everywhere — in our water, food, air, and the products we use on ourselves and our homes.
Toxins are in:
- Environmental pollution, including carbon dioxide, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and thousands more
- Pesticides and herbicides such as glyphosate and chlorpyrifos
- Industrial chemicals such as propylene and chlorine
- Heavy metals such as mercury in fish, lead in pipes, cadmium in furniture
- Food additives such as MSG and sodium nitrite
- Cleaning and body care products, including phthalates, triclosan, and many others
And the scary fact is that, despite the 80,000+ chemicals we could be exposed to, researchers have only studied a small percentage of them.
The government’s NHANES study conducted by the CDC confirms that Americans harbor many chemicals inside their bodies.
All these toxins take a toll on our organs of detoxification.
Organs of Detoxification
It’s important to understand which parts of the body play major roles in detoxification.
This organ is your body’s primary detoxification system. When a toxin enters the body, it is sent to the liver for processing, then returned to circulation and prepared for excretion by the kidneys or intestines.
The liver also helps produce and secrete bile, which carries toxins to the intestines to be excreted in the feces.
Over the years, the liver accumulates toxins and their metabolites, which makes it important to detoxify and support the health of this powerful organ.
The kidneys serve to purify the blood of toxic substances. Through millions of tiny filtering cells called nephrons, the kidneys filter toxins from the blood and excrete them in the urine. It is important to prevent these small filters from becoming clogged by accumulation of waste products.
The Respiratory Tract
Breathing pulls oxygen into the lungs, where it gets sent to all the cells in your body. By exhaling, your lungs expel carbon dioxide and airborne toxins that build up inside your body. This constant respiratory ‘garbage removal’ system is important. As yet another reason to stay active, exercising strenuously enough to increase breathing promotes the removal of toxins via the lungs.
The skin presents a mechanical barrier to toxins — it is actually our largest organ of defense. Each skin pore serves to usher out toxins from the body. The bad news is that the large surface area of the skin also makes it easy for a number of toxins to gain entrance to your body through your skin cells.
The intestinal tract not only functions in digestion, but also in the elimination of toxins. Toxins and other wastes are dumped by the liver into the bile and then sent to the intestines for removal in the stool. When passage through the intestines is slowed by occasional constipation, it can alter the composition of the microflora in the gut.
Substances including additives and other toxins can also irritate the intestinal mucosa, making it overly porous and vulnerable for more toxins to gain entry to the system.
The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is an entire network of organs, vessels, and tissues that drain lymph fluid from the entire body. Approximately two liters of lymphatic fluid circulate throughout our bodies. This fluid allows waste products and debris to be removed from the body. Lymphatic glands also support a healthy immune response.
How to Know If Your Body Needs a Detox
With the number of toxins threatening us on a daily basis, regular detoxification should be an important part of a healthy lifestyle for any adult.
However, there are some key indicators that make it even more important:
- You are currently experiencing health challenges, especially those caused by an imbalanced inflammatory response.
- You’ve been feeling tired, stressed out, overwhelmed, moody, or notice your memory is not optimal.
- You experience skin breakouts or a blotchy complexion.
- You have digestive concerns, including gas, occasional constipation, bloating, or others.
- You find it hard to drop those extra pounds.
- You make unhealthy food choices, eat fast or processed foods, consume too much sugar, or require copious caffeine to get you through the day.
How to Detoxify Your Body
You can’t avoid all of the ubiquitous chemicals and toxins you are exposed to daily in air, food, and water. However, there are some easy steps you can take to minimize your exposure and detoxify your body, starting at the cellular level:
Get your blood pumping with some exercise, especially early in the day. This is a great way to enhance your body’s detoxification systems. Plus, exercising get you to sweat, which helps toxins exit your body.
Drink Only Filtered Water
It’s best to stay away from tap water and bottled water in plastic containers. Most plastic containers contain chemicals such as bisphenol-A, which affects hormones.
Get a Handle on Your Diet
It may be difficult at times, but do your best to avoid or at least minimize intake of sugary, refined, or highly processed foods. Learn to say no to pasta, white bread, French fries, candy, cookies, and the like. These foods not only contain additives, but also promote imbalanced inflammatory response. You can avoid many unhealthy foods by shopping the perimeter of the grocery store since most processed foods are found in the inner rows of the store. Plus, you can increase your fiber intake, which supports a healthy colon.
Ditch Those Chemical-Laden Personal Care Products
Read labels to become more conscious of what’s inside those products you slather on your body and wash your clothes in. Look for natural, organic options or learn to create your own safe products at home.
Use Targeted Supplements That Support Gentle Detoxification
To jumpstart or enhance your detoxification regimen, look for high quality herbal or plant-based products and nutrients that offer gentle cleansing and support.
Now that you understand more about the effects of toxin overload, you can see why you need detoxification. Use the information you have learned here to take some pressure off your hard-working organs of detoxification.