The most important factor for natural detoxification is a lifestyle that provides a strong foundation that supports your body’s natural cleansing mechanisms. In addition to foods that naturally detoxify, exercise that boost metabolic efficiency, and stress reduction, there are nutrients that bind and remove toxins, as well as lend support to your body’s own detox organs. To take your cleanse — and your health — to the next level, I recommend you give them a try.
The first step is to target toxins in the circulation and digestive tract. In my practice, I recommend patients start this process with a clinically proven blend of modified citrus pectin (MCP) from citrus peels and alginates derived from seaweed.
Regular pectin is a natural product of fruit peels. While it’s excellent for digestion, regular pectin molecules are too big to be absorbed into the body, so they simply pass through the digestive tract. MCP however, contains smaller pectin molecules, allowing the pectin to easily enter the circulation and exert several important benefits throughout the body.
Studies have shown that MCP binds to toxins in the blood stream, particularly heavy metals, such as lead, mercury and cadmium. There are a number of stronger detoxification agents, such as the chemicals DMSA and DMPS that can achieve this as well. The problem is that they come with significant side effects and risks. MCP on the other hand, removes heavy metals and toxins safely over time, without affecting the body’s levels of essential minerals or causing other side effects. MCP is also shown to boost immune activity and control the rogue protein, galectin-3. Healthy galectin-3 levels are now shown to play critical roles in cellular health, cardiovascular support, kidney function and more.
Alginates are derived from brown kelp and are good for absorbing pesticides and chemicals, as well as heavy metals and radioactive particles. Victims of the Chernobyl disaster were given alginates to reduce concentrations of radioactive iodine and cesium.
In my clinic, I recommend starting a detox program with a cleansing diet, physical activity, and a gentle detox formula called PectaClear which combines MCP and alginates. Research shows these two ingredients help reduce toxins in the circulatory and digestive systems – an important step in preparing for more thorough detoxification from organs and tissues.
Avoiding detox pitfalls
With in-depth toxin removal, it’s important that we take our time. This should be a health-promoting, life-affirming process. If we don’t feel good during detoxification, it’s probably because we’re moving too quickly.
Many people speak of the dreaded “detox crises” — uncomfortable symptoms that are mistaken as a sign the program is successful. The misconception is that we must feel worse before we can feel better.
Not true! Headaches, cold and flu symptoms, lethargy, constipation, brain fog and other uncomfortable detox symptoms arise when people try to remove toxins too quickly, with extreme methods such as fasting or aggressive, rapid detox programs. That’s why it’s important to start the process slowly, with a cleansing diet and supplements such as PectaClear. This initial phase, usually between 1-3 weeks, helps prepare the body to release toxins from deep within.
After this preparatory phase, we’re ready for deeper, more thorough detoxification of organs and tissues. There are a large number of botanicals and nutrients we can incorporate during this in-depth detox phase, which target toxins in specific organs and tissues, even reaching down to the cellular level. For example, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur compound that makes cell walls more permeable and provides an absorbable form of sulfur, an essential detoxification element. Other detox-promoting sulfur sources include cysteine, garlic, N-acetyl cysteine, and glutathione.
Immune function is critical to detoxification, since the immune system is designed to remove foreign invaders. Medicinal mushrooms offer critical immune support, but they also help remove toxins and waste from deep within the body. I also recommend astragalus root, which provides important immune and antioxidant support.
Perhaps the most important organs for detoxification are the liver and gallbladder, which work 24/7 to filter toxins from the blood and create enzymes and antioxidants that help detoxify the body completely. One of the best botanicals to improve liver performance is milk thistle. Another herb that supports liver and gallbladder health is dandelion, which also boosts immunity and supports digestion.
Just as there are botanicals that target particular organs, there are also specific nutrients that excel at removing certain toxins. N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) takes out heavy metals and herbicides, and supports the lungs and liver. Lipoic acid is known for its ability to remove mercury and provide powerful antioxidant support.
This may seem like a lot of information, but don’t be overwhelmed. There are a number of excellent detoxification formulas that incorporate many of these herbs, as well as important nutrients and other beneficial compounds to support the process.
I particularly recommend a formula called Detox Complete which contains some of the ingredients mentioned above with other Chinese herbs and specific nutrients. This in-depth detox formula helps pull toxins from organs and tissues, increases vital energy, and provides important immune and antioxidant support. A comprehensive detox formula such as this can be added to your program after 1-3 weeks of preparing with PectaClear and a healthy, detoxifying diet. While a formula like Detox Complete helps remove deep-seated toxins from organs, PectaClear binds to these toxins in the circulation and digestion and helps move them completely out of the body.
Other supportive supplements include a powdered greens product containing blends of green leafy vegetables, seaweeds, microalgae such as spirulina, and/or cleansing grasses such as wheat and barley grass. Choose a formula with organic ingredients, and take it in capsules or mix the powder with water or vegetable juice. I recommend Vitality Super Greens made by Body Ecology. Additionally, a digestive enzyme supplement containing amylase, protease and other enzymes helps support efficient digestion and can enhance the detox process.
Staying the course
The length of time you decide to cleanse is up to you, but most people do well with a 1-3 week preparation phase, followed by a 1-2 week in-depth phase. It’s very important that you’re easy on yourself during this time, and don’t give up. If you eat a donut on day two, so be it – simply do your best and keep moving forward with the process. As our bodies become accustomed to the new regimen, these practices become a natural part of our lifestyle. Unhealthy cravings dissipate. In fact, we actually start to crave the things that are good for us.
Regular detox is an ancient, time honored practice that’s been cherished over the millennia for its ability to promote optimal health and vitality. When done gently with nourishing practices that also support overall health, a detoxifying cleanse can be a direct path to increased energy, wellbeing and happiness. And in today’s world, we need it more than ever.