Detoxification: Myth or the Real Thing?

3 Minute Read

We hear the word detoxification quite a bit in the health world. We are also sold a number of products that promise us detoxification. Are they really important and do they work? Well, yes and no. I know that is really helpful! In all seriousness, yes your body works to detoxify when exposed to toxins and some products can definitely play a role in this process.

First, let’s talk about detoxification - why do you need it and how does the body do it?

Why does our body need to detoxify? We are exposed to thousands of toxins daily through our food, air, water, household products, and personal care products. A toxin is any chemical that can cause harm to the body and these toxins can be either man-made or come from other living things like bacteria.

It is inevitable that we will be exposed to toxins, which is why our bodies have a detoxification process to clear them out. Most of the systems will play a role in detoxification, but the digestive, respiratory and skin are the systems that are immediately exposed to the outside world. Our organs work to alter these toxins into something less toxic that can then be removed by the body.

The number and amount of toxins that we are exposed to is commonly referred to as your toxic burden. In modern times, our toxic burden has exponentially increased! Our bodies NEED help in making sure we have sufficient nutrients to support detoxification AND we need to decrease our toxic burden.

So, what happens if these toxins are NOT removed from the body because our toxic burden is so high? Sadly, nothing good! Toxins can physically harm our tissues, cause genetic modifications leading to cancer, and cause disruption to our endocrine system (i.e. your hormones are disrupted). As toxins harm us, our immune system responds causing an increase in inflammation.

So, what can you do NOW to decrease your toxic burden? Remember, you don’t need to make all of these changes at once. Choose one or two to work on now and you can always come back in the future to make more changes!

Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition!

As always, you are what you eat! Don’t forget that the food that you eat has also been exposed to toxic chemicals. Try to stick to organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed beef, pasture raised poultry and wild-caught fish. If organic isn’t always an option or a bit overwhelming, I encourage my patients to eat organic options from the dirty dozen list.

A healthy diet of nutrient dense foods provide you with proper macro- and micro- nutrients to support detoxification. Detoxification cleanses, greens drink, and intermittent fasting also aid in detoxification.

Get a high quality water filter

Both well water and municipal water can have contaminants present that technically are “legal” to be present in your water supply. You can check the level of contaminants in your water using the EWG tap water database.

Water filtration options:

Purify Your Air

Your best option for air purification is to use a HEPA filter.
You can also purify the air in your home naturally using good old fashioned PLANTS!

“Clean” Your Household Products

Household products that we use to clean our house are, not surprisingly, filled with chemicals - many of these are toxic to the body.

  • Mrs.Meyer’s - available at Target and Amazon
  • Branch Basics
  • Make your own!


Think About What Touches Your Skin ALL DAY!

Think about what touches your skin throughout the day and night - shampoo/conditioner, body soap, face lotion, cosmetics, your clothes, your bed sheets, blankets. Essentially, something is touching you ALL of the TIME!

Changing the products that contact your skin is probably the hardest and time consuming process, so where should you start? Your laundry detergent and fabric softeners. Change your laundry soap to something non-toxic and stop using dryer sheets (use dryer balls instead!).

For women, cosmetics is a huge industry that has very little regulation of what goes into their products. You can check the toxic burden of your cosmetics at https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.

What Now?

The best place to begin is always with your food! If you are ready to make more changes, think about products you use at home and on your body. Our goal is to always decrease toxic exposure, which is a stress on the body. We also decrease overall inflammation as we decrease stress. Keep in mind that daily movement is also important for both inflammation and it can help the detoxification process.

Keep in mind...Progress Over Perfection!

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