Toxins are substances that can interfere with the normal processes of the body via oxidative damage, imitating hormones, reducing nutrient absorption, or competing for receptor sites. A major source of toxicity for most people is their digestive system. Foods, if not digested correctly, can become fuel for the growth of dysbiotic organisms. These organisms produce toxic chemicals, and when they die, fragments of their cell membranes can be absorbed into the bloodstream and trigger an inflammatory response.
Our bodies have several mechanisms to protect against toxins, but these defence mechanisms may become impaired. Factors that may contribute to the need for a detoxification program include poor diet, medication, lifestyle factors (smoking, drinking, recreational drugs), hormonal imbalances, and stress. In these situations, a detoxification program is recommended.
Some common signs and symptoms that a detoxification program may be beneficial include
Fatigue, lethargy and/or apathy
Difficulty concentrating, poor memory and/or recurrent headaches
Muscle aching and weakness
Recurring infections, allergies
Depression, anxiety and/or mood swings
Inflammatory bowel diseases
Diet and Lifestyle
Dietary and lifestyle guidelines may assist during a detoxification program
Increase dietary intake of vitamins, minerals, water, fibre, fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and complete proteins
Reduce the consumption of refined carbohydrates from sugar and bread, pastry, pasta, noodles, cakes, biscuits and desserts, deep fried foods, fatty foods, processed foods, margarines and avoid sugary processed foods and drinks.
Become aware of sources of environmental exposure to toxic metals to avoid known exposures (for example, aluminium-containing antiperspirants)
Regular moderate exercise (30-40 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 4 times a week and 1 – 2 sessions of strength exercise a week)
Drink 2-3 litres of pure water daily, from a BPA-free plastic, glass or stainless-steel container.
Sleep for 8 hours a night at regular times
Dry skin brushing supports the skins function as a major organ of elimination. Brush the arms, legs and back briskly in an upward motion for 5-10 minutes before showering with a bristle brush or loofah. Allow the skin to become pink and tingle.
Avoid toxic emotions and stress during detoxification.
Saunas and skin wraps can be powerful detoxification tools, encouraging sweating to remove wastes through the skin.
Massage may stimulate lymphatic and blood circulation to mobilise toxins for elimination.
Penelope Espinoza Hallett, Naturopath
BHsc (C.M.) AdvDip. Nat/N.D, Dip. Aroma, Dip. C.H., Cert. R.M., Cert. R.M., Cert. SBM, mNHAA