Detox “fads” get a lot of attention because they promise a quick fix of flushing out accumulated toxic chemicals with a few temporary lifestyle changes and supplements to reveal amazing health benefits – vibrant, clear skin, loads of energy, weight loss, elimination of internal inflammation, just to name a few. Unfortunately, like most fads, the promises most definitely outweigh the results. And for some, they can actually do more harm in the long run depending on the condition of your excretory organs (detox organs responsible for removing wastes). These organs include the skin (yes! your skin is a big detoxification pathway through sweat), liver, kidneys, colon, and lungs. Your lymphatic system is also a superhero that doesn’t get as much attention as it should when it comes to filtering toxins out of the blood and body, shuttling them to the liver to be deactivated and removed. So, how can quick-fix detox programs and harsh chelating agents cause more harm than good?
Detoxing can actually cause damage inside the body, on top of damage from accumulated toxins inside cells, tissues, muscles, and organs. If your detoxification pathways are blocked, sluggish, or overloaded with toxic substances and you implement a harsh cleanse or detox protocol, the toxins will not be removed. Instead, they will be released into the blood stream where they will eventually be reabsorbed by your cells. Severe skin conditions including plaque psoriasis and eczema block the pores of the skin, trapping bacteria and toxins. Fecal compaction, lack of water, peristalsis, and bacterial imbalance can negatively impact the colon from removing toxic waste through the bowels. Kidney impairment due to stones, mineral, and pH imbalances can cause further inflammation throughout the bladder and urethra during detox cleanses. An overwhelmed, fatty, and sluggish liver impacts phase 1 and phase 2 detox pathways, initiating re-circulation of toxins back into the blood stream and further distressing the liver. Inflamed lungs due to smoking, environmental chemicals, genetics, etc. can fill with mucous and hinder oxygen flow.
Your body has its own natural detoxification system that is very sophisticated. Supporting this natural cleansing process is necessary and highly recommended to repair damaged tissues using gentle methods over harsh synthetic drugs, chelating agents, and quick cleanses. Making dietary and lifestyle changes in addition to adding some natural detox methods and herbal supplements will strengthen your organs, un-abrasively remove toxic build up, increase oxygen to the cells, rebalance gut flora, and soothe inflammation. Reducing the general toxic load as much as possible is also recommended by avoiding chemicals in personal care products, endocrine distributors such as soy and BPA found in plastics, heavy metals, pesticides, preservatives, and chemical additives found in food/drink.
- Dr. Campbell-McBride believes juicing with freshly pressed organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs is the best way to naturally restore the detoxification system. GAPS milkshakes are recommended to support the liver and help stimulate bile flow. Please check out the FAQs for the GAPS milkshake recipe. Juicing provides the body with a concentrated amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and enzymes with very little work required for absorption. This is ideal as you try to give the digestive system a break, focusing on healing foods that nourish the gut flora and gut wall without aggravating it.
- Coffee enemas cleanse the liver and speed up the detoxification system in the body. Not recommended for children.
- Warm water enemas with sea salt, bicarbonate of soda, probiotics, or kefir will soften fecal compaction to support the colon.
- Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends natural supplements and “super antioxidants” to help remove toxins from the body and combat free radicals including probiotics, seaweed, chlorella, spirulina, zeolite, beta-carotene, taurine, frozen bee pollen, clays, MSM, and diatomaceous earth. These should not be taken by patients with severe digestive conditions such as Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. Always discuss supplement changes with your healthcare practitioner.
- Additional antioxidants including glutathione, resveratrol, EGCG from green tea extract, berberine, curcumin from turmeric, alpha-lipoic-acid, and CoQ10 may provide anti-inflammatory support in the body.
- It is recommended to consume fermented vegetables, high-sulfur foods (if well tolerated), and high quality fresh animal foods (fresh meats, fish, eggs and cultured dairy).
- Oil pulling with cold pressed oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, and sesame oil is recommended.
- Swimming in natural waters of lakes, rivers, and the sea as well as responsible sunbathing supports the health of the skin, the largest detoxification organ.
- Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends bathing with Epsom salts, seaweed, clays, and bicarbonate of soda.
- Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends reducing the general toxic load by avoiding man-made chemicals as much as possible and only using natural skin care products that do not contain toxic ingredients.
- Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends consulting holistic dentists for removal of amalgam fillings.
- Dry brushing, rebounding, lymph drainage massages stimulate and support a sluggish lymphatic system.
- Salt lamps and fresh plants in the home are recommended to purify the air and support the lungs.
- Therapeutic essential oils including sandalwood, lavender, lemongrass, neem, bergamot, ginger, grapefruit, licorice root, clary sage, lavender, and eucalyptus (just to name a few) may be beneficial for detox organs. Speaking with a knowledgeable herbalist is recommended prior to using essential oils.