I see many people who want to lose weight. It’s something they feel is important for their health regimen. Several years ago, I started a 21-day detox program for these patients. It has been wildly successful. But the program is much more than just a weight loss program. It is a powerful detox program. You will lose weight with it. But the real benefit is that you start to detox naturally. It is a way to feel better and reduce total toxin load and lose weight. You’ll start to feel better, but even more importantly, you will start to learn how to better take care of yourself. Weight loss is great. But if you don’t feel good, what does it matter? Detoxing naturally is important. Let’s go through some of the benefits of elimination and detox.
Detoxification is the process of eliminating toxic substances in the body. Toxin accumulation in the human body can be harmful. Our bodies accumulate toxins through food, drink, and the air we breathe. The body also produces some toxins as waste products of metabolism and digestion. What are some examples? Eating fish larger than a salmon can lead to mercury toxicity. Tuna in particular are large and accumulate many toxins including mercury. If you eat a lot of tuna, these toxins enter your body, and if you cannot eliminate or detoxify well, they will be stored in the body. The FDA recommends pregnant women avoid eating large fish due to this very problem.
The air we breathe can also be an issue. Oregon Public Broadcasting highlighted the poor air quality in Southeast Portland. Monitoring found high levels of cadmium and arsenic. Air quality has been a problem in this area for some time, but levels were high of late. Heavy metals can be extremely toxic to the body. (You can find out more at Scorecard.org for your neighborhood.)
Exposure doesn’t mean you’re doomed, though. Why are some people so adversely affected by toxins? I have discussed epigenetics in a previous podcast. Changes in our DNA function change our capacity to discharge toxins. There are three body systems responsible for detoxing the body:
• Digestive System: We remove toxins through defecation
• Respiratory System: We remove toxins through breathing
• Urinary System: We remove toxins through urination.
I want to save the respiratory system for another article. It’s an interesting system for elimination. I will save that for a discussion about breathing and heart rate variability. But, if the other two systems overload, the lungs are affected.
Each elimination system removes different types of toxins. If one system overloads, the others try to pick up the pace. If they can’t do that, the body will send waste through the skin. This is why some people get rashes or acne unexpectedly.
When the body can’t reduce toxic load, it may store them in fat cells. Our cells may hold onto water to dilute the toxin. Some people will get fluid or inflammation in their joints. Other people start to have problems in their nervous system. There are patterns to this that are identifiable by trained professionals. I can distinguish the causes of subtle changes in the body. My patients may come to me noticing weight gain. They feel like they are bloating or retaining water. I notice subtle changes in liver and kidney function. Changes that can foretell more serious health issues. A detox can be a good place to start reducing total load so that those problems can heal.
Detoxing naturally isn’t about weight loss. My patients who have done the 21-day Detox and Weight Loss Program for home notice this. They feel lighter. It’s not just the number on the scale. Yes, they have lost 15-25 pounds in that 21 days. But more importantly, they begin to feel their nagging aches and pains lift. They stop having pain in the morning when they get out of bed. They feel their digestion improve. They start to sleep better. Their mental fog lifts. These are some of the benefits people notice.
Our bodies need to remove toxins to function properly. Our liver removes complex toxins and shuttles these waste products to the colon. If the body can’t remove them fast enough they will sometimes diffuse back into the body. This is why Naturopaths are so interested in bowel habits of patients. If the bowels aren’t working efficiently, the liver’s work is for naught.
The kidney performs some of the same functions for different types of toxins. It removes excess electrolytes such as sodium and water soluble toxins.
Supplementation can be helpful for detoxification too. There are many vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and botanicals that can improve elimination. Knowing the imbalance is important though. Giving something for the liver when the problem is in the kidney may not help the underlying problem. In most cases, this won’t hurt the person. One reason I practice natural medicine is because of the credo “do no harm.” Diluted botanical remedies, neurofeedback, supplements, and other natural supplements are generally very safe. But haphazard prescriptions won’t always help the patient. They can also be expensive. Understanding why the problems exists allows for targeting treatments that are safe and cost-effective.
A detox can help jump start the body in being more efficient in removing toxins by reducing load. This can clear away some of the compounding (or confounding?) causes of the problem. Just by eating properly, your body will have more space to remove things that are harmful to you. Supplementation can be helpful in suggesting to the body to release the toxins. After a detox, sometimes the underlying cause becomes more obvious. Treatment is then more targeted and effective.
While the 21-day detox for health and weight loss isn’t for everyone, it has helped many people. The results are astounding. My patients start learning how to eat better. They learn to make better choices, how to control portions, and which foods affect them adversely. I work with patients to help their bodies become more efficient eliminators. The detox is only one way that I do that. You can find out more about the detox here.