What Does It Mean to Detox?
by Dr. Sue Aery | Aery Chiropractic & Acupuncture
When we think of detoxing, there are probably 100 different thoughts that come to mind.
Some people believe a detox means they should soak their feet until the water darkens; others think of fasting for several days to a month; some think of a special liquid diet; and so on and so on.
True detoxification occurs in the liver as it cleans our blood, and there are several phases in this process. Phase One occurs when the blood enters the liver through the hepatic portal (bloodstream), allowing fat-soluble molecules to be converted into water soluble molecules. The fat-soluble molecules protect the body from harm by wrapping around contaminants until they reach the Liver. The contaminants can be toxins of any kind: pollutants, pesticides, alcohol, waste metabolites and drugs, all of which are foreign and damaging to the body. In Phase Two, these molecules become water-soluble, which means that they can then be “conjugated” or attached to an antioxidant and then removed from the body through several pathways. This removal process is Phase Three as the waste products are transported safely out of the body through the kidneys (urine) and the gallbladder (bile and stool). This process happens naturally and continuously as long as the body and liver are healthy and have all the right components to drive these pathways.
For this process to occur efficiently and completely, we must have an abundance of antioxidants for the conjugation phase. Our bodies produce a finite amount of antioxidants naturally, so the rest need to be consumed as our foods and supplements.
Understanding the consistent need for antioxidants is very important and can help with our healthy choices of foods on a daily basis. Most antioxidants come naturally from fruits, vegetables and berries in their whole form, as fresh as possible and preferably as raw as possible, too.
Don’t forget to look for organic and non-GMO! Think hard about how many fruits and veggies you eat every day! And think about when you are eating these phytonutrients – is it with every meal, every snack? In terms of servings, the recommended amount per day (your own fist size is one serving) is 7-13 for women and 9-13 for men. And those numbers are just for baseline health, not for optimal health and these are definitely not enough for anyone who is an athlete or trains regularly. We can’t or don’t all want to chew or drink that many fruits and veggies every day so we can look to high-quality supplementation such as concentrated produce powders in capsule form, vitamins C, D, and E, Resveratrol, Glutathione, Turmeric, L-Glutamine, dark chocolate, beta-Carotene, Lycopene, nuts, beans, and even artichokes.
The valuable components of these vitamins and foods need to be abundant in your daily nutrition in order to protect and neutralize the damaging particles called free radicals. Free radicals are what ravages the body causing disease and premature aging. To combat this naturally, eat more fruits and veggies, supplementing as needed, and protect your body and Liver from accelerated aging and damage!
The best protections are to eat clean, detox daily, drink plenty of water and exercise every day. Oh, and get plenty of rest to allow the body time to do its own detoxification process!