Spring is a time where we hear a lot of people talking about detoxes. Beauty magazines, health and wellness bloggers, and more are all talking about their favorite detoxes. Detoxes for skin, rapid detoxes, juice detoxes, colon cleanses – you name it! It seems everyone has their own take on how to detox your body.
So, let's talk about what it means to truly detox your body. I'm not talking about fancy lemon drinks or apple cider vinegar fasts – I want to examine your body's detox pathways and look at the different ways you can support them for truly safe and effective detoxification.
Your body has four major detoxification organs, and they are:
- Your liver
- Your kidneys
- Your digestive system
- Your skin
Other detoxification pathways include your lungs and lymphatic system but these are the four major organs that can easily be supported for effective and improved detoxification.
We are exposed to tens of thousands of chemicals every day. While everyone should be working to reduce their daily toxin exposure, the truth of the matter is unless you live in a bubble – you can’t possible eliminate all toxin exposure. That being said, no one should rely on detoxification alone – read about how to Reduce Your Daily Toxin Exposure, in my free guide.
When it comes to being healthy, implementing detoxification techniques should be right up there with diet and exercise. This advice goes for everyone, but is especially important for anyone dealing with chronic health issues. Let’s look at the four detoxification organs more closely and learn how you can support each for optimal detoxification that goes beyond a trendy one time spring cleaning.
1. Detox Through Your Liver
When it comes to your body's detoxification pathways your liver is the workhorse of organs. The largest solid organ in your body, your liver takes quite the beating as it filters through toxins, proteins, fats, and more.
Your liver is about the size of a football and is divided into two lobes, which has eight segments. Compared to the rest of your body, your liver requires a lot of blood and contains between 10 to 13 percent of your entire blood supply in it at one time.
Though your liver has a ton of work to do when it comes to detoxifying your body, it's up for the challenge – provided you give it the support it needs. Detoxification in the liver happens in two-parts – phase 1 and phase 2. Each phase has different requirements, which you can support through diet and supplementation.
You can support Phase 1 liver detox with:
- B vitamin supplements
You can support Phase 2 liver detox with:
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Essential amino acids
- Studies have also found that intermittent fasting supports Phase 2 detoxification.
Foods known to positively impact liver detoxification include:
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Fish oils
- Green and black tea
2. Detox Through Your Kidneys
You have two kidneys located on either side of your spine just below the ribs. Your kidneys filter between 120 to 150 quarts of blood each day, which produces one to two quarts of urine. Your urine contains excess fluid and waste as a method of detoxification.
Blood is filtered through a million nephrons, where each contains a glomerulus and tubule. These prevent large molecules from passing through while filtering out waste products. Additionally, nuclear factor erythroid 2 (Nrf2) is a transcription factor known to protect the kidneys from oxidative stress. To improve your body’s detoxification processes, you’ll need to be sure to support these important processes.
You can support kidney detoxification with:
- Vitamin B12
Foods known to boost kidney detoxification include:
3. Detox Through Your Digestive System
Going to the bathroom is another major detoxification pathway. If you aren’t going regularly or are constipated, this is more than a discomfort – you’re actually not getting necessary waste out.
Also, if you have any digestive issues – like leaky gut for example – your gut detoxification pathway isn’t functioning at its prime and that’s also an issue.
You can support digestive detoxification with:
- Making sure you address any underlying gut issues. This means healing leaky gut, eliminating gluten and food sensitivities, and anything else that might be preventing your digestive system from functioning optimally.
- Use detox binders – Detox binders, like activated charcoal and certain clays, can help collect toxins along the digestive tract and help your body eliminate them through your waste.
Foods that can support gut detoxification include anything that supports a healthy microbiome:
- Probiotic foods including sauerkraut and kimchi
- Prebiotic foods like Jerusalem artichoke and garlic
4. Detox Through Your Skin
Your skin plays an important role in biotransformation and detoxification through eliminating toxic substances. Your skin also helps reduce oxidative stress through sweating, it’s metabolizing enzymes, and redox regulation. The best ways to support your skin’s natural detox pathways is by eating nutrient dense foods and sweating more.
You can support detoxification through your skin with:
- Exercise – One of the best things about exercise is it gets you sweating. Sweating is an important detoxification pathway in your body that only works when it's turned on. Meaning, if you're not sweating on a regular basis you aren't getting the benefits of this detoxification pathway. When you exercise, make sure you sweat so you get the most out of your work out.
- Infrared saunas – Infrared saunas heat your core temperature and make you really sweat. This has been shown to help your body excrete heavy metals like arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. Plus, infrared saunas are incredibly enjoyable. I recommend you look for an infrared sauna near you and incorporate it into your weekly routine today.
- Dry brushing – Dry brushing actually works through stimulating the lymphatic system but it also can help remove toxins on the surface and exfoliate dead skin too.
If you're going to jump on the detox bandwagon this spring, I recommend you use methods that actually work. Instead of choosing something trendy, why don't you incorporate some of these detox techniques into your everyday life so you can reap the benefits of detoxification on a daily level.
I see detoxification as one of the biggest changes that needs to be made in most people's wellness plans. Too many people are counting calories and not enough people are counting chemicals and it's time we paid attention with better detoxification practices.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician. Please review references sited at end of article for scientific support of any claims made.