In a ground-breaking report released in 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel provided strong confirmation that exposure to chemicals is an important and under-recognized risk factor for cancer.
It’s staggering to realize that since the 1940’s, over 100,000 toxic chemicals have been released into the environment.
Detoxification: Strengthening Your Body’s Defense Team
Detoxification is a complex natural process that involves supporting the liver with specific nutrients, and facilitating proper excretion of toxins. By purposefully reducing exposure to toxins, then fueling your body with healthy nutrients, a planned period of detoxification can strengthen your body’s natural ‘Detox Team’ and help maintain optimum health.
Dr. Fenske suggests following a detox plan at least once per year, with spring and fall being the ideal time. You may have heard critics argue the human body is designed with the physiological processes necessary to clear the body of impurities and maintain health. This is true, but unfortunately for many people, lifestyle habits and the environments where we live, work, eat and play often expose us to an unnatural amount of toxins that our bodies don’t efficiently eliminate.
Sources of toxins you may be exposed to every day include:
- Chemicals in body products
- Chemicals in household cleaning supplies
- Chemicals in lawn care products
- Chemical food additives
- Heavy metals in the food and water supply
- Environmental pollution
- Smoking; overuse of alcohol or drugs
- Use/overuse of Rx medication
Things that compromise our body’s ability to process these toxins include:
- Prolonged high stress
- Poor quality diet and lifestyle habits
- Chronic illness
Your Body’s Natural Detox Team
Your body naturally detoxifies itself via a group of organs that work synergistically to neutralize and eliminate toxins, with the goal of keeping the blood and cells free of harmful impurities. The liver leads the way by processing toxins for elimination. The supporting organs are the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin. When your body’s natural detoxification processes become compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered out. This is an obstacle to recovering from illness and increases the risk of many diseases, including cancer.
Detoxification Boosts Your Health
Following a detox program suited to your personal needs supports the body’s natural cleansing process and boosts your health in many ways:
- Allows digestive organs to rest
- Stimulates the liver to process toxins more efficiently
- Promotes movement of bowels
- Improves circulation
- Enhances sweating, which facilitates release of impurities
- Restores vital nutrients and energy to the body
6 Things to Know Before You Detox
Before you begin a detoxification program, prepare mentally and physically. Plan your dates a few weeks in advance. Inform the people closest to you about the time you’ve set aside to take care of yourself. Clear your schedule of routine obligations that may create stress. Stock up on inspiration music and reading material.
Gather herbal support. Herbal and nutritional supplements such as burdock, milk thistle, dandelion, and vitamins C and B protect and support the body’s detox processes, especially the liver. They also have the antioxidant effects that benefit the whole body. Please ask Dr. Fenske about designing the proper detoxification program for you. Depending upon one’s health and use of certain medications, programs may need to be modified.
Hydrate! Without enough water, toxins will not be sufficiently flushed from the body. Aim to drink at least 2 quarts of water per day during a detox.
Get Wet. Therapeutic use of water also supports detoxification. A steam or sauna can accelerate the release of toxins. Mineral bath salts also help release toxins.
Sweat it Out – Gently. Exercise facilitates digestion, circulation, metabolism and hormone balancing. During a detox, decrease the intensity of your usual exercise routine, but do break a moderate sweat. Get outdoors for fresh air and natural sunlight. Good exercise options are easy hiking, dancing, walking, yoga, or tai chi.
Rest. For your mind and body to fully assimilate the benefits of detoxing, you need good quality sleep. Plan your least stimulating activities (reading, mediation, bathing) for right before bed.
How to Detoxify?
There are many ways to approach detoxification, from fruit and vegetable juice fasts to herbal tea cleanses. A typical approach is a short period of fasting with proper fluid intake while ingesting specific nutrients that support the liver. Dr. Fenske recommends various products depending upon the needs of the patient. Please ask us about this!
Tips for Reducing Your Exposure to Toxins
- Filter your water
- Filter your home air
- Avoid personal care products with synthetic ingredients
- Use natural household cleaning supplies
- Eat seasonal, fresh, local, domestic & organic produce
- Eat low-fat animal products (the fat is where the toxins are stored in an animal’s body, even organically-raised animals harbor toxins)
- Store food in glass
- Stop applying chemicals to your lawn (weeds are much better than chemicals)
Study Reveals Everyone Is Toxic!
Highlights of a study sponsored by The Environmental Working Group and Mt Sinai School of Medicine.
- Participants were tested for the presence 210 chemicals
- On average 91 chemicals were found per person
- 76 of these chemicals can cause cancer in humans or animals
- 94 of these chemicals are toxic to the brain and nervous system
- 79 of these chemicals cause birth defects
The last time Congress passed a major law to regulate cosmetic ingredients was in 1938. The United States has only paritally restricted 11 ingredients from use in the beauty industry; the European Union has banned nearly 1,400. It’s safe to say we’re dangerously behind the times. (from www.BeautyCounter.com)
Tea to Nourish & Support Detoxification
Sipping detox tea may help nourish your liver and support the body’s natural process for eliminating toxins from the body. Herbs that strengthen, tone, and stimulate the secretive functions of the liver are known in the Western herbal medicine tradition as hepatics. Although research is limited, many hepatics (aka ‘detox teas’) have been found to boost the activity of the liver cells and support the functions of the liver and digestive system.
Pre-made versions of detox teas are widely available in health food stores. These products often contain ingredients that have long been used in herbal medicinal teas and tradition Chinese medicine, including herbs such as:
Burdock root, seeds, and leaves, which are recognized for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Burdock has been used to protect liver cells from damage, particularly for alcohol or acetaminophen-related damage, and to purify the blood.
Dandelion leaves and roots have long been used by herbalists as a diuretic, antioxidant, and for anti-inflammatory effects.
Schisandra berries are among the most important herbs of tradition Chinese medicine. They are used to protect the liver against inflammation. In some studies, schisandra berry extract has been shown to improve the health and function of the liver in people with fatty liver disease.
Milk thistle seeds are abundant in an antioxidant silymarin, a free-radical scavenger thought to help prevent toxins from entering liver cells and stimulate liver cell regeneration, among other benefits.
Other common detox tea ingredients include ginger root, licorice root, and fennel seeds to facilitate digestion, and decrease inflammation. These herbs also help tame the more bitter flavors from ingredients such as dandelion. Fresh lemon and maple syrup, can be used to flavor as well.
Some detoxification herbs interact with other medications. Check with Dr. Fenske or another healthcare practitioner to choose the best detox tea for you.
Food for Thought…
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha