By Dr. Alejandro Junger
The human body is made of trillions of cells that organize themselves as tissues and organs. These in turn participate in different functions of the body. Depending on which major function is being considered there is a system of cells, tissues, and organs that fulfill it. For communicating between them the cells can send electrical impulses (nerve cells) and certain secretions (hormones), and this is known in Functional Medicine as the ‘communication system’. Food is broken down and absorbed by the body through the work of its digestion and assimilation system, which includes the intestines, the intestinal flora, and other organs also participate, such as the liver (making bile), and the pancreas (making insulin). There is also a ‘defense and repair’ system, also known as the immune system. The gut, essential for the digestion and assimilation system also participates in the immune system. It hosts good bacteria, which play a major role in immunity as well as provide a strong barrier between the inside and outside of the body (the intestinal wall). In order to send things between distant places, the body has the transport or circulation system, made of the heart, arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels.
One very important function of the body is to be able to bio-transform toxic molecules into nontoxic and to ensure these are also made water-soluble so they can be eliminated through sweat, urine, and feces. Toxins can come from the inside of the body, the waste products of normal metabolism, or from the outside. These outside toxins (exogenous) are all the chemicals that we humans have invented to make our life easier and that we add to EVERYTHING. The air we breathe, the water we drink and shower with, the cosmetics we use, the medications we consume, the architecture materials we build our houses from, and mostly from the edible products we eat as food. We don’t eat real food any longer. We eat stuff that was made in a factory to which real food is sometimes added as an ‘ingredient’. Preservatives, conservatives, coloring chemicals, aroma chemicals, stabilizers, tasting chemicals…We add so many chemicals to everything.
Fortunately, a grand majority of these chemicals can be converted to harmless by the gut bacteria and the liver and made water-soluble for elimination. This is the ‘detoxification system’. And it is working non-stop since before birth, once the fetus is fully formed. One simple example of detox is the way we breathe out CO2, which is a toxic waste product of the energy production pathways (Krebs cycle) inside the mitochondria, where glucose is combusted with oxygen resulting in carbon dioxide (CO2) that dissolves initially in water as carbonic acid. Then the transport system will carry this until this blood passes through the lungs and the carbonic acid turns back into gas (CO2) and it’s eliminated during our out-breath. If this stops for a few minutes you would die from the accumulation of CO2 faster than from the lack of oxygen that stopping breathing signifies. And like that, our liver, other tissues, and the intestinal flora are constantly converting toxic molecules into non-toxic water-soluble ones, ready for elimination.
To support the detoxification and elimination system of the body there are four simple things you can do that have a huge impact.
1. Reduce as much as possible your exposure to the toxins that will need to be detoxed and eliminated
Filter your water, filter your air at home, and spend time in nature breathing fresh air. Drinking water and staying hydrated are very important. Avoiding medications as much as possible, especially OTC ones. Using green materials for building homes is super important as 50% of the pollutants we are swimming in come from building and home deco materials. Avoiding cosmetics and toiletries with toxic chemicals is crucial as is selecting non-toxic laundry products.
But the most important part of this is to NOT EAT TOXINS. This is the hard part because most of what humans eat these days is not REAL FOOD, it’s food-like products, made in a factory, filled with chemicals, and put in a container. And this is what humans think of as food these days. Modern Supermarkets sell mostly this (all the aisles with packaged stuff) and barely have any real foods (plants and animals). Even the real foods in modern life come laced with glyphosates, heavy metals, other insecticides, pesticides, etc. Just remember, the longer the shelf life of what you are eating, the shorter your life.
2. Provide what the body needs in the form of nutrients
See, edible stuff is lacking many of the nutrients that the body needs for its detox system. Take the liver cells as an example. The way the biotransform a toxic molecule into non-toxic is by releasing enzymes that will cut and paste atoms of toxic molecules until they are not toxic anymore. In order to do that, the liver needs the raw materials with which to make (synthesize) enzymes. These needed components are in foods (nutrients like amino acids, certain fats, minerals, vitamins, and carbs). If these are not provided, the enzymes cannot be made, and toxic molecules cannot be detoxed. The best way to do this is by eating real whole foods without chemicals (organic). Plants are especially filled with nutrients that are used by the liver to make enzymes. The more species of plants you eat, in the most varied colors, the more chances you will have of getting these nutrients, as well as feeding the good bacteria that do 30-40% of the work of detoxification needed.
3. Reallocate energy from digestion to detoxification by reducing your digestive load
The body has many functions that it has to do at the same time, but the energy available is limited. One way to increase the energy allocated to detoxing is to reduce the energy consumption (and waste) in other functions. The most powerful way to do this is by reducing the workload of the digestive system. Digesting all the time just sucks all the energy out. If you are digesting all the time (most humans are), there will be a lack of energy left for many other functions, detox being the one that suffers the most. So, spending time NOT digesting is essential for detox (and many other things). You can do this by simplifying your diet (avoiding foods that are hard to digest) and also by not eating so much and so often. Intermittent fasting is getting famous because of its benefits, the major one being that it allows energy NOT being spent on digestion to be used by the detox system. The Elimination Diet I use with my detox program, CLEAN, will help with this powerfully. Avoiding dairy, gluten, sugar, alcohol, and coffee gives my patients all the extra energy they need to detox properly so often. Replacing solid meals with liquid meals is another way to reduce your gut’s work. I put my patients on a CLEAN shake a day for maintenance and this is one of the most powerful tools in my medical practice.
4. Take supplements that can help the detox system
Some examples are; probiotics, digestive enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Anything that helps any step in the detox process could help. At our company, the CLEAN Program we are educating people on how the different body systems work, interact, and fulfill their functions. We provide solutions for supporting all the body systems and we are the leaders in supporting the detox systems specifically. My book CLEAN is a great resource for those who want to understand and support their detox systems, whose dysfunction is at the root of most of the chronic diseases of the modern world.
Related article: https://theeverygirl.com/how-to-detox-experts/
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