Many rivers which were once the habitat of many beautiful and abundant aquatic life, are now dangerous 'toxic soup' and dumping place of various wastes.
Plastic wrappers, rubber slippers, banana trunks dead animals, that's few of the things you may find floating in the Marilao river, in Philipine (picture above - source: http://forum.xcitefun.net/). The waters contain toxic chemicals such as chromium, cadmium, copper and arsenic making the water very dangerous. Despite campaigns by the local government and imposing fines, households still throw their garbage and factories release their effluents into the river resulting in highly contaminated water and river that no longer supports life.
The same can be said of our body through years of neglect.
Long-term exposure to toxins such as environmental pollutants, cancer-causing chemicals, preservatives, pesticides and heavymetals, affects many functions in our body such as our metabolism, behavior, immune system and through prolong exposure leads to disease. They are stored in tissues and cells throughout the body, including the brain.
Not convinced? Consider the following:
- Bathing and Wash your hair: Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS), Parabens, Propylene Glycol, and many more
- Brushing your teeth:SLS, fluoride and chlorine
- Putting on makeup: Plenty of chemicals - to find out more Top 10 dangerous toxins in cosmetic
- Putting on your deodorant: aluminum, Propylene Glycol
- Household chores: 10 dangerous household products
- Lunch: toxins in food, phtalates in plastics
- Stuck in the traffic: pollutions, car fumes
- Stressful day? These are the endotoxins
- The list goes on ........
Note: On average women add more than 200 chemicals to their skin daily, and more than 60% of these chemicals get absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
What is detoxification?
Detox’ short for detoxification means the removal of toxins from the body. The practiced has been used for centuries by cultures around the world including ayurvedic and Chinese medicine systems. Detoxification is about cleaning and nourishing the body from the inside out by removing and eliminating the accumulated toxins from the fat, muscle and blood and then feeding the body with healthy nutrients. The elimination of these stored toxins will lead to an enhanced metabolic process which will support the energy production and all other enzyme related functions carried out by the cells thus protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain optimum health.
Our inbuilt detox system
Our body actually has an incredible detox system built right into it that works continually to deactivate and eliminate these harmful substances that enter our body without stopping even when it is unhealthy. Our body is also remarkably efficient in disassembling and removing the majority of toxic substances and metabolic wastes from the body.
Our body has several ways to first neutralize (commonly known as phase 1 of detoxification and elimination process) and then to conjugate (bind) with suitable carriers in order to safely eliminate the toxins from the body (phase 2 of detoxification and elimination process). The organs that detoxify the toxins from all the metabolic processes are the liver, kidneys, lungs, colons and skin. Although the detox phases are pretty complex these organs can handle a wide range of toxins that our environment throws our way. The problem is our modern world exposes us to an increasingly complex and deteriorating environment with new toxins, a rather unhealthy lifestyle coupled with an equally unhealthy diet.
Under these conditions, our natural systems simply can’t keep up. Our detoxification systems must work overtime just to process the toxins we encounter in everyday life. Over time, our detox system can become damaged from the detox process and starts to dysfunction and when this happens we see problems such as constipation, rashes, thyroid dysfunction and etc.
An integral part of the cancer battle strategy is detoxification.
Resistance to disease plummets as toxins build up in our bodies. Hence, an integral part of the cancer battle strategy is detoxification. An unpolluted body, with its cells free from toxins and poisons, helps the various organs and immune system to function at an optimum level.
There are a variety of detox approaches that can be helpful. These range from mild interventions, like adjusting the diet to include more organic, nutrient and fiber-rich fruits and vegetable that increase the intestinal passages, to more intense ones like colonic irrigation and coffee enemas.
The objectives of detoxification for cancer treatment are to:
- strengthen the organs especially the bowel, liver and kidneys so that they are able to handle the toxin load,
- stimulate the liver to excrete toxins from the body,
- promote elimination through the intestines, kidneys and skin,
- improve circulation of the blood and lymph systems,
- replenish the body with healthy nutrients,
- improve your immune functions by ridding the body of any cancer related toxins,
- increase your resistance to the complications of the conventional cancer treatments and
- improve the health of the cells.
When do you start your detox program?
Proper detoxification is essential for health and you need to start enhancing your body’s ability to detoxify as early as possible. This is especially crucial as large amount of toxins are potentially being released when you begin to lose weight due to the treatments carried out and also the emotional period you are going through. The toxins stored in the fat cells are generally redistributed to the other fatty parts of the body, like the breasts in women and the brain for both men and women. The mobilization of toxins without adequate elimination can cause worsening of symptoms (healing crisis).
a. First, lighten up your toxic load.
This means avoiding and/ or minimising your exposure to toxins - find out ways to decrease the toxic intake.
b. Second, remove the toxins from the body
As it is impossible to avoid the various toxins available as some are not within your control, you need to do some kind of ‘intervention’ to ease the toxic burden within the body. The following are some of the detox programs available.
The various detox program/ pathways
There are different types of detox program which targets different parts of your body for example detoxification to stimulate the liver, cleanse the blood, others the kidneys, while others may concentrate on the colons, skin or lungs. All of these detox programs are designed to rid the body of the toxins. Some of the programs are interrelated and are often combined to improve your overall health.
Let’s look at some of the detox regime that may be recommended to you and some simple daily detox habit that can be easily incorporated in your life to reduce your toxic burden.
1. Coffee enema
Coffee enema is an ‘external boost’ to help the liver functions more efficiently. It not only has the benefits of a regular enema (removal of fecal waste), the caffeine that is found in coffee will cause the blood vessels and the bile ducts within the liver to dilate while the palmitic acids naturally found in coffee stimulates the production of the detoxifying enzyme in the liver as well as inducing the toxic bile to be expelled. Coffee enema is incorporated into our healing protocol as it helps the liver to function better and it also helps cancer patients to eliminate toxic breakdown products of rapidly dissolving tumor masses generated from the effects of various healing therapies.
2. Colon cleanse
Colon cleanse is also referred to as colonic irrigation, colon hydrotherapy and bowel cleansing. It is a step towards improving your health through the removal of stored waste and ‘spring clean’ your bowel. The rationale behind colon cleanse is that as the colon is cleansed, it pushes undigested waste out of your digestive system thus clearing the way for good nutrient absorption. Waste (improperly digested food) remaining in the body for too long is a breeding ground for bad bacteria and illness and this material causes autointoxication (self-poisoning). It also creates a constant stress on the immune system, and a further load on the body's detoxification systems.
Colon cleansing can be done by taking supplements or concoctions with laxative effects - your colon will end up expelling just about everything. Before you purchase anything, do your research. Not everything is safe or effective. If you have any existing conditions, consult your doctor before embarking on anything new.
Colonic irrigation or hydrotherapy on the other hand is more intense. This needs to be done by a qualified professional. It is a an internal bath using gallons of warm, purified water that can help to eliminate stored fecal matter, mucus, bacteria; good and bad, and toxic substances from the colon. Herbal and probiotic implants may be used to further enhance your treatment.
As part of the cancer therapy, colonic irrigation may be prescribed (although rarely) to cleanse the bowel but usually coffee enema is sufficient.
The difference between colonic cleanse/ irrigation and enema is that colonics cleanse the entire length of the colon whereas enemas cleanse the lower part of the colon and helps the liver detox.
Chelation is used for the removal of heavy metals which are not required or harmful in the body such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury and aluminum.
Chelation also removes excessive minerals/metal such as iron*, copper* and calcium* from the blood. The most common form of chelation therapy uses a man-made amino acid called EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid) that bind molecules, such as metals or minerals, and holds them tightly so that they can be removed from the body.
*These are minerals / metals required by the body in appropriate amount.
This process is to be done by qualified health personnel as improperly done chelation can lead to complications.
Supplements such as chlorella and can also aid the body in the breakdown of metallic toxins such as mercury, cadmium and lead, while strengthening the immune system response.
4. Emotional and mental detox
The mind needs detoxification too. Stress in large amounts create toxins and slow down detoxification enzymes in the liver. It's a good idea to detox stressful life situations along with detoxifying your body. Additionally, the more mentally prepared you are for your detox, the greater your chance of success. There will definitely be trying time but make a definite mental decision to stick it out. Chronic stress can also affect the blood sugar, disrupt sleep and compromise your immune system. For ways to relieve stress and cleanse the mind please refer to Part 2 section 1 on ‘Mind Over Cancer’ on page 28.
5. Kidney cleanse – drink plenty of water
We recommend our patients to maximize their innate detoxification processes by simply drinking lots of clean, filtered water daily.
Your kidneys are the 2 bean-shaped organs. They not only produce hormones, they filter out excess water and sodium, and clean your blood. Although small in weight, they receive about 20% of the blood pumped by the heart and are fantastic waste removers. They get rid of the waste products from protein metabolism such as uric acid, urea and lactic acid with a portion of what they filter becoming urine.
The kidney is actually self- cleansing if you consume adequate fluids. Kidney cleanse is done in order to promote healthy kidney function and prevent kidney stones. It also helps to keep blood pressure in check, improve functioning of the urinary tract and bladder, boost immunity, and clear toxins from the entire body.
One of the easiest things you can do to support the healthy elimination of toxins is to drink lots of water; no fewer than 8 glasses a day.
Drink alkaline water (water with lemon or baking soda) for maximum benefit.
Caution — If you have heart failure and/ or renal (kidney) failure then the consumption of fluid should be more regulated to prevent fluid overload.
6. Detoxification via skin
Your skin is your largest organ and also one of the primary organs of elimination. It is designed to excrete bodily wastes through the pores and the sweat glands. It is therefore essential to let your body sweat. Things that can be done to improve or achieve these are:
Sauna - Sauna makes you sweat and increases your heart rate, similar to those experienced during moderate exercise. For a true detoxifying effect, spend about 15 minutes at a heat you can bear.
Far Infra-Red Sauna (FIRS) – Far infrared rays (FIR) are part of the sun's natural spectrum. Medical research demonstrates that exposure to FIR of 7.2 – 15 micron range can result in excellent therapeutic effects. The FIR Sauna produces infrared radiant wave energy similar to that produced by the sun (without the ultraviolet rays) from a heat source (usually ceramic heating elements or carbon element).
The infrared wave penetrates the body directly causing a rise in core temperature resulting in deep, detoxifying sweat at the cellular level where toxins reside. It also increases metabolism and blood circulation.
Not only does this process purge toxins from fat cells, including chemical residues, it's also helpful in the destruction of abnormal cells such as cancer cells through hyperthermia (104–1060 F). The heat created disables or kills cells mutated by radiation or damaged by other toxins.
There are also other benefits of using the FIR sauna such as weight loss, pain relief, improved blood circulation and anti-aging just to name a few.
7. Skin brushing
Skin brushing is a simple and cheap way to amplify detoxification process. All you need is a skin brush with gentle bristles (eg. the coconut fiber). Brushing helps remove toxins from the surface of the skin as well as improve blood and lymph circulation.
How? Brush from outward extremities toward the heart which will help move the lymph fluid in the right direction and supports vascular valve function. Doing this daily will support circulation and increase skin detoxification.
8. Detoxification via exercise
this is important even at a low level. During exercise, toxins are released from the fat cells and eliminated from the body. Exercise generates sweat, as well as strengthening the heart, bone and overall strength of the body.
Additionally, when your body moves, your lymph (part immune and part filtration) system is also stimulated. By exercising regularly, the lymph system is constantly pumping fluids through its channel, providing an extra filtration of the blood.
9. Detoxification via the lung - Deep Breathing
Most of us underestimate the cleansing power of breathe. Do you know that if you are stressed you tend to breathe more shallowly, thus limiting the efficient release of toxins through the breath? Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, oxygenates your cells, calms you down as well as releasing a significant load of toxins through exhalation.
Take a few minutes to breathe deeply 10 to 15 times, daily in the morning. It will be invigorating. Deep breathing allows oxygen to circulate more completely through your system. Exhale forcefully to release the carbon dioxide from your body. For more information refer to Appendix 7.
The act of deep breathing helps to counteract the physical aspects of stress in our bodies. Breath deeply through the mouth and breath out forcefully through the mouth. Image from: http://thepositiveclassroom.org/
10. Detoxification through the liver
Everything we eat must be processed by the liver before it can be distributed throughout the body.
The liver is considered the primary detoxifying organ. It is constantly working to eliminate toxins from the body’s day-to-day functions such as burning of sugars, fat, protein and dead cells, as well as alcohol, pharmaceuticals and other toxins which end up in the bloodstream. At any given time, about 25% of all the blood in your body is in the liver to be detoxified. This begins with a sophisticated filtering system that traps the toxins. Next, the enzymes produced by the liver deactivate and transforms the fat soluble toxins into water soluble toxins to enable them to be released through the kidneys for elimination in urine, or into bile for elimination through the colon as stools. However, if the liver is sluggish or overworked, toxins can build up, causing inflammation and oxidative stress.
The toxins which are not eliminated return to the bloodstream and are eventually stored in fatty tissues where they pose less of an immediate threat. Over time, the slow release of these toxins back into the bloodstream can lead to a number of diseases.
Detoxification techniques that are helpful for strengthening the liver
- epsom salt baths,
- coffee enemas,
- dry brushing,
- intermittent fastings,
- infrared sauna as well as
- consuming foods (as well as supplements) that supports the liver functions.
Diet that support detoxification of liver
Detoxification in the liver occurs in two phases: Phase I and Phase II. The activities in either phase can be reduced or enhanced depending upon the availability of many critical nutrients.
Adequate nutrition helps to ensure proper functioning of both phases of detoxification, reduce the risk of free radical damage produced during the detoxification process, as well as boosting your energy levels. As a general rule,
- always eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables everyday. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibers, antioxidants and other phytonutrients that help in the detoxification processes. The chlorophyll, which gives plants their green color, helps cleanse the liver.
- do not over burden your liver - your liver must filter all food digested before being absorbed into the blood. It is important to eat organic produce to eliminate the toxins, avoid alchohol, processed foods and also painkillers (small doses of painkillers is the leading cause of drug-induced liver disease and failure).
- cut out simple carbohydrates, white sugar and flour. Avoid synthetic sweeteners altogether.
- drink plenty of water a day (8 to 10 glasses) - water keeps your body hydrated and help flush out toxins. Start the day with hot water and fresh lemon. Lemon water is especially good as the the citric acid in lemon juice encourages the liver to produce bile.
- drink green tea - it is rich in antioxidants that improves the liver functions and helps to reduce fat storage in the liver.
- increase your garlic consumption. Garlic contains many sulfur compounds that activates the liver enzymes responsible for flushing out toxins from the body. It also contains allicin which is a powerful compound that protects the liver from toxic damage,
- Go for raw nuts, seeds and avocados to get essential healthy fats.
Walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds - are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help support our livers through their cleansing process and help regulates hormones level. Avocado is high in monounsaturated fat (oleic acid) as well as glutathione, an essential nutrient for liver health.
- Have some probiotic yoghurt and drinks - These help to repopulate the bowel with bacteria that aid digestive health and play a role in boosting immunity.
Food that has been identified as being able to enhance/ support liver detoxification
Cruciferous vegetables family (broccoli, collards, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower), beetroot, carrots, herbs (cilantro, parsley, celery, coriander, mint), spices (turmeric, cumin, cinnamon), sea vegetables (nori sheets, wakame), green leafy vegetables, food rich in vitamin C, E, B and food high in fiber (psyllium husks, whole grains, vegetables, legumes)
Fasting promotes detoxification. Fasting forces the body to turn to its fat reserves for energy. When fat reserves are used for energy, they release their stored toxins, into the bloodstream where they are transported through the body's elimination channels. Additionally, during a fast, energy is delivered away from the digestive system toward body metabolism and the immune system, thus allowing the body to rebuild and repair itself. There are basically two types of fasting that we recommend: water fasting and juice fasting. Do not do total fasting.
- Water ‘Fasting’ – abstinence from all food except pure water. This is a great way to release toxins from your body that were previously lodged in fat cells.
- Juice ‘fasting’ - is the abstinence from all food except water and fresh vegetable juices. Juicing delivers vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables in liquid form such that they become more easily absorbed by the body. This form of fasting supplies the body with the much needed nutrition as the body works to eliminate toxins. Juicing of fruits and vegetables also has excellent benefits specifically in restoring a healthy alkaline balance in the body.
If you plan to embark on any of the above fasting, please discuss this with your doctor.
Key Things to Remember when Starting a Body Detox Program
As you can see, detoxification can be done in so many different ways. You want to try different methods and then see which ones work best for you. It’s also important to recognize regular detoxification (cleansing) as part of a truly healthy lifestyle.
- There are many detox programs/ diet formulation out there. Some are not only ineffective, but could be dangerous. Explore your options.
- A full body toxin cleanse should be an enhancing and gentle process. Do not start strict detox diets that cut out food altogether (your body require the necessary sustenance). Do not live on a diet of one type of fruit/ vegetable or diet formulation for a prolonged period of time! These diets are unhealthy as you are robbing your body of the essential nutrients through restricting yourself of the nutrients available from the varied food varieties.
- Remember, even though your body has its own natural detoxification system, there is a lot you can do to give it a helping hand, by eating the right kinds of foods and avoiding toxic foods.
- Purifying your body to achieve an optimal state of health won’t happen overnight, but if you begin today you’ll definitely be a little healthier by the time you get into bed.
- Make moving your body a daily requirement, even if it's just a walk at lunchtime, You can have high energy workouts as well as walking, yoga and pilates which will have a more calming and restorative effect on your body. The perspiration, the breathing, and the movement all help the body to achieve fitness and also getting rid of the toxins that have built up over time
Consult your health care practitioner if you have questions about which detoxification is right for you.