The Latest on Body Cleansing and Detoxification

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH


Introduction to Body Cleansing and Detoxification

Body Cleansing and Detoxification are vital to healthIt isn’t news that today’s environment is riddled with dangerous toxins and pollutants. Each day, we are fighting an endless battle with these ever-present poisons. It’s commonly known that the more toxins that accumulate in the body, the faster you age. An abundance of toxins can also impair liver function, trigger Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), and delay the healing process. One of the healthiest things a person can do is to find practical ways of body cleansing and detoxification to remove these aggressors from the body.

The idea that these toxins are harming our bodies and must be removed has been known since ancient times. Body cleansing and detoxification is not a new trend. Each culture has its own preferred method of ridding the body of these nasty chemicals. Body cleansing and detoxification of the body is the process in which toxins are purged from the organs and blood.

Toxins and Your Health

A toxin is any substance that can cause damage to cell function or structure. The body has its own detoxification process that works every moment of the day. However, this natural body cleansing and detoxification process can be overburdened and toxic substances can accumulate in the body. This overload of toxins, over a period of time, can destroy normal metabolism, because the body has to work very hard to get rid of them. This causes sensitivities to other compounds, such as nutrients and medicine, some of which are non-toxic in normal conditions. In their most common forms, toxins can be sourced from industrial chemicals, pesticides, food additives, such as certain preservatives, heavy metals, and second-hand smoke. It is estimated that humans are exposed to nearly 25,000 toxins annually which can strain the body’s natural body cleansing and detoxification process.

Types of Toxins

A. Heavy Metals

Aluminum, lead, nickel, mercury, and arsenic are all considered heavy metals. These typically collect in the brain and kidneys. Roughly twenty-five percent of the American population are experiencing heavy metal poisoning. 600,000 tons of lead is released into the air from industrial processes and car exhaust alone. These pollutants are then inhaled or consumed through infected soil and livestock. Other sources of heavy metals include pesticides, cigarette smoke, mercury in dental fillings, and aluminum from cooking pots and soda cans.

The dangers of heavy metal toxicity are well documented and have been linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as many other neurological afflictions. Early signs are difficult to recognize and can be mistaken for other diseases. These include headache, lethargy, muscle pain, poor digestion, and constipation.

In healthy individuals, a basic body cleansing and detoxification regimen may include the use of highly potent multi-vitamin and mineral supplements, amino acids with high sulfur content, such as cysteine and taurine, and sulfur-rich foods such as eggs and vegetables from the onion family, as well as water-soluble fiber such as pectin, oat bran, and guar gum. Sea vegetables are also very beneficial in aiding detox. It’s important to remember that those who suffer from AFS will likely not benefit from such an approach.

B. Liver Toxins

The liver is central to body cleansing and detoxificationThe liver is the main organ responsible for body cleansing and detoxification. Basically the body’s filter, the liver removes foreign matter and waste products from the blood. Toxins such as alcohol, drugs, and solvents are all removed by the liver. The liver reduces these toxins into compounds that can be easily eliminated from the body, through sweat, urine, and exhaled carbon dioxide. Therefore, a properly functioning liver is essential to overall health. When the liver is compromised, it is important to take supplements that assist the detoxification process, such as milk thistle, choline, and glutathione.

C. Microbial Toxins

Toxins that are produced by unwanted gut flora can be absorbed and cause disruption of bodily functions. These toxins have been found to cause many diseases, such as Crohn’s, IBS, ulcers, and lupus. The best way to combat microbial toxins is to follow a diet rich in fiber. Fiber is an essential part of any body cleansing and detoxification regimen. Fiber can eliminate these toxins from the gut.

Who Needs Body Cleansing and Detoxification?

A place free of toxins can rarely exist in the modern world. Everything from the air, to the food, to the water, is laden with toxins. This means that the majority of the population of earth needs some degree of body cleansing and detoxification. Regular body cleansing and detoxification programs are a basic key to good health and can have wondrous healing effects on the body.

Body Cleansing and Detoxification Protocol

3 Principles of a Body Cleansing and Detoxification Program:

  1. Cleansing
  2. Rebuilding
  3. Maintenance

A. Cleansing

Cleansing of the body system is done internally through fasting and externally through thorough skin cleansing. Enemas can also be used but are normally reserved for cases where intense cleansing is required, as is often the case in using detoxification as a way to treat cancer (such as coffee enema used in the Gerson Therapy).

Fasting Cleanse

This is best accomplished by simple fasting. Dramatic changes can be seen as masses of accumulated waste is expelled as the body rids itself of toxins. Short bouts of headaches, fatigue, body odor, bad breath, diarrhea or mouth sores are commonly accompanied by accelerated excretion. However, digestion usually improves immediately as do many organ and nerve functions.

Cleansing by fasting can last from one day to a week. This depends on the timeframe, the body’s requirements, toxic load and the patient’s overall heath.

One of the most important studies regarding fasting and detoxification appeared in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine in 1984. In this study, patients who had consumed rice oil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs went on a seven to 10 day fast. All subjects reported improvements in their health and some observed “dramatic” relief after fasting. Similar studies have shown that fasting is an aid to detoxification.

During fasting, the release of toxins is common. This is especially so if you are overloaded with toxins or have a long history of exposure to fat-soluble toxins such as pesticides. Stored toxins in the cells are released into our system during fasting. For example, the pesticide DDT has been shown to be mobilized during a fast and may reach blood levels toxic to the nervous system. You may actually feel worse before feeling better.

A juice fast is one way to start the body cleansing and detoxification processA juice fast for body cleansing and detoxification can be very beneficial. The best way to proceed is to start slow with a three-day vegetable juice fast. Longer fasts require strict medical supervision while the shorter fast can usually be conducted at home. It is essential to consult a physician especially if you have medical conditions such as diabetes that may be worsened during a fast.

Prepare for fasting on the day before with fresh fruits and vegetables on the last meal. During the fast, take a high potency multiple-vitamin-and-mineral formula to provide general support. Take 1000 mg of vitamin C three times a day and one to two tablespoons of a fiber supplement at night before sleep. If you are particularly overloaded with toxins, consume 70 to 210 mg of silymarin thrice a day.

Exercise is not usually encouraged while fasting to conserve energy. It is also important to rest during a fast. A nap or two during the day is recommended. Less sleep will be needed at night since daytime activity is lower. During a fast, the body temperature usually falls. Blood pressure, pulse and respiration rates will also drop to reflect a slow down of the body’s metabolic rate. It is therefore important to stay warm. More rest is encouraged to yield better results as energy can then be directed towards healing instead of other bodily functions. When it comes to breaking your fast, it is important to re-introduce solid foods gradually by limiting portions. It is a good idea to eat slowly and chew thoroughly at room temperature. Do not overeat.

Juice Fasting

An excellent way to develop good health and toxin cleansing is by juice fasting. This is because juices, without their pulp (fiber), contain excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Vegetable juices are preferred over fruit as one is able to drink more vegetable juice than they are able to eat. For example, one can readily drink the juice of several heads of lettuce at one go but may not be able to consume the same amount of lettuce as a whole. Juices also contain good sources of antioxidants and enzymes needed for toxin cleansing and excretion. At the same time, they are easy to digest and thus can help to eradicate digestive problems. As a result, drinking juices allows the body to receive plenty of nutrients with minimal digestive action needed. Moreover, fasting on mono-juices allows the body to have sufficient time to process these juices and valuable digestive enzymes can be preserved. During fasting, a sense of well being, renewed energy, clearer thoughts and a cleaner body system can be resulted.

Vegetable Juicing Program

Fruit juices are very different from vegetable juices. Fruit juices should be avoided as the high sugar content of fruit juices raises the blood sugar and insulin levels. This can lead to insulin resistance and ultimately diabetes in the long run.

Although carrots and beets are vegetables, they are high in sugar content and can raise the blood sugar.

Make sure you know what you're getting into when juicing for body cleansing and detoxificationVegetable juicing is not easy. The process of body cleansing and detoxification with juicing can cause some discomfort as the toxins are being released and flushed. Start slowly by drinking only one or two ounces and finally up to 12 ounces each time. There should be no waves of nausea or belching.

Vegetable juices are not as pleasant-tasting as fruit juices. The beginner should begin by gulping the juice as this is probably the best way to get started. This process will ensure that the juice is in minimal contact with the taste buds.

Take some vegetables before, during or after the juicing. The chewing motion will stimulate gastric juice secretion and aid digestion. It is also important to do some chewing during juicing.

As vegetable juicing is not a natural phenomenon in modern day society, the body will need some time to adapt. It is important to pay heed to your body’s signals on which vegetable juices to consume and which types to continue in small amounts.

The pulp is one of the best parts of the juice although its palatability leaves much to be desired. It adds bulk and fiber to your diet and helps bowel movements. Try mixing 10 percent of the pulp back into the juice and slowly increase the amount in accordance with your tolerance level. Very few people can consume all the pulp juice as it is quite thick and would look like a bowl of porridge instead of a glass of juice.

All vegetable juices should be consumed immediately. Vegetable juice is one of the most perishable foods. Do not keep for more than 24 hours. Storage is tricky. Oxidation should be prevented. If you have to keep the juice, put it in a glass jar with an airtight lid and fill it to the brim to minimize air space. The oxygen in the air (remember air contains 20 per cent oxygen) will “oxidize” and damage the juice. Wrap the jar with aluminum foil to block out all light, which will also damage the juice and then store it in the refrigerator. The juice should be taken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to consumption, as it should ideally be consumed at room temperature.

The beginner should start with celery, fennel (anise) and cucumbers. These vegetables may not be the most nutritious but at least they are more tolerable and palatable than others.

Once the beginner is used to the taste of vegetable juices, other recommended vegetables include spinach, cabbage, bok choy, endive and lettuce.

Herbs can also be added to juices such as parsley and cilantro.

The advanced juicer should try Collard Greens, Dandelion Greens and Mustard Greens as these vegetables are very beneficial. These greens are quite bitter tasting, but they are good for you.

To make your juice more palatable, you can also add small quantities of carrots and beets. These vegetables are relatively high in sugar content compared to their green leafy counterparts. Coconut is another option to improve the taste of vegetable juices. They are also a good source of fat to balance the meal.

Beginner Juice Recipe

  • Carrot juice can be a great tool for body cleansing and detoxificationCarrot Juice: High in beta-carotene which is an antioxidant and full of wonder enzymes.
  • Celery Juice: High in sodium – not the artificial version but the natural kind that promotes tissue flexibility.
  • Beet Juice: Beets nourish the liver which one of the most important organs in the body as it is responsible for hundreds of different functions. If your liver is functioning well, your body is likely to be in optimal health.
  • Cabbage Juice: Cabbage juice is high in vitamin C.

Blend the above vegetables in a juicer and consume it immediately. Beets and carrots are higher in calorie content in comparison with cabbage and celery. Do not consume carrot and beet juices if you have a history of sugar imbalance.

Simple 24 Hour Juice Fasting Body Cleansing and Detoxification Program

Juice fasting enables the digestive system to rest and also speeds up the growth of new cells, which in turn promotes healing. A person on a juice fast should abstain from solid foods and drink fruit and vegetable juices, water and herbal teas throughout the day. While vegetable juices are superior to fruit juices on a day-to-day basis, fruit juices are often recommended in part during a fasting program. Calories from the sugar in the fruit juice are needed to avoid hypoglycemia. The fasting period varies from person to person although every half-hour to an hour is the norm. Frequent juicing will supply the body with adequate amounts of energy throughout the day. Drink at least four 8 to 12 glasses of water every day during the fast. Avoid coffee, bottled, canned or frozen juice (primarily sugar) and soft drinks. Unsweetened herbal teas are acceptable.

  • The night before: consume a simple dinner with a green leafy salad. Dry brush your skin before you go to bed to open your pores for the night’s cleansing eliminations.
  • On rising: one glass of two freshly squeezed lemon juice. One tablespoon of maple syrup and 8-oz of pure water at room temperature (filtered but not distilled).
  • Midmorning: one glass of cranberry juice from concentrate to promote bowel movement.
  • Lunch: one glass of fresh apple juice.
  • Mid-afternoon: one cup of herbal tea.
  • Dinner: One glass of papaya/pineapple juice to enhance enzyme production or another glass of apple juice.
  • Before bed: one cup of mint tea, miso soup or hot water for relaxation.
  • Next morning: break your fast with fresh fruits and yogurt. Consume light, raw foods during the day and a simple, low fat dinner.

The same plan can be extended over the weekend for a three-day body cleansing and detoxification program.

Skin Cleanse

As our skin is one of the most effective excretion organs, a detoxification program on skin cleansing is essential. When we sweat, heavy metal compounds are eliminated through the skin’s pores.

Skin care is essential for smooth body cleansing and detoxificationResearch has shown that our sweat glands can perform effective detoxification just as regularly as detoxification in one or both of our kidneys. It is thus vital to ensure maximum skin detoxification so that the skin can help the kidneys indirectly, but also effectively in the event of damaged kidneys.

Therefore good skin care is essential to optimum health. Even though chemicalized skin care products such as soaps and shampoos may be cheaper, they are not recommended. When these chemicals are absorbed into our body circulation, they in effect add more “toxins” into our system. Most people fail to understand its ill effects because their liver is able to metabolize the toxins. Yet, there are some environmentally friendly people who experience great differences

There are several ways to get rid of toxins through the skin namely exercise, sauna, skin brushing and body cleansing and detoxification baths, to name a few.

Skin Brushing

This helps the skin to remove its outer dead layers and keep the pores open. Besides brushing, one can try toweling off vigorously until the skin is slightly red after bathing. Thus, towels have to be changed regularly as they may contain toxins. For effective skin detoxification, good nutrition is also required. Since our skin is mainly made up of fats, natural high-quality fats and oils are needed to keep our skin healthy. Two excellent natural oils are butter and olive oils, which keep the skin in a good condition.

Sauna and Steam Baths

These are good ways to remove toxins from the skin and regenerate one’s health and energy. The sauna is a good follow-up to dry skin brushing because it “pushes” toxins out through the skin. The main thing to remember with saunas is to limit the time spent. Perspiration is encouraged but do not attempt to remain in a sauna for too long as too much heat can dry the skin which in turn accelerates aging.

Body Cleansing and Detoxification Bath

Daily bath using natural soaps is essential. Take care of your skin using only natural oils and natural products. We also need to consider our clothing materials carefully as they can have a tremendous effect on our health. Natural fiber clothing is favored over synthetic fiber as the former can help eliminate toxins. Another skin cleansing method is skin brushing. This is simple and relaxing. Try the following: Use ½ cup of baking soda or use ½ cup of Epsom salt or use ½ cup of sea salt. Soak for 15-20 minutes and then scrub the skin gently with soap on a natural fiber. The water will turn murky and “dirty” within minutes as the heavy metals (aluminum and mercury) are excreted from the skin. Body cleansing and detoxification baths should be done once a week and maintenance once a month.

You might also want to consider a filter for your shower, as most of us will absorb more toxins from bathing or showering than from drinking tap water. Needless to say, swimming in the ocean is a much better option than in a chlorinated swimming pool.

Colon Cleanse

Cleaning out the colon with body cleansing and detoxification has great benefits for healthColon cleansing has been used for 4000 years as a health practice of detoxification. Through this process, the large intestine or colon can be healed, rebuilt and finally restored to its natural size, normal shape and correct function.

It is an alternative to health hydrotherapy that gradually and gently cleanses the colon by flushing with a warm water solution. Colon cleansing is preventive healthcare as there is no better place to begin to rid your body of toxins and contamination which may cause cancer, colitis, digestive disorders, fatigue and obesity.

There are two stages of therapy. The first stage involves cleansing, a thorough washing of the large intestine. The colon is irrigated by a technique whereby water is gently infused into the large bowel, which flows in and out at steady intervals. Water is allowed to travel the entire length of the colon, all the way around to the cecum area through this method. The walls of the colon are washed and old encrustations and fecal material are loosened, dislodged and flushed away. This toxic waste material has often been attached to the bowel walls for several years. It is laden with millions of bacteria, which encourage disease to take root and entrench itself in the system thus wreaking havoc. As this body pollution is eliminated, many conditions such as severe skin disorders, breathing difficulties, depression, chronic fatigue, nervousness, severe constipation, and arthritis are reduced in severity. This provides great relief, especially when augmented with dietary changes and other treatment modalities.

The next stage is healing, rebuilding and finally restoration of a healthy colon which functions at maximum efficiency for the final absorption of nutrients and the total and timely elimination of all remaining waste materials. During the healing phase, a special infusion is made in the bowel that will cool inflamed areas and strengthen weak sections of the colon wall.

Some of the common agents used in this stage include flaxseed tea, white oak bark, and slippery elm bark. These herbs soothe, lubricate and introduce powerful healing agents directly into the large intestine.

Herbal teas may be taken orally concurrently with colon cleansing. Simple dietary changes have been made by now, such as the addition of water.

Most people think of colonic irrigation (enemas) as an uncomfortable experience. It is in fact, a very quick and effective way to loosen impacted feces and wash away toxins. It also removes many of the unpleasant symptoms of body cleansing and detoxification. Firstly, a sterile tube is inserted into the rectum and filtered warm water washes around the colon for about 15 minutes. An evacuation tube removes the water thus removing years of accumulated debris and mucus.

If the thought of enema bothers you, consider a colon cleansing diet slowly as follows:

Start with a diet of 50 percent raw food along with a teaspoonful of linseed (available from health food stores) or two level teaspoonfuls of Metamucil. Such bulking agents are readily available at pharmacies or grocery stores. You can chew the linseed to release the nutrients. Water is an essential element in the cleansing process. Start the day with at least half a pint of water, preferably hot, before breakfast. Aim for two quarts per day while you are cleansing.

Lung and Lymphatic Cleanse

Aerobics improve the success of body cleansing and detoxificationAerobics exercise, which is widely, associated with cardiovascular health also helps cleanse the lungs. During active and intense exercise, forced expiratory volume of the lung’s oxygen exchange capacity is increased and “dead air” normally trapped within the small alveoli of the lungs is expelled in exchange for fresh air. It is important to exercise in non-polluted areas.

Breathing exercises combined with physical activity increase the action of lymphatic cleansing. This can be done when you synchronize your breathing with the movement of your legs and arms. For example, when you are walking or jumping on the trampoline, inhale four times and exhale four times. Move your arms and legs each time you take a small breath. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your nose or mouth.

Kidney and Blood Cleanse

To optimize kidney cleaning, one quart of pure filtered water per day for every 50 pounds of body weight is one of the absolute basic foundations for anti-aging. If you are in good health, try drinking 10 to15 glasses of water daily. It is best to limit your intake to filtered or bottled water.

The right kind of water is especially important. Distillation is the process in which water is boiled, evaporated and the vapor condensed. Distilled water is devoid of dissolved minerals and is thus able to actively absorb toxic substances from the body and eliminate them. Taking distilled water during detoxification for a short period of time (less than 4 weeks) helps the body to eliminate unwanted minerals. Once this is accomplished, distilled water consumption should be discontinued.

Long-term use of distilled water can be dangerous because of the rapid loss of sodium, potassium, chloride and trace minerals which can inevitably lead to multiple mineral deficiencies. Furthermore, distilled water can potentially over-acidify the body. When exposed to air, distilled water absorbs the atmospheric carbon dioxide which becomes acidic with a pH of 5.8.

The ideal water for long term human consumption should be slightly alkaline and contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Water filtered through reverse osmosis tends to be neutral and is recommended for long term consumption. Water filtered through a solid charcoal filter is slightly alkaline. Make sure that the filter you choose is of good quality and remove pollutants and parasites such as cryptosporidium. If you do not possess a water filter, bottled water is the next best option. It should, however, be highlighted that about 25 to 30 percent of the bottled water sold in the United States comes from tap water which could sometimes be untreated.

Toxic Metal Cleanse

One of the best ways to detoxify our body is to get rid of toxic metals such as lead, arsenic, iron, cadmium, aluminum and mercury. Toxic metals prevent normal enzymatic processes so that the body cannot function properly and repair itself. This leads to premature aging and the premature development of disease.

One of the best way to accomplish this is through Chelation therapy. The removal of toxic materials through chelation allows the body to function at an optimal level. During the chelation process, a synthetic amino acid called EDTA is administered to the patient by a slow intravenous drip over a painless three-hour process. Once in the bloodstream, EDTA works through a complex cascade of chemical reactions thus resulting in the binding of unwanted metals such as cadmium, calcium, lead, and mercury.

As a result of Chelation therapy and the removal of toxic metals and calcium from artherosclerotic plaques, the vascular circulation system is improved. For this reason, Chelation therapy is also one of the alternative treatments for patients with occlusive vascular diseases.

B. Rebuilding

Getting the right nutrition from food is important for body cleansing and detoxification to succeedThe body can only rebuild with the proper raw materials. A diet comprising mainly fresh and simple prepared food is the best option. It should be very low in trans or hydrogenated fat, sugar, caffeine, sugar, diary, and tobacco. Meats should only be consumed in small amounts. Fresh foods that are low in sugar such as vegetables, soy, organic egg, grains, and seeds are encouraged. Deep-water fish in moderate amounts (once or twice a week) is recommended. The anti-aging Mediterranean diet is a good lifelong diet to follow.

A rebuilding detoxification diet provides nutritional fortification for the body’s immune system. While there are many different detoxification approaches available, they differ in their actions and purpose. Some detoxification programs only effect the bowels. Others may cleanse the liver or blood while others may aid the kidneys or the skin in their functions. Conditions that must be considered in the detoxification process are nutrition, water, exercise, rest, sunshine, and fresh air. By combining these detoxification programs into a total anti-aging program, one can effectively regain health to an optimal level and thus look younger in the process. Once detoxification of the body takes place and when the body eliminates toxins, health is restored and vigor is revitalized.

A natural vegetarian diet is the best way to eliminate toxins from the body effectively. This diet provides fiber needed for stimulating good bowel movements and proper amounts of vitamins to nourish the detoxification organs. As most vegetarian diets are eaten raw, they contain a valuable source of enzymes, which cleanse and aid the body in eliminating toxins. In fact, an elimination of meat from the diet for a short period of time enables the detoxification process to be more effective because meat is difficult to digest.

A healthy diet is very important as it usually forms the basis for any detoxification program, be it herbs, cleansing or other detoxification programs. Detoxification diets generally eliminate trigger foods which may cause digestion and excretion problems. Foods like wheat (glutens) and dairy (milk, cheese) are often the cause of allergies. Sugar is avoided because of its “empty calories” and its tendency to produce insulin resistance. Meats such as beef and commercial chicken that are grain fed are eliminated because they may contain hormones and antibiotics. It is wise to avoid caffeine (except in the form of enemas) since it has many ill effects on the body’s digestive system. Refined foods high in sugar such as white bread and trans fat (fat that is derived from hydrogenation of polyunsaturated fat and that commonly used to make deep-fried foods such as french fries) are strictly avoided in a detoxification program.

Adopting a healthy eating lifestyle and diet is, however, easier said than done. There are many people who seek good health and will do their best to improve their diets. However, there are some who are not keen to make any lifestyle changes. They may make a few changes such as drinking more water.

The best diet for body cleansing and detoxification has little to no toxins and contains mostly fruits and vegetablesIn summary, a rebuilding detoxification diet is essentially a vegetarian diet consisting of whole fruits, green leafy vegetables, legumes, and seeds. Meat and fish are taken sparingly, if at all. Organic eggs are acceptable in reasonable quantities. Food groups are rotated every four days to allow maximum elimination from the body before another quantity of the same food group are ingested.

C. Maintenance

Keeping your body clean and toxin free is very important after detoxification. A healthy lifestyle should incorporate the five pillars of anti-aging namely exercise, diet, supplementation, stress reduction and hormonal enhancement. This is the best way to maintain your body in a clean and detoxified state.

Body Cleansing and Detoxification Supplements

In addition to body cleansing and detoxification, rebuilding and maintenance, there are four types of supplementations commonly used to enhance the body cleansing and detoxification program.

A. Herbal Supplementation

As detoxification diets may not stimulate the liver, lungs or the kidneys enough, herbal detoxification supplementation is often added. Not only do herbs provide vitamins, minerals, and enzymes essential for good nutrition, they are also useful in helping certain organs when different herbs are combined. Different herbal combinations aid different organs and they could be found in most organic food stores.

Liver is the main detoxification center of the body. Any successful body cleansing and detoxification regimen should include cleansing and protecting the liver. There are a wide variety of plants that exert beneficial effects on liver functions.

1. Silymarin

The most impressive research has been done on a special extract of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) known as silymarin, a group of flavonoid compounds. These compounds protect the liver from damage and enhance the detoxification process.

Silymarin prevents damage to the liver by acting as an antioxidant. It is much more effective than vitamin E and vitamin C. Numerous research studies have demonstrated its protective effect on the liver. Experimental liver damage in animals is produced by extremely toxic chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride, amanita toxin, galactosamine and praseodymium nitrate. Silymarin has been shown to protect the liver against these toxins.

Silymarin also works by preventing the depletion of glutathione. The higher the glutathione content, the greater the liver’s capacity to detoxify harmful chemicals. Moreover, silymarin has been shown to increase the level of glutathione by up to 35 percent. In human studies, silymarin has been shown to exhibit positive effects in treating liver diseases of various kinds including cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis, fatty infiltration of the liver, and inflammation of the bile duct. The common dosage for silymarin is 70 to 200 mg one to three times a day.

2. Other useful herbal supplements

  • Liver: LIV-A Dandelion, red beet, angelica, gentian, parsley, horsetail, birch leaves, chamomile.
  • Kidneys: Parsley, dandelion, juniper berries, ginger, and goldenseal.
  • Lungs: LH Comfrey, senega.

For effective body cleansing and detoxification, herbs should be used in conjunction with the detoxification diet.

3. Herbal Teas

Herbal Teas are mild and gentle and can greatly assist body cleansing and detoxificationHerbs are found mainly in the form of teas, powders or extracts. Herbal teas can be made and consumed readily throughout the day, as they are mild and gentle. As there are different styles in preparing teas, experimentation may be done until one finds a suitable tea. Herbal ingredients and commonly used ingredients that enhance intestinal motility include; senna leaf, peppermint leaf, stevia leaf, buckthorn bark, damiana leaf, RED peel, chamomile flower, and uva ursi leaf.

It is always good to eat your regular meal fortified with digestive enzymes to enhance breakdown of food in the gastro intestinal tract as a routine practice. After the evening meal, you can begin drinking tea. Start slowly. You should begin by steeping the tea just 2 minutes (in 1-2 cups of water) for the first 3-5 days. As your system adjusts, you may increase steeping to 5 minutes. Most individuals will experience increased bowel movements or slight cramping during the first few days. This is due to the initial cleansing of the body’s system and is normal.

A good bowel movement should be soft, smooth, and easy to pass, but not watery. A good digestive enzyme intake with meals will normally result in this. Addition of herbal tea may cause the bowel movement to be watery. This is not uncommon, especially during the initial body cleansing and detoxification process. A moderate amount of loose stool is generally acceptable during the cleansing and detoxification process.

It should be noted that the consistency of the bowel movement varies greatly depending on the person. Adjust the amount of tea you need to achieve the desired result. Suffice to say that the bowel movement should not be too watery on an on going basis, which can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance if one is not careful. It is always a good habit to drink more water than normal during a detoxification and cleansing state.

Here is an example of a simple herbal cleansing program that can be used in conjunction with a detoxification diet.

  • Rising: Drink a glass of lemon water or plain water with an additional teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of blackstrap molasses.
  • Morning: Drink a glass of plain water with added psyllium husk powder (a glass of water following that).
  • Meals: Have two to three multi-digestive enzymes and liver herbs.
  • In between meals: Drink herbal teas to support the liver.

B. Flora Supplementation

A healthy intestine is of paramount importance for anti-aging. Optimal gastrointestinal health depends on the balance of microscopic interplay between billions of beneficial (“good”) and pathogenic (“bad”) bacteria. Both are needed for normal bowel functions. A well-maintained balance between these opposing microorganisms is essential for a properly functioning digestive tract.

The bacteria in your body is central to health and successful body cleansing and detoxificationAbout 400 species of these “good bugs” inhabit the intestines. Their total population is about 100 times the number of cells in your body. Remarkably, these microorganisms coexist peacefully in a carefully balanced internal ecosystem. As long as they flourish, they prevent pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria and fungi from colonizing. In this way, beneficial bacteria help keep you healthy. If the delicate intestinal environment is disrupted, pathogenic bacteria, parasites, and fungi such as clostridia, salmonella, staphylococcus, Blastocystis hominis and Candida albicans often move in, multiply and attack the beneficial bacteria.

Research has shown that the “good” bacteria or otherwise known as probiotics, help defend our bodies from the pathogenic species of bacteria and detoxify toxic chemicals. They also produce valuable vitamins including biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and vitamin K. The bacteria assist in breaking down dietary proteins into amino acids, which are then reconfigured into “new” proteins that are useful for the body. “Good” bacteria also ensure that toxins are excreted from the bowels (via the stool) rather than absorbed into the bloodstream.

One such “good” bacteria is acidophilus . They stimulate activity in the thymus and spleen (both are key immune system glands). They prompt your body to manufacture natural antibodies. Certain acidophilus strains even protect against the formation of tumors and promote production of interferon, a hormone that protects against cancer. When probiotics are present, they secrete mediators in which the pathogenic forms cannot grow. However, when the micro-organic forms take over, they will exclude the probiotics with their toxins. Replacing our natural flora is vital to prevent any disease and to keep our bowels healthy and populated with probiotics. By taking probiotics containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidus, they can help us in our body cleansing and detoxification program.

Numerous studies have been conducted to understand the mechanism of how probiotics work with the body’s body cleansing and detoxification program. Many amazing facts have been established concerning the beneficial and therapeutic aspects of probiotics including:

  1. Increased enzyme production such as proteases that digest proteins and lipases that digest fats.
  2. Improved bowel transit time and texture of the fecal matter.
  3. Increases synthesis of immune antibodies and augmentation of gamma-interferon production.
  4. Reduction of lactose intolerance caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase which leads to reduced bloating, gas formation and stomach discomfort after milk consumption.
  5. Act as an anti-toxin with anticarcinogenic and antitumor agent.
  6. Relief of dermatitis and other skin disorders by improving gastrointestinal bacteria balance.

Many scientists at the forefront of probiotics research believe that the toxins secreted from the pathogens, rather than the pathogens, are responsible for diseases. Although this is not a widely recognized fact among the traditional medical establishment, this statement has been proven without a doubt.

Regular supplementation with probiotics such as acidophilus repopulates your intestinal tract with benevolent bugs. These microorganisms restore and maintain balance within your internal ecosystem while displacing noxious bacteria and fungi at the same time. They also increase the acidity of the intestinal environment which “useful” bugs thrive in (acidophilus literally means “love of acid”) and harmful bugs detest.

Probiotics help the natural body cleansing and detoxification processes run smoothlyProbiotics also have another benefit if the intestines are not inhabitable for the malevolent microorganisms: They help reduce the amount of toxic chemicals in the body, namely pathogenic bacteria and fungi which produce their own toxins. At a local level, this minimizes the risk of colon cancer and protects the entire body and improves overall health on a larger scale.

Acidophilus supplements are widely available in health food stores and drugstores. Selecting from among the numerous “something-dophilus” products may appear a daunting task. Examine the labels and you will discover a variety of “useful” bugs including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus faecium. Some products may contain fructo-oligosaccharides, which are sugars that nourish beneficial bacteria to make them colonize faster. All of these “ingredients” are acceptable and any combination of them works well.

Remember that acidophilus supplements contain living organisms, so freshness is critical. Purchase a product well before its expiry date, which should be clearly displayed. Once the supplements are opened, keep them refrigerated. Discard any supplements that are more than six months old. Dosage varies from one product to another. It is best to refer to the instructions on the label.

If you do not wish to consume supplements, try yogurt, which contains the friendly bacterium Lactobacillus acidophilus, a probiotic. Acidophilus also helps restore intestinal micro flora balance and inhibit the growth of “bad” bacteria. In a nutshell, probiotics promote good digestion, boost immune function, increase resistance to infection and keep us better equipped to fight the growth of disease-causing bacteria.

C. Antioxidant Supplementation

Antioxidants such as vitamins A, E, and especially C are essential for detoxification as they help cells to neutralize free radicals that cause mutation and cellular damage. When these free radicals are neutralized, the antioxidant vitamins will be utilized and display low levels. They play such an important role that any deficiency in them is detrimental to anti-aging. When our antioxidants are low, energy is unavailable and detoxification cannot take place as usual. This allows the toxins to multiply and add up until they can be further processed. Our liver and other organs are also compromised in their functions. With a simple deficiency in energy, health can be threatened since its energy has been diverted to the removal of toxins and wastes.

Taking optimum levels of antioxidants during fasting is important and an effective way to raise glutathione levels in the liver. This should be taken together with silymarin, the flavonoid complex from milk thistle, to improve liver function. Glutathione and silymarin are both important detoxification agents of the body.

Vitamins should be taken as a cocktail in optimum amounts because each vitamin is unique which works on a different aspect of the body. For example, both vitamins A and E are fat-soluble and are found in our fat tissues/ stores. They are particularly effective in preventing the oxidation of cell membranes, which are made up of phospholipids.

Vitamin C is an amazing compound that can also help body cleansing and detoxificationOn the other hand, vitamin C is water-soluble and fights free radicals in the plasma. Vitamin C and E help regenerate each other as well. Vitamin C is especially vital in any body cleansing and detoxification programs, as the body needs it for energy to process and eliminate wastes.

High doses of vitamin C can have a laxative effect as it attracts water. Vitamin C can be taken until the bowel tolerance level (BTL) is achieved. The BTL varies from one person to another. Some people may reach a tolerance level at four to five grams (4,000-5,000 mg) while others only reach tolerance at 10 to15 grams (10,000-15,000 mg). Cancer patients can easily consume 20 to 30 grams (20,000-30,000 mg) of vitamin C to reach tolerance level, as they require more vitamin C than most people do.

D. Enzyme Supplementation

Enzymes are molecule catalysts located in abundance in the body. In fact, there are over 1,300 different types. Enzymes are considered as the “construction workers” that facilitate all the bodily functions.

There are several forms of enzymes. Raw fruits and vegetables contain a plentiful supply of enzymes. Cooking and processing of food can destroy enzymes. When enzymes are destroyed, the body’s ability to digest food, delivery of nutrients and optimum functions are affected. Toxins thus build up and accumulate in the body.

Digestive enzymes are especially important, as exhaustion is one of the main reasons of accelerated aging. Plant enzymes assist in the digestion of food directly through the intestinal tract. Supplemental enzymes help prevent feelings of bloating and exhaustion after a big meal. We consume an average of two pounds of food per day or 20 tons over a lifetime. A smooth passage of food through the gastrointestinal tract is critical to avoid stasis of feces, which releases toxins. Digestive enzymes help in this respect together with a high soluble fiber diet.

Digestive enzymes also help other vitamins and minerals. For example, the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K require fat for absorption. Fat has to be broken down by an enzyme known as lipase. If lipase is not present in sufficient quantities, the fat will not be broken down. If the fat is not broken down, the vitamins will not be released. Therefore, you can spend a fortune on vitamin pills but if there is an absence of the proper enzymes to release the vitamins into the body’s system, the vitamins will still be flushed out.

On an interesting note, one of the early signs of improving digestion after consuming digestive enzymes is an improvement in skin tone. This is because if the inner organs start to degenerate and fail to function properly, the stress will most likely be revealed on the face. Supplementation with digestive enzymes is, therefore, an important part of anti-aging treatment, in addition to consuming raw food and mineral supplements.

Summary: Body Cleansing and Detoxification

Body cleansing and detoxification are important to keeping the body healthy, so make sure to do it rightAlmost everyone needs body cleansing and detoxification, especially people who are exposed to industrial or environmental toxins. The degree of detoxification varies from person to person. A wide variety of body cleansing and detoxification programs are available to rid the body of toxins through the major detoxification centers of the body namely the skin, lung, intestine, kidney and liver. The cornerstone of body cleansing and detoxification is fasting, juicing and a proper maintenance diet once the body has been detoxified. This can be supplemented with special herbs, antioxidants, probiotics, and enzymes to help the detoxification process.

 

References

Anonymous: Toxicologic Consequences of Oral Aluminum. Nutrition Reviews 45:72-4, 1987.

Ballatori N, Clarkson TW: Dependence of Biliary Excretion of Inorganic Mercury on the Biliary Transport of Glutathione. Biochem Pharmacol 33:1093-8, 1984.

Boari C, et al: Occupational Toxic Liver Diseases: Therapeutic Effects of Silymarin. Min Med 72: 2679-88, 1985.

Canini F, Bartolucci E, Cristallini, et al: Use of Silymarin in the Treatment of Alcoholic Hepatic Steatosis. Clin Ter 114:307-14, 1985.

Cha CW: A Study on the Effect of Garlic to the Heavy Metal Poisoning of Rat. J Korean Med Sci 2:213-23, 1987.

Ferenci P, et al: Randomized Controlled Trial of Silymarin Treatment in Patients with Cirrhosis of the Liver. J Hepatol 9:105-13, 1989.

Flora, S.J.S., et al., “Protective Role of Trace Metals in Lead Intoxication,” Toxicology Letters 13 (1982): 51-6.

Gerstner BG, Huff JE: Clinical Toxicology of Mercury. J Toxicol Environ Health 2:471-526, 1977.

Hikino H, et al: Antihepatotoxic Actions of Flavonolignans from Silybum marianum Fruits. Planta Medica 50:248-50, 1984.

Imamura M, Tung T: A Trial of Fasting Cure for PCB Poisoned Patients in Taiwan. Am J Ind Med 5:147-53, 1984.

Murakami M, Webb MA: A Morphological and Biochemical Study of the Effects of L-Cysteine on the Renal Uptake and Nephrotoxicity of Cadmium. Br J Exp Pathol 62:115-30, 1981.

Nation JR, et al: Dietary Administration of Nickel: Effects on Behavior and Metallothionein Levels. Physiol Behavior 34:349-53, 1985.

Passwater RA, Cranton EM: Trace Elements, Hair Analysis and Nutrition (New Canaan, CT: Keats, 1983).

Rutter M, Russell-Jones R, et al: Lead versus Health: Sources and Effects of Low-Level Lead Exposure (New York: John Wiley, 1983).

Salmi HA, Sarna S: Effect of Silymarin on Chemical, Functional, and Morphological Alteration of the Liver: A Double-Blind Controlled Study. Scand J Gastroenterol 17:417-21, 1982.

Sarre H: Experience in the Treatment of Chronic Hepatopathies with Silymarin. Arzneim-Forsch 21:1209-12, 1971.

Valenzuela A, et al: Selectivity of Silymarin on the Increase of the Glutathione Content in Different Tissues of the Rat. Planta Med 55:420-2, 1989.

Vogel G, et al:Studies on Pharmacodynamics, Site and Mechanism of Action of Silymarin, the Antihepatotoxic Principle from Silybum marianum (L.) Gaer. Arzneim-Forsch 25:179-85, 1975.

Wagner H: Antihepatotoxic Flavonoids. in V. Cody, E. Middleton, and J.B. Harbourne, eds. Plant Flavonoids in Biology and Medicine: Biochemical, Pharmacological, and Structure-Activity Relationships (New York: Alan R. Liss, In., 1986), 545-558.

Yost KJ: Cadmium, the Environment and Human Health: An Overview. Experentia 40:157-64, 1984

© Copyright 2002 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Body cleansing and detoxification

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Dear Dr. Lam,
 
I just finished reading your Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome book and found it to be the most comprehensive, helpful and hopeful book that I've read about this condition. I actually cried when I read Chapters 9 on Stage 3C and Chapter 10 on Near Failure because it described how I am feeling so well...especially the part about feeling like 'the walking dead' and being in a 'living hell.' I have been having feelings of hopelessness and despair of ever getting well again but your book has restored my hope. I am a real believer in the power of prayer and I believe God lead me to your website, Dr. Lam.
 
With gratitude,
 
Bonnie P.




2 Comments

  • Antonio says:

    Hello Dr Lam,
    I am trying to understand if detoxing and fasting are a must if we want to recover from Adrenal fatigue? also many drs suggest eating meat and animal proteins which is the opposite of what i see on this blog. Is it possible to get all the proteins needed during AFS recovery just from fruit and veg? When fasting and detoxing, there is only one diet… fruit and veg… what about the blood type diet? what if my blood type says eat meat etc…
    Thanks
    Antonio