DETOXIFICATION: What, How, When & Why

In Dr. Karen M. Pendleton, Health and Beauty by Lola Magazine

New Year, New You, correct? We’ve now entered a New Decade, 2020!

Many of you may now have resolved to finally get serious about your health. Starting today… But first need to cleanse yourself, eliminating last year’s / last decade’s lifestyle and dietary faux pas. I dare to say that you’ve seen the ads and the social media links, all suggesting you need a “detox”, “cleanse” or “flush” to be healthy. Supplements, teas, homeopathy, coffee enemas, ear candles, and footbaths promise you a detoxified body. Major retailers have entire detox and cleansing categories in supplements and books. Notable health and wellness figures have several detox plans — you just need to decide which one. Some local healthcare providers sell detoxification protocols, including vitamin drips and chelation. Even your local pharmacy probably has a wall of products for sale.

The descriptions all suggest detoxing will deliver a renewed body and better health.  Well, let’s get to the facts of detoxification aka “detox”.

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“Detox” is a legitimate medical term that has been turned into a marketing strategy.  Actual detoxification is provided in hospitals under life-threatening circumstances — usually when there are dangerous levels of drugs, alcohol, or other poisons in the body. 

Purification rituals date back to the earliest reaches of recorded history. The idea that we’re somehow poisoning ourselves and we need to atone for our sins seems to be a part of human nature, which may explain why it’s still a part of most of the world’s religions. However, it’s not the stench or perhaps sin that we’re as worried about today.  As our knowledge of biology grew, these fears manifested as “autointoxication.” The belief became focused on cleaning out the bowels, thus you could cure any illness. Today’s version of autointoxication argues that some combination of food additives, sugar, salt, meat, fluoride, prescription drugs, smog, vaccine ingredients, GMOs, and perhaps last night’s bottle of wine are causing a buildup of “toxins” in the body. And don’t forget gluten, the new evil. 

How is Detoxification accomplished?

Your body’s detoxification pathways occur in a two-stage process (Phase 1 and Phase 2) of metabolism, along with a final stage of transport (Phase 3). Phase one metabolism involves the reduction or hydrolysis of the compound (usually caused by the addition of an oxygen molecule). 

Phase two involves conjugation reactions that attach charged hydrophilic (water-loving) molecular entities to reactive metabolites, thus facilitating the elimination through urine or bile.

Phase 3 detoxification involves the elimination of toxins from cells. And, this phase also requires your small intestines to be functioning properly.

The skin, kidneys, lymphatic system, our gastrointestinal system, and most importantly, the liver make up our astoundingly complex and sophisticated intrinsic detoxification system.

When should Detoxification occur?

The answer to the timing of a physician-directed detox is based on the individual’s baseline health status. A comprehensive wellness evaluation is typically my approach before making recommendations on the need and the frequency of a program.

Why Detoxification?

If one gets into unorthodox detox treatments, i.e., coffee enemas and/or chelation, there is the potential for harm.  Thus, the goal of any physician-directed program is to gently and slowly support the process of metabolic detoxification. We live in an ever-increasing toxic environment. Many of the toxins also known as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), are abundant in the environment today and did not exist 30 years ago. These new toxins include certain pesticides, herbicides and industrial chemicals that can enter the body through food, water and air supplies. These toxins over time can negatively impact health, vitality and overall wellness; and may contribute to the development of chronic disease. A physician-directed detoxification program should be simple to complete, effective in outcome and without concern for safety. 

Living a Detox Lifestyle 

Detoxification is a continuous physiologic process that your body depends on for survival. There are complex cellular detoxification mechanisms that are constantly at work for you all day, every day, keeping you healthy in the face of a virtually constant barrage of toxic material. Here are some suggestions that will keep your body’s toxic burden low and your detox mechanisms working for the long haul.

Plastics can leach out hormone disruptors…

Never heat food in plastic containers, as this process releases harmful chemicals that can seep into your food. Use glass or ceramic instead. The same holds true for drinking water. Use glass or stainless steel.  Remember the best water to drink is Electrolyzed Reduced Water. Review my article in the Sept/Oct issue of Lola Magazine, Water, the Incredible Life Force…Not All Water Is Created Equal 

To aid in lymphatic drainage…

Use a dry, natural fiber shower brush or loofah to massage your entire body before you shower or bathe. Start at the toes and gently scrub, using circular motions towards your heart. 

Limit or eliminate the use of the microwave oven…

Although the convenience of microwaves is indisputable, this method of heating can disrupt chemical linkages in otherwise healthy foods and can decrease their nutritional value. Heat on the stovetop or in an oven whenever possible. Avoid Teflon and synthetic non-stick coating. 

My favorite cooking resources include the Instant Pot and Saladmaster cookware.

This cookware is constructed of 316Ti stainless steel, a premium material that is non-reactive to the acids and enzymes in your food. This, combined with the cooking method, protects the purity and flavor of the ingredients, rendering healthier, more nutritious, flavorful food, every time you cook.

Exercise, need I say more…

One of the best ways to increase your metabolic activity is to simply use your body. Daily exercise has innumerable benefits including building lean muscle mass, which helps burn more calories at rest. Consider jumping on a mini trampoline for 3 to 5 minutes a day to boost your health and wellness. Sweating also releases toxins.

Fun and Easy Tips for Enhancing Detoxification

Drink one cup of hot Electrolyzed Reduced Water with 10 drops of certified pure, therapeutic-grade lemon oil and 2 pinches of cayenne pepper first thing upon wakening on an empty stomach. 

Take a warm bath with Epsom salt added to soothe, relax and detox. 

Try your own ‘hydrotherapy’ in the shower by alternating hot and cold water. This stimulates circulation and your immune system. 

Opt for a “Fire and Ice” session. That is the use of an Infrared Sauna and Cryotherapy, either individually or together. Some studies have demonstrated that with the use of an Infrared Sauna, these sessions can contribute to health benefits, such as improvement in blood sugar and cholesterol levels.  And, some studies relating to the health benefits of Cryotherapy include reduction of inflammation and the stimulation of collagen.

If you are a wine enthusiast, my suggestion is to investigate natural wines because of their benefits. These benefits include low sugar/carb content (keto- and paleo-friendly), lower sulfites, mold-free, no industrial additives, dry farmed (no irrigation), lower alcohol content, naturally or biodynamically farmed and wild native yeast used. 

Make an alkaline broth. This is a great way to add vegetables to your program.

Conclusion

The lifestyle implications of a poor diet and water intake, lack of exercise, smoking, lack of sleep, and alcohol or drug use cannot simply be flushed or purged away.  Honor your body and give it appropriate needs, like a gentle and supportive physician-directed metabolic detoxification program; and it will heal itself. 

For more information on these tips and other resources, contact me at www.AskiDrKaren.com 

DISCLAIMER: All of the information found in this article is based on the opinion of the author Karen M. Pendleton, M.D.  The information is meant to motivate readers to make their own health decisions after consulting with their own health care providers.  All readers should consult a doctor before making a health change, especially those that are related to a specific diagnosis or health condition.  No information in this article should be relied on in determining a diet, making a medical diagnosis or determining a treatment for a medical condition. The information in this article is not intended to replace a relationship with a qualified healthcare practitioner and is not intended as medical advice. No information in this article should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

Many of you may now have resolved to finally get serious about your health. Starting today… But first need to cleanse yourself, eliminating last year’s / last decade’s lifestyle and dietary faux pas. I dare to say that you’ve seen the ads and the social media links, all suggesting you need a “detox”, “cleanse” or “flush” to be healthy. Supplements, teas, homeopathy, coffee enemas, ear candles, and footbaths promise you a detoxified body. Major retailers have entire detox and cleansing categories in supplements and books. Notable health and wellness figures have several detox plans — you just need to decide which one. Some local healthcare providers sell detoxification protocols, including vitamin drips and chelation. Even your local pharmacy probably has a wall of products for sale.

The descriptions all suggest detoxing will deliver a renewed body and better health.  Well, let’s get to the facts of detoxification aka “detox”.

What is Detoxification?

“Detox” is a legitimate medical term that has been turned into a marketing strategy.  Actual detoxification is provided in hospitals under life-threatening circumstances — usually when there are dangerous levels of drugs, alcohol, or other poisons in the body. 

Purification rituals date back to the earliest reaches of recorded history. The idea that we’re somehow poisoning ourselves and we need to atone for our sins seems to be a part of human nature, which may explain why it’s still a part of most of the world’s religions. However, it’s not the stench or perhaps sin that we’re as worried about today.  As our knowledge of biology grew, these fears manifested as “autointoxication.” The belief became focused on cleaning out the bowels, thus you could cure any illness. Today’s version of autointoxication argues that some combination of food additives, sugar, salt, meat, fluoride, prescription drugs, smog, vaccine ingredients, GMOs, and perhaps last night’s bottle of wine are causing a buildup of “toxins” in the body. And don’t forget gluten, the new evil. 

How is Detoxification accomplished?

Your body’s detoxification pathways occur in a two-stage process (Phase 1 and Phase 2) of metabolism, along with a final stage of transport (Phase 3). Phase one metabolism involves the reduction or hydrolysis of the compound (usually caused by the addition of an oxygen molecule). 

Phase two involves conjugation reactions that attach charged hydrophilic (water-loving) molecular entities to reactive metabolites, thus facilitating the elimination through urine or bile.

Phase 3 detoxification involves the elimination of toxins from cells. And, this phase also requires your small intestines to be functioning properly.

The skin, kidneys, lymphatic system, our gastrointestinal system, and most importantly, the liver make up our astoundingly complex and sophisticated intrinsic detoxification system.

When should Detoxification occur?

The answer to the timing of a physician-directed detox is based on the individual’s baseline health status. A comprehensive wellness evaluation is typically my approach before making recommendations on the need and the frequency of a program.

Why Detoxification?

If one gets into unorthodox detox treatments, i.e., coffee enemas and/or chelation, there is the potential for harm.  Thus, the goal of any physician-directed program is to gently and slowly support the process of metabolic detoxification. We live in an ever-increasing toxic environment. Many of the toxins also known as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), are abundant in the environment today and did not exist 30 years ago. These new toxins include certain pesticides, herbicides and industrial chemicals that can enter the body through food, water and air supplies. These toxins over time can negatively impact health, vitality and overall wellness; and may contribute to the development of chronic disease. A physician-directed detoxification program should be simple to complete, effective in the outcome and without concern for safety. 

Living a Detox Lifestyle 

Detoxification is a continuous physiologic process that your body depends on for survival. There are complex cellular detoxification mechanisms that are constantly at work for you all day, every day, keeping you healthy in the face of a virtually constant barrage of toxic material. Here are some suggestions that will keep your body’s toxic burden low and your detox mechanisms working for the long haul.

Plastics can leach out hormone disruptors…

Never heat food in plastic containers, as this process releases harmful chemicals that can seep into your food. Use glass or ceramic instead. The same holds true for drinking water. Use glass or stainless steel.  Remember the best water to drink is Electrolyzed Reduced Water. Review my article in the Sept/Oct issue of Lola Magazine, Water, the Incredible Life Force…Not All Water Is Created Equal 

To aid in lymphatic drainage…

Use a dry, natural fiber shower brush or loofah to massage your entire body before you shower or bathe. Start at the toes and gently scrub, using circular motions towards your heart. 

Limit or eliminate the use of the microwave oven…

Although the convenience of microwaves is indisputable, this method of heating can disrupt chemical linkages in otherwise healthy foods and can decrease their nutritional value. Heat on the stovetop or in an oven whenever possible. Avoid Teflon and synthetic non-stick coating. 

My favorite cooking resources include the Instant Pot and Saladmaster cookware.

This cookware is constructed of 316Ti stainless steel, a premium material that is non-reactive to the acids and enzymes in your food. This, combined with the cooking method, protects the purity and flavor of the ingredients, rendering healthier, more nutritious, flavorful food, every time you cook.

Exercise, need I say more…

One of the best ways to increase your metabolic activity is to simply use your body. Daily exercise has innumerable benefits including building lean muscle mass, which helps burn more calories at rest. Consider jumping on a mini trampoline for 3 to 5 minutes a day to boost your health and wellness. Sweating also releases toxins.

Fun and Easy Tips for Enhancing Detoxification

Drink one cup of hot Electrolyzed Reduced Water with 10 drops of certified pure, therapeutic-grade lemon oil and 2 pinches of cayenne pepper first thing upon wakening on an empty stomach. 

Take a warm bath with Epsom salt added to soothe, relax and detox. 

Try your own ‘hydrotherapy’ in the shower by alternating hot and cold water. This stimulates circulation and your immune system. 

Opt for a “Fire and Ice” session. That is the use of an Infrared Sauna and Cryotherapy, either individually or together. Some studies have demonstrated that with the use of an Infrared Sauna, these sessions can contribute to health benefits, such as improvement in blood sugar and cholesterol levels.  And, some studies relating to the health benefits of Cryotherapy include reduction of inflammation and the stimulation of collagen.

If you are a wine enthusiast, my suggestion is to investigate natural wines because of their benefits. These benefits include low sugar/carb content (keto- and paleo-friendly), lower sulfites, mold-free, no industrial additives, dry farmed (no irrigation), lower alcohol content, naturally or biodynamically farmed and wild native yeast used. 

Make an alkaline broth. This is a great way to add vegetables to your program.

Conclusion

The lifestyle implications of a poor diet and water intake, lack of exercise, smoking, lack of sleep, and alcohol or drug use cannot simply be flushed or purged away.  Honor your body and give it appropriate needs, like a gentle and supportive physician-directed metabolic detoxification program; and it will heal itself. 

For more information on these tips and other resources, contact me at www.AskiDrKaren.com 

DISCLAIMER: All of the information found in this article is based on the opinion of the author Karen M. Pendleton, M.D.  The information is meant to motivate readers to make their own health decisions after consulting with their own health care providers.  All readers should consult a doctor before making a health change, especially those that are related to a specific diagnosis or health condition.  No information in this article should be relied on in determining a diet, making a medical diagnosis or determining a treatment for a medical condition. The information in this article is not intended to replace a relationship with a qualified healthcare practitioner and is not intended as medical advice. No information in this article should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.