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Reducing my body’s toxic burden has been, hands down, one of the best things I have ever done for my health. My first hints that I was dealing with toxins surfaced in my late teens and early 20’s. I would gain large amounts of weight in short amounts of time and couldn’t lose it, despite the fact that I was eating salad for virtually every meal. Because I had a small frame, most doctors didn’t think anything of it. During college, I ended up losing a significant amount of weight from an illness I picked up while traveling abroad that interfered with my ability to eat. When I graduated, I weighed 117 lb. The year following my graduation, I gained about 30 lb. It was not the numbers on the scale that mattered- it was how rapidly and inexplicably I was gaining weight. The year following my graduation, my Rheumatologist had placed me on a heavy metal detox. It turned out that I was not effectively excreting the heavy metals from my body and they ended up re-distributing in fat cells. They also stirred up inflammation that caused my body to retain weight. To this day, when I see a patient with stubborn weight loss, I look for environmental toxins.

Other conditions that prompt me to assess for toxins are:

Extreme Fatigue

Hormone Imbalances


Sleep Disturbances

Mental health Conditions

Neurological Conditions

Severe Skin Complaints

Any condition that is resistant to treatment

Must Do Before Testing

Although it is tempting to jump straight into a detox, detoxification is something that should be handled with caution. If toxins are not properly extracted from tissues and eliminated from the body, they can be redistributed to tissues and make symptoms worse.

Toxins can also cross the blood brain barrier if inflammation has disrupted its integrity, as is often the case in someone who has a toxin load. This makes the potential for redistribution more dangerous, since toxins can create neurological symptoms in the brain. To make sure you are detoxifying safely, it is essential to use the appropriate detoxifying and binding agents, which will be discussed later. It is also important that detoxification pathways are functioning optimally.

Your body detoxifies through respiration and perspiration, defecation and urination, and the movement of lymph fluid. Here are the steps you need to take to support healthy detoxification pathways:

Support Flow of Lymph: Lymph purifies tissues of toxins and dumps those toxins into

the bloodstream to be processed by the kidney. In order to remove toxins from cells,

adequate nutrient status is essential. Supporting the flow of lymph fluid through movement, dry brushing, and vibration is also important in allowing toxins collected from tissues to reach the liver.

Support Liver Health: Once heavy metals are handed off to the liver, they undergo a series of chemical reactions that prepare them for excretion. Ensuring that nutrients and amino acids required to complete these reactions are present is also an important preparatory step of detox. Some individuals have genetic variants that compromise their ability to efficiently do this, making liver support even more important. Others may have a liver that is backed up with processing an excess of dietary fat, hormones, or prescription drugs, which can also impact detoxification of heavy metals. Supporting the liver can be achieved by: providing the nutrients that support its detox pathways, using herbs and natural products that optimize liver function, and addressing your personal obstacles to liver detoxification.

Ensure Gut Health: Once toxins are excreted into stool, they exist in the colon until the stool is passed. Disruptions of gut health, whether from dysbiosis, inflammation, or changes in bile composition, create intestinal permeability. This means the lining of the gut becomes “leaky” allowing toxins to be reabsorbed instead of eliminated. If you start a detox before ensuring gut health has been addressed, you will simply reabsorb toxins. Because heavy metals can impair digestive functions, you may not achieve full gut recovery until after detoxification but gut health should still be addressed in some capacity before beginning a detox.

Ensure Kidney Health: Heavy metals are also excreted through urine so ensuring kidneys are healthy is essential prior to starting a detox. The health of your kidneys can be checked with a simple blood test. It is also important to drink plenty of water while detoxifying to help flush toxins out in urine.

Support Perspiration: Sweating is a common therapeutic tool used to help rid the body

of toxins. Sweating is usually achieved via exercise or sauna. Some people with chronic

illness have difficulty sweating so if this applies to you, it is important to detoxify more slowly.

Support Respiration: Exercise is a great way to help with detoxification because it increases respiration. When you stimulate your breathing processes, you bring in fresh oxygen which stimulates cellular processes of “clean up.” The level of exercise which you need to support detoxification is an individual decision to be made with your healthcare provider, as intense exercise can be difficult and contraindicated in the presence of certain chronic conditions.

Don't Try This At Home

Want to know something that makes me cringe? Social media posts telling you that you can detox with a juice, or a pill, or a handful of cilantro. While all of those things have their place in detoxification, they more often than not stir up toxins and redistribute them, without effectively eliminating them from the body. To make sure you are effectively detoxing, make sure you:

-to identify the specific toxins you want to eliminate

-Identify and treat any health conditions that would inhibit your ability to optimally detoxify

-Support detoxification pathways

-Select the correct agent to pull your target toxin from tissues

-Use the correct binders to support excretion of target toxin from the body

-Create a treatment protocol that includes rest, reduction of inflammation, and nutrient repletion

Detox Plan
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