So let us look at those two areas first.
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What can cause toxic overload?
Each day we are exposed to many chemicals, possibly growing more by the year. As my colleague Shane wrote in a recent Clinicians article “mankind has created 80,000 new chemicals since the dawn of modern chemistry’. Scary thought!
Many professions make people more susceptible to becoming overloaded as they work with lots of chemicals such as printers, panel beaters and spray painters, or those who work in agriculture or gardening, boat builders, hair dressers etc. For the majority of us there are many things in and around our environment that can affect us, for example:
house hold sprays and cleaners
preservatives and additives in processed foods and drinks
Poor digestive health
Many people that I see become congested due to poor digestive health. The digestive system can become weakened by many factors such as stress, a diet high in processed foods and sugars, poor gut bacteria and food intolerances. These can lead to inflammation in the digestive system, which weakens the protective lining and allows things to go into the blood stream that shouldn’t be able to pass through. This is called leaky gut and is quite common in this day and age.
The result of this is that the liver has to clean the blood and has to work harder when there are many toxins. When it gets too much for the liver we may start to experience some of the signs of overload.
What are some of the signs that we are overloaded with toxins?
Skin conditions – When the liver can’t cope any extra toxins are pushed out into the lymphatic system and then affect the skin e.g. acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, dull skin
Low energy – Many people feel sluggish and tired all the time, but just put it down to old age.
Poor liver function – indigestion, increased intolerances to many kinds of food, poor tolerance to alcohol, bad hangovers, gas, bloating. Also constipation or lose bowels.
Hormonal issues – PMS (fluid retention, sore breasts, period pain, skin breakouts).
Muscle and joint aches and pains
Increased allergies and sensitivities
So how do you go about detoxing?
In the simplest terms you cut out the bad things and increase the good.
What can go wrong?
This is fine just to bring down the toxic load in your body and is great for people who don’t have too many health issues. However, for some people who are more toxic and have poor digestive health these small changes can causes a healing crisis, such as headaches and feeling generally rotten like you may be coming down with flu.
The trick is to get the digestive system and channels of elimination working properly first before you try and move anything from the body. Also for some people who may have had serious chemical exposure or who are suffering from severe symptoms it may be necessary to carry out tests to identify the toxins and how high the levels are. There are many laboratory tests that naturopaths can use to test heavy metals, for instance, from analysis of urine or hair.
Steps for carrying out a full detox
Stage 1: Remove
The aim of the first stage is to remove or dramatically reduce the level of dysbiotic (i.e. unnatural) bacteria, fungi and parasitic organisms that may be present in the gut. This stage is also aimed at removing waste and toxins being produced by these organisms.
It is also important at this stage to look at food intolerances. These can cause inflammation in the digestive system, which has sometimes led to the bacterial overgrowth and leaky gut mentioned. They also tend to affect bowel movements and having good channels of elimination is very important. You should have a bowel movement every day and when this does not happen the toxins can circulate and cause you to feel terrible. In my experience gluten is the number 1 culprit when it comes to constipation.
Stage 2: Renew
Once the load of dysbiotic organisms living in the digestive system has been reduced, the main aim is then to re-populate the patient's digestive system with beneficial (probiotic) bacteria and heal the lining of the digestive system.
Stage 3: Release
The final stage of detoxification is designed to enhance the capacity and function of the body's waste removal systems – predominantly the liver, gall bladder and kidneys. In this stage the focus is on increasing the release of toxins stored in the body, as well as increasing the release of bile to facilitate excretion of waste via the faeces.
If you'd like more information or feel you would benefit from a Detox please don't hesitate to call me on 021 819 064 or email me.
I run a full 6-week Detox programme using Metagenics supplements. I have tried this programme personally (and made my husband as well) and we both benefited enormously.
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