Our bodies have an incredible ability to help support us in our environments. A huge part of that is detoxification – the ability to eliminate wastes and toxins. Some of these systems we may think of often, like daily bowel movements, or liver function, and even sweating. But some aspects of detoxification we don’t always think of, like our lymph system, our kidneys, or our gallbladder. In addition, our modern world can feel overwhelmingly toxic. Things like environmental pollutants, household chemicals, and mold add toxic burden and our lifestyles often rob us of the ability to support healthy detoxification. In this blog post we will go over some of the basics of detoxification, with more details on separate detoxification systems in the weeks to come.
Bowel Function: When we take a deeper dive into detoxification, this is the first place to look. After all, most of our detoxification pathways end up directing waste into the bowel to be excreted. If you feel like you’re stuck in toxic overload, gut function is the best starting point. In fact, elimination 2-3 times daily can be an incredible way to support regular detoxification in the body. Increasing your amount of healthy whole-food fats and fibers can help with gut function significantly, and is a great place to focus on the journey towards a holistic detoxification practice.
Liver Detoxification: The liver is the body’s primary detoxification organ. It processes and filters out toxins from the bloodstream, breaking them down into water-soluble compounds that can be excreted. Substances like alcohol can impact the liver’s ability to support detoxification, while some foods and herbs can help support the liver. Those include cruciferous vegetables, dandelion tea and greens, and supplements like NAC.
Sweating: Put simply, sweat carries toxins away through the skin’s pores. When we sweat, our pores open to allow the excretion of metabolic wastes to leave the body, including heavy metals and other chemicals. It’s important to rinse off after sweating so that the body doesn’t re-absorb any toxins lost in the process. We recommend a good sweat 3-4 times a week for detox support.
Lymphatic System: The lymph system is one of the often-overlooked forms of detox support. Our lymph is a network of vessels that helps remove waste and toxins in tissues. Dry brushing and regular exercise are both great ways to help support lymph flow.
Kidney Function: Our kidneys help filter blood and eliminate toxins through urine. Drinking enough water (and electrolytes!) can help keep the body’s optimal fluid balance. In addition, the kidneys help regulate the proper amount of electrolytes, which are also essential in the metabolic processes of detoxification.
Gallbladder: Often overlooked, the gallbladder is an indirect support of detoxification. The gallbladder stores and releases bile, which is essential for the digestion and absorption of fats in the small intestine. The proper absorption of fats also allows for the proper absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals – like vitamin E – which serve as detoxification support. Additionally, some toxins and waste products are fat-soluble. Bile aids in the emulsification and breakdown of dietary fats, making it easier for the body to remove fat-soluble toxins from the body.
We know the topic of detoxification is deep and dense, and hope this serves as an introduction to all the ways our bodies help us do the important work of detoxification. In the coming weeks we will dive into each of the above categories a bit more thoroughly, and discuss ways that our lifestyles can support all of these important detoxification pathways. Book a visit with us today!