American culture prizes speed. Think fast food, instant coffee, microwave cooking. But as you’ve probably noticed from these examples, the fast way is not always the best way.
This is particularly true when detoxifying the body.
Yes, health-robbing pollutants—like pesticides, heavy metals and industrial chemicals— can accumulate in your body faster than your natural detox systems can remove them. And yes, you should taking effective steps to protect your health against these harmful pollutants.
However, rapid detox programs, like rapid weight loss, are often not effective… and can seriously derail your hard-won health gains.
That’s because aggressive “quick fix” detox programs can trigger the release of a bunch of toxins all at once from wherever your body was storing them— for example, in fat cells. Suddenly, your systems become overwhelmed with high levels of circulating toxins that can wreak havoc on cells, tissues and organs.
Proceed with Caution: Avoiding Common Detox Pitfalls
The goal of a detox program is to feel better, improve your vitality and resilience—and thrive. A successful cleanse helps reset your health to a higher baseline, and as a result, can deliver an abundance of noticeable benefits:
• Increased energy
• Less inflammation
• Improved digestion
• Upgrades to your immune system
• Faster metabolism
• Elevated mood and cognitive function
• Improvements in skin
• Less aches and pains
• and many others…
But without the right support, you can end up feeling worse. This is because many hard-hitting detox methods such as fasting, colonics, strong herbal formulas, or radical dietary changes can cause what’s often referred to as a “detox crisis” or a “healing crisis.” Symptoms include severe headaches, fatigue, brain fog, constipation and digestive issues, insomnia, flu-like symptoms and other problems.
These side effects can be so uncomfortable, they often make people stop their detox program in its tracks. But that’s another mistake. Once you’ve released numerous toxins into the blood stream, they need to be eliminated completely, or you risk redistributing them to more vulnerable areas in your body—like your brain.
The good news is, there are proven natural strategies to prevent this toxin release overload, which I’ll discuss below.
Bottom line: A detox crisis is not a normal or healthy part of successful detoxification. While some people believe that uncomfortable reactions are evidence of a detox program beginning to work, I disagree.
You shouldn’t have to feel terrible before you can feel great.
Uncomfortable detox symptoms mean that you’re moving too fast. It took a long time for the body to accumulate toxins, and likewise, it will take time to gradually clean them out. Most importantly, you need to provide your body with the right ingredients—safe and gentle yet effective detox binders and nutrients that support thorough elimination of toxins, while helping to restore health to damaged areas.
Detox Phases and Stages: A Step by Step Approach
In my practice, I often approach detoxification as a two-part process. In the first stage, you work to cleanse your circulation system and GI tract, using a detox diet and evidence-based natural detox agents and binders. By cleansing the digestive tract and circulation first, you prepare your body for more in depth detoxification.
Then comes the second, more in-depth detox stage, where you help your organs and tissues release heavy metals and toxins that have been stored. In this second stage, you also enhance the natural detox functions of your liver, kidneys and other organs of elimination with targeted herbs, antioxidants and nutrients.
Stage 1: Nourish Your Body, Clear the Pathways
The first stage of detoxification starts with a nourishing, cleansing detox diet. Drastic cleansing diets such as juice fasts are a common pitfall with detox programs, because they generally don’t provide enough calories or nutrition to energize the body’s detoxification systems. The complex process of removing toxins and repairing damaged tissues requires a lot of energy from high quality nutrition. Remember, the idea is to improve health, not impair it. Don’t fast or starve yourself for extended periods; instead, emphasize nutrient-dense whole foods such as organic whole fruits, vegetables and high quality protein.
Another detox pitfall is dehydration. This isn’t unique to detox programs; many of us are chronically dehydrated. But the issue is emphasized during detox because we need enough fluid in our bodies to flush out toxins. Again, inadequate hydration during detox puts us at a half-way point, where toxins may have been pulled out of organs, but they’re not flushed out of the body entirely.
Don’t forget regular exercise. Improved circulation and oxygenation are critical aspects of a successful detox program, to move toxins out and nourish cells, tissues and organs.
Stage 1 Detox Supplements
In addition to gradually incorporating a cleansing diet, there are several natural detox ingredients that have been proven to remove heavy metals and toxins from the digestive and circulatory systems. One of my top recommendations for intensive detox is a blend of modified citrus pectin (MCP) from citrus peels and alginates from seaweed.
Modified Citrus Pectin
A specialized form of citrus pectin, the researched form of Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) is unique in its ability to absorb into the circulation where it binds to heavy metals and toxins, as well as the inflammatory protein, Galectin-3.
MCP’s singular ability to block Galectin-3 is critical for preventing and reversing our most serious diseases. Binding and blocking Galectin-3 is becoming recognized as a leading strategy for reversing inflammation and fibrosis (uncontrolled scar tissue build up) in organs and tissues and is proving successful in the treatment of heart disease, kidney and liver failure, neurodegeneration, dementia and much more. With proven detoxification and tissue repair mechanisms, as well as powerful protective benefits against inflammatory conditions, MCP is a leading ingredient for daily detoxification and long-term health.
Alginates, purified from brown kelp are also key ingredients for eliminating heavy metals and radioactive ions from the GI tract. Alginates are a critical strategy for successful detoxification because they prevent toxins from being reabsorbed through the intestines. In my practice for intensive detox, I recommend a heavy metal and environmental toxin removal formula that combines MCP with alginates, and is clinically shown to remove heavy metals from the body without leaching essential minerals.
I also recommend medicinal mushrooms, such as Reishi, Cordyceps, Agaricus, Umbellatus, Coriolus, Maitake and others. Mushrooms have an interesting relationship with toxins, since they work to absorb them. Because of this feature, it’s important to choose mushrooms that are organically grown in a controlled environment. I recommend a formula containing these six varieties, specially cultivated on a blend of immune-enhancing herbs for additional benefits.
Pesticide and Mold Toxin Removal
The last supplement I recommend for foundational detox, is a natural binding formula that helps remove pesticides as well as environmental toxins like mycotoxins from mold. This gentle formula contains an expert blend of natural binders and detoxifiers:
- Organic Icelandic kelp
- Unmodified Citrus Pectin
- Sodium Alginates
It’s specifically formulated for daily protection against harmful pesticides like glyphosate as well as other environmental toxins, by helping to remove these toxins and prevent them from being stored in organs and tissues. The formula also provides critical support for digestive health, helping to address digestive permeability (aka “leaky gut”) while nourishing beneficial bacteria.
Second Stage Supplements: Support Your Detox Organs
First stage detoxification using a cleansing diet and preliminary supplements ideally lasts for 2-4 weeks. At this point you’ve built a foundation for gentle, total body detox and you can now add more targeted supplements to your program.
This second, in-depth detox phase can last several weeks to months, depending on your individual health goals. In this phase, you address deeply stored toxins with additional detox support for the kidneys, liver, gallbladder and other detox organs.
Total-Body Detox Formula
A variety of natural detox ingredients offer powerful support for detoxification of the liver, gallbladder and kidneys and other organs and systems. My top recommendations include N-acetylcysteine (NAC), methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and alpha lipoic acid, as well as herbs such as dandelion, milk thistle, garlic, burdock, cilantro, fenugreek, astragalus and ginseng.
These natural detoxifiers help remove deeply stored toxins, enhance the functions of your detox organs, and provide nutritional support for vital energy and antioxidant protection. For broad-spectrum detox support, these ingredients can be taken together in a comprehensive, total-body formula for gradual cleansing and repair of organs and tissues.
There are many approaches to successful detox, but they all share one common theme: Move slowly, using evidence-based strategies. While there are a variety of products that claim complete detoxification after three or even seven days, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
On the other hand, if you proceed gently and mindfully, you can optimize your own detoxification systems to work FOR you, not against. As a result, you can gradually rid yourself of the burden of heavy metals, pesticides and other toxins gently, without the stress of a detox crisis.
The end results are worth the wait: Greater energy, vitality, and optimal Thrive potential.
You’ll be glad you took your time.