Detoxification – Common Myths and Misunderstandings

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Body detoxification carries around a reputation that it’s a quick fix, all waste gets removed from your body, and everything starts to function optimally again.

Unfortunately, just as with many things that are health-related, detoxification is gradual and dependent on a number of lifestyle factors to be truly effective.

With CentreSpringMD’s integrative medicine practitioners guiding patients through long-term detoxification, understand what this treatment is – and isn’t.

What is Body Detoxification?

Multiple factors, both internal and external, can cause our bodies to operate less efficiently – and this includes how it manages and eliminates waste. These include environmental exposures, the long-term effects of poor diet, and stress, among others. In turn, toxins begin to accumulate in your body, as the liver’s filtration function isn’t as strong as it used to be. These substances start to settle in the glands, organs, and other tissues: Their presence can elevate disease risks, torpedo your energy levels and start to impact your gut health.

Body detoxification focuses on restoring the functionality of the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, blood, and lymphatic system so that they efficiently remove waste and prevent toxins from lingering inside your body. Through the delivery of targeted nutrients, this process enhances your immune system’s defenses.

To understand what body detoxification is, let’s start with how its systems work. The liver and kidneys function as filtration to remove toxins and waste without any assistance and help remove older red blood cells. Detoxification ultimately aids these processes by:

  • Eliminating or greatly reducing the number of sugars, simple carbohydrates and saturated fats you consume.
  • Helping your body more gradually get rid of waste and any toxic substances that the tissues may be holding onto.
  • Steering you toward chemical- and pesticide-free foods to halt the accumulation of toxins.
  • Temporarily and then periodically increasing nutrients from certain foods that aid the body’s natural processes in removing waste.

What detoxification isn’t is a juice cleanse, a physical or dietary flush, or a treatment causing you to sweat it all out. Rather, the process rooted in Ayurvedic medicine that our team recommends includes:

  • Neutralizing existing toxins, causing them to detach from the fat cells to which they’re bound and increase their water solubility.
  • Utilizing enzymes to push these accumulated toxins through the kidneys or digestive tract so that they’re eliminated from the body.

From here, the detoxification process doesn’t stop. Instead, daily maintenance involves relieving the digestive system and cleansing the colon. Collectively, these factors reduce your risks for brain fog, insomnia, and low energy, elevate your mood, help you control your weight, improve skin quality and joint flexibility, and can help manage select food allergies or intolerances.

Common Detoxing Myths

Your Body Needs Assistance to Detox

The reality is that your body is built to remove toxic substances, which are secreted in the form of waste after being broken down in your intestines. This process helps get rid of endotoxins, like urea, and exotoxins, like chemicals from the world we live in, pollution, and other environmental exposures.

Lifestyle factors – for instance, regularly consuming sugary, high-fat foods or significant amounts of alcohol – can disrupt this process. Natural or holistic detoxification, rather than the many quick fixes advertised, helps you lessen, if not eliminate, these habits and make dietary and other lifestyle choices that enhance and restore how your body’s natural elimination system works.

Detoxification Can Restore Your Health

You’ve likely seen advertisements for teas, juice cleanses, and sauna-like treatments that promise to fully restore your health.

Yet, while natural detoxification can optimize how your liver and kidneys remove waste, it’s not a cure-all for all conditions and illnesses. Instead:

  • A lifetime of consuming alcohol and fried foods will be reflected in your liver, increasing your risk for fatty liver disease. Decreasing these habits helps lower your risks.
  • While detoxing can help eliminate waste, it won’t help you quickly shed pounds. Instead, these techniques can help you manage your weight long-term.
  • While detoxification can help your body decrease inflammation and improve digestion and immune response, functional medicine focuses on holistic health – that is, adapting all lifestyle habits to optimize your well-being.

All Detoxification Diets are the Same

Unfortunately, many detoxification diets are gimmicky, promising quick results and a return to a life of sleeping fewer than eight hours per day and consuming high amounts of alcohol, sugar, and carbohydrates. Detoxification, in the context of improving liver and kidney health, ends up influencing what you eat long-term, with greater emphasis placed on organic produce and lean proteins.

Common detoxing schemes, which often promise to flush the body or help you lose weight quickly, include:

  • Fasting, including water- or juice-only fasts or restrictive liquid-only combinations like the lemonade diet.
  • Unbalanced diets where you’re cutting out entire food groups – for instance, all carbohydrates.
  • Diet teas.
  • Detoxing supplements and powdered green juices.
  • Enemas and colon cleanses.
  • Sweating it out.
  • Patches, baths, or wraps for drawing out toxins from the skin.

These short-term detoxes can:

  • Contribute to severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies through their restrictiveness.
  • Cause an electrolyte imbalance.
  • Trigger gastrointestinal issues, fatigue, or brain fog.
  • Impact brain function and muscle health by not supplying the body with enough protein.
  • Can be toxic to your body, causing unwanted substances to build up in the liver.
  • Prevent your body from receiving sufficient fiber, causing you to feel hungry all the time, and push you to overeat once the detox period has passed.
  • Cause you to lose water weight and nothing else.

You Can Remove Toxins Through the Skin

While already hinted at, you can’t pull toxins through the skin or sweat them out. While skincare and some sauna treatments promise this, toxins accumulating in your body are expelled through its natural waste management system.

For any type of patch promising this, realize that the grime you notice upon removal is simply what’s in your pores already, including dirt, oil, and sebum.

Body Detoxification Can Cause You to Lose Significant Quantities of Weight

This is partially true, in that the habits you develop from long-term natural detoxification can help manage your weight. What detoxification won’t do is:

  • Cause you to drop a large portion of your body weight in a short amount of time – any difference you immediately notice is often due to water weight.
  • Keep the pounds off, especially once you return to old habits.

Detoxification is Once-and-Done

Instead, after going through the detoxification process, maintenance through limiting alcohol and sugary, fatty or fried foods and adding more fiber-rich, leafy green vegetables to your diet helps optimize liver and kidney functioning.

Get Assistance With Body Detoxification

Concerned that your liver and kidneys aren’t operating as they should be? Turn to CentreSpringMD. We’re a holistic primary care practitioner specializing in integrative family medicine and wellness. Interested in learning more? Contact us today to set up a virtual appointment.



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