At NaturoMedica, we are all about celebrations. We love celebrating family, friends, health, gratitude and blessings. Health is our greatest wealth! However, post celebration, we need to show our bodies some gratitude and love. It is always difficult to navigate social gatherings, parties and travel around the holidays including the various cuisine and beverages in which we often over-indulge. During the holidays, many of us overconsume highly processed foods as our carbohydrate intake can easily double or triple. Many of our indulgences can lead to unwanted diet-induced inflammation, depression, migraines, insomnia and immune issues. Periodic deep cleansing is not only a great way to lose weight but to restore optimal health. We clean our cars, our homes and even our pets. Yet, many of us do not even think about cleansing our body and internal organs.
Committing to a detoxification program can allow our bodies to take a break. Many people complain of feeling tired or hungry during detoxification or with a major dietary change. Interestingly enough, recent research revealed that when people have been consuming large amounts of fatty or sugary foods over a long period of time and then immediately eliminating all of those foods from their diet, they may experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those experienced by someone who is withdrawing from drug abuse. Such a rapid change of diet may actually cause the individual to resume eating the unhealthy foods even more as they seek the pleasurable feeling associated with eating those foods. Changing our diets from one that is high in fat and sugar to a healthier diet rich in vitamins and minerals is obviously encouraged, yet research concludes that individuals should be careful while transitioning to a healthier diet.
The good news? It's possible to minimize the withdrawal effects associated with trying to clean up your diet by slowly transitioning out of unhealthy eating habits. The focus should be on lifestyle factors such as sleep and exercise while supporting the body’s detoxification pathways during this transition period. Fortunately, there are many naturopathic approaches to help optimize detoxification and lighten the burden toxic load places on our body. Five of the most important components of a good cleanse include:
Water is essential for adequately hydrating cells and ensuring a successful cleanse. Rehydration is key. Water supports one of the main organs of detoxification – the kidneys, while supporting intracellular communication and removing toxins. Water also plays a crucial role in disease prevention. In a study conducted at the Centre for Human Nutrition at the University of Sheffield, England, researchers concluded that women who stay adequately hydrated reduce their risk of breast cancer by 79 percent. Another study, done at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, found that women who drink more than five glasses of water a day have a 45 percent reduced risk of colon cancer compared with women who drink two or fewer glasses of water a day.
We recommend that you drink approximately ½ of your body weight in ounces of water per day during cleanse period preferably filtered through an absolute 1 micron water filter or by reverse osmosis for the best purity. For example: a 150 lb person would drink approximately 75 ounces of water per day.
Exercise is not only beneficial to help control weight and combat a multitude of health problems; it can also assist in detoxification pathways. Studies have shown it can boost neurotransmitters, immune cells, increase metabolism/energy levels and promote sleep. Maintaining or establishing a “mild” cardio exercise routine during detoxification is essential. A brisk walk reaching 10,000 steps or mini cardio workouts are standard recommendations during a cleanse. However, difficult or strenuous cardio exercise is not advised as it can inhibit detoxification pathways.
Sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being. As suggested by numerous studies, not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can negatively impact many different components of health, including increasing a person’s risk of developing certain diseases. The National Sleep Foundation provides the following updated sleep recommendations:
- Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours sleep per night
- Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours sleep per night
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours sleep per night
- Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours sleep per night
- School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours sleep per night
- Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours sleep per night
- Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours sleep per night
- Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours sleep per night
- Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours sleep per night
An important aspect of a good cleanse is the elimination of certain foods from your diet that are commonly seen as allergens or sensitivities. These foods may interfere with your body’s natural detoxification processes and organs of elimination such as the liver, kidneys or colon. Focus on good, whole foods, such as fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables and quality sources of protein, while eliminating those foods that could be keeping you from looking and feeling your best. To the best of your ability, try to select locally grown, organic produce, non-GMO, grass-fed, free-range protein sources, and wild fish from cold, deep waters.
Supplements or Protocols for Detoxification Support:
Naturopathic physicians often recommend detoxification protocols and supplements to support the entire body during a cleanse for a comprehensive and safe approach. There are multiple systems and organs involved in detoxification pathways and it is important to address the whole body. This season, we are pleased to present the Detox Renewal Kit by Xymogen. This detoxification kit is a comprehensive approach which extends beyond supporting the liver in phases I and II of detoxification but supports multiple systems such as digestion, gastrointestinal health including bowel regularity, antioxidants, immune cells, and other critical activities involved in detoxification and metabolism.
The Detox Renewal Kit is designed to renew and enhance the body’s cleansing and detoxification capabilities. It combines four specially selected formulations: ColonX™, Drainage™, ProbioMax™ Daily DF, and OptiCleanse™ GHI by Xymogen. When taken together, as recommended within the 6 Day Detox Guide, these complementary formulas work in concert to encourage the various detox-linked systems and organs of the body to process and eliminate waste and toxins. The kit and diet guide is excellent at eliminating toxic accumulations that can occur from external sources, such as pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides and from internal sources, such as stress and inadequate nutrition, which leads to undesirable changes in metabolic function.
ProbioMax Daily DF is a vegetarian, dairy and gluten-free, four-strain probiotic totaling 30 billion CFU† per capsule. Probiotics may help reduce toxin production in the intestines and they also help directly to eliminate toxins. Certain gut microbiota, such as lactobacilli, can bind and sequester heavy metals, which can result in eventual removal of the metals through bowel movements. In general, probiotics can help to establish populations of good bacteria after disruption in balance which may promote regular, daily bowel movements.
Opticleanse GHI a comprehensive, fructose-free, low-allergy-potential dietary supplement designed to support GI function and balanced detoxification. This formula supports not only Phase I and II of liver detoxification pathways, but delivers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support, provides micro and macronutrients to the entire body, and may boost healthy immune cells.
ColonX is designed to support GI regularity and complement dietary fiber intake. How well our bodies assimilates metabolic fuel and eliminates metabolic waste determines health at the cellular level. This may promote daily or regular bowel movements as well.
Drainage combines homeopathic “drainers” with homeopathic remedies that support excretory function and address symptoms of toxicity.
While other detoxification kits that are found in the marketplace focus simply on liver detoxification, the 6-Day Detox Renewal Kit extends far beyond the liver. Of course, supporting phase I and phase II liver detoxification pathways and antioxidant activity, as accomplished by OptiCleanse GHI, is critical; but there are multiple systems and organs involved in detoxification. For this reason, a detox program cannot be truly comprehensive without addressing the whole body. The kit includes a comprehensive biotransformation program with detailed dietary, lifestyle, shaker cup and nutritional supplement recommendations as outlined above to complement the liver’s detoxifying functions but also other organ systems for the duration of the protocol. The Detox Renewal Kit can be used either as a 6-day kit or a month-long kit, depending on how you use it. For example, the support products in the kit last for a month and the cleanse powder lasts for 1-2 weeks, depending on number of shakes. One option for longer detoxification, consider purchasing one extra Opticleanse GHI powder to extend your cleanse to last around one month or for a future “maintenance” detox.