What Does it Mean to Detox

2/22/17

What Does it Mean to Detox, You Ask?
Written by Leslie Burgess ND, Naturopathic Doctor, Calm Spirit Acupuncture and Massage

In your everyday life you constantly hear to detox your body with this drink, detox with this exercise regimen, detox with theses essential oils, eat these berries for detox and on and on.

Detoxification is the act of removing toxic substances from the body.

Where are these toxic substances coming from you might ask?
The correct response is from your everyday encounters. These substances are coming from byproducts of your food, byproducts of the environment, and from everyday physiological responses to stressful situations. These substances are toxic because they negatively affect cellular health. These toxins may be shaped similarly to a healthy substance that normally fits into a specifically shaped receptor like a key into a lock. If these toxic substances take the healthy substance’s place in the lock it is possible that an unwanted action will be initiated. These toxic substances may induce cell death or extend cell life longer than appropriate. They may damage our red blood cells or create havoc in our blood streams and they will likely slow down organ function as the toxic substances are broken down.

So how do we accelerate the removal of these substances?
To some degree we can prevent the encounter of toxic substances by choosing to eat organic foods, increasing our vegetable and berry intake, choosing not to run behind a bus and instead running in an open space- you get the idea. However, we would almost certainly drive ourselves mad trying to avoid every toxic substance so we opt to decrease our total load of exposure and then concentrate on how to rid our body of the rest. One of the ways in which we help our body rid toxins is by increasing the function of our organs responsible for detoxification. The skin is one of these organs. We can help our skin by performing activities that increase sweating and drink enough fluid to stay hydrated. We can further improve the skin process of detoxification by using special clay applications that improve the extraction of these toxins. The liver is another organ highly responsible for processing these toxins. The liver can be aided in this endeavor by certain foods, herbs, and refraining from excessive alcohol consumption and acetaminophen use among other medications. The lungs and kidneys are 2 more organs in need of support.

Both preventing encounters with toxins and making an effort to detox the body are preventative measures used to decrease potential damage to organs and keep the body healthy so that it can be prepared if a pathogen or other destructive process comes its way. It is the beginning of another year and there is no time like the present to take care of yourself.

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