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Posted Oct 22 2008 4:24pm
Detoxification seems to be a buzzword today -- it seems like everybody is detoxifying or wanting to. What does this mean? How does it work? And above all, how can it benefit you?

Simply put, detoxification is the removal of toxic substances from our bodies. Toxic substances can get into our bodies in a variety of ways -- from the air we breathe that is polluted; in our food that is often filled with preservatives; and in the water we drink that may be chlorinated or fluoridated. If you work in a toxic environment such as an auto body shop, with oil paints, or in an industry where there are heavy metals for example, then these are also sources of toxic substances such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury and aluminum. Mercury can also be present in vaccination products, although they are being removed gradually. Pesticides are another source of toxins that are stored for long periods of time in our fat tissue. Obviously there are many ways in which we can slowly poison ourselves.

The body has a variety of ways of removing toxins:

Toxins may be excreted through our skin from the subcutaneous fat that lies just underneath. This is why saunas and steam rooms are helpful in detoxification. Exercise which makes us perspire is also a way of detoxifying. Massage and lymphatic drainage are also significant ways of helping us detoxify through our skin and the lymph system.
Our lungs also help to expel toxins -- every time we breathe in and out in fact, we are not only taking in toxins but also breathing them out.
Toxins are also removed through the urinary tract system, but they must be in soluble form before they can be removed by this method. Making toxins soluble is the job of the liver, and a healthy liver is crucial to efficient detoxification through the kidneys. Alcohol ingestion and certain drugs can severely affect the ability of your liver to detoxify properly.
The fourth way of removing toxins is through the bowel. A healthy bowel requires a healthy diet and a healthy immune system. Eighty percent of the immune system is located around the intestinal tract for very good reason. The intestine is where a decision gets made by your body about whether a substance is friend or foe -- nutrient or toxin. This decision cannot be made effectively if the bowel wall is damaged, thin, or lacks certain immune substances that recognize foreign invaders.

Detoxification is a complex ongoing process. The higher the toxic load from our environment (food, air, and water), the more strain on the system of detoxification. This external load has clearly become very significant since the Industrial Revolution, and the poisoning of our environment in the latter part of the 20th century, that continues to this day. In addition we take in less nutrients through our processed foods, as well as more toxins through additives and colours in those same foods.

I am going to write in more detail about detoxification in future articles, particularly about how you can increase detoxification through various approaches. In the meantime here are some simple ways to help you detoxify on an ongoing basis in your daily life:

Eat natural, whole, healthy foods whenever you can
Exercise three or four times a week to perspiration level
Drink plenty of good, clear, clean water
Have a massage occasionally on a regular basis
Eat plenty of fibre in your diet from fresh fruits whole grains, and vegetables
if you work in a polluted environment take precautions to prevent inhalation of toxic substances when you can.

© Edward Leyton MD 2007
© Accessing Resources for Empowerment™ 2007
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