Detox” may have become a trendy buzzword, but it’s an absolutely necessary step you must add to your health regimen. If you ignore detox, you’re missing the boat and your health will suffer. Learn the signs you need a detox.With excessive toxin exposure and stress, our natural detox pathways can become compromised. In this article, I tell you how to clean up your liver and your body.
If you have a lack of energy, brain fog or are suffering from a chronic disease or condition, I guarantee you that toxin accumulation is contributing to the problem.
I learned about detox when I was planning my pregnancy many years ago. Reading the baby books, I was shocked by all the chemicals you had to remove from the baby’s environment and realized I was completely surrounded by chemicals in the air, food and water. This education as a scary wake up call and I realized the dire importance of removing toxins from your environment and from your body.
Anyone that thinks that detox is not important or bogus – ahem, the mainstream medical community – are not serving their patients or their own bodies. It is foolish to think that you can escape the 80,000 chemicals that we have in our environment unscathed. You must be thinking about detox on a daily basis. Allow me to explain how.
If you have 4 or more of these signs, you may have a congested liver that needs a vacation. How many of these signs you’ve seen in your body over the past 3 months?
2. Increased belly or visceral fat, weight loss resistance, edema/water retention
3. Cravings and/or blood sugar issues
4. Overheating/excess sweating
5. Acne, rosacea, itchy skin
6. Fatigue unrelieved by sleep
7. Moodiness or anger
9. Chemical sensitivity – smelling fragrances or chemicals makes you sick
10. Insomnia – especially waking between 2-4 a.m. That’s an angry, toxic
The body has a natural ability to detoxify toxins, such as heavy metals, but in today’s toxic world, this natural ability is severely compromised. Overexposure to toxins and high stress levels result in weakened digestive/detox function allowing toxins to find their way into the fat cells and brain tissue. (4)
No matter how hard you try to minimize your exposure to chemicals and toxins, they keep showing up in our bodies in increased levels simply because they are everywhere in our environment. The need for detoxification is based upon the principle that immunodeficiency, inflammatory and degenerative diseases from allergies to arthritis to Alzheimer’s result from the toxic, accumulative effects of poisonous substances and pathogens within the body.
According to reports by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the average person now has 212 environmental chemicals in their blood – things like mercury, lead, cadmium and industrial chemicals. The World Health Organization has studies that show we have over 700 chemicals on average in our bodies. No matter which study you choose, the prognosis is grim.
Mercury has found its way into organic produce from the coal mine plumes that cover most of America. And then there are all the countries in the world that do not regulate corporate dumping effectively – the rest of the world then suffers their industrial waste spewed into the atmosphere (China).
Environmental toxins such as pesticides, preservatives, heavy metals and industrial toxins are mostly fat soluble or “lipophilic” (lipo = fat, philic = like). Such lipophilic toxins have been associated with hormone disruption, immune system suppression, reproductive disorders, cancer and other diseases. (4,5,6,7)
Heavy metal and chemical toxicity, combined with nutrient depletion and stress = disease. Believe me, you need to nourish, detox and cleanse to enjoy good health.
How Your Liver Detoxes
There are three key detox pathways that your hard-working liver is organized around: phase I, phase II and phase III.
Very simply, phase I is oxidation, whereby your liver utilizes oxygen and enzymes to remove toxins by making them soluble in water, so they can be excreted in your urine and poop. Of these 100 enzymes, each has a type of chemical that it detoxifies. Phase 1 is essential to detox, but there’s some risk involved: sometimes the metabolites or broken down parts of these chemicals are worse than the parent. That’s where phase II comes in.
Phase II reactions conjugate (attach) the toxin to other water-soluble substances to increase its solubility. Each of the different types of phase II enzymes catalyzes a different type of conjugation reaction. This is necessary to remove the metabolites. Conjugation is how your liver combines oxidized metabolites with sulfur, glutathione, methylation, glucuronidation (drug detox), by adding certain amino acids or organic acids.
Phase III detoxification involves the transport of the transformed, conjugated toxin into or out of cells. Different phase III transport proteins work in concert to shuttle toxins from different parts of the body into bile or urine for excretion.
Here’s the tricky part: most environmental toxins overactivate in phase I, and then exceed the capacity of your liver to complete the detoxification in phase II. In other words, you develop excess phase I and slow phase II. When that happens, you generate signs of toxicity, such as those above.
Additionally, Phase II is impeded if you’re vegan or vegetarian or don’t eat the sulphur-containing amino acids found in meat. Ever notice how you have stinky gas after you eat red meat? Well, that’s all the sulphur your body needs to detox. You can get some sulphur-containing amino acids in cruciferous vegetables, but not enough. This is why vegans and vegetarians do still get cancer and other diseases related to toxicity. The Phase II detoxification pathway of their liver does not work very well.
Your liver needs a break! The chances are pretty good that your liver is OVERWHELMED given our levels of environmental toxin exposure and stress. We need to give it a helping hand. Here’s how:
Give your Liver a break!
Here are a few recommendations to unburden your poor liver. It is essential to have a strong digestive system and well-functioning detox pathways – these can be achieved with intelligent cleansing techniques that are backed by science.
1. Consume Minerals and Antioxidants
Here’s why we need antioxidants. For every molecule of toxin metabolized in phase I (such as from cigarette smoke or pesticides), you generate one free radical molecule. Free radicals damage DNA and accelerate wear and tear in the body, similar to rust on a car. Taking vitamin C and E, Alpha lipoic acid, flavonoids, carotenoids, and glutathione helps neutralize the free radicals you’re making each day in phase I.
Want to get antioxidants from your food? Foods rich in flavonoids: berries, parsley, onions, green and black tea, citrus, and dark chocolate. Carotenoids? Get them from carrots, pumpkin, squash, plantains, spinach, and sweet potato. Also try green juice and wheatgrass juice.
Studies suggest that turmeric protects the body from heavy metals like mercury, as well as help the body detoxify them. Turmeric also supports optimal digestive function, healthy intestinal flora, stable moods and comfortable movement of the joints. In one study, turmeric was found to have a protective effect from the free radical damage from mercury. Turmeric was shown to boost the body’s detoxifiers, glutathione and super oxide dismutase (SOD) levels, which protect the liver from mercury. Turmeric also boosted enzymes like catalase in the liver, kidneys and brain, supporting detox. In the study, mercury concentrations were reduced as a result of turmeric supplementation before and after mercury exposure. (3)
Another favorite supplement of mine is Liver Maintenance by Physiologics. This unique formula combines the potent herb Milk Thistle, with Dandelion plus Alpha Lipoic Acid. Alpha Lipoic Acid acts as a universal antioxidant to help neutralize cell-damaging free radicals in both the water-soluble and fat-soluble compartments in the cell.
Milk Thistle possesses antioxidant properties that may help neutralize cell-damaging free radicals, while stimulating nucleolar polymerase A, to support ribosomal protein synthesis within the liver. The standardized silymarin within milk thistle also helps to support the structure of the outer cell membrane of the hepatocytes while simultaneously helping to rejuvenate the liver hepatocytes.
2. Get in an Infrared Sauna
Infrared Saunas are THE most effective way of detoxing metals and chemicals from your fat. I prefer near infrared saunas over far infrared, but both are great for detoxification. Get a Near Infrared Sauna. Learn more about Infrared Saunas.
These saunas have many health benefits, including cancer treatment and prevention, detoxification, killing infections like parasites, yeast, and mold, etc.
In one study, they concluded that:
“Saunas can be used very effectively for certain cardiovascular problems and as a means to enhance the mobilization of fat-soluble xenobiotics. When saunas are used to reduce blood pressure and enhance blood flow and cardiac functioning, only short sauna (15 minutes) are necessary.
When one wants to enhance the mobilization of heavy metals and chemical xenobiotics, longer sessions are needed. But, for either use, saunas are safe and effective and should be used more frequently to benefit the health of our patients and ourselves.” (1)
By sweating toxins out through your skin, they bypass the need to be detoxed by the liver and you take a large burden off of the liver. Do a daily near infrared sauna and your liver will thank you.
3. Simple Daily Detox
I have found that Zeolite is one of the easiest and best ways to detox if you cannot afford the time or expense of a rigorous detox program. Zeolite removes toxic heavy metals, chemicals, VOC’s, radioactive toxins and free radicals without removing vital nutrients. You just spray it in your mouth and let the detox begin!
The Clinoptilolite Zeolite molecule is shaped like a honeycomb, full of cavities and channels. Because zeolite carries a natural negative (-) charge, all of the positively charged (+) toxins bond with the zeolite.
The zeolite particles, with the toxic materials attached, are then flushed from your body with your urine within 4-6 hours.
4. Eat Your Veggies
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts contain sulphur, which help you reduce estrogen dominance and support both phase I and phase II detoxification. You also need their fiber to remove heavy metals from your colon!
5. Reduce Alcohol
Alcohol affects and harms both phase I and phase II detox pathways. Women who drink 3 to 6 servings of alcohol per week have a 15 percent greater risk of breast cancer compared to nondrinkers, according to the Nurses’ Health Study. This is because your liver metabolizes excess estrogen. And if you can’t get rid of that excess estrogen, you’re going to have weight gain and potentially even cancer.
I recently found out I have a gene that interferes in my ability to metabolize excess estrogen. Luckily, I stopped drinking alcohol on a regular basis 6 years ago! Even low levels of alcohol confer risk. Alcohol should not be in your detox plan!
6. Cleanse your Liver
There are a couple ways you can actually mechanically clean out your liver. I personally LOVE coffee enemas and liver flushes and cannot recommend them highly enough! Coffee enemas provide a means for your liver to ‘dump’ its toxic load of chemicals and heavy metals into the intestines for elimination.
Coffee enemas are superior to plain water enemas, as they provide so many more benefits. The theobromine, theophylline, palmitic acid and caffeine in the coffee travel via the rich capillary bed of the rectum into the portal vein, which leads directly to the liver. These substances dilate blood vessels and open up the bile ducts allowing the liver to release bile, which contains toxins.
Doctors at the University of Minnesota showed that coffee administered rectally also stimulates an enzyme system in the liver, which increases glutathione, the master antioxidant in the body, by 600%-700% above normal activity levels. This antioxidant reacts with free radicals (which cause cell damage) in the bloodstream and makes them inert. These neutralized substances become dissolved in the bile, are released through the bile flow from the liver and gallbladder, and are excreted through the intestinal tract.
While holding the coffee enema in the colon for 10-15 minutes, the body’s entire blood supply passes through the liver 4-5 times, carrying poisons picked up from the tissues. So the enema acts as a form of dialysis of the blood across the gut wall. It’s an amazing way to assist the body to detox in our very toxic world. Learn how to do a Coffee Enema.
Liver flushes. The liver-gall bladder flush is a great method to deeply cleanse the liver and help remove gallstones. It can also help remove stones in the liver itself. Flush ’em with either a deep or quick liver flush! This flush can really help to give your liver a boost in detoxing your body.
7. Take Care of all These Steps in ONE program
I developed my Myers Detox Protocol program to address all the issues as to why the body is not functioning properly. It is a complete detox and healing program designed to get the body detoxing on its own by remineralizing and nourishing the body and removing your current body burden of chemicals interfering in your body’s function.
When we are nutrient and mineral depleted, stressed and overwhelmed with metals and chemicals, disease eventually follows. Learn how to reverse disease, heal the adrenals and thyroid, get your libido back, improve energy and mental clarity at MyersDetox.com.
What is the Next Step?
Given the daily toxic exposures that we all encounter daily, ongoing and focused detoxification is imperative.
Start by limiting your exposure to toxins by drinking clean water. Better yet, get a whole house filter. Clean up your environment and home from chemicals and toxins. Learn how to do that by reading my article Reduce Your Daily Exposure to Cancer Causing Agents. Detox your beauty products with recommendations for my favorite beauty products. Eat organic.
Most importantly I think that people need a lifelong detoxification plan. This is why I developed my Myers Detox Protocol. I wanted to teach people how they can detox their body with the correct supplements, proper diet, detox and stress reduction and lifestyle protocols.
You need to be thinking about detox on a daily basis – not just a spring cleaning! This is my main message on myersdetox.com. We are so bombarded every day with toxins and they have been building up in our body for decades. Everyone needs a program like Myers Detox Protocol to detox their current body burden and heal their body and liver.
No matter how hard you try to keep your diet and environment pure, you just can’t avoid all of the harmful toxins in the air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat.
When we eat processed or fried foods and anytime we are exposed to environmental pollutants or stress, the liver can become overworked and overloaded. When the liver is taxed, it can’t process toxins and fat in an efficient way.
Here are six signs that your liver may need a cleanse:
1. You experience digestive discomfort or bloating after eating
2. Chronic fatigue or brain fog
3. Joint or muscle pain
4. Difficulty concentrating or staying focused
5. Cravings for sweet or high carb food
6. Increased weight gain or cellulite
If you are feeling run down, lethargic, heavy, bloated, sweet cravings or otherwise less than your best, you’re probably wondering what you can do to feel better.
A liver cleanse is an amazing way to help your liver detox and give your body a rest. Unfortunately, there is a lot of dangerous advice when it comes to detoxing ranging from using juice elixirs to enemas.
The best simple advice to naturally detox and cleanse your liver is:
1. Eat natural fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants
Phytonutrients, polyphenols and antioxidants found in fresh produce help your body detoxify and increases your fiber intake to ensure that waste moves through your intestines.
2. Stop or reduce alcohol
A glass of red or white wine here or there is fine, but consuming alcohol in excess puts an enormous strain on your liver. Not to mention it can also increase stress and cause sleep troubles, which in turn stresses your liver further.
3. Exercise and practice stress reducing activities such as yoga
Sweating is a wonderful way to reduce stress and eliminate toxins. Simply taking a walk, a quick swim or hitting the gym is a great way to break a light sweat and get some toxins out of your body
If your liver isn’t working to the best of its abilities, you may be experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
Bloating or Abdominal Discomfort
Cramping or pain in the lower abdomen, excess gas or bloating can be early signs of liver problems. (Of course, these symptoms can signal a great many other issues too!)
Those with liver problem often develop ascites – a build-up of fluid between the lining of the abdomen and the organs. Large amounts of fluid can cause discomfort, pain and even shortness of breath.
If you notice your skin has suddenly taken on a yellow hue, is itchy, dry or has dark patches, then it could be a warning sign. These skin changes are thought to occur because the liver is not releasing toxins properly from the body.
Urine and Stool Changes
If urine becomes dark or stool is pale or tar colored then it could be time to see a doctor.
Chronic tiredness is often an early sign of a liver problem as your body is working harder to try to remove excess toxins from your body.
Confusion or Cognitive Problems
When the liver can’t filter blood normally, toxins build up and can make their way to the brain, a condition called hepatic encephalopathy. Symptoms include confusion and difficulty making decisions and remembering things.
Mood Swings or Depression
When the toxins make their way to the brain, they don’t just affect your memory. They can also affect your mood.
If you notice you’ve been anxious, angry or even depressed, take note of any other symptoms you’re experiencing as it could be down to the condition of your liver.
Weight Gain or Inability to Lose Weight
When the liver isn’t working correctly, the body is unable to metabolize fat properly. You may notice you can’t lose weight, or you’re suddenly getting fat in places you never had it before – particularly around the abdomen.
Because the body can’t regulate fat levels, it can throw off your cholesterol balance too. This causes blood fats (triglycerides) and bad LDL cholesterol to rise, while the good HDL cholesterol drops.
If left untreated this can lead to blocked arteries, heart attack and stroke.
We know that the liver converts nutrients from our food into substances that our bodies can use. In other words, it makes these nutrients bio-available.
But when our liver is struggling, it can’t make these nutrients bio-available and so our bodies are unable to absorb them.
If you’re showing signs of iron deficiency, magnesium deficiency, Vitamin D deficiency or a lack of any other nutrient, especially when you eat a balanced diet, have your liver function checked.
The liver produces bile – a bitter alkaline fluid which helps digestion. If the liver’s work is impaired, less bile can mean you have a harder time digesting fatty foods and alcohol.
You may also suffer constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux or heartburn.
The liver keeps blood sugar levels steady and constant. When it’s not working, we can suffer ‘sugar crashes’. These occur when blood glucose levels rise abnormally after eating, then within hours fall rapidly, leaving us feeling exhausted, irritable, confused and lacking energy.
Continuous blood sugar crashes can lead on to insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes.
Another role of our all-important liver is to regulate the sex hormones. Naturally, a dysfunctional liver can lead to imbalances in the hormones estrogen and testosterone, which can cause issues like a reduced libido or worsened PMS symptoms.
For more signs that your hormones are out of whack, see here.
If you’re catching every cold and flu that’s going around, it might be more than a lack of Vitamin C that’s to blame.
Believe it or not, the liver plays a huge role in our immunity – that is, our ability to fight foreign bacteria and viruses.
Excessive Sweating or Body Odor
According to Liver Doctor, excessive sweating and an unpleasant body odor are signs your body needs to cleanse.
Fox News says that liver disorders can also produce bad breath (although this generally only happens when the disease is advanced).
Sleep Apnea or Snoring
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects the way you breathe when you’re asleep. It causes a brief pause in breathing which can occur up to hundreds of times a night, causing you to be suddenly jolted from your natural sleeping pattern.
It’s a pretty unpleasant condition that stops you from getting into a deep sleep, meaning your body doesn’t have the necessary conditions to rest and repair itself.
Those with sleep apnea are more likely to have abnormal liver function, and their livers are more likely to have scars.
How to Detox Your Liver
Follow these steps to boost your liver function and stave off more serious liver conditions:
Clean up Your Diet – Foods to Avoid
To help your liver recuperate and restore itself, stop eating foods that put extra stress and strain on your body.
• Take the advice of Mercola, Dr. Hyman, Dr. Axe and just about every other health professional out there – cut out added sugars. Not only do these contribute to fatty liver disease and an overburdened liver, but they cause cancer, obesity and so much more.
• Ditch the sodas, candy and these 25 surprising sources of hidden sugar, along with simple carbs like white bread, white pasta and pastries.
• Cut out trans-fats and cooking oils like corn, sunflower and safflower and choose coconut oilfor cooking instead.
• Skip the alcohol too which will only heap further stress on your already tired liver.
• You’ll also want to avoid pesticides in your food. Opt for organic produce wherever possible (and it’s possible even on a tight budget).
• GMOs have got to go! By eating organic you’ll automatically be avoiding genetically modified ‘Frankenfoods’ too – which have been shown to cause liver damage in animal studies.