Our bodies are exposed to environmental toxins every day by sources ranging from the air we breathe to the food we eat. In order to reduce the build-up of unhealthy chemicals in your system, consider trying a detoxification program or “cleanse.” Benefits of cleansing include stimulating the liver to remove stored toxins and promoting elimination of them through the intestines, kidneys, and skin.
How to detox
Chris Turf, a registered pharmacist and certified herbalist at the Pharmaca in South Boulder, recommends cleansing your body every spring. “Most programs call for reducing dietary toxins from alcohol, coffee, tobacco, refined sugars and saturated fats and avoiding exposure to synthetic and petroleum-based toxins as the first steps,” says Chris.
Pharmaca carries a variety of guided detoxification kits with time frames ranging from 7 to 30 days in length. “The best programs last for at least two weeks,” says Dr. Lisa Ow, a naturopathic physician at Pharmaca’s Monterey store.
Chris encourages people to take a probiotic for immunity support during detox, as people sometimes catch colds due to the stress and toxin release. He also notes that cleanses can aid in weight loss as you eat less during most programs and clear out toxins that might slow the weight loss process. However, it shouldn’t be your main motivation for detoxification.
When to avoid detoxing
“If you are on medications, be careful,” says Dr. Ow. Many detox programs include fiber supplements which can decrease the effectiveness of prescription therapy. She also advises against detoxification for anyone who is feeling weak due to conditions like cancer or a long term infection. Pregnant and nursing women should also avoid cleansing to prevent the release of toxins into their bloodstream or milk. “It’s not a good time to detox if your body needs to be nourished,” she says.
For most people, taking the time to support your system by cleansing can reduce the impact of small, daily chemical accumulations.