Thoughts on Detox

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It’s become popular over the past few years to think of detoxification as something along the lines of a 5-day juice- or water-fast. All experts I come across are in agreement that some process of detoxification is wise, but many actually caution against those more extreme protocols.

I began to research the subject a couple of years ago, both for my own benefit and for yours, and kept feeling like I’d fallen into a swirling sea of information with nothing firm to stand on. Thinking now about this blog, there are some things I have become clear on that may be of use.

Maybe the first thing to say about detoxification is that top nutrition expert Dr Joe Mercola, who I’ve followed for years, is writing a book about it. He says the topic is so huge and the misinformation so prevalent, that it will take at least a couple of years before the book is done. From what I’ve gathered so far, at least part and maybe a huge part of the difficulty with it is that it’s a challenge to do reliable research on what is and isn’t effective in detoxing the body.

To explain this a little, the body always contains toxins, and they are to some degree eliminated continuously, whenever we exhale, sweat or go to the bathroom. But they are also stored, practically everywhere in our bodies, from bones to hair. When toxicity is measured it might be for example in the urine, but this reflects nothing more than what is being eliminated through that channel. It says nothing about what is still stored, whether that is being released at all through another pathway and if it could possibly cause harm at some point.

Various types of toxins have an affinity to particular areas of the body, such as the blood or lymph glands. And, the different types of toxins get eliminated in different ways, some only through sweating while others can only get out through the kidneys.

Broadly, there are two kinds: fat- and water-soluble. Given the right conditions, fat-soluble toxins can become water-soluble, and then eliminated. That is the ideal health benefit of any process of weight loss (or more accurately fat loss) – but it’s not as straightforward as it may seem, because it still very much depends on the efficiency of the entire system of elimination.

 

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