Our bodies are DESIGNED to detox. We’ve got a whole system of organs that are programmed to rid our body of anything that might do it harm.
That being said, most of our bodies get overloaded with toxins from processed food, alcohol and medical prescriptions, bacteria and chemicals in the water we drink, beauty products we slather on our skin and the air we breathe, as well as chronic stress and even living a sedentary lifestyle.
Exposure to these overtime can cause toxins to accumulate to unhealthy levels, which then tends to take a toll on our bodies in the form of hormonal imbalance, weight gain (or loss), infertility, gut issues, bloat, brain fog, PMS, mood disorders, depression, anxiety and even chronic disease.
Thus it’s important we routinely incorporate practices into our lives that support detoxification in order to maintain hormonal balance and optimal health.
+ HOW DOES DETOXIFICATION WORK
You can think of the liver as the body’s filtration system. Everything we eat and drink — as well as many of the things we inhale and absorb through our skin — pass through the liver to be detoxified.
The liver filters the blood through two different phases, removing harmful substances, such as drugs, bacteria, toxins, and foreign proteins, where they are then further filtered through our kidneys and excreted via our bladder, or through our intestines and eliminated via our bowels.
+ WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR BODY STOPS DETOXING EFFECTIVELY
This process is all well and good until the liver gets overwhelmed with routine and chronic exposure to toxic substances and can’t do it’s job nearly as effectively.
When this happens (again primarily due to repeated exposure of prescription medications, birth control and drugs, caffeine, alcohol and environmental chemicals) the liver has to decide which toxins to prioritize and releases the rest of the toxins back into your bloodstream until it can handle them, wreaking havoc on your entire immune system and disrupting phase one of the toxin breakdown.
As the liver continues to work to filter through the toxic overload, it also produces a large amount of free radicals, which are a source of inflammation (and the root cause of most symptoms and chronic disease).
This typically isn’t an issue because the free radicals are processed quickly by phase two of the liver detoxification process and neutralized. But, if the liver is already overloaded during phase 1, these free radicals build up, causing major damage to the cells of the body. So much so that they can be even more harmful than the original toxins!
+ HOW DOES DETOXING AFFECT MY HORMONES
The liver also has the job of filtering through our hormones, primarily estrogen, which it breaks down into different metabolites.
The liver will always prioritize filtering through outside substances first (as they can cause more immediate harm) so if it gets overloaded with these, it cannot properly filter through our hormones, which typically leads to too much estrogen in our system.
The estrogen then has to go somewhere, so it’s stored in our fat cells (hi, weight gain). These fat cells then trigger the release of even more estrogen back into our systems! It’s a vicious cycle.
Estrogen dominance is the root cause of many symptoms and imbalances, including —
+ painful ovarian cysts or PCOS
+ uterine fibroids or Endometriosis
+ PMS, irregular or painful periods
+ weight gain and the inability to lose weight, no matter how much you workout/eat well
+ hot flashes, peri-menopause or menopause
+ mood swings
+ SYMPTOMS OF AN OVERLOADED LIVER/ SIGNS YOU NEED HELP DETOXING
+ fatigue and feeling like you need a nap in the afternoon
+ sensitivity to fragrances or caffeine
+ disrupted sleep, especially between 2-4am (this is a biggie — ever notice waking up around this time after one too many cocktails the night before?)
+ asthma or allergies
+ skin disorders, including acne and rosacea
+ unexplained weight gain, inability to lose weight, excessive abdominal fat
+ blood sugar disorders (since the liver plays a key role in blood sugar regulation)
+ nutrient malabsorption
+ indigestion and acid reflux, especially with fatty foods
There are really two ways to do this — one is to decrease your toxic load and the other is to support your liver through an optimal diet and lifestyle. Let’s go through how to do each —
1) Decrease Your Toxic Load
+ Eat an organic, whole foods diet
+ Eat an antibiotic and hormone-free meats, fish and dairy
+ Support the liver through dietary and lifestyle improvements
+ Use a whole-house water filtration system
+ Use a high quality air purifier in the home or office, and open windows as often as possible
+ Avoid alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and illegal drugs
+ Avoid plastics – particularly plastic wrap and plastic-lined cans
+ Swap out chemical household cleaners, soaps, and antibacterial products for all-natural brands
+ Use chemical-free beauty and skincare products – choose those without toxic preservatives and additives, such as parabens and artificial fragrances
2) Support Liver Through Optimal Diet and Lifestyle
+ Decrease intake of refined carbohydrates to help prevent or repair fatty liver
+ Eat liver-supportive foods, such as beets, citrus, avocados, and cruciferous vegetables
+ Consume high-quality protein, such as eggs, fish, organ meats, and gelatin found in bone broth – the amino acids found in these foods support Phase 2 of liver detoxification
+ Support the emptying of the GI tract by eating plenty of fiber
+ Support and improve the health of the gut microbiome to improve the health of the estrobolome
+ Break a sweat regularly through exercise, saunas, and steam rooms
+ Manage stress to decrease cortisol overproduction
+ Use herbs that support the liver like chlorophyll, cilantro, turmeric, dandelion root, burdock root, milk thistle, and artichoke extract
+ Take supplements that support liver function, including the B complex of vitamins, vitamins A, C, D, and E, N-acetyl cysteine which is a precursor to glutathione (the master antioxidant) and last but not least ACTIVATED CHARCOAL
+ HOW DOES ACTIVATED CHARCOAL WORK
Activated charcoal is a highly absorbent material with millions of tiny pores that can capture, bind, and remove unwanted materials. The porous surface has a negative electric charge that attracts positively charged toxins and gas to be carried easily out of the body.
It’s so effective at trapping and flushing toxins out of the body that hospitals routinely use it as a way to treat poisoning and drug/alcohol overdoses.
When purchasing Activated Charcoal you want to look for a a brand that uses the carbon source coconut shells. The coconut shells are “activated” by high temperatures, removing all the oxygen and changing its chemical structure to create much smaller particles with more surface area.
My favorite brand is Bulletproof, and my favorite way to enjoy it is to use the powder from the capsules in this dreamy + creamy Activated Charcoal + Date Latte (recipe below).
+ NEED ADDITIONAL SUPPORT DETOXING OR BALANCING HORMONES
This superfood sip is cozy, simple to make and slightly sweet without any refined sugar. It contains activated charcoal powder, which is so effective at trapping and flushing toxins out of the body that hospitals routinely use it as a way to treat poisoning and drug/alcohol overdoses, making it the perfect concoction to whip up after a night of too many cocktails or cookies.
Author: Lauren Chambers
Recipe Type: drink, beverage
12 oz (or 1 and 1/2 cups) non-dairy milk such as cashew, coconut, hemp, etc.