Do we really need to detox? Plenty of mainstream scientists would say that detox is a myth and there is no evidence to support the use of any detox products. As many of you may know, I am a degree-level scientist, and I absolutely disagree with this sentiment. There are VERY few people in the so-called civilised world who do not need to detox. For example, the umbilical cords of most newborns test positive for over 200 unnatural, man-made chemicals. Most food is loaded with chemicals. If you have eaten only raw, organic plant food, breathed pristine unpolluted air, have drunk only clear unpolluted spring water since birth, and have absolutely no stress in your life, then you probably do not need to detox. Moreover, I would love to meet you! However, if you have eaten cooked food at any time in your life, factory farmed meat, drank alcohol, taken pharmaceutical or recreational drugs, periodic detoxification is, in my opinion, essential for your ongoing well-being. That’s pretty much all of us then, isn’t it?
There are several “channels of detoxification”, these being your liver, lungs, lymphatics, kidneys, skin and colon. For the most successful detox, we want to be working on all of these routes.
The liver – ah, that most abused of organs. It really is amazing that it keeps going as long as it does, with all the stuff we throw at it on a daily basis. The real function of the liver is not the breakdown of toxins, as we may have been led to believe, but energy production. Yes, that’s right, your Krebs Cycle is working hard every day in your liver to produce all those wonderful ATP molecules that are our energy source. Want more energy? Pay attention to your liver! To say that detox is unnecessary is a bit odd, since the liver has the ability to form molecular conjugations that render toxic molecules harmless and allow them to be eliminated, mainly via the kidneys. Detox is therefore a natural phenomenon that is taking place in your body the whole time, but to say it needs no help with this is a little short sighted in my opinion. The liver can be greatly aided by not throwing alcohol at it, and, for example, not making it have to deal with a load of cooked animal fat, amongst other things. Look up even the most mild of detox diets and what will you find – funnily enough, alcohol and cooked meat are not on the menu.
Likewise our skin – it is our body’s largest organ and it absorbs things! This is no myth – think of the delivery system of many “patches”. Nicotine patches, hormone patches, pain relief patches… we stick them on our skin because they get into the bloodstream via that route. If they didn’t, they would not have become a recognised form of treatment for many medical conditions. During a detox we eliminate water soluble toxins through sweating. This is also medically proven, and the most effective sweat-inducer, apart from intense exercise, is a far-infrared sauna. We can aid in detoxification of the skin and lymphatics through dry skin brushing, and by avoiding the use of any creams or lotions on any part of the skin that you would not be happy to eat. Yes, that’s right – if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t rub it all over your body. The skin also cares about the clothes we wear, and it has been demonstrated that we can absorb unwanted levels of petrochemicals just by wearing synthetic fibres.
So, is detox the domain of the weird, paranoid and odd “celebs” who have nothing better to spend their money on and have fallen prey to slick marketing? Not necessarily. For sure, there will be products on the market that promise “detox” but have absolutely no validity for their use. But to say that the body detoxes naturally without any significant external help is short sighted and inaccurate. A correctly performed detox on a periodic basis does not just help us to feel good, shed unwanted excess weight and give us more energy. It may also help us to eliminate chemicals from the toxic world we live in, whose cumulative exposure may lead to the onset of chronic health conditions.