I know what you are thinking - it seems every health site and blogger out there is proclaiming the virtues of "naturally" detoxing your body. Detoxing is, allegedly, a great way to remove toxins and harmful agents from your body and a great way to improve your health across the board. The argument is that the foods we consume contain harmful ‘heavy metals’ and that these can cause us serious damage over time; leading us to feel sluggish, tired and depressed and potentially leading to more serious health problems.
But the word ‘detox’ is something that has been a little overused and over-marketed. In fact, there is actually no clear consensus as to what constitutes a ‘detox’ or why we should ever need to ‘detox’ in the first place.
In fact, in one study, it was shown that many manufacturers of products such as shampoos claiming to be ‘toxin free’, could not actually claim what ‘toxins’ they were free of. Likewise, many detoxing products could not provide any sensible explanation as to what they were detoxing or how it was of any benefit to users.
In reality, our bodies are equipped with all the tools and systems they need to detox ‘naturally’ – with no intervention from any detoxing shampoos or worrying laxative treatments.
This has led to many writers and scientists making the statement that ‘detoxing is a myth’ (such as this infamous Guardian post) and that it ultimately amounts to little more than a marketing stunt designed to part us with our money in exchange for no tangible benefit.
So is that the final word on the matter? Is detoxing really a myth and should we avoid all products with the word ‘detox’ on the front going forward?
If only it were that simple. A quick search of the internet will show you that this is an argument that is alive and well with a lot of persuasive points on both sides. As this Huffington Post article points out, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) conducted a study that discovered 212 chemicals in participants’ blood and urine that shouldn’t be there. These included the likes of acrylamide (the result of baking foods at high temperatures, also a byproduct of cigarette smoke), arsenic, bicephenol A (found in plastics, food packaging etc.), Voalatile Organic Compounds (VOCs – found in paints and air fresheners) and more.
Together, these toxins have the potential to build up and place a serious strain on your body and general health. Then there are the heavy metals that do indeed exist in a lot of foods – just look at the mercury that is found in tuna for example! Mercury poisoning is incredibly dangerous and can lead to permanent damage of the nervous system, which is why a detox is necessary for those that have overindulged in tuna or swordfish.
Likewise, it’s possible for toxins to build up in the skin. This is why pores become clogged and it’s why we end up getting acne.
But that likewise doesn’t mean that a ‘detoxing shampoo’ is going to help you, nor will many of the other products on the market that don’t really understand what the term actually means.
Ultimately, the problem is not with detoxing itself but rather with the way that many companies and bloggers have mishandled the concept. What’s important for you, is that you know how to tell the difference between a genuine detoxifying product or strategy and one that is just a waste of money. The remainder of this post will show you how to tell the difference…
Below are some ways that you can start to detoxify your body naturally. Read on to learn more!
One of the simplest and best ways to detox your body naturally and to avoid toxins and heavy metals, is simply to take some time out from foods and environments that contain potentially harmful agents and toxins. It is indeed true that the body has its own mechanisms for filtering out harmful and damaging ingredients and thus one of the very best ways to reduce the things you don’t want in your body is just to avoid them coming in, thereby giving your body time to get the head-start it needs.
One example might be to avoid tap water and to drink only filtered water or bottled water for a while. Filters use things like activated charcoal in order to absorb unwanted elements and prevent them from getting in.
Likewise, you could spend a little time in a log cabin out in the country or mountains. This would be a great way to avoid breathing in car fumes, smoke, paint and all the other unwanted gasses and by-products that fill our cities and towns.
And yes, take some time off of tuna and any other foods in your diet known to be high in heavy metals or other toxins.
So what are those natural filters that the body has for dealing with toxins? The answer is that your body uses the kidneys and liver. The liver has two separate ‘systems’ which are known as ‘phase 1 and phase 2’ and which first break down toxic substances and then eliminate them by binding them to other molecules. For this to work though, it’s important to strengthen your liver with nutrients (B vitamins, flavonoids, vitamins A, C and E, glutathione, limonene, glutathione, phospholipids…) and of course to take some time away from alcohol.
Some detoxing products have been demonstrated by scientific studies to actually work. These include the likes of spirulina. This contains something called cyanobacteria – a specific kind of bacteria that acts as an accumulator or bioabsorbent for heavy materials. Spirulina has been shown to remove arsenic and other unwanted agents from the body. The problem is that for every spirulina, there are hundreds more products that simply don’t work. The responsibility falls to you to do your own research and to read the studies before making a decision.
Finally, there is no harm in detoxing the skin to clear out pores and to remove dirt and dead skin cells. Spending time in a sauna is great for this, as is using facial scrubs and the like.
Try these methods to detox your body naturally and feel lighter, healthier and happier. Meanwhile, avoid anything that involves emptying your colon or that isn’t backed by sound science!