Michael T. Murray, ND
We live in an increasingly toxic world. Toxic substances are everywhere-in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. In addition, we face a dramatic increase in electromagnetic radiation from cellular phones, power lines, and a depleted ozone layer.
We live in an increasingly toxic world. Toxic substances are everywhere–in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. In addition, we face a dramatic increase in electromagnetic radiation from cellular phones, power lines, and a depleted ozone layer.
Your ability to deal with this barrage of environmental stressors is a major determinant of your health, energy levels, and immune function.
Toxins damage the body in a cumulative way. Substances such as lead, mercury, pesticide residues, solvents, and other toxic compounds can accumulate and wreak havoc on our normal metabolic processes. Holistic practitioners believe that some of the symptoms that can appear when the body’s detoxification system is overwhelmed include an inability to concentrate, chronic fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, depression, and an increased susceptibility to colds and flu.
To Fast or Not to Fast
For centuries, many people have used fasting–abstaining from all food and drink (except water) for a specified period of time–as a means of cleaning out the body. However, for some people it may be dangerous to go on a strict fast (or even a juice fast) without proper support. Since many toxins are fat-soluble and stored in fat cells, if you abstain from food, your body will get its energy by burning its fat reserves. But when the cells burn that fat, they also release the toxic substances they’ve been storing. As toxin levels in the blood increase, so does the risk of serious damage to tissues, especially the brain and nerves. Thus, instead of eliminating toxins, fasting sometimes simply moves them from fat cells into more active tissue such as the liver and brain.
Another concern is, if you fast, you aren’t getting the nutrients you need to keep the body’s detoxification system running. Your liver needs a steady supply of proteins, vitamins, and minerals to produce the substances that make detoxification happen. What’s more, in a typical fast you are not ingesting fibre, which helps the body eliminate toxic substances excreted in the bile. Fibre is a biological trash hauler, grabbing toxic molecules and helping dump them out of the body.
A Safer Cleanse
For people who suffer from the effects of accumulated toxins, especially those with unexplained fatigue or muscle aches, I recommend detoxification in combination with an effective nutritional support program. A scientifically designed program involves using functional foods, such as medicinal food-grade powdered drink mixes, hypoallergenic protein, vitamins, and minerals, and other aids to detoxification, including fibre and substances designed to boost glutathione, one of the body’s key molecules of detoxification.
Most people can safely dedicate at least one week a year to detoxifying by following a comprehensive program that not only involves using these special medicinal foods but also provides clear guidance on eating for detoxification.