What is involved?
To clarify any possible misconception about the term, “detox”, the kind of detox I advocate is not what is popularly understood by some to mean a very restrictive diet in conjunction with severely purgative and liver-stimulating medicines. Such treatment is too radical and does more harm than good.
However, it makes complete sense to undertake a spring-clean of your body, to gently clear the pipes to facilitate the body’s elimination processes (via bowel, bladder and skin), and to enhance the body’s ability at a cellular level to allow vital nutrients in and waste by-products out.
Food is our first medicine and our gut wall is the first line in our body’s defence system. Sometimes some foods are not broken down by our digestive system into small enough particles. Those larger particles pass through the gut wall into the bloodstream, damaging the gut wall so that it becomes too perforated and to a certain extent inflamed. This is what naturopaths refer to as a “leaky gut” (officially termed “intestinal hyperpermeability”).
We start by ensuring the health of the gastrointestinal tract by undertaking a comprehensive gut repair program. Then we support the kidneys and liver. However, there is no point in stimulating the liver too much if it is dumping its waste by-products into a bowel that is inflamed, damaged and underfunctioning. The integrity of the bowel wall and the quality of the intestinal flora are a crucial first step. The whole process takes six to eight weeks and involves taking some herbal medicines and nutritional supplements and having a healthy diet. The dietary changes required are not too restrictive; in fact are sustainable for the long-term. You will lose a few kilos and greatly increase your vitality and energy levels.
Who needs to detox?
Naturopathically speaking, the integrity of the gut wall, the body’s first defence system, is one of the first things that needs to be addressed when restoring someone to good health. So most of us would benefit from undertaking such a program from time to time.
It is often indicated when a Hemaview screening shows lots of stickiness in the blood, platelet aggregation, misshapen red blood cells and a predominance of neutrophils in the white cell count.
However, if you suffer from constipation, diarrhoea, flatulence, colic, dyspepsia, reflux or heartburn these all point to problems in this area. Also, many problems which occur further downstream in the body have their genesis in impaired digestive function.
Chronic constipation can limit the excretion of the by-products of oestrogen metabolism which then recirculate, affecting thyroid hormones, slowing down your metabolic rate and causing weight gain, hormonal issues and migraine headaches.
The entry of toxins via gut wall into our circulation can cause systemic inflammation associated with many chronic diseases such as arthritis, allergies, respiratory and skin symptoms.
The gut wall is a major site for the production of our calming neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine. So a damaged gut wall can lead to impaired neurotransmitter production and an inability to get out of “fight and flight” mode, contributing to anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Efficient digestive function is crucial for our overall health!
“I have been feeling so much better on the detox diet and tablets and generally exercising more. My body feels full of life and I have a happier outlook. Thanks, Cath, for your support and expertise.”