Exercising more, eating better… doing a cleanse? 

As most of us make our goals for the New Year, the question of whether or not we should do a cleanse is asked a lot this time of year.

So, why would someone want to do a cleanse?

Well, if you’re looking to remove natural toxins from your body like alkaloids & tannins from plants, or benzenes & formaldehyde from wood smoke, then we believe you’d benefit from a cleanse.

However, if you’re hoping to get rid of synthetic toxins like isopropylamine from herbicides (such as Roundup, used to kill weeds) or BPA in plastics, then a cleanse isn’t going to be helpful.

So how do cleanses affect our body?

Exposure to toxins has enabled us to evolve many defenses against them

Our bodies are protected from absorbing toxins, thanks to the mucus lining our stomach, along with our stomach acid which is responsible for breaking down the toxins.

Our most important detoxification organ, the liver, alters the toxins we absorb, then sends them to the bile or kidneys for excretion.

Because our kidneys and digestive tract store toxins before elimination, they can be hit hard by a cleanse. 

Some of the toxic burdens to our kidneys are mitigated by storing urine in the bladder. While the digestive tract takes on the full brunt of the toxic load sent by the liver; this requires special attention before, during, and after a cleanse. 

Now, how can I prepare for a safe cleanse?

Prepare your body before starting a cleanse

Before cleansing, we recommend that patients fortify their digestive tract. This can be done with mucilaginous herbs (such as chia seeds or oats).

We also recommend using a binder (like activated charcoal) to sequester, or separate, the toxin during the cleanse.

Lastly, restore the bacterial flora (e.g. eat lots of vegetables and legumes) because they are hit hard by most natural toxins.

Now that we’ve described the process of how we can eliminate most natural toxins, let’s talk about synthetic toxins.

Synthetic toxins in the modern environment are a special problem

Our livers are ready to deal with many natural toxins. And while we’ve been equipped with the ability to smell or taste common natural toxins and avoid them, it’s different with synthetic toxins.

Most synthetic toxins are odorless and tasteless like DDT, (insecticide) and we have no natural inclination to avoid them. 

This means that cleanses that bolster the liver’s detoxification pathways do very little to remove most synthetic toxins from our body. Therefore, we should also be wary of products or home remedies that promise to purge our bodies of these substances.

Some synthetic toxins are amenable to more aggressive treatments like denaturing or chelating (altering or removing) the toxin directly. If this is something you are considering, please note that these medical procedures often require several different types of IVs, oral medications, and need to be supervised by a doctor with experience in toxicology. 

Understandably, having a healthy liver is extremely important. So, how can we make sure to care properly for our liver and body in general?

Here are the best tips you can do for your general health

  • don’t smoke

  • limit, or don’t drink alcohol

  • eat a balanced diet

  • exercise regularly

  • and get lots of sleep

And here are a few liver-specific things that you can do once you’ve got the basics covered:

  • eat organic versions of the foods on the dirty dozen list

  • read the warning labels on over-the-counter medications (some of them can damage your liver when you don’t take them as directed) 

  • get screened for hepatitis C

  • and be cautious when you take supplements and herbs (talk to your doctor first)

Let us help with the best cleanse for you. Call us at (425) 361-7945 to get started.

Dr. Orr