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To Detox or Not to Detox? Natural Liver Detox Support System

by | Mar 12, 2013 | Functional Medicine, Healthy Living, Nutrition Info, Stress Relief, Weight Loss and Maintenance

Odom Health & Wellness is unable to provide nutrition and weight loss services for individuals living outside of Minnesota

I am entering into this blog with a little trepidation. I want to walk you through a decision process that I began this past November; I’m hoping to educate y’all with information that I’ve learned and convince you with research that I’ve found.

If I get long-winded (which I completely did) and lose you below, here are the highlights:

  • There is a time and place for a natural detoxification support system, never a chemical-based, detox that overrides what your liver does naturally.
  • A natural detox should provide nutrients that your liver needs to perform its own detox cycles.
  • Be very careful to know the ingredients in a detox or cleanse before you begin.
  • A detox should not be used to lose weight quickly.
  • A detox support system should have the main purposes of helping your body get rid of damaging molecules that are stored in your fat cells and to support your liver in its natural detoxification processes.

OK, here we go.

Four months ago, I was pretty set in my anti-detox mindset as a dietitian. I’ve seen too many detox product labels and read too much research about ingredients like synephrine and cascara to consider a detox or cleanse safe. My definition of a detox or cleanse was to load up on tons of fruits, vegetables and water. But I was prompted to explore the concept of a detox support system.

Here is my mental journey.

The first step I took was to research the natural detoxification process that the liver performs. (Skip to this blog article about the liver detox pathways if you’re interested.)

Why does my liver need to detox in the first place? I’m exposed to “toxins” in my environment (i.e.: exhaust fumes) and by what I put into my body (i.e.: artificial food coloring in the cake pop I ate at at bridal shower last weekend).

I wasn’t really convinced that my healthy liver couldn’t handle my limited exposure to pollution and dye blue no. 1 but I kept looking to see if there might be a need to help my liver out.

The two mental transitions that were key in my understanding were:

1. Metabolic Breakdown Toxins: From my organic chemistry classes in undergrad, I learned about the waste byproducts and damaging, intermediate molecules of the breakdown of protein, carbs, fat and hormone molecules as well. It dawned on me that (Confession Alert!) I in fact do eat enough refined sugar (pro-inflammatory-can you say ice cream), artificial/fake ingredients (toxins), omega-6 fatty acids (pro-inflammatory) and I stress enough to trigger inflammatory hormone cascades to warrant a good liver “tune-up” every once in a while.

2. A big change in my thinking came from the realization that a “detox” didn’t have to include harsh and synthetic chemicals. A detox support system can provide the natural molecules and nutrients that my liver needs to do it’s detoxifying job well. It’s like providing my liver with all the tools it needs to detoxify continuously and efficiently.

Were you able to follow my train of thought? To put it another way, my biggest questions were why do I need to help my liver and what ingredients are safe and will actually do anything to help?

The answers I came to are: 1. even though I limit my exposure to harmful “toxins,” my body naturally makes byproducts from my food (particularly sugar) intake and stress hormones that need to be “neutralized” and excreted. 2. and then I also learned about the main nutrients that are required in Phase I and Phase II of my natural liver detoxification process. Why not provide the specific nutrients my liver needs in a safe way every now and then?

So…I am embarking on yet another experiment that has pushed me to grow as a professional. I am inviting y’all to join me if any of this information has peaked your interest regarding natural liver detox support.

Feel free to contact me at 952.224.1919. or maggie@odomsportsmd.com if you have questions or are interested in trying out the liver detox support system that I endorse.