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Are you Toxic?

gut check Apr 03, 2020

Detoxification.  This term gets thrown around quite frequently but what does it actually mean? 

What is detoxification?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, detoxification is the removal of toxic substances or qualities.  This could have many meanings - detoxing from negative or toxic people, detoxing from drugs and/or alcohol, detoxing from habits that could be viewed as negative, etc.  Today let’s chat about the detoxification process that happens in your body.

How do we become overburdened with toxins? 

We are exposed to toxins all the time!  They can be in the food we eat, the water we drink, the products we put on our skin, the air we breathe, the pots and pans we cook in, the cleaning supplies we use, in medications we take, at the jobs we work and/or lifestyle we choose to live, etc, etc.  Most of the time you cannot see, taste, or smell these toxins.  Toxins that are generated from sources outside of the body are referred to as exogenous toxins.  Normal body functions can also produce toxins that the body must detoxify. These toxins are known as endogenous as they are produced within the body.

Our body is continually detoxing - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

There are three stages of detoxification that I talk more in-depth about it here. Those stages are known as Phase I, Phase II, Phase III.  Through these phases, toxins are able to be excreted through the body by breath, sweat, pee, or poo when it attaches to a water molecule.  

Why would you need to “do a detox”?

Refer back to paragraph 2. We are potentially being exposed to toxins 24/7.  While our body is working hard to rid those toxins from our system, sometimes it just cannot keep up. Add in a diet full of processed and sugary food and lifestyle choices involving alcohol or drugs and we have asked too much of our body.  The toxins are coming in faster than our body detox.

Think of your body like a bathtub.  We put things in and they go down the drain.  Sometimes things get caught in the drain/pipes and it starts to slow the rate at which the tub drains.  As we continue to add things to the tub, it eventually can’t keep up and it starts to overflow as the tub becomes too full.  For our body, that’s when the symptoms lead to sickness.

How do I know if I Need to Detox

There are signals that your body may be giving you if it is experiencing a heavy toxin burden.  I often hear people chalking these up to stress or “getting older” and just accepting the fact that they are going to feel like crap.  Below is a list of symptoms that can indicate that your body is overburdened with toxins.

  • Brain fog

  • Skin issues - acne, eczema, rash, hives

  • Constipation

  • Joint pain

  • Migraines

  • Poor memory

  • Frequent colds, allergies, or fungal infections

  • Trouble with sleep

  • Low mood/mood swings

  • Fatigue

  • Weight gain

  • Body odor

  • Bloat and/or gas

  • Bad Breath

  • Foul-smelling stools/gas

  • Cravings

When we are unable to properly rid our body of toxic waste, these symptoms can lead to sicknesses such as these1:

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Alzheimer’s disease/dementia

  • Autism

  • Attention deficit disorder

  • Depression and other mood disorders

  • Insomnia

  • Heart disease

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Cancer

  • Autoimmune disease

  • Food allergies

  • Arthritis

  • Digestive diseases like Crohn’s disease, ulcers, and colitis

  • Menstrual problems like heavy bleeding, cramps, PMS, menopausal symptoms, mood changes, and hot flashes

Supporting the Detox Pathways

There are many things that we can do to minimize our toxic exposure and support our detox pathways,  Check out these options!

  • Nutritionally

    • Eliminate

      • Allergenic and addictive foods

        • Gluten, dairy, alcohol, refined sugar, processed foods, cigarettes, drugs (pharmaceutical and recreational)

      • Refined vegetable oils

      • Conventionally grown and raised produce and meat sources

      • Artificial sweeteners

    • Include

      • Free-range/wild-caught/pasture-raised protein sources

      • Organic fruits and veggies

        • Antioxidants are important for the stabilization of free radicals. Eat the rainbow!

        • Cruciferous vegetables are especially important for detoxification

      • Water! Drink ½ of your weight in ounces of water every single day!  Remember that toxins need to be attached to a water molecule to get out of the body.  Add lemon for additional detox benefits.

    • Herbs

      • Milk thistle

      • Artichoke

      • Turmeric

      • Dandelion root and leaf

      • Green tea

      • Burdock root

      • Celandine

      • Gentian

    • Supplements

      • B vitamins

      • Vitamin C

      • Vitamin E

      • Selenium’

      • ZInc

      • Choline

      • CoQ10

      • Chlorella

      • Phosphatidylcholine

      • Lipoic Acid

      • N-Acetylcysteine

      • Activated charcoal

  • Lifestyle

    • Use Clean formulations for personal care products

      • Your skin is the largest detoxifying organ. Skincare, body care, and makeup can be hiding toxins unless you are using clean formulations. 

    • Clean formulations of cleaning products.  

      • Vinegar, baking soda, essential oils, and peroxide are good alternatives.

    • Workout

      • Get your body moving!  Toxins can be released from our bodies through sweat and deep breaths.  Get that heart pumping!

      • Movement also increases lymphatic flow.  Our lymphatic system is responsible for moving along waste and debris.

      • Working out does produce free radicals so antioxidants are super important.

    • Dry brushing

      • Exfoliates the skin

      • Increases circulation of blood and lymph

      • Supports digestion

    • Hot/cold hydrotherapy

      • Take a hot shower for 3-4 minutes and then turn the water all the way to cold for 30 seconds. Repeat 1-3 more times ending on cold.

      • Hot water activates superficial blood vessels and sweat glands. Cold water constricts the blood vessels and moves blood to the internal organs.  Alternating increases blood and lymph flow to help flush toxins.

    • Sauna

      • Increase sweating without increasing free radicals in a sauna. Boost your detox benefits by going from a hot sauna to a plunge in cold water. 

While periodically detoxing is beneficial, the real benefits come from making lifelong changes that support your detoxification pathways. Education and prevention are keys to a long-lasting, healthy life.


1.  Dr. Mark Hyman. “Is There Toxic Waste in Your Body?” 19 May 2010.


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