The word detox has two common meanings: (1) to withdraw from the use of drugs or alcohol to which one has developed an addiction, and (2) to describe the body’s physiologic process of rendering chemicals, compounds, hormones, and toxicants less harmful. The second definition is the one used in Functional Medicine. This process is often referred to as “metabolic detoxification.” The organs of detoxification work efficiently as a whole to reduce the body burden or toxic load of chemicals; they include the liver, kidneys, large intestine, lymphatic system, and sweat glands.
There are well-defined metabolic pathways in the body that are responsible for converting toxins into chemical compounds, making it easy for the body to eliminate them (primarily through the urine or stools). Studies on how drugs are metabolized and cleared from the body have established a good understanding of these detoxification processes.
Metabolic detoxification is an ongoing process. Every day, the organs are working to eliminate environmental contaminants that come in from pesticides, toxic bacteria, pollutants, plasticizers, and heavy metals, to name a few. One of the most common exposures is toxic chemicals from agricultural production (pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers). These exposures commonly occur through ingestion or inhalation of water, foods, and air and from time spent in the home or work environment. Sources of toxicants that can increase the body burden include materials used in new construction, carpet chemicals that can off-gas into the air, paint, household cleaners, galvanic forces in the mouth that result from mixed metals in dental restorations, synthetic materials used in dental products, and even personal hygiene products applied to face, skin, and hair. Air pollutants are found in industrial exposures, primary or second-hand smoke exposure, and auto exhaust. In other words, everyone is continually living amidst chemicals and toxicants in an increasingly toxic society, resulting in an ever-increasing body burden or toxic load of chemicals.
A person’s toxic body burden is generally a result of three main factors. First, there is the toxicant exposure we each may have received from both internal and external sources, as previously discussed. Second, each person’s genetic predisposition to effectively produce detoxification enzymes for processing these compounds or substrates is unique and depends on familial influence. Last, the integration of proper nutrition and ongoing dietary ingestion of helpful detoxification nutrients or phytonutrients can impact the body’s capacity to appropriately reduce the presence of toxicants and lower the body burden.
There are several key herbal and nutritional plants that support the body's natural detoxification processes:
Milk Thistle - Supports healing and detoxification in the liver
Turmeric - Naturally anti-inflammatory and supports natural detoxification in the liver
Dandelion - Supports liver detoxification and healthy elimination
Chlorella - Protects and supports liver detoxification
Spirulina - Supports a strong immune system and protects the liver from damage in chronic liver disease
Plant-based Fiber helps the body to eliminate toxins.
Our Healthy Skoop Daily Detox with Fermented Turmeric supports liver health and the body's natural detoxification pathways.