Detoxification seems to be a big fad these days for weight loss. Changing your diet and intentionally setting aside time to give the body a break and allow it to rid products it has been holding onto can be very beneficial. There are different types of detoxification programs and, of course, not all are good for everyone. I guide many of my patients through detoxification programs once or twice a year. The fall or spring is a great time to start a detoxifying cleanse. If you are new to doing a cleanse, you really need to do your homework and take it slow.

Diarrhea is not detoxing
This is a common mistake that most first time detoxers experience. Many over-the-counter commercial detox products contain laxatives that make the average person feel like they need to install a seat belt on their toilet during cleansing. This is not healthy for the colon. You do not want your bowels to become dependent on a laxative because you will inevitably end up with constipation after the cleanse is over.

What goes in must come out
If you are constipated, it is likely that you are just re-absorbing all the toxins that your liver has worked hard to eliminate. It’s important to maintain at least 1-2 healthy bowel movements a day. Stay well hydrated and make sure you are eating lots of vegetables that are rich in soluble fibre.

Don’t starve the body
Some detoxification plans will actually require that you fast for a day or more. This can be very harmful to the body. The liver is a huge consumer of energy and it needs fuel in order to function. Without an adequate energy supply, it cannot work at full capacity to remove excess waste from the body.

You should not feel sick
Aside from a caffeine withdrawal headache, a cleanse should not make you feel physically ill. If this happens, you may be doing too much too quickly. There are two pathways in the liver that toxins have to go through before they can be eliminated in the bowel. The first reaction creates a molecule that is actually a free radical. This highly reactive molecule can do a lot of damage to the body if it does not pass through the second liver detox pathway in good time. The challenge is that the second step is slower than the first, so if you push your body to detox too quickly, you may actually be accumulating harmful free radicals.

Take it easy
Don’t plan to run a marathon while you detox. The process requires a lot of energy expenditure from the liver and, as such, you want to make sure that the body can keep up. Plan only gentle activities during your cleanse.

If you are interested in exploring the world of cleansing, please feel free to contact our Oakville clinic to book an appointment with one of our Naturopathic Doctors.