Christina Carreau BA, ND
Have you ever wondered why there is so much buzz about detoxification? What does a detox even mean? Who is it for?
Liver detoxification has become increasingly more popular over the course of the past decade and yet there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the role of a detox. I would like to bring some clarity to this issue. Let me start by explaining the role of the liver.
The liver is a complex organ that plays a key role in most of our metabolic processes. Although it has many functions, its primary role is to clear toxins from the body. A toxin is defined as any compound that has a detrimental effect on cell function or structure. Some examples of toxins include caffeine, alcohol, solvents, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, food additives, microbial toxins, etc. Due to the abundance of toxic substances in our environment it is very easy for the liver to become overloaded with toxic metabolites. It is this accumulation of toxins that wreaks havoc on our normal metabolic processes increasing our susceptibility to skin conditions, chronic headaches, fatigue, pain or muscle tension, digestive complaints, inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.
The purpose of doing a liver detox is to allow the body to focus on eliminating accumulated wastes and toxins. By eating a diet that focuses on fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds and eliminating the common toxin burdens (caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, pesticides and food additives) the liver is able to focus on ridding the body of build up and accumulated wastes. During detoxification we also provide the liver with the necessary vitamins, minerals and herbs to ensure that chemicals are appropriately released from the liver, neutralized so as not to cause any free radical damage and then made water and fat soluble to ensure elimination from the body via urine and feces.
Who is liver detoxification for? Even if you are not experiencing any of the symptoms outlined above it is a good idea to get in the habit of practicing preventative medicine. We brush our teeth twice a day to ensure that we don’t get cavities but what do we do for our liver? Does it not make sense to nourish the organ that is responsible for keeping your blood clean? Our modern environment overloads our liver and results in increased levels of circulating toxins in the blood, which damage most of our body’s systems. Don’t wait until you see the effects of this damage, be proactive and take the time while you are well to help promote optimal wellness.