Ted H. Spence
DDS, ND, PhD/DSc, MPH
Detoxification comes in many forms and refers to many different programs
that cleanse the body of toxins. Today, our environment is toxic and
the foods we eat, even the air we breathe and the water we drink is
laden with chemicals foreign to our system. Therefore, everyone is
undergoing some type of detoxification to maintain life and health.
Although basic detoxification begins with diet, detox programs may
include nutritional fortification for the liver, lungs, kidneys, bowels
soon see why these organs are so important in detoxification. Detoxification
for the body may refer to the cleansing of the bowels, kidneys, lungs,
the liver or the blood, since these are the organs involved in detoxification
of chemicals and toxins from the body. The liver acts as an "in-line"
filter for the removal of foreign substances and wastes from the blood.
The kidneys filter wastes from the blood into the urine, while the
lungs remove volatile gases as we breathe.
is designed to utilize natural substances, which includes foods, herbs
and phytochemicals. Any foreign substance will serve as a stimulus
to our immune system, which has the function of removing these substances.
Although the toxicity of a chemical may vary, it is the job of the
liver to reduce toxins into compounds that the body can safely handle
and eliminate through the kidneys (as urine), skin (as sweat), lungs
(as expelled air) and bowels (as feces). Maintaining these eliminative
organs in good working order is essential for one's good health to
there are many detoxification programs available, they differ in their
actions and their intent. Some detoxification programs (DP) work only
with the bowels, others may cleanse the liver or the blood, and others
may aid the kidneys or the skin in their functions. By combining these
detox programs into a total health program, one can effectively restore
their health to an optimal level and look younger in the process.
When the body can eliminate toxins, then health is restored and energy
and vigor are revitalized. Many different approaches to detoxification
and wellness will work, even though they attack the problem at different
levels. Any program that augments detoxification will improve health.
Other factors must be considered in detoxification, like nutrition,
water, and exercise, rest, sunshine, and fresh air.
Detoxification diets help the body to eliminate toxins in many ways.
First, natural vegetarian diets include the fiber needed for stimulating
good bowel eliminate. They also contain the proper amounts of vitamins
that feed and nourish the bowels and the liver, as well as other eliminative
organs. They also include a valuable source of enzymes since most
vegetarian diets are eaten raw. The elimination of meat from the diet
for a short period enhances detoxification because meat is so difficult
to digest and requires many enzymes for its digestion. Therefore,
vegetarian diets are cleansing diets and aid the body in elimination
changing diets and lifestyle is easier said than done for some people.
Many people want health and will go to any length to improve their
health, including dietary changes. But there are others who do not
want to change their life style for anything. These people will be
difficult to motivate and will not stick with the detox programs for
one day. They may not want to give up their sodas, or their cigarettes,
their beer or their coffee. They may make a few changes, like
drinking more water, or they may give up completely in a very short
notice. Our way of eating has been cultivated over many years and
will not change over night. But to those who do want better health
and do not want to rely on pills/drugs for their existence, nutritional
changes will be welcomed, especially when they start feeling better
and having more energy.
are very important and are usually the basis for any detox program,
whether it is herbs, cleansing or other detox programs.[i]
Detox diets will generally
eliminate trigger foods, which may cause many problems with digestion
and elimination. Foods like wheat (glutens) and dairy (milk, cheese)
are often the cause of allergies. Sugar is eliminated because of its
"empty calories" and tendency to produce hypoglycemia. Meats are eliminated
because they may contain hormones, antibiotics and are difficult to
digest. Caffeine is wise to avoid, since it has many ill effects on
the body's digestion. Refined, processed and junk foods are also out
for any detox program to work.
Generic diets for detoxification are good, but may not stimulate the
liver, lungs or the kidneys as much as one would like. Therefore,
herbal cleanses are indicated when we want to hone our cleanse to
a "sharp edge" and be organ specific. Of course, herbs are foods too
and provide one with vitamins, minerals and enzymes for excellent
nutrition. Herbs are powerful, because they may be combined together
to fortify those herbs that aid specific organs. For example, herbal
combinations that aid the liver may be found in many organic food
stores. The list below shows how herbal combinations help the
LIV-A Dandelion, red beet, liverwort, parsley, horsetail, birch leaves,
chamomile, blessed thistle, black cohosh, angelica, gentian, goldenrod
Uva ursi, parsley, dandelion, juniper berries JP-X
Parsley, uva ursi, marshmallow, ginger, goldenseal, dong quai, cedar
LH Comfrey, marshmallow, mullein, slippery elm, senega, Chinese
herbs may be taken at any time, they are best for detoxification purposes
when they are used with a good diet also. It does not make any
sense to take herbs to cleanse the liver if the bowels are clogged
with junk or refined foods, since the liver dumps its toxins into
the bowels. And while detoxification diets are effective by themselves,
they may be reinforced and speeded up with herbs, which stimulate
the eliminative organs.
may be used as teas, powders or extracts. Powders are usually encapsulated
for easier swallowing, but are best when taken with meals and digestive
enzymes. Extracts may be used when specific herbs are needed, but
may be extracted with alcohol, which we need to avoid. Herbal teas
are easily made and easily taken all throughout the day. They are
mild and gentle and sometimes refreshing and sometimes bitter. Experimentation
may be in order until one develops the right tea to drink. Herbal
teas is a topic in itself, since there are so many and different ways
to make them.
Drink a glass of lemon water or drink a glass of water with added:
one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of blackstrap
Drink a glass of water with psyllium husk powder (follow with
another glass of water).
Take 2-3 multi-digestive enzymes
Take liver herbs
Drink herbals teas which support the liver, including Dandelion/licorice/ginger/fennel
Following a good diet is mandatory for herbs to work optimally. See
section on diets for detox.
Detoxification should include some type of skin cleansing, because
our skin it one of our best eliminative organs. Heavy metals are actually
released through the skin's pores when we sweat. Sauna baths and steam
rooms are great for removing toxins from the skin and regenerating
one's health and energy. It has been documented that our skin's sweat
glands when combined can perform as much detoxification as one (or
both) kidneys. Therefore, it is very important to support our skin
for detoxification to be maximal. If our kidneys are damaged, then
helping the skin will help the kidneys ... indirectly, but effectively.
skin care is in order, if one's health is to benefit, also. Using
chemicalized skin care products is not wise, even though they are
cheaper. These chemicals may be absorbed into our circulation and
provide more "toxins" for our liver to deal with. We are not
made out of cast iron, and even the chemicals in our soaps and shampoos
will make a difference with our health. Most people do not "see" the
ill effects of these subtle chemicals, because their liver is able
to metabolize them. But, individuals who are environmentally toxic
will see a great change in their health when using natural soaps and
shampoos. We should take their advice and use only natural skin care
our skin is rather simple. First, we need to bathe daily using natural
soaps. Then we need to care for the skin by using only natural oils
and products of natural origin. Even the clothes we wear can make
a big difference in our health. Synthetic fibers do not absorb sweat
(toxins), while natural fibers, like cotton, will absorb toxins. Dry
skin brushing helps in removing the outer dead skin layers and keeps
the pores open. Another good method of skin brushing is with vigorous
toweling off after bathing. Towel roughly until the skin is slightly
red. Change towels often because they will contain toxins.
skin care also requires good nutrition.[ii] Since
our skin is mainly fat, we need high quality fats and oil from natural
sources to give our skin health. Butter and olive oil are two excellent
natural oils, which keep the skin in good condition. As always, the
fats/oils should be natural ... only.
Use 1/2 cup of baking soda or use 1/2 cup of Epsom salt or use 1/2
cup of sea salt. Soak for 15-20 minutes and then scrub the skin gently
with soap on a natural fiber. Within a few minutes the water will
turn murky and "dirty." The darkness to the water is heavy metals
coming out of the skin (aluminum and mercury). Do this once a week
during detox and once a month for maintenance.
Fasting with vegetable juices can be another excellent way to develop
good health and cleanse the body of toxins. Juices, minus their pulp
(fiber), contain an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
When the pulp is not added, one is able to drink more juice than they
are able to eat. For example, one can easily consume the juice of
several heads of lettuce in one sitting, but may not be able to eat
the lettuce whole. This allows the body to get an abundance of nutrients
with minimal processing (digestion). Fasting on mono-juices also allows
the body proper time to process these juices and helps to preserve
our valuable digestive enzymes.
fasting has helped many people over come serious diseases like
cancer, because it gave them optimal nutrition and allowed the body
to cleanse itself of toxins. [According to many nutritionists, cancer
is merely a toxic condition.] With some juicers,
the pulp is discarded, but it may be saved and added back for fiber
(not too much). Juices contain good sources of antioxidants and enzymes,
both of which are needed for cleansing and eliminating toxins. Juices
are also easy to digest and help those with digestive problems.
Our bowel flora is also important for detoxification and normal health.
Probiotics is the term given to the normal bowel flora, which are
taken as supplements. It has been found that these normal flora actually
defend our body from the pathogenic species of bacteria and perform
many vital functions, such as detoxification of toxic chemicals and
making valuable vitamins (mainly the B vitamins). When our normal
flora are present they secrete mediators in which the pathogenic forms
cannot grow. But the reverse is also true, that when the pathogenic
forms take over, they will exclude the normal flora with their toxins.
scientists feel that it is the toxins secreted from the pathogens
and not the pathogens themselves that create disease. The ability
of all bacteria to change and grow under specific conditions of their
immediate environment is called pleiomorphism. Cell wall deficient
forms are "bacteria" which lack a defined cell wall, yet have all
the specifications of being bacterial-like. Even viruses have been
found to exhibit morphological forms, which resemble bacteria and
fungus. While this is not widely accepted by modern medical scientists,
it has been proven beyond a shadow of doubt by eminent scientists,
like Virginia Livingston Wheeler, Irene Diller, and Royal Rife. Their
microscopic studies have revealed that bacteria and viruses and fungus
may be all different forms of the same organism, differing only by
the environment in which they are grown.
kill off the good bacteria as well as the bad and allow the bad to
repopulate and develop antibiotic resistance. Natural forms of antibiotics
are better, since they do not kill off the good bacteria with the
bad and do not allow drug" resistance to take place. Garlic, for example,
is perhaps, 200 times more effective against pathogens than most antibiotics
today. And it does not produce antibiotic resistance forms, which
is a danger to all our health. As antibiotics become more widely used,
more antibiotic resistant forms will be encountered. Herbal antiseptics
and antibacterial tonics are far better and less dangerous to our
over-all health, because they do not kill of the good bacteria with
our natural flora is a good step for preventing disease and keeping
our bowels healthy and populated with normal flora. Taking probiotics
containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidus can help us in our
detox program and also in repopulating the gut after a cleanse.
Our normal healthy flora should be a part of any detoxification program.
The use of antioxidants, like vitamins A, E, and especially C, are
very essential for detoxification since they are involved with the
detoxification of toxins. Antioxidants are involved with helping cells
to neutralize free radicals that can cause mutations and cellular
damage. As these free radicals are neutralized, the antioxidant vitamins
will be used and exhibit low levels. Vitamin A and E are fat soluble
and will be found in our fat tissues/stores, but vitamin C is water
soluble and will be found mainly in our skin (between the cells according
to Reams). Vitamin C is also involved with many other important bodily
functions, like collagen formation, wound healing, energy production
and fighting off colds (viruses).
of antioxidants is so important that any deficiency of them will be
seen as catastrophic to one's health. When our antioxidants are low,
energy is not available and detoxification cannot take place in a
normal fashion. Therefore, toxins accumulate or are stored until they
can be processed. The liver and many other organs are compromised
in their functions when antioxidants are low. Just the lack of energy
is enough to cause the body to have compromised or poor health, because
it is energy that is required for the removal of toxins and wastes.
C should be taken with bioflavinoids to ensure that all the components
of the vitamin C complex are taken together, since they work together.
Pure ascorbic acid is called vitamin C, but does little by itself.
We tend to think that ascorbic acid as vitamin C, but it is only part
of the vitamin C complex. Vitamin C is very essential to any detoxification
program, because that is what the body uses for energy to process
and eliminate these toxic waste Vitamin C can be taken in very high
doses until the bowel tolerance level [BTL] is achieved. This BTL
is different for different people. Some persons reach tolerance at
4-5 grams (4,000-5,000 mg), while others may not reach tolerance until
10-15 grams (10,000-15,000 mg). Cancer patients notoriously can take
20-30 grams (20,000-30,000 mg) of vitamin C before tolerance is reached
... meaning that they needed more vitamin C than most people.
vitamin C to its tolerance level we find out 1) what our BTL is and
2) how saturated our body is with Vitamin C. Vitamin C was found
by Linus Pauling and Ewan Cameron to be very effective in helping
many patients to over come that killer disease, called cancer. Perhaps,
this was because vitamin C was needed for detoxification of toxins,
which "caused" the cancer in the first place. Although Pauling and
Cameron were greatly criticized for their work with vitamin C, they
were able to help many people overcome cancer and without compromising
their health with toxic drugs.
The use of enzymes in detoxification is important, because the body
needs an adequate supply of enzymes, not only for digestion, for also
for detoxification.[iii] Enzymes are best obtained
from fresh raw fruits and vegetables, but may be taken daily with
meals as nutritional supplements of multi-digestive enzymes. Enzymes
in our food helps us to digest that food, but many foods today are
processed, refined, heated (cooked), radiated and stored, which destroys
enzymes and leaves it non-vital.[iv] Foods with
enzymes destroyed will have a longer shelf life, but will not give
one health when it is eaten.
raw fruits and vegetables are the best source for enzymes and help
to give one vibrant health. Enzymes are also used by the body
in detoxification of toxic substances. The liver is the source of
most detoxification enzymes, which it must make, or store. To aid
the body in removing and eliminating wastes and toxins, enzymes
are best taken in between meals. This way they do not get involved
with digestion, but go to the liver and to the blood for detoxification.
therapies have utilized enzymes for improving health and enzymes have
long been the key to many detoxification therapies which have helped
many to over come that dreaded disease, cancer. Kelley, Gerson, Moerman,
and Neiper used alternative nutritional therapies with enzymes
for curing cancer. The famous Wobe Mugos enzymes from Europe were
utilized with Laetrile therapies for cancer. Never was Laetrile give
alone, but was used with vitamins, diet and enzymes. This made the
Laetrile therapy very successful in the 1970s. If cancer is a toxic
condition, which many feel that it is, then taking enzymes will help
it. And it does.
of raw foods in many detoxification diets are using the enzymes found
naturally in those foods. Additionally, these raw foods provide fiber
and, with proper food combining, will not waste the body enzymes reserves.
Preserving enzymes is the key to over coming disease and living to
ripe old age and remaining healthy. Yes, vitamins and minerals
are important, but vitamins are enzyme co-factors and many minerals
are use to activate enzymes. Therefore, the vitamins and minerals
themselves are only augmenting the role of the enzymes which are detoxifying
toxins and supporting metabolism.
also help the bowels in cleansing, because they liquefy the bowel
content, which makes transit much easier. The role of enzymes in digestion
is to break down foods for digestion and absorption. When foods are
broken down they become more liquid and the bowels move much easier
and faster. Transit time is decreased and our health is increased
when toxins are removed and eliminated. Perhaps, this is a link
to breaking the "constipation chain." Enzymes are the key to health.
Preserve our enzymes and we will be healthy for a long time.
Keeping the bowels clean and moving is a major step in regaining our
health since the bowels are crucial in the elimination of toxins,
especially those processed by the liver. [The liver dumps in to the
bowel via the gall bladder.] This is why one hears a lot about the
bowels, and bowel cleansing. In severe cases, enemas and colonics
may be needed to breakup and washout long-standing bowel encrustations.
Diet may do the same thing as an enema or colonic, it will just take
longer. Also, one should be very diligent in repopulating after a
total washout of the normal flora and probiotics will be necessary
to restore that balance.
is a national pastime and slow bowels are more common today than years
previous. For one thing, people not only ate better 100 years ago,
they were more active and got out doors more. When the bowels
slow down, toxins are not eliminated and are reabsorbed and carried
back to the liver for recycling and elimination. Reabsorbed bile salts
have been linked to increased cholesterol levels; therefore, cholesterol
is a major indicator of constipation. Also, when the bowels get slow
and toxin levels increase, the pathogenic microorganisms grow to out-number
the normal flora causing dysbiosis. Although flora is needed
to correct this, it is the clogged bowels that are the major problem.
When the bowels move again, everything else will fall into order.
glands that control metabolism are also involved; since it is our
thyroid that controls metabolism and metabolism affects how our bowels
are functioning. In this way, constipation can be seen as a symptom
of hypothyroidism. Low body temperatures (a symptom of hypothyroidism)
are very common today ...although they are not "normal" ... as many
authors have reported. One major factor in low body temperatures is
the suppression of thyroid function by heavy metals, like mercury,
which binds to our thyroid hormones and renders them inactive. Eliminate
the mercury and the body temperature is likely to return to normal.
way to get the bowels moving is by using a high fiber diet consisting
of fresh fruits and vegetables. Sometimes, one may add extra
fiber during the day by drinking a glass of water (juice) with psyllium
husk powder. The extra fiber adds to the bulk of the stool and decreases
the bowel transit time, which means better toxin elimination and better
health. It makes sense that if one can eliminate toxins their
health will improve.
the best ways to improve the bowel function is with herbal remedies
that act as bowel stimulants or laxatives. These products range from
the very mild - slippery elm - to the stimulant - cascara sagrada-
to the very harsh - aloes and senna. Everyone may react differently
to these products, so they should be taken cautiously at first. Some
persons may take two aloes with no effect (meaning they are heavily
blocked), while others may take a mild herbal and get a much greater
effect than most. Herbal bowel combination formulas are excellent
because they not only stimulate the bowels to move, but give the bowels
the nourishment it needs to move on its own.
formulas should not preclude a wholesome
natural diet, since diet comes first in matters of health. One
should not become overly dependent on herbal laxatives, since they
deplete potassium and may be "addicting" as some authors claim. Yet,
herbal products play a key role in getting the body to eliminate toxins
by stimulating the eliminative organs like nothing else can and, therefore,
cannot be ignored.
The Herxheimer Reaction occurs when the body is detoxifying too rapidly
and toxins are being released faster than the body can eliminate them.[v]
When this occurs, one will suffer from headaches, nausea, vomiting,
and malaise. Even though this is but a short period of the health
program, it can be severe and deter one from reaching their intended
goals. Also, the person may not know what they are experiencing
and think that they are regressing.
minimize the Herxheimer Reaction:
lots of pure water
minimal exercise daily
detoxification slowly... one step at a time
increase the dose of herbals
the organs of elimination (bowels, lungs, skin, kidneys) open
aromatherapy oils for aches -like peppermint, birch, and wintergreen
by using exercise, saunas, baths, and herbs
foreign chemicals and refined processed foods
Herxheimer reaction occurs, cut back on your health detoxification
program. Reduce the dose of herbs and follow the above outline to
reduce the symptoms of toxin elimination. The more toxins there are
to eliminate, the sicker one is when they come out. Generally, one
will feel better when all is over and health is restored again. Just
remember, don't give up.
Detoxification may produce symptoms of headaches, nausea, malaise
and vomiting due to the toxins being released [Herxheimer Reaction].
If this occurs, one should back off the program and proceed slowly.
Proceeding to fast with detoxification can have disastrous results
when toxins are released into the circulation. Our body should
be primed and ready to eliminate toxins before they are released.
We do this by getting the bowels working, keeping the skin clean and
getting the kidneys and lungs operating. Only by having all
organs of elimination in proper operating order can our body begin
to dump toxins efficiently and maximally. Keeping the skin clean and
healthy is of prime importance also.
is essential for good health to exist. Our body must eliminate toxins
daily or we would die immediately. Since our environment is more toxic
today, our livers are over stressed with environmental toxins to deal
with daily. Processing other toxins, when the liver is stressed, may
be delayed. Detoxification is also a lifestyle change. For it is by
the way we live that determines our health and how our liver processes
toxins. Detoxification is
easy if we eat a wholesome natural organic diet and live life in a
natural way. But for those who want their cake and eat it too,
detoxification may be compromised. A change your lifestyle may be
needed and detoxification will be forthcoming. Nature has afforded
us the chance to live in a toxic environment and not be affected by
it. Of course, we have to live right to get that chance. Without detoxification
we may not get a second chance.
health is within our reach, but first we must cleanse this "temple"
and eat a wholesome natural diet that provides us with maximal nutrients
and fiber. Herbs can help us stimulate the liver, lungs, kidneys and
bowels when needed, but diet is the first priority in any detoxification
program. Don't become overly dependent on herbal laxatives. When toxins
are released one may feel bad for a day or two, but when our good
health is restored we will have renewed energy and will "soar on the
wings of an eagle". Many people living today have never known
what good health "feels" like. They survive with an abundance of toxins
and an existence less than healthy.
health is not hard to find, but does require diligence and life style
changes which are compatible with toxin elimination. Sir Jason
Winters Says, "Death begins in the colon." With good toxin elimination
through natural detoxification programs our health and energy are
"The Best Way to Detox," Jill Ruttenberg, Natural Health, Oct
1999, p 88-92, 152.
Aubrey Hampton, Natural Organic Hair and Skin Care, 1987, Organica
Press, Tampa, FL 33614
Harold Loomis, DC, Enzymes: The Key to Health, Vol 1, The Fundamentals,
1999, 21st Century Nutrition, Madison, WI
Anthony J Cichoke, DC, Enzymes and Enzyme Therapy, 1994, Keats
Publishing, Inc, New Canaan, CT
Ibid, p 148.
Throughout this website, statements are made pertaining to the properties
and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements
have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and
these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat,
cure or prevent any disease.