Detoxification, or cleansing, is being used increasingly as a therapeutic modality to support and improve health. Our bodies are exposed to the vast array of toxic chemicals, called xenobiotics, that are ubiquitous in our environment. Xenobiotics are easily absorbed by the body through the skin, lungs, or the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Chronic health problems can develop if detoxification doesn’t take place and these toxins are allowed to circulate within the body. Excretion of toxins is a difficult process; however, the more water soluble the toxin, the easier it is to remove.
The liver plays an important role in the removal of toxins because it transforms fat-soluble toxins into excretable, watersoluble metabolites. The enzymatic (Phase 1) and conjugation (Phase II) reactions are liver processes responsible for detoxification. Phase I reactions activate the body’s enzymes to enhance their accessibility to Phase II Phase II facilitates conversion of toxins to a water-soluble form for excretion in urine or stool. The proper functioning of the bowel is also paramount to successful detoxification.
Chronic health problems can often be traced to compromised digestive and detoxification function. Exposure to toxins, intestinal permeability defects, and parasitic infections are common conditions associated with gastrointestinal dysfunction. The liver’s capacity for detoxification can become impaired due to excessive exposure to toxins as well as deficiencies in nutrients. Common signs and symptoms of toxicity include weakness, headaches, neurological disturbances, multiple chemical sensitivities, immune dysfunction, abdominal pain, bloating, inflammatory bowel disorders, liver disorders, and chronic skin disorders.
How the treatment is performed
Treatment modalities generally include three categories of procedures: reducing exposures to toxins, enhancing gastrointestinal function, and supporting the detoxification process.
Methods of detoxification
Drug detox is performed in many different ways depending on where one decides to receive treatment. Most drug detox centers simply provide treatment to avoid physical withdrawal to alcohol & other drugs. Ideally, a trained detox facility will incorporate counseling and therapy during detox to help with the psychological distress that the individual may experience as well.
Reduce exposure to toxins:
– dietary changes
Optimize gastrointestinal function:
– improve digestion
– remove intestinal toxins and pathogens
– heal intestinal mucosa
– reduce oxidative damage
-reestablish normal intestinal flora
-provide nutritional support for Phase I and II detoxification pathways
-follow dietary guidelines for detoxification.