So you’ve decided on the detox. You’re gonna purge those toxins from your body. Maybe even push out a fecal impaction. All those toxins and impurities are affecting your health, both physical and mental. These toxins and impurities include:
- Metabolic waste from cells
- Accumulated environmental toxins such as pesticides on your food
- Heavy metals
- Chemicals from household products (cleansers and air fresheners)
- Chemicals from personal hygiene products (shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.)
- Salt, empty calories, fat… you get it.
Let’s get right to the point. The liver and kidneys do the work of removing toxins from your body. Nutrients and other materials from the digestive system travel to the liver through the bloodstream. Waste products, including toxins, are filtered out, where the liver produces chemicals the bind to the waste molecules. They are then passed back to the bloodstream where the kidneys pick them up and pass them to the bladder in the form of urine.
There’s nothing you can do or take to replace this process or even augment it. In true medical terms, detoxification is the removal of something you tend to ingest frequently. You can remove drugs and alcohol from your lifestyle. You can remove toxic people from your life. (That’s probably the best place to start!) But alternative medicine offers detox as a way to remove stuff like heavy metals and other “obstacles to your healing process” that supposedly accumulate in your body. Suggested methods are fasting, special diets and removal of items like:
- cow’s milk/cheese
- processed meats
- fried foods
While cutting back on these things (in the case of nicotine, complete removal) is better for your health, they do nothing to expel any toxic substances from your body. Fasting is something that can be done for medical purposes, but it won’t flush toxins out of your body; in fact, depriving yourself of nutrients can compromise the function of every one of your systems, even the liver and kidneys, which, as stated before, do the actual work of detoxing.
Naturally, like any other system in your body, the liver and kidneys can be compromised. Impaired liver function can be brought on by poor lifestyle choices resulting in obesity or alcoholism, but they can also be brought on by genetics or pathogen. Impaired kidney function can be the result of some sort of infection like UTI, stones, inflammation, diabetes or extensive drug use. Some things, like certain drugs, can affect both liver and kidney function. Medical research has indicated that liver and kidney dysfunction need to be treated with medication, while alternative medicines and detox therapies have not been shown to be effective.
Healthy lifestyle choices, like a well-balanced diet and exercise, keep all your organs function at their optimal level, and if you want a healthier liver and kidneys, the healthy lifestyle is the way to go. No amount of detoxing will make them work better. Detoxing does nothing that your liver and kidneys don’t already do. As with your immune system, just take in what your body needs, and your body does the rest. Don’t be taken in by the fad diets, fasting or anything like them. And, as always, consult with your doctor!