There is much talk these days about detoxes and the need to detox the body. You may have heard people say when it comes to weight loss, “I just need to go on a detox diet” or the ever popular “juice cleanses” of the world. Basically, what you want to do is rid your body of waste and toxins and start “fresh” in terms of nutrition and supplements but how do we go about a detox?
Most of your body’s waste is filtered through the liver and kidneys in a three-step detoxification process.
Phase 1 is your body’s first line of defense which utilizes a group of enzymes to oxidize harmful toxins and break them down into smaller substances suitable for further detox. However, this oxidation process results in free radicals which can actually result in further damage to your body if more work is not done to keep them moving out of your body.
Phase 1 can be activated when you ingest or become exposed to external toxins such as caffeine, steroids, pesticides, sleeping pills, birth control and alcohol. It can also be activated in a more positive way through supplementation of vitamins, minerals and herbs: milk thistle, citrus fruits and vitamin C, cruciferous vegetables, cysteine, choline, inositol, magnesium and iron to name a few.
Phase 2 involves conjugation and moving the smaller substances and free radicals from Phase 1 out of the body. In order to do this, the body needs sulfur (from cruciferous veggies), glycine, cysteine (or n-acetyl cysteine), taurine, and methionine (meat), Molybdenum, Vitamin B12 ( from meat and animal products), and glutathione. Phase 2 is typically a very slow process and likely due to the lack of sufficient vitamins and minerals as outlined above. So, the problem becomes that Phase 1 can be activated by your morning coffee or evening happy hour, resulting in insomnia, brain fog and weight gain even as a result of these toxins in the body and insufficient means to detoxify and rid the body of them.
Phase 3 encompasses the transportation of these toxins out of the body by way of the kidneys and then urine, or through the small intestine via stool. This requires adequate hydration as well as proper function of your GI system to ensure regularity. Proper GI function means pooping daily at a #4 or #5 on the Bristol chart. If you do not poop at a #4 or #5, then something is off and could be due to a variety of issues. Most commonly these include issues like gut dysbiosis, which is an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria or not enough beneficial bacteria in the gut. Supplementing with fermented foods and a daily probiotic, like the one found in Protea Nutrition’s GI Assist, can help keep the gut function optimally.
Lack of fiber can also cause loose or hard stools. Foods like oatmeal, chia seeds, flax seeds, avocado, leafy greens and berries are great sources of fiber. Utilizing fiber supplements can also help but be sure to look for whole sources of fiber without the added fillers of some of the popular “fiber supplements” on the shelves. GI Assist packs in 5G of fiber through acacia fiber which is known to be very gentle on the gut and even IBS friendly!
Magnesium deficiency is also a likely cause of slow stools. Unfortunately, lack of magnesium is a very common issue in many people! That’s why GI assist includes 20mg of magnesium as well to aide in proper digestion and elimination.
If you truly feel your body needs a reset, make sure your elimination pathways are working before starting any “detox” protocol. It doesn’t make sense to embark on phase 1 or 2 without a proper functioning elimination plan!!