Natural Body Detoxification
By Ryan Harrison, MA, BCIH
Living in a Toxic World
It’s a sad fact that we live in a polluted world. Several years ago, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) took blood samples from the umbilical cords of ten newborns from across the United States and tested them for toxins. They found 287 chemicals that negatively affect nearly every system of the body: hormonal, reproductive, immune, nervous system, etc
It’s worth repeating that these were newborns: children than had never lived a day outside of the womb. They were not exposed to these 287 chemicals by breathing the air, drinking water, or eating food. They got them from their mothers, who had spent their lives breathing, drinking, and eating. Rather than a referendum on prenatal risk assessment, we should consider this a clarion call that alerts us to the fact that our world is so toxic today that babies are born with chemicals inside of them that simply shouldn’t be there.
Fortunately, our bodies want to be healthy.
They’re good at it, for the most part, and part of what keeps us running as smoothly as possible in our toxic world is the body’s natural detoxification system. As we live, our bodies do the best they can to neutralize toxins and escort them from the body as efficiently as possible. Two of the most important players in this sense are the liver and the colon (or large intestine).
The Liver and Body Detox
The liver is the body’s main blood filtration organ. Its health is vital to your well-being, and it works very hard to make sure that toxins introduced to your body are properly taken care of. At the same time, it is possible to overwhelm the liver, and when this happens, it can be harmed, compromising its ability to do its job.
The Colon and Body Detox
Similarly, the colon is important in detoxification. As your body utilizes the food and drinks that you take in, wastes are generated; all the parts of the food you eat that aren’t useful to the body need to be shuttled out. At the end of the digestive journey, the colon is where this natural biological waste is collected and stored, and from which it is eventually excreted. This is meant to be a timely affair. If the body does not move the waste through in a well-timed manner, you can experience increased blockage, making bowel movements difficult and resulting in painful constipation and bloating. In very bad cases, fecal impaction can result, which can be serious enough to warrant surgery.
Enter the concept of an all-natural colon cleanse and detoxification. While inappropriate for babies’ growing bodies and pregnant women alike, natural cleansing and detoxification are something of a safety net. When done correctly, using all-natural products that are intended to support the body’s own detoxification abilities, cleansing can be a major step towards better health.
Dr. Elson Haas, Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin, in San Rafael, CA, and author of The Detox Diet says:
“The modern diet, with excess animal proteins, fats, caffeine, alcohol, and chemicals, inhibits the optimum function of our cells and tissues. The cleansing of toxins and waste products [may help] restore function and vitality.”
The best colon cleansing and detoxification programs will be thorough, gentle, and made with herbal ingredients. The liver can be supported through the use of an herbal complex that includes milk thistle extract. Colon health can be supported by the inclusion of a premium-grade herbal fiber blend that contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. This dietary fiber bulks up as it travels through the digestive tract, sweeping the intestines clean along its way. Additionally, some fiber also feeds the friendly bacteria in the colon, promoting overall immune function and digestive wellness.
While our bodies may be built for the challenge of living in a toxic world, they can use some help from time to time. Finding and completing a cleansing and detoxification program is a great way to help your body’s detox system do its best to keep you healthy and to guard your overall well-being. A natural cleansing program that utilizes the power of herbs to support liver and a healthy colon, for example, can go a long way in giving your body the assistance it needs to thrive.
1 Environmental Working Group. (2005). BodyBurden 2 - The Pollution in Newborns. Environmental Working Group. Retrieved March 21, 2011
2Fecal impaction. (2009). National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved February 8, 2011, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001277
3 Goldberg, Burton. Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide, 2nd ed. © 2002, pg. 169.
4 Milk Thistle "Bottom Line Monograph." (n.d.). Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Retrieved March 22, 2011
5 Fiber, Dietary. (n.d.). The World's Healthiest Foods. Retrieved February 27, 2011, from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=59