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Is it Time to Reset? 5 Ways to Detox this Season

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Most people don’t successfully carry out and maintain a detoxification program. It is difficult to stick with a strict fall detoxdiet or drink an unpleasant tasting powder. Most commercially available detox kits contain herbal supplements that are little more then a laxative. A good detox will stimulate multiple elimination pathways with the main focus on the liver and intestines.

Diet – Adequate fluid and fibre from whole grains, fruits and veggies are extremely important to help keep our bowels moving. Fibre provides bulk for the stool, binds fats, prevents blood sugar elevations and stimulates elimination of toxins. Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are crucial for maintaining both phases of liver detoxification.

Probiotics – Beneficial bacteria have numerous beneficial effects and in the gut they make the digestive lining less leaky so it doesn’t absorb potentially allergenic and toxic molecules. A specific strain of bacteria called Bifidobacterium longum (BB-536) has been shown to help promote detoxification and to promote normal cell growth. It has the specific action of reducing beta-glucuronidase activity in the colon, which prevents the reactivation of toxic and cancer-causing compounds. Evidence has shown that this bacteria acts to enhance the immune system, suppress the growth of harmful bacteria that secrete toxic substances, bind and eliminate these, and secrete protective compounds.

Vitamins, minerals and amino acids – play a major role in liver detoxification, acting as cofactors for many enzyme systems. B-vitamins and methyl donors such as vitamin B12 and methionine are a key part of both phases of liver detoxification. N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) is an amino acid that acts as an antioxidant and is a precursor to glutathione. Numerous studies have shown that NAC powerfully enhances glutathione levels and protects the liver from toxic damage.

Herbs and Botanical extracts have been used as a traditional remedy for over 2000 years. Milk thistle is an herb that protects the liver against toxins and has been used successfully to treat chronic liver diseases. Silymarin prevents damage to the liver through several mechanisms: by acting as an antioxidant, increasing the synthesis of glutathione, preventing viral infection and by increasing the rate of liver tissue regeneration. It also helps prevent inflammation and may have metal-chelating effects on heavy metals like arsenic.

Cruciferous vegetables contain a group of natural compounds called glucosinolates that support liver green vegetablesdetoxification and hormone elimination pathways. One of the most promising glucosinolates with anti-cancer, antioxidant and detoxification activity is sulforaphane. It has the unique ability to stimulate the phase II liver detoxification system which is the key step in toxin elimination. Sulforaphane precursors are abundant in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale with the highest concentration found in broccoli and broccoli sprouts.

If you include all of the above points into your detox plan you will be stimulating all the key pathways of elimination in the body. Combine these principles with adequate hydration, sleep, physical activity and a healthy diet to take this year’s detox to the next level.

Have you ever tried a cleanse or detox? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

Image by © 2014 Vitaliy Mateha and © 2013 kazoka303030 via DollarPhotoClub

References

Reddy BS and Rivenson A. Inhibitory Effect of Bifidobacterium longum on Colon, Mammary, and Liver Carcinogenesis Induced by 2-Amino-3-methylimidazo[4,5-/]quinoline, a Food Mutagen. Cancer Research. 1993; 53: 3914-3918

Akatsu et al. Clinical effects of probiotic Bifidobacterium longum BB536 on immune function and intestinal microbiota in elderly patients receiving enteral tube feeding. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2013 Sep;37(5):631-40.

Rushworth GF, Megson IL. Existing and potential therapeutic uses for N-acetylcysteine: the need for conversion to intracellular glutathione for antioxidant benefits. Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Feb;141(2):150-9

Saller R, Melzer J, Reichling J, Brignoli R, Meier R. An updated systematic review of the pharmacology of silymarin. Forsch Komplementmed. 2007 Apr;14(2):70-80.

Pradhan SC, Girish C. Hepatoprotective herbal drug, silymarin from experimental pharmacology to clinical medicine. Indian J Med Res. 2006 Nov;124(5):491-504.

Fahey and Talalay. Antioxidant functions of sulforaphane: a potent inducer of phase II detoxifi- cation enzymes. Food Chem Toxicol 1999;37:973-97

Sulforaphane Glucosinolate Monograph. Altern Med Rev 2012;15(4): 352-360.

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