Time for a good spring cleaning

What does it mean to “detoxify”? You’ll see it described as everything from fasting and laxatives to high colonics and dramatic liver cleanses — including coffee enemas and tumblers of maple syrup and cayenne to guzzle. Each of these efforts is well intentioned, but you can clean individual organ systems ’til you’re blue in the face and it won’t do much lasting good if your blood is still contaminated and quickly getting everything all clogged up again. That’s like changing your oil filter without changing the oil.

Meaningful detoxification should be an ongoing process, not just a once-in-awhile procedure. My biggest concerns with commercial cleanses are that they’re often harsh; they don’t do a complete cleaning job; and they don’t do much, if anything, to protect or rejuvenate your liver. They also completely ignore your blood. Sweeping the kitchen is great, but it’s not a spring housecleaning!

Should you be detoxifying regularly? Yes. In fact, heck yes — even if you’ve got no health complaints and your liver is (as far as you know) working fine. That’s because your 3 1/2-pound liver is pretty much like that of your cave-dwelling ancestors, and detoxification was, and still is, one of its most important jobs. In the old world, there were no automobiles belching toxins into the air; no factories and sewage systems clouding the water; no antibiotics, synthetic hormones, pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified food; no plastic wrap leaching into the leftovers; and no alcohol. In the old world, a 3 1/2-pound liver was just about right.

But in the modern world, it’s a struggle for your liver to keep up, even if you abstain from vices and eat nothing but organic food. Under the circumstances, your liver does an awesome job. But I guarantee you this: It’s doing more than it was ever designed to do; it gets no time off to rejuvenate itself; and it’s stockpiling ever-mounting manmade exotic toxins in its “aisle ways” (the bile canals that connect the honeycombs of liver cells) in hopes it’ll have time to get to them later — which it never will. As those toxins age, they get oozier and more toxic, and eventually your bile canals get so clogged that all that stuff starts backing up into your liver cells… and making your liver sick. It’s definitely not good when the major organ of detoxification has itself become toxic.

Your liver could be sick right now, even if you don’t have symptoms. Its emergency reserves keep you comfortable until there’s so much damage that your liver is teetering on the edge of destruction. In fact, even if you have blood tests to check your liver function, they won’t register a problem until it’s already quite advanced. The real tragedy is that, compared to your other major organs, your liver has a special ability: It can clone itself! But that’s possible only if there’s enough healthy liver tissue left. If its bile canals are clogged with toxic waste, toxins are backing up into those cells as we speak, and they’re rapidly becoming too sick to clone themselves.

So now that you understand why I believe regular liver detoxification is vital to healthy living in the modern world.

Here are four essential steps to promoting a healthy liver for life!

•  Get your bowels moving! If the liver has gone to all the effort to filter waste and send it off for elimination then it is extremely important that this happens in a timely manner. Waste that sits in the colon for days gets re-absorbed into the blood stream via the vessels in the colon walls and toxins re-circulate through the body until they show up yet again at the liver for detoxification. Regular bowel movements take the extra workload off the liver. A high fibre diet, gentle fibre supplement, optimal hydration, probiotics and digestive enzymes can all contribute to a healthy colon and regularity.

•  Add antioxidants! Your liver uses powerful anti-oxidant compounds to neutralize the damaging toxins it encounters. Deficiency of these raw materials can inhibit the liver’s ability to convert harmful substances. Ensure adequate daily intake of vitamin C, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), glycine and methionine for optimal liver function.

•  Move and groove! The liver eliminates toxins though 3 main pathways — via the kidneys, bowels and skin. Physical activity stimulates the lymphatic system, also known as the sewage system of the body; lymphatic vessels carry cellular waste and are stimulated when large muscles move. Getting your heart rate up will move toxins through the lymphatic vessels and out of the body, while sweating will help eliminate toxins through the skin.

•  Multiply your micronutrients! The liver uses a wide variety of micronutrients every day to function properly. A deficiency in any vitamin or mineral (such as the B-complex vitamins, magnesium or zinc) can impair the liver’s ability to perform. A high-potency multi-vitamin and mineral supplement will fill in any nutritional gaps and ensure your liver is given the tools it needs very day to do its very important job.

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Reprinted with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC

The content and opinions expressed in this article are the professional and/or personal view or opinion of the author only. Opinions expressed should not be construed as medical advice, and the article’s content is not a substitute for direct, personal, professional medical care and diagnosis. Individuals should always consult with their health care provider before beginning or changing any treatment program.

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ Hanna Monika Cybulko

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