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The Detoxification Myth: Do we really need to help the body detox?

Updated: Mar 6, 2023

The modern world is a constant source of pollutants and chemical inhalants. Every day we are exposed to varying levels of petroleum, pesticides, plastics and perfumes in our environment that can pose harm to our health.

Individuals with autoimmunity and chronic illness in particular may have an impaired ability to run optimal detoxification processes due to high levels of inflammation, lower levels of available nutrients, and chronic stress.

Over the years, pollutants and toxins can build up, get stored in our fat cells and ultimately impair the body's natural process of detoxification, cause oxidative stress and DNA damage, and disrupt metabolic pathways that lead to dysfunctions in other systems of the body such as the nervous system. The bottom line: overexposure to chemicals and the toxic build up that results can play a role in diseases such as autoimmune illness.

Therefore, it is important to clear pollutants from the body as efficiently as possible, because the faster the chemicals are excreted, the less likely they are to have long lasting effects. So when we talk about "detox", we are simply talking about how we can support our existing overloaded detoxification processes - they can use as much help as we can give them.


So how do you know if your detoxification system is impaired?

Long term exposure to pollutants may lead to oxidative stress and a breakdown in the body’s own immune system. This could lead to conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and autoimmune disease.

Common symptoms which may indicate poor detoxification include:

  • constipation

  • headaches

  • nausea

  • muscle aches

  • food allergy/sensitivity

  • weight fluctuations

  • irregular hormone fluctuations

  • skin abnormalities

Therapeutic approaches

There are many complementary techniques and supplements that help to support detoxification.

A Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis can help to determine your current state of health. This test provides information on the efficiency of your body, by measuring the blood’s components, ESR levels, which help show your body’s general well-being, inflammation levels, nutrient levels, and can help to assess immunity and the adequacy of dietary intake.

To improve clearance of toxins, there are various supplemented nutrients that are specifically needed by the detoxification pathways of the body. A Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis helps to provide information on the specific depleted vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, lipids, oils and essential fatty acids that your body may be lacking, and provides a programme of supplementation to increase the efficiency of the detoxification processes.

By using this method of nutritional assessment and correcting nutritional balance with a personalised programme, you can improve the overall functioning of the body, including helping to bring the immune system back into healthy balance.

In Nutritional Therapy clinic, we use a combined and personalised approach, optimising any areas that your specific body needs support with, which can help a variety of chronic conditions.

Quick tips on detoxifying

  • One of the most important elements of detoxification is hydration, so make sure to drink enough for your body, stage of life, season and activity level.

  • Eat a diet high in plant and phytonutrient variety, such as vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices.

  • Help support healthy blood sugar balance by eating at regular meal times.

  • Reduce the quantity of pesticides and chemicals consumed by opting for organic produce where possible.

  • Reduce everyday chemical pollutants in the home by avoiding air fresheners, sprays and perfume. Avoid using artificially-perfumed chemical cleaning products by using good old fashioned cleaning solutions like water and vinegar to clean glass and lemon-oil for dusting.

  • Quitting smoking will instantly clear the air in house and will benefit all the occupants.

  • One of the most important routes for excretion is sweating. An exercise and/or sauna programme will help to mobilise fat to release the fat-soluble toxins.

This is a basic outline, but in Nutritional Therapy clinic, I consider every client individually and will adjust the thinking and approach to fit each person and their history. To read more about my services, click here

Next Steps

Hi I'm Molly, I'm a UK-based Nutritional Therapist (DipION, mBANT, CNHC) and Self-Compassion Coach (MSc) serving my community in Harpenden and online. Here in my little online home, you'll discover the benefits of nutritional therapy and complementary therapies for autoimmune disease and chronic illness.

Want to understand more about nutrition for autoimmune diseases? Download my free recipe book and discover 12 Nutritionist-Certified Recipes to Help Alleviate the Symptoms of Autoimmunity & Chronic Illness.

If you’re ready to take the next step and get back to feeling amazing again, please book a FREE 1:1 call, in which I’d love to talk to you about your own individual diet, share with you some personalised advice, and answer any questions you might have.


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