What is Detoxification?
By Lindsay Wikholm
Whole body detoxification is currently one of the most misunderstood health applications. In fact, most of the general public does not really grasp the process of detoxification at all. Doctors and other health practitioners are often not very educated on this topic and therefore there is a good deal of confusion regarding detoxifying the body of poisons such as heavy metals. There is also a great deal of fear surrounding the process of detoxification as it is thought of as being painful and uncomfortable, and often making the individual unable to leave the house due to headaches, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness and inability to focus. All of these are expected side effects of detoxification, right?
Wrong, according to naturopath David Getoff, CCN, CTN, FAAIM. The side effects that are generally associated with detoxification (what he calls “the detox-reaction”) are to be avoided at all costs as they are a result of the body’s main cleansing organs’ (the liver and kidneys) inability to process and rid the body of all the toxins being released into the system.
Are you actually detoxifying?
Think about it. If your liver and kidneys are overloaded are you actually detoxifying? The detox reaction (technically called a Herxheimer reaction) means your body cannot safely handle the release of poisons and these organs’ ability to rid the body of toxins has been compromised. Instead of detoxifying, poisons are being released into your blood stream and affecting all of your organs and internal processes. The body’s normal metabolic processes causes a release of toxins into the body (this explains the purpose of the excretory system). Although many detoxification products recommend fasting during the detoxification period, one should not assume all metabolic activity has ceased (this usually only occurs at death!) So, if one is detoxifying and feels a terrible detox-reaction, not only have they exposed their body to an overload of poisons it cannot effectively rid itself of, but the person has also crippled the body’s ability to properly manage the new onslaught of toxins.
We know from metabolic-typing that every person is unique in their dietary requirements and their metabolic processes. Why then, would we assume that a detoxification product that recommends “fast for 24 hours before beginning this procedure” is a one-size fits all solution to detoxification?
It’s easy to see how improper detoxification is not only ineffective, but dangerous, as it can speed up the process of aging and lead to the degenerative diseases one is trying to prevent through detoxification.
The body actually contains multiple detoxification organs in addition to the liver and kidneys. These include the skin, also known as the body’s largest detoxification organ, the lungs and the sinuses. Ironically, one can also absorb toxins through these body parts from lotions rubbed on one’s skin to the diesel fumes inhaled at the gas station.
Due to the large number of chemicals and toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis, the body is forced to work overtime to cleanse itself of toxins. Eventually, it will become inefficient at detoxification and will fail to be able to rid itself of these poisons. This can rapidly lead to the slowing down of bodily functions and processes, as well as to degenerative diseases, particularly immune compromises and neurological conditions.
Therefore, when one undergoes a detoxification process or procedure, it makes sense that if their body has been failing at cleaning out poisons for some time, they may wish to provide support to the main detoxification organs - the liver and kidneys. This should be performed before any other type of detoxification procedure begins.
Initially giving too much liver and kidney support (i.e. homeopathic or herbal organ support supplements) causes a detox reaction. This is to be avoided at all costs. David Getoff believes the ideal detoxification substance is one which someone could take every day, more than once a day, for the rest of his or her life with no adverse reaction.
Properly preparing the liver and kidneys to support detoxification involves meeting the requirements of the individual over time. Remember, detoxification is like diet - there is no one-size fits all solution. Some patients may tolerate higher doses of liver and kidney support than other patients. The key is to avoid the detox-reaction by adjusting dosage of liver and kidney support as necessary.
If you are interested in learning more about proper detoxification, PPNF Vice-President David Getoff will be presenting his two-day (14 hour) workshop “Lead in: Cellular and Whole Body Detoxification Made Simple” at the “Sex, Lies and Hormones” conference hosted by the International College of Integrative Medicine (ICIM) in Cleveland, Ohio on September 19 through the 20, 2017. In addition, for non-health professionals, his much less comprehensive 2 hour Detoxification DVD is available here.