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Gently Detox Every Day with Supplements

Exposure to environmental toxins and xenoestrogens is more prevalent than ever. Use food and nutrition to support detoxification and elimination of toxins. Here are some top supplement choices to support detox.

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3 Phases of Liver Detoxification You Must Know About

There are no safe levels of toxins, but our bodies are bombarded by them every.single.day. Removing these toxins happens in three important phases. Here's what to know about them.

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5 Reasons Water Boosts Your Metabolism

Do you feel sleepy or tired? Are you less active than usual? Do you have a dry, sticky mouth? Headache? Dizziness? If so, chances are you need to drink more water.

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Whole Formulas Daily Detox

Daily Detox supports all phases of detoxification, soothes the gastrointestinal tract, supports healthy circulation, and promotes blood sugar and stress hormone balance to support optimal detoxification and metabolic function -- all in one easy place!

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Liver-Cleansing Drink

This liver-cleansing recipe is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. I like it because there aren't many ingredients and they're all easy to find in the grocery store.

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Detox, Cleansing and Athletes...Do They Mix?

I hear about detox diets and cleanses all the time, and I bet you do too. The reports claim after a few days of cleansing, harmful toxins will leave your body, along with unwanted pounds and fat, and you’ll feel more energetic and better than ever.

Since I frequently work with athletes, I wondered whether these types of diets are a good choice for an athlete.

What a lot of people don’t know, athletes included, is cleanses are controversial. They lack credible scientific evidence to prove they work and are safe. Most cleanse and detox diets are very restrictive and therefore fall short on necessary calories, protein, and several key nutrients. This can contribute to fatigue and decreased performance, which are major concerns for athletes. For some, the restrictions associated with a cleanse can even perpetuate disordered eating.

Claims for a Cleanse

Cleanses are based on the premise that people are exposed to environmental toxins, pesticides, allergens, waste, and inflammatory substances through the foods they eat on a daily basis. These toxins supposedly build up in our bodies over time, sticking to the intestinal walls where they accumulate. This leaves us bloated, fatigued, with sore joints and muscles, and overweight.

Strict adherence to a cleansing regimen supposedly eliminates toxins from the body, cleanses organs, purifies cells and tissues, eliminates built up waste products, and decreases inflammation. Purported results include weight loss, improved energy levels, clearer thinking, and decreased risk of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Even though there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to support a cleanse, there are plenty of testimonials from people who say they feel great after doing a cleanse. Each cleanse is unique, though many share similarities. For example, most cut out alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, highly processed and refined foods, and foods grown with the use of pesticides or herbicides. Most also include a specific regimen for taking supplements or detoxifying drinks that may consist of ingredients such as laxatives, herbal diuretics, maple syrup, and/or lemon juice. Cleanses also vary in the length of time they’re followed. Some can be completed in 24 hours, while others may take more than a month.

The Body Detoxes Itself

I can see how a cleanse sounds enticing, but do they actually work? In all actuality, “detoxing” is done naturally by the body’s organs, and they shouldn’t need any help from a cleanse.

For example, the respiratory system, including the hairs in your nose and mucus in your lungs, filters out harmful substances such as dust and bacteria. The kidneys filter about two quarts of waste per day, which is disposed of in our urine. And the liver metabolizes drugs and filters blood before it circulates to the rest of our body.

For someone looking to drop a few pounds, a low-calorie cleanse will certainly help them do that, but it’s important to understand a lot of the lost weight is water weight and not fat. Quick weight loss from a low-calorie diet also often results in rapid re-gain (and then some) when the dieter resumes their normal eating patterns.

Protein and Cleansing

When it comes to protein, the science-based recommendation for the amount needed to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis is 20 to 30 grams per meal (depending on the type of protein consumed and a person’s age). The majority of cleanses and detoxes are very low, if not void, of protein. The lack of protein in cleanses is especially concerning because it can affect retention of lean body mass. Muscle tissue eventually breaks down due to low protein intake. Inadequate protein intake can also cause athletes to feel excessively sore after workouts. Also, the protein sources in cleanses are generally plant-based, and therefore lacking in essential amino acids the body can’t make itself. For an athlete, shortchanging their body on calories and protein for a few days in the off-season may not be terribly harmful, but it isn’t necessarily helpful.

Hydration and Cleansing

Another pitfall with cleanses is their use of laxatives to help the body eliminate stool. Athletes need to be more fully hydrated than the average person, so they should be especially careful about using any sort of laxative because of their dehydrating properties.

Fueling and Cleansing

It goes without saying, athletes need more calories than the average person, and they need them on a constant basis when training every day. Cleanses drastically reduce calorie intake to a level that can be detrimental to performance both mentally and physically.

They need specific ratios of protein, carbohydrates, and fat, and their day-to-day schedules are unique, which can make a cleanse difficult to follow.

Athletic Performance and Cleansing

There is little to no scientific evidence that recommends using cleanses for enhancing athletic performance. It would be especially risky attempting a cleanse during an athlete’s competitive season. Doing so could negatively impact their performance by decreasing glycogen stores to sub-optimal levels and affecting blood glucose levels.

In addition to low blood glucose levels, which can cause fatigue, headaches, and dizziness, another drawback of cleanses is that they are low in several vitamins and minerals. For example, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids are all important for performance and are almost nonexistent in most cleanses.

Positive Aspects of Cleansing

Despite the drawbacks associated with cleansing, there are a few potential benefits. For example, juice cleanses and raw food cleanses are produce-rich, which give the average athlete more servings of produce, and also more antioxidants, nutrients, and phytochemicals, than they typically consume. Any cleanse that cuts out cooked food also temporarily cuts out eh consumption of potentially carcinogenic compounds (such as heterocyclic amines, acrylamides, and lipid polymerization products formed in the cooking of meat and fish) created during the cooking process.

Another positive aspect of a cleanse is the elimination of junk food, refined carbs, and alcohol.

If an athlete insists on a cleanse, I suggest one that isn’t extremely restrictive and only lasts for a short amount of time. Also, time the cleanse so they start it after their season is over when they are taking a break from training.

Bottom Line: For most people, a balanced diet is best, and that’s especially true for athletes. That being said, there are some positive parts of a detox or cleanse, and athletes can work with a registered dietitian to figure out how to incorporate those areas into their everyday diet without losing important nutrients, vitamins, protein, and the calories they need.

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods



Spano, Marie, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS. Detox Is Hot. Training-Conditioning. Oct. 2012.



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Detoxification: Questions and Answers

Someone sent me over these questions and I thought it would be useful to post them here. Granted they are first draft responses but overall I believe many will find them useful.Do feel free to post comments or questions in the comment area a
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5 Practical Tips for a Healthy Cleanse

Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse—there are so many different takes on cleanses.  What gives? 

A cleanse can actually take many forms.  Simply cutting out sugar, processed food, and junk food, all associated with inflammation, can constitute a cleanse.  For some, ditching alcohol can be a cleanse and for others, removing caffeine can be a cleanse.  You may find extreme anti-inflammatory benefits by getting rid of common allergens, such as wheat, dairy, eggs, and corn, because those create tremendous inflammation. There are also a variety of botanicals that can aid the body in detoxification. For example, the herb milk thistle can help your body’s detox organ, the liver, function better.

Whether you’re juice fasting, lightening the sugar or fat load, or not making any dietary changes, there are herbs that can assist your body to work better and feel better. Laurie Steelsmith, ND, gives the lowdown:

“If you think about all the chemicals you are inadvertently exposed to each day, it can get overwhelming. The good news is it is easy to give your body a break:  first, minimize exposure; and second, give it a boost and clean it out with herbs, supplements and other means you can incorporate into your daily life,” Steelsmith says.

If you want to help your body cleanse, then she suggests paying special attention to your liver, lungs, skin, kidney and intestinal health.  

Here are some tips I like because they aren't extreme and you don’t have to live on juice alone or just fruits and vegetables to detox, which can actually do more harm than good. 

5 Tips for a Healthy Cleanse

1. Turmeric

Use turmeric in your diet to enhance liver health—the active component in turmeric is curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory.  It protects the liver from toxins as well, and can break down cancer-causing agents in the liver. Curcumin also helps the liver to make bile—the liver’s way of removing sludge and toxins from the body.  You can take curcumin as a supplement. Steelsmith gives her patients 500 mg three times a day during a cleanse.

2. Ginger Tea 

To enhance kidney function, not only drink a lot of water (at least half your body weight in ounces), but drink plenty of ginger tea to improve overall circulation and build the energy, or qi, of your kidneys.

3. Milk Thistle 

Great for detoxification because in addition to enhancing your liver’s ability to break down toxins, it also helps protect your liver from toxins in the process. Steelsmith recommends patients take a milk thistle supplement of 400 mg a day, standardized to contain 70–80% silymarin.

4. Jojoba Oil

To improve elimination through the skin, do skin brushing or loofah scrubbing before or in the shower. Be sure to always brush toward your heart because this will move your lymph back to where it needs to go to enhance detoxification.

Topically, you can apply 3 drops of essential oil of cedar wood, diluted in 1 tbsp. of jojoba after your scrubbing. This will help move fluids through your body and in turn will also support your kidneys’ ability to eliminate toxins. Note that on an emotional level, cedar wood is associated with strengthening will power.

5. Chia Seeds 

To increase elimination through your intestines, eat a lot of fiber-rich foods. Add chia to your smoothie, or just mix 2 tbsp. in 8 ounces of water and drink twice a day. This will act as a broom and whisk toxins out through your colon.


In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RD

Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

Article courtesy of NewHope360.com's Natural Vitality, found here.

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