• Dr Laura Stix

The Benefits Of Detoxing Your Body

Toxins are everywhere and are now considered the number one cause of all chronic diseases.

Toxic industry in a toxic world

Last updated: Jun 21, 2020

Since World War II, at least 80,000 novel chemicals have been registered for use, but the vast majority have never been tested for human health or environmental effects. Consider as well that none of these chemicals have been tested in combination to see what results from their interaction. We are living in an experiment where we only get to find out after-the-fact when something is indeed a concern.

Being informed and taking an active role in your health is important and also serves as the stepping stone to larger community changes. No one is going to bother with the air freshener being pumped in the office bathroom or the toxic hand soap until someone speaks up. We can all influence healthful change:

A few years ago when I was playing in a rec hockey league, I was the first person to decide to leave the ice and head to the changeroom after only a minute or two of play. The ice machine must have had some sort of an issue as there were strong fumes in the arena and there was no way I was subjecting my body and brain to that. In less than a minute, the rest of the team began trickling into the room and the game was cancelled! Here are some of the key sources of toxins:

  • TOXIC ELEMENTS - Like cadmium, lead, mercury, fluoride, aluminum, uranium, arsenic typically found in foods, drinking water, dental amalgams, fish, dust, consumer products and old pesticides

  • NATURALLY OCCURRING TOXINS - Like mold mycotoxins, as well as plant and food allergens, such as reacting to lectins or gluten or dairy proteins

  • PESTICIDES - Like insecticides, herbicides and fungicides - the reason for sourcing organic products

  • PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS (POPs) - Like teflon, flame retardants, anti-wrinkle compounds, old pesticides (like DDT), incineration products

  • VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCs) - Like formaldehyde, benzene, synthetic musks and some fragrance ingredients; these commonly off-gas from flooring (particularly anything new) like laminate or carpet, couches, paints, cleaning agents, varnishes, as well as cosmetic products

  • PLASTICS - Including vinyls and plasticizers that release Phthalates, Benzoates, Bisphenol A (BPA), found not only in your Tupperware but also lining most canned food products, plasticized receipts, kids toys, traveler coffee tops

And here are the various effects different toxins can have on the body:

  • Neurological dysfunction

  • Organ compromise

  • Skeletal fragility (when toxic elements get into bone)

  • Endocrine disruption

  • Immune system impairment

  • Systemic inflammation

  • Cancer

  • Developmental disorders

  • Respiratory issues

  • Infertility

  • Obesity

  • Diabetes

What can you do about it? The first and most important thing to do is limit exposure wherever possible. Consider everything that you put in or on your body -- this means anything that goes on your skin, or that you inhale, drink or eat.

This list could go on and on but here are some suggestions:

  • Use clean, non-toxic household products, there are many available

  • Check out the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to help determine what products are cleaner than others

  • Use mineral based makeup products

  • Use good old vinegar and baking soda for cleaning and Norwex or Enjo cloths

  • Get rid of anything that is designed to fragrance something, including dryer sheets, perfumes/colognes, air-fresheners, etc

  • Use diffusers and/or essential oils to safely add nice aromas to things or places

  • Eat organically (search for "The Dirty Dozen" to know which ones are most important to get organic)

  • Avoid plastic wherever possible (for environmental and health reasons) - do not store food in plastic and NEVER heat food in plastic (including plastic wrap)

  • Look to drink clean water -- investing in a water system like reverse osmosis has become much more affordable but anything that helps to clean it is a step in the right direction

  • Do not purchase or drink from plastic water bottles! (SO BAD for our planet and our health)

  • Use glass or stainless steel bottles for drinking water

  • Keep windows open for fresh air when possible (indoor air is far more toxic)

  • Immediately address any water leaks or mold issues as these can create terrible health consequences (even if it seems like it's just a "small" issue)

  • Allow new products to off gas in a garage, shed or outside

  • Look for as low VOC paints as possible and keep as much fresh air moving as possible when painting

  • Wear a paint and pesticide spray respirator when sanding anything that has had a chemical put on it as well as when painting (the neighbours would stare a little when I was in the garage painting the kitchen cabinets with a full "gas mask" on but who cares! lol)

  • Try to purchase natural, non-toxic products especially when being exposed to the item for a long time (like a mattress); if not possible be sure to let it off-gas as long as possible -- if you can smell anything it's still off-gassing

  • And on..

  • And on..

Apart from limiting exposure, it's important to support the body's ability to detox -- this is NOT a water fast or "juice cleanse." A proper medical detox supports liver function, is tailored to the individual and lasts at least 3 weeks. In more severe cases of toxicity (particularly those involving heavy metals and/or mold mycotoxins) the detox process takes months or years sometimes).

At minimum, a detox should happen at least once a year and especially any time someone is feeling sluggish, slowed down, foggy, or just a general feeling like health has slide backwards (maybe sleep is worse, energy is down, skin is flared up, etc).

We're all toxic, just in varying degrees and with varying genetics and nutrients to deal with it.

See below for the infographic explaining how effective and ineffective detox impacts the body.

Healthy and unhealthy detoxification pathways in the body


Infographic produced by Metagenics

Sears ME, Genuis SJ. Environmental determinants of chronic disease and medical approaches: recognition, avoidance, supportive therapy, and detoxification. J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:356798. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3270432/