It’s never too late to detox.
We are tasked with clearing out gluten, dairy, caffeine, sugar and alcohol over the first seven days as part of the "Pre-Cleanse" as well as starting the Detoxification Support Packets to prepare our liver and gut for the job ahead. Did you start your morning today with a cup of warm, filtered water with a quarter of yummy Meyer lemon and a pinch of cayenne?
To hear more about how to do this relatively easily and get started on balancing your hormones, click here.
How are your cravings? Are you experiencing any? For a cup of green tea? For a bite of ice cream? Here's what we know about cravings: they are time-limited. They last for 20 minutes. Instead of taking a bite or a drink of what you're trying to dump, instead have a big ol' glass of filtered water and a small protein snack. Say 10 almonds or a carrot. Or a cup of your alkalinizing broth.
Reset Your Liver with a Thorough Detox
I thought we'd spend some time today covering the topic of why both resetting the liver. When we look at detoxifying our bodies, it is a good idea to start with the body’s own filter, the liver. Many people overlook liver health until it is too late. Signs that your liver is ailin': You're gaining weight and you're eating the same food. You're fatigued, and feel like you need a nap many afternoons. You have disrupted sleep, and tend to awaken between 1-4am. Please note, if you feel like you have severe symptoms, always check with your doctor!
Is Estrogen Dominance Dragging You Down?
Another thing to really be aware of is estrogen dominance when beginning a detoxification regimen. It is very common for women aged 35-50+and can have varying effects on the body. Estrogen is an important adaptogen for us: when it’s just right, our mood is stable, our weight is relatively easy to sustain, our periods are not too heavy, our libido is just right.
Estrogen has over 400 jobs in your body. If it’s too low, as happens in menopause, our mood can fall because estrogen is Nature’s Prozac: it keeps your serotonin in the normal range. Low estrogen also causes dryness: of skin, vagina, vulva, clitoris, all the places that should be juicy and luminous. Your joints may also feel it.
When your progesterone divided by estradiol in the mid-luteal phase (approximately day 21 in a regularly cycling woman) is less than 100, you have a condition called estrogen dominance. Some of the pretty symptoms include: weight gain, breast tenderness, mood swings/PMS, growing fibroids, heavy and/or irregular cycles, painful periods and occasionally endometriosis, infertility or subfertility, sometimes autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Ready, Set, Cleanse!
We start in earnest with our full Cleanse next week, on March 24, 2011 and the next seven days allow us to transition off of the toxins we've been using somewhat gradually. While this blog post is primarily aimed at those who have joined our Group Cleanse, you can also join us virtually both on the blog, or on Facebook, on Twitter, and take the supportive supplements (ordering information is below).
Here is a great question on Detoxification: why bother with detox supplements to support the Cleanse? I thought I'd spend a moment giving the liver's job description and listing the functions of the supplements that support the job. I really believe that you understand the biochemical underpinnings, even in broad strokes; you'll be more motivated and derive a better outcome. First we'll talk about the liver and then I'll fill in the gaps on how the detox supplements help you.
The Liver’s Job
The liver takes harmful (such as alcohol) and more benign substances (such as estradiol, the most common estrogen until about age 50), and converts these substances typically from fat-soluble to water-soluble so that you can remove them in your urine, stool or bile. You have a bazillion enzymes in the liver that act on these substances.
Break it down for me, please?
There are two steps to the liver's daily task - Phase 1 and Phase 2. A toxin enters Phase 1 in the liver (the P-450 cytochrome system) and is reduced to smaller metabolites, which then move onto Phase 2, where they are bound to glutathione, glycine and sulfate. This new now non-toxic metabolite can be excreted in the bile, urine or stool.
Phase 1 either neutralizes a toxin or metabolizes a toxin to an intermediate form that is then neutralized in Phase 2. The mechanism used in Phase 1 includes the chemical reactions of oxidation, reduction and hydrolysis, and these processes produce free radicals which may damage liver cells. Antioxidants (Vitamin D, resveratrol, etc.) reduce the damage. If there are lots of toxins and not enough antioxidants, the risk is much higher, and sometimes potentially carcinogenic substances may be made.
Phase 1 and/or Phase 2 detox pathways may be overloaded or otherwise not working well. Particularly bad (aka, perfect storm conditions) exist when an ill person has an overload of toxins coming into Phase 1, and then Phase 2 is inefficient. This can lead to chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, drug intolerance, and chemical/environmental sensitivities, as well as other not-fun conditions.
A little more info on Phase 1: when it's inefficient or overloaded, you may experience intolerance to caffeine as well as scented products. Overactive Phase 1 folks will be unaffected by caffeine. Here are things that activate Phase 1 detox:
- food: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage; high-protein diet, oranges/tangerines, charcoal-broiled meats
- alcohol, sulfa drugs, nicotine in cigarette smoke, steroids (including estrogen)
- environmental: paint fumes, carbon tetrachloride, exhaust, dioxin, pesticides
- supplements: vitamin C, niacin (B3)
Also known as the conjugation pathway -- this means that liver cells add a little something (cysteine, glycine, sulfur) to the substance that is coming in. This makes the substance dissolve in water, and then you can get rid of it in urine, bile or stool. For things to work optimally here in Phase 2, you need the amino acids taurine and cysteine as well as additional nutrients (glycine, choline, and inositol). This is where the detox supplements come in!
A Side Note about Bile
Guess what? You make it in phase 2, and normal folks make a quart per day! Bile is the truck that drives the toxins out of your system into the intestines. What's important here is that the bile gets absorbed by fiber and excreted. Low fiber-diets lead to poor binding of the toxins, and the toxins get re-absorbed. This now helps you understand why we are adding more fiber both with whole foods and a fiber supplement starting on day 8.
Take a wild guess at what's in the Detox support packets: potent doses of taurine, cysteine, glycine, inositol, taurine, MSM, Vitamin B6 & 12, Vitamin C, antioxidants, and several other co-factors that help the liver such as biotin, selenium, zinc. These make Phase 1 and Phase 2 Detox pathways operate more efficiently and clear out lingering toxins. We haven't yet talked about the gallbladder, but several additional botanicals such as dandelion root, artichoke and beet extract help both the gallbladder and the liver with detoxification. The twice/daily Detox support packets prepare the liver and gut for the full Cleanse. The supplement helps to minimize damage from free radicals while revving up (or upregulating) the Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detoxification pathways. You'll also get from the supplements improved digestion of fats and fat-soluble substances. You'll take the Detox supplements for one month.
Detoxification is a very complex biochemical system, and I've oversimplified much of it in the service of making it more accessible. If you have questions, please post them in the comment section.