We have all heard the word detox; a scary word associated mostly with abuse or over consumption of drugs or alcohol. In reality, it is a natural a bodily function that occurs whenever a substance (good or bad) enters the body. The longer the exposure to a substance, the longer the detox timeframe. A short exposure also can lead to detox, but the timeframe may be shortened and the “effects” not as severe.
I will give an example from my background in anesthesia. I witness “detox” every day I practice. If you have experienced anesthesia, you will relate. It is actually a very good example because while under anesthesia, you are given large doses of medication so that a procedure can be performed without you being aware. Anesthesia is a foreign substance in your body- an alteration to your “normal” if you will. Once anesthesia is stopped, you slowly return to a conscious state. Physiologically, the drugs are metabolized and the concentration decreases. Most drugs and chemicals are lipophilic- they love fat. Drugs tend to like to accumulate in adipose (fat) tissue and just hang out there. The longer the drug exposure (anesthesia), the higher the levels of the drug in the adipose tissue. Equilibration occurs when the level in the blood stream is equal to the level in the adipose tissue.
Ok, the procedure is over, the drug is shut off or discontinued. You wake up slowly, and feel groggy. Why?? FAT and body tissues– the more fat- the more drug that can distribute there. The drug will “redistribute” over a period of time back into the bloodstream, to be metabolized and eliminated. This process can take 30 minutes or it can take hours. This is an example of the detox period- the period of time it takes for the body to remove the drug (or substance) and normalize. Everyone reacts differently during the detox period.
Now, lets talk about every day life. Daily, we are exposed to numerous toxins- some we can control, others we cannot. Environmental toxins are out of our immediate control (pollution, pollen). Controllable toxins include the food we eat and the things that come directly in contact with our skin. Food is easy- organic is best. Anything in a box probably contains preservatives (neuro-toxins), gluten and sugar (yes- for all intents and purposes, sugar is a toxin. It causes chemical reactions that produce free radicals that cause cell death). Now, consider these every day products: shampoo, soap, toothpaste, shaving cream/lotion, after shave, make up, conditioner, styling agents, deodorant, body lotions… Even our water is not pure unless it is ultra purified.
Now consider the fact that most people use most of these products daily- even twice a day. THAT is a lot of chemical exposure. Click here (part one) and here (part two) to read my articles about losing five pounds instantly by ditching chemical laden skincare. Where do all of these chemicals go?? With repeat exposure, blood levels increase, natural redistribution occurs (remember that adipose tissue- Chemical housing!), equilibration occurs.
“Considering that pesticides are a pervasive pollutant found in your food and drinking water, natural methods that may assist your body in their detoxification are important. These man-made neurotoxic chemicals bioaccumulate in your body, as they resist breaking down in water and also accumulate and store in body fat, where they can remain for long periods of time.
In short, this means your body has a very hard time getting rid of them once they enter it, and once enough of these toxic chemicals get into a cell, they disrupt its function. For instance, Chlorpyrifos can cause cholinesterase inhibition in humans, which means it overstimulates your nervous system leading to potential symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, confusion, muscular tremors, and even difficulty breathing and death.
Other pesticides, such as Rotenone and Paraquat, are linked to increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, and both are lipophilic, meaning they resist breaking down in water and accumulate in your fat. Both are also known to cross your blood-brain barrier.” http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/16/this-food-helps-you-to-detox-pesticides.aspx
Today, a well know, rapidly growing group of society (primals) is questioning the consequences from mega doses of daily toxin exposure and quickly looking for natural, toxin free alternatives. What happens…..
Diet changes. We learn very quickly that what we eat is very important. Liz Wolfe, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) and author of the incredible blog Cave Girl Eats, does an amazing job in The Skintervention Guide (if you need a copy, click here…) explaining how to heal the body from inside to the outside. After prolonged exposure to the wrong types of food, the body needs to heal in order to function optimally… And optimal function is our goal! Liz describes in detail how to heal our organs- after all, our skin will NOT look its best until our insides, our core, our gut, is healthy and functioning effectively. Changing the diet can have immediate results. You can instantly feel and look better. Why?.. You are supplying your body with proper, easily digestible, nutrient dense food – in the correct form. BUT- WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING?? Why, three weeks after eating whole, organic foods does your skin look lifeless- even congested and broken out. Why did you develop that nasty rash? And what happened to your energy- you were flying high when this new lifestyle started- but now? You feel lifeless and discouraged!!!
…… HOLD ON- I THINK I CAN EXPLAIN!!! Remember all that fat??? Remember how it LOVES to hold onto things? Here is just another reason to keep fat to a normal level because the more fat you carry, the longer your detox period will take!
Psychologically, what is going on in there? Since The Skintervention Guide has been released, more and more people (yeah!) are improving their diet and utilizing the techniques Liz recommends. A few are getting discouraged around the two-four week mark because things are not what they expected. I am here to tell you- YOU ARE NORMAL AND WHAT YOU ARE EXPERIENCING IS NORMAL! Here is the psychological babble created by big pharm that you may experience:
Psychological babble #1: the quick fix!!! Everything today is ultra FAST!! Technology is FAST. Drugs work FAST. Speed is sold my the media. SPEED is worth millions. And we bought it- hook-line and sinker. That is why even processed food became the norm. It is faster to make a processed product than to grow a tomato.
Change your psychological babble: People want a quick fix- they want to “undo” years- maybe decades of bad practice in three weeks??!!! Not possible. Those that quit in three week haven’t even made it thru the detox / adjustment period. To fully detox could take six months or longer. The adjustment period could be 6-8 weeks. Combined- if you quit within four weeks-you gave up way too early. Look beyond the present.
The big pharm has made huge $$$$ creating the instant fix.
People are very brainwashed into thinking problems should be fixed now. That does not happen by mistake!! Big Pharm WANTS you to believe this!!!
When you heal from the inside out- don’t expect instant results. It won’t happen. Yes, you may “feel” instantly better from proper nutrition, however, toxins and chemicals are typically stored in adipose (fat) tissue. Laws of concentration-distribution-redistribution define exactly how long it will take for the toxins to migrate out of the fat, to the liver/kidneys and be broken down and eliminated in the urine and feces. This is actually a built-in safety mechanism from nature. If ALL the toxins immediately redistributed from the fat tissue, your blood concentration could be toxic- causing even more damage. A healthy chemical detox should occur over six months- therefore, everyone will experience results and physical adjustments differently, depending on prior practices related to nutrition and skincare as well as activity and metabolism. Yes, metabolic rate will effect detox too!
Psychological babble #2: People don’t believe in detox from skincare and food. They don’t equate the chemicals contained in them as drugs- but they are. Just like any drug detox- chemical laden food and skincare WILL result in a detox period when it is discontinued or changed.
The adjustment period is different from the detox period although they happen simultaneously and can be difficult to distinguish. As mentioned, detox can take six months (or longer). Chemicals and toxins are slowly released from adipose tissue, metabolized, and eliminated by the body. Elimination can occur thru the liver, lungs, kidneys, bowels and the skin. You may feel dehydrated (drink lots of water during detox) or your energy level may swing from high to low (eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and fermented foods-as described by Liz in The Skintervention Guide)! You may experience diarrhea or constipation as toxins are eliminated. Externally, you may experience acne- like never before! You may develop a rash, or itching, or dry skin, eczema, psoriasis or anything unusual! This occurs as the toxins are being eliminated by the skin and this is all normal! One major function of the skin is to eliminate toxins!!!! Congested skin cannot eliminate toxins as effectively.
Symptoms of detox may occur- then disappear- then reappear again, multiple times during the detox process. Keep in mind that new eating habits can also cause some of these same symptoms and the less toxins we carry, the better our body functions and the better it will react to new foods. Toxins can suppress our natural response and immune system. Yes, even the immune system will incur an adjustment period!
Remember- lab made chemicals can cause cell dysfunction and mutation. These cells will not function as parent cells did- and may not function at all.
What is the adjustment period???
The adjustment period is more of a physical rendition of how our SKIN reacts to new products. For instance, if you have been using products that contain water or alcohol as the first ingredients listed, and most commercial product contain both, your skin is in a constant state of dehydration and it cannot function properly. It adapts by increasing sebum production. Your skin also reacts to chemicals (preservatives, fragrance, dyes) and auto-regulates itself to protect against these harmful ingredients. These ingredients also cause cellular changes via free radical production which can lead to premature aging and cellar mutation (possibly cancer). Chemicals also cause cellular dehydration and confusion. During the adjustment period, you may experience the exact same symptoms as detox- you may develop a rash, or itching, or dry skin, eczema, psoriasis or anything unusual!
How do you know what it is? You don’t. If it occurs after eight weeks, you can assume it is related to detox. During the first eight weeks, it could be one or the other- or a combination of both. The important thing to remember is that your skin and body WILL heal, auto regulate and adjust to your new practice. By the way- the same is true if you fall off the wagon and resume a chemical laden diet and skincare- there will be an adjustment to the chemicals again.
Levels of Detox
Detox can occur at numerous levels. When a supply (drug or toxin) is completely discontinued, initial removal is great and then it tapers and the remainder of the drug or toxin is removed over time as the law of re-distribution dictates. If a drug or toxin is only decreased (not completely stopped or discontinued) in strength or amount, detox occurs until a new equilibrium is established- a new level if you will. If a drug or toxin is stopped, then a small amount (or bolus) is introduced periodically, a completely zero level may never be established. The person may live in a constant state of detox, if you will, or an intermittent detox due to fluctuating, intermittent doses.
The take home lesson is this:
If you remove ALL toxins from your life (food and skincare), you can establish a near complete detox (taking into consideration environmental factors out of our control).
THE BAD NEWS
Yes. The bad news is this: if you do not completely (or near completely- no one is perfect) remove toxins from both food and skincare, you will live in a constant state of detox. These fluctuations may result in skin conditions (acne, psoriasis, eczema, rashes, etc). Liz gives excellent guidance for both diet and skincare in The Skintervention Guide. Again, miracles do not happen over night. It took years to absorb all those toxins. Give your body a fighting chance to fully detox by incorporating both dietary and skincare options that will heal your body FROM THE INSIDE OUT.
The very good news!
To end on a positive note, there is good news to those that almost fully detox their food and skincare: an occasional ingestion, or application (food or skincare) of a chemical laden, commercial food or product will NOT kill you!! Your body is amazing. Given the healing that has occurred, your body will be performing the way it is meant to. Your liver has a function: to remove toxins from the body! It will be able to remove toxins much more effectively when toxic exposure is kept to a minimum. Let your liver, kidneys, pancreas, skin, heart, lungs and gut heal to do the job they were meant to do- effectively and efficiently.
Happy detox and amazing adjustments!!!!