The never-ending list of toxins flooding in our environment can be depressing.
So how do we actually get rid of them?
Here are the key detox pathways your body uses to clean itself and restore your health.
This knowledge will help you eliminate toxins before they wreak havoc on your health.
Substances leave your body in the places it connects to the environment.
The obvious ones are your bowels and urine. The things we don't want in our body, we typically leave in the toilet.
Other lesser-known pathways include your skin, breath, and mouth.
Your liver is like the grand central station for detoxification.
It’s a big job, and your liver just happens to be your largest internal organ. It is also your primary glutathione factory, the body’s most powerful antioxidant.
Over 500 different enzymes identify, neutralize, and break down toxins in your blood.
This makes liver health function crucial to your health. If it gets overloaded, toxins become stored in fat or lodged in bones, the brain, or other organs. This is the beginning of symptoms.
Once toxins are broken down, the liver throws them in a “garbage chute” that goes straight to your bowels for elimination.
Bowels movements are super-concentrated cess-pools of toxic substances. When you hear health experts talking about the importance of bowel movements, this is why.
In addition to the liver’s waste, your bowels are full of leftover metabolic waste and undigested food from the digestive tract containing bad bacteria, fungus, yeast, and viral particles.
Without regular bowel movements, the backup festers, disrupting your microbiome and digestion. The more backed up you are, the bigger the effect. The concentrated toxins in the bowels are also highly acidic.
That’s right, constipation can change your pH––not good.
This leads us to the importance of fiber. Fiber gives your bowels “traction” to push waste out through the colon. Without enough fiber, your intestines are just pushing water… it doesn't work so well. This leaves you with a toxic cesspool in your gut that throws your digestive tract out of balance.
While the liver is more like a toxin incinerator your kidneys are more like a water filter. Kidneys use complex, delicate filters to screen out toxins and maintain electrolyte balances.
The waste goes to the bladder for elimination. The biggest weakness of the kidneys is their sensitivity. If you have high levels of toxins in your blood––especially heavy metals––the filters of the kidneys become clogged or damaged.
The solution? Hydration. With enough water in your system, it’s easier for your kidneys to filter the toxins.
We are exposed to levels of toxins thousands of times higher than anything experienced by our ancestors. Your liver and kidneys are good at what they do, but they can’t do it all.
Fortunately, our skin is an effective detox organ. It has somewhere between 2 and 4 million sweat glands, that help eliminate toxins.
A rise in core body temperature stimulates the release of toxins from fat tissue into the blood.
Your body begins to sweat to lower your temperature. As an extra bonus, the water carries blood-born toxins with it, speeding up your overall detox.
To experience the detoxifying power of a good sweat, head to the gym for an intense workout or relax in a sauna. Your liver and kidneys will thank you.
Aside from your blood, your body also has a vast lymphatic system just beneath the skin.
Consider it like your body’s sewage system.
The body flushes toxins into the lymph where it flows through the system to be sorted and eliminated.
The lymphatic system is a lot like the bowels: it needs to keep moving for you to stay healthy. Stagnation creates symptoms. Stimulating lymph flow facilitates detoxification.
Only instead of fiber, you can manually stimulate it with two simple tools.
The first tool is movement and exercise. Walking, running, or jumping creates a mechanical force that moves the lymph.
The other tool is skin brushing. Rubbing a stiff brush on the skin stimulates lymph flow and moves toxins out of your system.
You eliminate many compounds through the breath besides oxygen––consider alcohol breathalyzer tests, for example.
By breathing deeply with full exhalations, you help your body move toxins out of your body. As an extra bonus, this also helps lower your pH because carbon dioxide is acidic.
Many of the toxins in our body come from our food and water. It may surprise you to learn that the mouth is not a one-way street. Toxins can also leave through the mouth, specifically the tongue.
Have you ever noticed a thick white coating on your tongue after a weekend of over-indulgence? This white coating is toxic residue excreted by the tongue.
Try giving your body a helping hand by brushing your tongue when you brush your teeth. Or take it one step further and use a tongue scraper, a staple of personal hygiene in the Ayurvedic tradition of India.
Detoxification is more important than ever in today’s toxic world. And as toxins continue to accumulate, it will only become more important.
Understanding your body’s detox pathways helps you achieve––and maintain––optimal health, regardless of what the environment may throw at you.