Detoxification and Weight Loss

herbal detoxification weightloss

Following my recent event around Detoxification and Weight Loss, I would like to summarise in this blog article the most important dot points of what you need to know in a question and answer format:

What is a toxin?

“Toxins” are biologically produced poisons such as e.g. venoms, substances excreted by a virus or bacteria. However, “Environmental Toxins” have also come into nowadays discussion which are of synthetic or non-biological nature, e.g. fumes, heavy metals, synthetic pesticides and fertilisers etc. There are also psychological effects of toxins, e.g. “… anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairments” (Mearns, Dunne, Lees-Haley 1994).

What are the main detoxification organs?

The liver is our primary detox organ, followed by the intestines, the kidneys, the lungs and the skin. Detoxification happens on a daily basis in our bodies naturally.

Why do I need to detoxify then?

It’s simple: we don’t give our bodies always the best nutrition and lifestyle required to detox efficiently. We overindulge in hyper-palatable foods like baked sweets, chips, burgers, and other processed foods. Additionally, we are hit with fertilisers, pesticides and additives in our foods that weren’t there 60 years ago. Add pollution, fumes, chemicals in cosmetic products and an emotional stressor on top and you have a toxic load that will show its nasty face quite soon.

What are the symptoms of having a high toxic load?

Tiredness, constipation, diarrhoea, skin irritations, hormonal fluctuations and in severe cases certain diseases can occur, e.g. heavy metal toxicity.

Will I lose weight with a detox?

Well, the answer is YES and NO! If you decided to go on a 1-week detox twice a year, you may find it leaves you feeling better whilst and shortly after the detox but the 1 pound that you may have lost comes back with a vengeance. So in the short-term, you may lose weight but if you don’t change your habits for the long run, your weight will stay on.

So what else is responsible for my weight gain? Is it really just me?

Of course the personal diet and lifestyle choices are many times the prime offender when it comes to weight gain. BUT – it’s not always a lack of willpower or people overeating. Many people restrict their diets and keep gaining weight! How does that happen?

This could be due to the following factors: 

· Underlying health issues that support weight gain (hormones, metabolic dysfunction, ongoing high levels of stress, etc.) – go and see a health practitioner to find out what it is!

·   High Body Weight Set Point:

>  Our weight under unconscious homeostatic control which is Influenced by Hypothalamus: hormones and neuropeptides influence our hunger and satiety and metabolism. Experiments in the past have shown that under- or overfeeding individuals leads to only temporary weight loss/gain. The body tries to get back to a stable weight and to maintain it – it has a set body weight point. If the body has adjusted to a higher body weight set-point, it gets harder to lose weight.      

> Microbiome: The other area of interest in weight gain is the microbiome. A healthy microbiome positively influences our blood sugar control, satiety hormones, and our energy storage.  Obese individuals were found to be dysbiotic (imbalance in gut bacteria) with the result of leaky gut syndrome, inflammatory responses, increased insulin secretion, increased hunger hormones, and modified blood sugar control.

How can I lose weight with this now?

·  Reduce the toxic load – It is YOUR choice on what you put in and on your body. .

·  Having adequate amounts of protein in your diet is essential.

· Intermittent fasting and diet breaks have better results on weight loss than continuous calorie restricted weight loss programs.

·  HEAL YOUR GUT! Can’t scream it loud enough. Any long-term diet that is nutritionally depleted most likely uses inflammatory foods, so reverse that by eating an anti-inflammatory diet and eating lots of pre-biotics, i.e. vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, healthy oils (olive oil, macadamia oil, coconut oil) and fresh wild caught fish. Prebiotics can be found in bananas, legumes, slippery elm powder, inulin and apple pectin.

·  Exercise- it helps to lose weight AND improves low moods. Just do it… anything is better for you than nothing!

·  Sleep is just as crucial if not more important! Have more than 7 hours per day/night! This assists weight loss as well as the body has more time at night to repair itself!

·  If you have any underlying diseases, go and see a registered Naturopath (e.g. myself 😉 ) and get on top of those issues as well.

 What nutrients do I need to detox effectively!

Our liver, the primary detoxification organ, acts in a Phase 1 and Phase 2. Phase 1 neutralises toxins and Phase 2 converts toxins to a non-toxic compound. Both phases “push” the neutralised and converted toxins into our intestines and kidneys for elimination.

The liver needs amino acids (Glycine, Taurine, Glutamine, Ornithine, Arginine, Methionine, Cysteine) and other nutrients (Glutathione (antioxidant), B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, Molybdenum, Zinc, Magnesium, Selenium) to function effectively.

Our intestines receive toxins from the liver and eliminate them daily. We need to ensure our bowels are healthy and regular. Plenty of herbs (e.g. slippery elm, marshmallow, goldenseal, licorice) can help heal the gut but diet is key here as well (see diet tips above)!

The same is valid for our kidneys. They are just as important as the gut and need to be healthy and well supplied with fresh and pure water (2.5-3L per day) to function effectively and supply our cells with hydration to remove toxins from them.

Another useful tool for detoxification is dry skin brushing. It activates our lymphatic system to remove its toxins and assists our skin to do the same. Our lungs require fresh air and deep breathing to perform their function effectively as well. So deep breathing exercises outside in the surroundings of plants or the ocean is beneficial for detoxification.

On a final note, it is important to have the right mindset and expectations on detoxification and weight loss. Seeing it as arduous labour will make it a hard experience. Looking at it as nurturing and assisting your body to perform well because you’re worth it will make it a much more enjoyable experience.

Like some help with your detoxification or weight loss?