Don’t Try That Detox Until You Do This First!

We have all been there, you are feeling like garbage, you have low energy and can’t focus and you just want to feel good again! Then you hear someone talking about this detox program they are doing, and they feel amazing and you want to feel amazing too, so you jump in headfirst. You feel great at the start of the detox and then towards the middle…well, you think you might actually feel worse!

Unfortunately, if you don’t support your body foundationally before starting a detox, you could actually do more harm than good. This starts with getting your body into a parasympathetic state. And this is where I talk about blood sugar balance again! Detoxification is final downstream consequence of chronically high blood sugar that I’m going to discuss. Remember that roller coaster analogy that I used the last time? This stress and subsequent cortisol release actually create a buildup of free radicals as well as a general catabolic state; where the nutrients that are needed for detoxification, are used up in response to the higher stress demand. This makes these nutrients unavailable to help aid in Phase 2 detoxification. By properly supporting your body foundationally though proper blood sugar regulation, you ensure that your elimination pathways are open to allow for detoxification (clearing) of the damaged cells.

Photo by Dominik Martin on Unsplash

Let’s discuss the two phases of detoxification. In Phase 1 toxins are broken down into intermediate metabolites in order to make the toxins water-soluble in order for them to enter into phase 2. This is where most detox efforts go right. Maybe you’re eating detox supporting greens, eating less or perhaps even doing a little intermittent fasting. And this is where, at first, you feel great. But then all of these intermediates build up and many are actually more toxic than the initial toxin load. But your body is struggling because it needs Phase 2 support, and it cannot clear the toxins out of your body. This is when you might get side effects like headaches, fatigue, mood dysregulation, or even feel physically sick as if you had a virus.

Phase 2 is all about conjugation or binding of toxins to enzymes which will help carry the toxins thorough the various detox pathways (there are 6) and out of the body via bile, urine or feces. Of the 6 pathways, sulfation is typically the weakest in most people since alcohol, excessive exercise and chronic disease can deplete glutathione in the blood which is a critical antioxidant needed for clearing free radicals and heavy metals though the sulfation pathway. So, lifestyle factors and diet are big here for supporting the sulfation pathway. In addition, you should be sure to properly hydrate in order to support the kidneys efforts to flush toxins via the urine.

To support Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification we can do the following:
· Support the detoxification system by eating a nutrient dense, whole food diet
· Support the liver by eating macronutrient balanced meals which keep the blood sugar roller coaster minimal since the cortisol spikes will stress the liver
· Consume foods high in B vitamins B6 and B2 (riboflavin) which are needed to support liver enzyme functions as well as detox enzymes (cytochromes P450)
· Consume high quality protein from well-sourced eggs, fish, meat which nourishes the amino acid and sulfation pathways
· Consume fresh fruit and veggies (organic when possible), particularly sulfur-containing cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, etc.) to support Phase 2 activity

Photo by Josh Bean on Unsplash

Food list to support detox:
· Wild caught fish, grass-fed beef and pastured poultry, eggs and pork
· Organic low glycemic fruits (berries are great low glycemic fruits)
· Organic cruciferous veggies – broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts
· Organic colorful veggies – bell peppers (orange/yellow/red), sweet potatoes, squash of all kinds, carrots, spinach, lettuces, etc.

Notice that this list does not include juice-only or raw vegan protocols. All you need is to bulk up on nourishing whole foods in the right ratios! And protein is super important, so don’t leave out the meat! Without proper amino acids (from protein sources) you will lack the Phase 2 pathways to clear the toxins you have just released. If all of this is on point, then you might play around with some intermittent fasting and see how that feels; however, start slow (12 hr fast) and pay close attention to what your body is telling you. Back off immediately if it doesn’t feel good or if you feel like biting someone’s head off and for women, avoid doing longer fasts (>16 hours) more than once a week. Try eating meat and veggies only (no grains) for 2- 4 weeks and try to make it a habit to cycle into again every 4-6 months.

If you still don’t know where to begin, reach out! This is where an NTP can help support you and guide ways to make healthy swaps and support you in your journey. You might also need strategic supplemental support along the way based on your bio-individual needs. Click HERE to book a free Discovery Call Today!


What does Blood Sugar have to do with the Immune System??!

Last time we talked about how blood sugar regulation affects the endocrine system. The cool thing about the human body is that everything is connected! So when it comes to the immune system, blood sugar regulation is key to proper function. But probably not in the way that you think…

You see, inflammation is your body’s reaction to a stressor, and the more stressors you put on your body, the more it weakens your body’s natural defenses. You might think of this stress as filling an imaginary ‘bucket’ and once that bucket overflows, your body reacts…either by getting physically sick, showing up as digestive distress, or having skin conditions pop up (among numerous other reactions). In fact, chronic stress can lead to autoimmune diseases and other chronic health conditions. In order to protect your long-term health and avoid overflowing your ‘bucket’ you want to strengthen your defenses (your immune function) and remove the stressors (blood sugar imbalances, mental stress, environmental stress, potential food reactions, etc.). Dr. Terry Wahls discusses this at length in her book The Wahls Protocol ® (2020) and how finding this balance can improve symptoms associated with a number of autoimmune conditions.

Blood sugar imbalance was discussed in a previous post but as a refresher; every time your body sees those high peaks (spikes) in blood sugar, it sees it as a stressor and your hormones react accordingly. The graphic below demonstrates dysregulated blood sugar control.

Over time, this stresses your HPA (hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal) axis and can cause dysregulation and inflammation. Your immune system is always working hard to address any causes of inflammation to achieve homeostasis (aka balance). And every time blood sugar spikes, so does your cortisol. Over time, this leads to chronically high cortisol which can lead to a number of health issues, inflammation, and imbalances. I really like the graphic below for showing the relationship of cortisol to other imbalances. You can see just how many systems a cortisol imbalance can affect with some direct and many indirect impacts on the immune system.

This is why finding a macro balance that feels good to your body is key to long term health. By balancing your intake of all of the macronutrients, you can keep your blood sugar more stable, so if you graphed your blood sugar levels, it would look more like rolling foothills and not the peaks and valleys of a mountain pass. Chronic blood sugar dysregulation is the start of a cascade of imbalances that are regulated by the HPA axis as shown in the graphic below.

So by avoiding blood sugar dysregulation, we can prevent some big imbalances in our downstream systems. This is key since when our downstream systems are out of balance, our immune system is compromised. This is because our body is working hard to bring these systems back into balance. This stress makes it harder for the body to activate our immune “soldiers” and fight off “invaders”.

Photo by Wesual Click on Unsplash

The biggest change you can make today is look at your carbohydrate intake relative to protein and fat. The majority of people heavily lean towards carbs. By making some minor tweaks to include more protein and fat on your plate and reduce your carb serving, I think you will quickly find yourself feeling more satiated (fuller longer) and reaching for snacks less often! Essentially, you always want to pair your carbs with a protein and/or fat.

Here are some balanced snack/meal ideas:
● Gluten free avocado toast and 2 eggs
● 1 piece of fruit + a handfull of your favorite raw or dry roasted nuts
● Hummus and plantain chips
● Cheese and apple slices
A meat stick and almond flour crackers
● Yogurt (unsweetened greek) + drizzle of raw honey, berries and a sprinkle of pecans

If you struggle with cravings and finding the right way to step into finding macro balance, let’s get in touch, I’d love to support you!