Unfortunately the word detox often conjures up images of lemon detox diets, week long juicing meal replacements, and skinny tea. These products are attractive to the human eye with vibrant colours and optimistic beliefs supported by clever marketing campaigns… but unfortunately for the consumer, science can confirm, the majority of these empty promises of a healthier, cleansed body are exactly that. Empty.
Over the coming weeks, I will be writing to attempt to shed some light on the topic of detoxification. Giving my opinions on what detoxification actually means and how not paying attention to it can negatively affect your body composition and overall health.
First of all, detoxification isn’t a one-stop shop. It is not as simple as drinking juice for 6 days and therefore being born again pure. Research has been documented on babies’ umbilical cords proving we are born with a toxic load. Scientists have tested the blood of polar bears living thousands of miles away from industrial areas and yet they find toxins from rocket fuels and plastics etc. that they’ve never come in contact with, but as toxins burn they raise into the ozone layer, cool down, and comeback to the ground. My point being is you don’t have to necessarily be someone working in a high toxic exposure environment to be affected.
To support this theory more, blood analysis tests done on non-industry workers like accountants, teachers, office workers found up to 200 chemicals that were not in their blood 50 years ago.
Since the beginning of industry we have released approximately 40,000 new chemicals into the atmosphere. Although mercury levels have increased substantially since the beginning of industry, mercury is something that we have been exposed to since the dawn of time yet the body still isn’t efficient at removing it from the body. When we compare the speed of industry vs. human evolution, it is highly unlikely your body knows what these new toxins are or how to get rid of them.
Have you ever read the back of your shampoo bottle and looked at the ingredients? Chances are if you can’t pronounce it, your body isn’t very good at detoxifying it.
What we do have is a very good system to protect our bodily functions and our vital organs from those toxins. What the body does is grab hold of the toxin, coat it in a membrane of fat, and then shoves it into a fat cell. Think of your fat cells as your warehouses for YES, fat-soluble vitamins and different nutrients, but also for your toxins. That then protects it from floating around the blood stream and potentially lodging itself in your kidney, liver, brain or whatever organ it may be.
This is where toxins can start to effect particular hormones and prevent weight loss and even cause weight gain. Generally speaking the process to reduce body fat is to reduce calories combined with their exercise regime. You have to find substrate from somewhere, you hit a protein goal to protect and repair your muscle mass, where does your energy come from?
Optimally we want them to come from fats. So the stored triglyceride inside the fat cell has to come out, goes around the blood stream, carnitine pushes it into the mitochondria and burns it as energy. Pretty simple.
If that triglyceride comes out and you have toxins from plastics, heavy metals or something shoved in the fat cell, then that comes out too. It travels around the blood stream looking for somewhere to go and worst case scenario, may lodge itself in an organ and cause serious health issues and/or disease, potentially even life threatening ones. Generally speaking though, the body either wont release it, recognizing the potential dangers or coats it in another cell membrane, and shove it back into a different fat cell therefore preventing optimal weight loss.
Enough for detox in relation to weight loss and body composition for now. I will elaborate on this topic further in editions to come. To wrap up our first chapter and introduction I want to highlight why understanding and paying attention to detoxification is important to anyone who values their health.
It is well documented that toxins block receptor sites in the body and impair hormonal functions. The problem with impaired hormones and bodily functions is that they create a cascading sequence throughout the entire body and restrict anything from performing optimally.
Essentially I am trying to encourage people think holistically instead of adopting the mentality embraced by majority of western society where treating symptoms is considered normal.
What is detoxification? Essentially detoxification is the removal of any substance foreign or harmful to the body. When you choose to look at the body as a whole, it is very clear and obvious why detox is essential.
Toxins cause an increase in cortisol (stress on the body). Cortisol depletes stomach acid and contributes to leaky gut syndrome. With compromised stomach acid levels, it would be expected to experience some level of mal nutrition, nutrient absorption issues, and further increased inflammation in the body and then an even greater increase of cortisol running a vicious cycle.
Without proper detoxification it would not be uncommon for people to experience some the following:
- Digestion issues
- Weight gain
- Decreased motivation
- Increased risk of depression and anxiety
- Decreased sex drive
- Poor immune health
- Impaired thyroid function
- Poor mental focus and energy levels
- Acid Reflux
- Vitamin deficiencies
If you flooded your laundry, you would turn the tap off before trying to fix the damage. In the next edition I will aim to give some insight into which taps you should be looking to turn off or replace in relation to our daily routines and choices.
Article by Jack Boon – Founding Director of GRIPT
With years of experience in the fitness industry, Jack has a passion for the people he works with. Aiming to provide them with the best possible pathways to improve their body composition and happiness within their own skin. With a knowledge beyond training, a holistic approach is delivered with special consideration into detoxification, gut health, and scientifically targeted nutrition for each individual.
Gript location 52 Wilson Street, South Yarra.
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