Sunday, August 12, 2018

Detox to balance hormones

In last week's post I began to discuss hormones and how imbalances can contribute to the development of diseases. The first step we covered to help improve hormone balance was reducing inflammation. This week I want to talk about the second step to help improve balance - detox. If you are unfamiliar with detox, this post will be a primer. 

I should explain that when I speak about detox I am talking about a metabolic detox, not getting off drugs or alcohol! 

Why do we need to detox? Glad you asked.

Our environment has been polluted by harmful chemicals, many of which directly affect our hormones to induce imbalance and disease. These are commonly referred to as endocrine disrupting chemicals - EDCs.

You may have heard about BPA (bisphenol A) in plastic bottles and packaging. The ZRT hormone assessment mentioned last week includes an assessment for BPA because it mimics estrogen in the body. If you think you are safe because you don't use plastic, think again. BPA is used to line cans containing food and it coats cash register receipts. 

Here is a list of the top ten EDCs as researched by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). If you read through each hazardous chemical group in the publication (download the pdf), you will see that our air, water, soil, personal care products, our bodies and food are all contaminated. THAT is why you need to detox.

<- Detox teas

If you've never done a detox or have a lot of metabolic problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, autoimmune disease or cancer, you should first work with a Functional Medicine practitioner like myself to prepare yourself for a detox.

If you aren't able to work with a doctor, you can encourage gentle detoxification with teas like these made by Pukka or an organic dandelion tea and by eating cleaner foods to help lower the toxic load in your body. If you message me, I can send you a detox food list to help your detox pathways work better. Eating colorful foods and being strategic with your food choices can improve your ability to detox.

Your liver is your main organ of detoxification. It is in the liver that substances are transformed, in what is called Phase I of the detox process, mainly by enzymes in the Cytochrome P450 family, into polar molecules that are then either moved into bile for excretion or further changed via the Phase II detox pathways.

Your hormones are metabolized via the Phase II pathways - after having been changed in the Phase I system - by conjugation with moieties that allow your body to then excrete the conjugated molecules. Estrogens end up conjugated through glucuronidation and are then moved into the bowel for elimination.

If you don't have good bacteria in your intestines, some non-beneficial bacteria (like the families that thrive on sugars and carbs) can uncouple the estrogens from the glucuronide moity, which allows the uncoupled estrogens to be reabsorbed and go back into circulation. This is one of the ways you can end up with excess estrogens and hormone imbalance.

Your body also moves toxins out through your kidneys and lymphatics via urine and sweat. Lymph can also move toxins into your intestines for elimination so having regular bowel movements is very important for detoxification.

Help your kidneys work better by drinking water. Hydration is another important way you can help your detox pathways on a daily basis. Your minimum daily water requirement can be calculated by taking your weight in pounds and dividing by two. If you weigh 140 pounds, drink 70 ounces of water a day minimum.

You can help your lymphatics by exercising to improve lymph flow and increasing your sweat production. Getting a massage also improves lymph elimination and using an infrared sauna can help you detox with increased sweat.

So to sum up:

  • Find out where you are being exposed to toxins in your food, water and environment and remove toxins as much as possible by eating clean foods (use the Environmental Working Group list to know which foods have the highest pesticide burdens).
  • Know where Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals come from and get rid of them to help balance your hormones.
  • Hydrate adequately every day.
  • Drink green tea and detox teas 
  • Eat colorful foods and plenty of fiber to have 1-2 bowel movements daily
  • Exercise regularly
  • Sauna to increase sweat and get a massage if possible to improve lymph flow
Next time I'll cover doing a doctor-supervised metabolic detox. Meanwhile, here's another detox shake you can make:

Pear Detox Shake

1/2 - 1 cup greens (kale, spinach, chard, red butter lettuce)
1 frozen or fresh pear, in chunks
10 frozen cherries
1 T ground flaxseed
2 T MCT oil
dash cinnamon
2-4 peppercorns
Vegetable protein to provide 15-22 grams protein
1 shot organic aloe (if available)
8-12 ounces hemp milk or cashew milk
ice

You can make this a chocolate shake by adding 1 T organic cacao powder, 2 T organic cacao nibs.

Blend in a high speed blender and enjoy. Add extra liquid if needed to get the right consistency.

Happy detoxing!









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