Are you thinking about doing a detox? 

Maybe you’ve been drinking more alcohol lately, eating more sugar and processed foods, or suffering from symptoms caused by mold in your home. 

Or maybe you want to detox simply to lose weight, improve digestion, have more energy, think more clearly, or have smoother skin?

No matter your reasons for detoxing, I’m here to warn you. 

Don’t detox!

At least not yet. 

You see, it’s actually dangerous to do a detox before you cleanse the body. 

What’s the Difference Between A Cleanse & Detox?

The easiest way for me to explain why you have to cleanse your system before you detoxify it is by using analogies, so here goes: Doing a detox before a cleanse is like…

  • Cleaning out the water spout when the pipes are totally clogged. 
  • Fueling your car with high-octane gasoline when you haven’t changed the oil in forever.
  • Cleaning all the junk at the base of a damn without addressing the upstream garbage. 

Do any of these three analogies resonate? 

Sorry, it’s the best I can come up with without my morning coffee. 

The bottom line is that if suppose you have symptoms that may suggest you should do a detox:

  • Brain fog
  • Frequent bloating
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Weight gain

Thanks to marketing hype, many of us are led to believe that if we experience any of these symptoms, a detox protocol is necessary. 

Juice detox. Detox pills. 

Take your pick. 

(Actually, pick neither. Juice detoxes are unhealthy; they are loaded with fructose from too much high-sugar, low-fiber fruit. And detox pills, don’t get me started.)

I believe it’s highly beneficial to improve your liver’s ability to detoxify toxins like heavy metals. 

But before doing that, it’s first absolutely necessary to do something else. 

CLEANSE. 

What exactly does that mean?

It means improving the flow of three important fluids in your body:

—Blood

—Lymph

—Bile

The Detox Cure Is Worse Than The Disease

If these three fluids are stagnant, the toxins stored by your liver won’t be able to be excreted from your system speedily. That means the toxins will be trapped in the body, leading to more problems. The cure will be worse than the disease. 

Before detoxing, your body’s waste exchange must improve at the organ and cellular level. This includes the gallbladder, which stores bile. Many people know that bile helps the body break down fats. But there’s more to bile, which the liver manufactures and releases. Bile is also involved in the waste elimination process. This includes removing the protein bilirubin, a byproduct of old red blood cells. 

If you don’t improve the flow of bile, guess what? Once again, your liver will get congested very quickly. So that liver detox you spent all that money on? Total waste. 

The 3 Phases of Detoxification

Detoxification of the body is a miraculous, highly-complex process. Ready to get your learning hat on? If you’re thinking about doing a detox, it helps to know how your body works. So here goes…

  • Phase I detoxification: Enzymes (Compounds in your body that break down proteins) combine with oxygen and bind to toxins to prepare for the next phase. This occurs in the liver, GI tract, kidneys, brain and lungs.
  • Phase II: Antioxidants (glutathione) bind to the toxins so that they can be dissolved in water and prepared for elimination.
  • Phase III: There are cells in the liver and gut that act like mail carriers. These cells escort the water-soluble toxins out of the cells and into the bile. This waste then gets added to stool and urine and sent down the potty.

This is why it’s never smart to do a trendy juice detox. These so-called “detoxes” don’t follow the rules of the 3 phases of detoxification. And that’s why you’ll feel worse after it’s over than before you started!

When To Detox From Heavy Metals

Not to beat a dead horse, but you can’t detoxify your liver (the body’s main detoxification organ) if your fluid dynamics are stagnant. Detoxing before improving your fluid dynamics, which I call true cleansing, will stress other organs, such as the kidneys, and accelerate anti-aging. 

You should only do a heavy metal detox after blood, bile, and lymph are cleansed and begin to move efficiently. 

Only then will your lymphatic system improve. When your lymph circulation improves, your digestion, absorption, and assimilation of nutrients will also improve. You’ll have more energy, and you’ll start to feel better. 

Now we can test for heavy metals. If a blood test, which I can order for you, reveals concerning levels of heavy metals, we can order some very targeted supplements that bind to these toxins and drive them into elimination.

How To Improve Fluid Dynamics (Cleanse) 

So now the question is, how the heck do you cleanse? 

Obviously, eating a healthy diet is a big part of it. Eating mostly whole foods (think: food found in nature and not heavily refined) has been shown in many research studies to support lymphatic drainage

If you have no idea how to get started eating healthier, let’s work together. 

I can also help you incorporate more movement therapy into your daily life, and recommend herbs and other supplements that improve bile and lymph flow. 

I’m a Nurse Practitioner, certified health coach, and functional medicine practitioner.

I look forward to helping you reclaim your health and live your best life. 

Until next time, 

Jenna Witt, NP

Founder, Fundamental Wellness (Nebraska)