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What is body detoxification?
Nowadays, you will often hear people referring to the fact that they are “on a detox”. This might be because they have enjoyed a period of over-indulgence, such as Christmas and New Year, or may simply be a means of “spring cleaning” their body. spring detox body
Either way, many people feel that they get a much-needed boost from a period of detoxification, including support for their immune system, healthy weight management, clearer skin, improved digestion, better concentration, more stable moods, higher energy levels and more.
While body detox may seem to many to be just another trendy fad, in fact, its potential health benefits have been recognised down through the ages.
All of the long-established dietary and natural therapies, for example, have long agreed that for good health and vitality the system must be cleansed on a regular basis to help eliminate accumulated toxins and keep an alkaline pH in the blood. The body can then once again deal effectively with the important processes of repair and healing. In other words, your batteries are re-charged!
We live in a modern age of industry and technology, which has a direct impact on the environment and food chain. As a result, much of our air, food and water contains highly toxic chemicals, pollutants and other contaminants. We are exposed to ever-increasing levels on a daily basis and our bodies have to find a way to cope with these, to keep us healthy and functioning well.
The liver is the body’s primary detoxification organ – each and every toxin we take in ends up here. But it actually works very closely with a group of detoxification systems, and its primary role is to convert toxins into forms more easily excreted by the other organs that make up these systems. For example:-
The digestive system: The liver’s main function in the digestive system is to process the nutrients absorbed from the small intestine. Bile from the liver secreted into the small intestine also plays an important role in digesting fat. Without efficient digestion, there can be fermentation in the stomach and small intestine, and then putrefaction in the colon. Over the years, accumulated waste can have a significant impact on toxic load and bacterial activity – both in the gut and around the body. As a major entry-point for waste, toxins, pollutants and pathogens (such as harmful bacteria, yeasts and parasites), the digestive tract – and the colon more particularly – is usually considered a good place to start for body detoxification. Nutritional medicine places great emphasis on gastrointestinal health in terms of the efficiency of our liver, lymphatic system and immune system.
The urinary system: The kidneys receive toxins that have been broken down and made water soluble by the liver, such as the end products of medications, organic chemicals, yeast and hormones.
The lymphatic system: This invaluable, but often forgotten, system filters the bloodstream of toxins and waste and acts like a garbage collection service. It consists of lymph (a type of fluid), lymphocytes (white blood cells that attack bacteria), lymph vessels (which carry the liquid), lymph nodes (which house the white blood cells), tonsils, the thymus gland, Peyer’s patches of the intestines, and the spleen. Unlike blood, which is pumped around by the heart, lymph relies on three activities to keep it moving: (i) contractions of smooth muscle in the lymph vessel walls; (ii) contractions of the skeletal muscles during exercise or daily activities; and (iii) movements of the chest during breathing. This is why exercise and deep breathing are so important for body cleansing and detoxification.
The respiratory system: Gas exchange is the main function of the lungs; inhaled oxygen is supplied to the blood and carbon dioxide is exhaled. The respiratory system has a number of mechanisms to reduce the amount of toxins entering the body. For example, the hairs in our noses trap dust and pollutants, which are expelled when we blow them.
The skin: This is actually our largest organ of elimination and, if working efficiently, can excrete a significant amount of water soluble toxins. Sweat has a similar composition to urine and is an important detoxification fluid – yet another reason why exercise is so important for detoxification.
Natural detoxification and detox support
The human body is best able to recognise and make use of natural substances, such as nutrients from fruit, vegetables and other whole foods. Such nutrients are naturally alkalising, cleansing and protective, and can be used by the body to fuel its detoxification, repairing and healing processes.
By contrast, synthetic “man-made” substances will almost always induce some form of response from the immune system, require processing by the detox systems and thereby place strain on the body.
For the most part, our bodies are more than capable of dealing with the range of toxins they are exposed to on a daily basis. However, problems can arise if nutritional requirements are not being fully met or if the level of toxins becomes too high.
For example, the liver has two distinct detoxification processes or “pathways” that it needs to go through in order to convert toxins into waste products that can then be safely eliminated from the body. Each of these stages involves a number of very specific nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, folic acid, glutathione, antioxidants, carotenoids, amino acids (such as glutamine), and sulphurated phyto-chemicals (such as those found in garlic and cruciferous vegetables).
If the detoxification organs and systems are not functioning efficiently, because of nutritional deficiencies, a high toxic load, or both, our bodies are likely to let us know! Common signs of a system overloaded with toxins include abdominal bloating, nausea, coated tongue, bad breath, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, diarrhoea, body odour, overheating, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), weight issues, frequent headaches, sore joints, tense muscles and skin conditions (such as acne, eczema and psoriasis).
In these circumstances, you may decide to detox to help lessen the strain on your body and cleanse your system.
There are many different types of detoxification programmes out there – diet based, supplement based, colonic hydrotherapy and more. Of course, the broad aim is always to eliminate toxins that have accumulated over time, but the specific programme you choose will, to a large extent, depend on the particular system or systems that you are targeting. You may end up using more than one programme at a time. For example, colonic hydrotherapy plus complementary supplementation.
Based on how you are feeling, you may decide that a particular part of your body is most burdened. For example, the digestive system – in which case you may opt for a colon cleanse. However, it is worth noting that if one organ or system is under strain, others will be impacted too because of the way that they all work together. For this reason, many people opt for a full body detox once or twice a year, with more targeted detoxification on a more regular basis.
Whichever you choose, always remember to consult your doctor or a qualified health practitioner before changing your diet or taking supplements, particularly if you are on medication, pregnant or unwell.
Most good detoxification programmes will advocate a common-sense approach to both diet and lifestyle changes, such as a sensible eating plan, taking regular exercise, drinking pure water etc. Think twice about anything that sounds too drastic. It is always worth talking to a professional if you are unsure, particularly as they may be able to assist you with a tailored meal plan and supplements programme.
Thinking of going dairy-free. The trouble with dairy
It seems to be more and more common to hear that someone has a dairy allergy, lactose intolerance or has simply chosen to cut dairy out of their diet. Why is this?
While milk has traditionally been a mainstay of the British diet (with the UK consuming as much as 40% of the EU’s dairy products), there has been a growing awareness of some of the potential health problems associated with high dairy intake, including allergy and intolerance. As a result, many people are now choosing to go dairy-free.
Allergy and intolerance
A dairy allergy can involve the body going into shock (or having an anaphylactic reaction) after ingesting dairy and is the response of the immune system to the proteins found in dairy products – casein and whey are the two main components. Casein is the curd that forms when milk is left to sour, while the watery part that is left after the curd is removed is the whey. Other less dramatic reactions can occure resulting in poor quality of life. Asthma , eczema Rhinitis, Digestive disorders.
In contrast to a true dairy allergy (where there is an immune system response whenever exposed to cow’s milk proteins-an Ige response), people with lactose intolerance can’t tolerate the sugar in milk (called lactose), because they don’t have the corresponding digestive enzyme, lactase, to cope with lactose sugar.
Milk allergy and/or hypersentitivity can be very common, among both children and adults. Our bodies actually produce an antibody against milk, which certainly suggests it isn’t an ideal food. These facts alone would seem to indicate that the body has not evolved to cope with high dairy intake and, therefore, it should not form a large part of the diet. For example, 70% of adults lose the ability to digest lactose (dairy sugar) once they’ve been weaned. In fact, most mammals lose the ability to digest lactose once they are old enough to find their own source of nourishment away from their mother. In other words, we were never meant to continue consuming milk and dairy products beyond infancy. After weaning, or the transition from being breast-fed to consuming other types of food, the ability to produce lactase naturally diminishes as it is no longer needed.
The symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, stomach pain, wind and diarrhoea, while an allergy to dairy produce usually results in a blocked nose, excessive mucous production, respiratory complaints (such as asthma) and gastrointestinal problems.
These are inflammatory reactions produced by the body, when it doesn’t like what you are eating. Such reactions are most likely to occur in people who consume large quantities of dairy on a regular basis.
What about babies?
A common misconception is that a breastfeeding mother needs to drink milk to make milk – this, of course, is not the case. The widespread move away from breastfeeding led to the substitution of human milk with cow’s milk. The trouble with this, however, is that cow’s milk is designed for calves! It is very different from human milk in a number of respects, including its protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron and essential fatty acid content. In fact, early feeding of babies on cow’s milk is now known to increase the likelihood of developing a dairy allergy (which affects 1 in 10 babies). Common symptoms include diarrhoea, persistent colic, eczema, vomiting, asthma, sleeplessness, catarrh and urticaria.
What about calcium?
When people hear the phrase “going dairy-free”, many immediately make the jump to calcium deficiency. The truth is, despite what has been drummed into us for years, milk is not a very good source of minerals. Manganese, chromium, selenium and magnesium are all found in higher quantities in plant-based sources (fruit and vegetables). Yes, dairy is high in calcium, but the lack of sufficient magnesium is key. Magnesium works alongside calcium, for proper absorption and utilisation by the body. The ideal calcium to magnesium ratio is 2:1 – you need twice as much calcium as magnesium. Milk’s ratio is 10:1, while cheese has a ratio of 28:1.
What does this mean in practice? Relying on dairy products for calcium is likely to lead to a magnesium deficiency and imbalance. Countries with the lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis! A diet rich in leafy green vegetables, seeds and nuts are a far better source of these two minerals (and many others), in line with our needs and in balanced proportions. Yet more evidence that milk is intended for young calves; not adult humans.
Acidity and health conditions
The consumption of dairy products is strongly linked to a number of health conditions, ranging from cardiovascular disease and digestive disorders (such as coeliac disease and Crohn’s), to arthritis, diabetes and asthma. There are a number of potential reasons for this, some of which are considered below.
For healthy blood and the efficient delivery of balanced nutrients to the cells of the body, the pH should be neutral or slightly alkaline. It is not a coincidence that sick people tend to be in the acidic range. Diet has a significant effect on the body’s acidity, through the consumption of either acid- or alkali-forming foods (i.e. foods that, when digested, produce an end-product that is either alkaline or acid). Dairy is at the top of the acid-forming list, along with meat and sugar. A high level of alkali-forming foods (such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds) are required to neutralise any harmful acids caused by such acid-forming foods.
Poor calcium to magnesium ratio
Most people assume that dairy is linked to heart disease because of the high fat content. In fact, more pertinent could be the poor calcium to magnesium ratio already mentioned above. More than any mineral, magnesium helps to protect against heart disease.
For the purposes of producing modern milk, cows are now selectively reared to produce milk during pregnancy. This milk is therefore particularly rich in oestrogen, as well as Insulin Growth Factor (IGF), high levels of which have been linked to disease.
Bovine serum albumin
There is growing evidence to link child-onset diabetes to an allergy to bovine serum albumin (BSA) in dairy products. This type of diabetes starts with the immune system destroying the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. It has been theorised that diabetes-susceptible babies introduced to BSA earlier than around 4 months (before the gut wall has matured and become less permeable), are therefore more likely to develop an allergic response. The highest incidence of insulin-dependent diabetes is found in Finland – the country with the highest milk-production consumption.
Poor nutrient content
Nutritionally speaking, dairy is bad news in a number of respects. For example, almost half of the calories in whole milk come from saturated fat, and nearly all of its carbohydrates come from sugar (all in the form of lactose, which many people can’t properly digest). Plus, dairy has no dietary fibre or iron.
If you have any queries re any issues with cows milk please contact me direct on 07810750940
Help is at hand for hayfever and allergy sufferers . A simple Probiotic combination tablet may reduce symptoms, a new study finds
A study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has given hope to millions of hayfever suffers . Heading into allergy season, you may now feel less likely to grab a hanky and sneeze. That’s because new University of Florida research shows a probiotic combination might help reduce hay fever symptoms, if it’s taken during allergy season.
Many published studies have shown a probiotic’s ability to regulate the body’s immune response to allergies, but not all of the probiotics show a benefit, UF researchers say.
“Not all probiotics work for allergies but this combination did,” said Jennifer Dennis, a doctoral student in the UF food science and human nutrition department in UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and first author on the latest study.
Scientists already know that the probiotic combination of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria,
helps maintain digestive health and parts of the immune system. They suspect that probiotics might work by increasing the human body’s percentage of regulatory T-cells, which in turn might increase tolerance to hay fever symptoms.
UF researchers wanted to know if the components in this combination probiotic would help alleviate allergy symptoms.
To do that, they enrolled 173 healthy adults who said they suffered seasonal allergies and randomly split them into two groups: Some took the combination probiotic; others took a placebo. Each week during the eight-week experiment, participants responded to an online survey to convey their discomfort level.
Scientists also analysed DNA from participants’ stool samples to determine how their bacteria changed, because probiotics aim to deliver good bacteria to the human’s intestinal system. The DNA test also confirmed who was taking the probiotic, said Bobbi Langkamp-Henken, a professor of food science and human nutrition and a senior author of the study.
The researchers conducted the experiment at the height of spring allergy season.
Participants who took the probiotic reported improvements in quality of life, compared to those taking the placebo, the study showed. For example, participants suffered fewer allergy-related nose symptoms, which meant that they were less troubled during daily activities.
Researchers note that this study did not include severe allergy sufferers. But the combination of probiotics showed clinical benefit for those with more mild seasonal allergies, Langkamp-Henken said.
According to other published research in the field, seasonal allergies can reduce sleep and productivity at work or school and can cause stress and embarrassment. Further, current allergy medications have unwanted potential side effects, including dry mouth and drowsiness; thus the need for alternatives, the researchers say.
What is Crohn’s disease?
Named after Dr. Burrill Bernard Crohn, the physician who first described the condition in 1932, Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disorder – a broad title used to describe any condition which involves the intestines becoming swollen, inflamed and ulcerated. Ulcerative colitis is another example of an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Crohn’s, in particular, is an unpleasant and painful condition, which results in inflammation of all the layers of the lining of the bowel. It causes ulcerations (breaks in the lining) of the small and large intestines (most commonly the ileum), but any area of the gastrointestinal tract can be affected, from the mouth to the anus.
It most commonly presents during adolescence and early adulthood, but it has also been known to start in childhood and later in life. Men and women seem to be equally affected, but parents, siblings and children of people with Crohn’s disease are 3 – 20 times more likely to develop the disease.
Approximately 150,000 people suffer from either Crohn’s or colitis in the UK. There are more than 5,000 new cases diagnosed each year and research has shown that the number of people with Crohn’s is rising.
While there has been a significant amount of research into the condition, its precise causes remain unknown – although many have been postulated, including viruses, bacteria, the immune system, genetics, diet and lifestyle. For example, it is estimated that smokers are 3 times more likely to develop Crohn’s disease than non-smokers.
Common signs of Crohn’s disease
Self-diagnosis can be detrimental to health and so it is always best to seek the advice of a qualified health practitioner if you are concerned, or suspect that you have Crohn’s disease. However, below we discuss some of the more common signs and symptoms of the condition.
Abdominal pain and diarrhoea are experienced by almost all sufferers. Having said that, of course not everyone who experiences these symptoms will necessarily have Crohn’s – they are associated with many other conditions of varying seriousness and severity, which is why it is important to seek a professional diagnosis.
The reason for the abdominal pain and (sometimes bloody) diarrhoea in the case of confirmed Crohn’s is that the swelling and inflammation associated with the disease extends deep into the lining of the bowel and can cause the intestines to empty frequently. Other common symptoms include vomiting, fatigue and weight loss.
Although less common, Crohn’s disease has also been known to cause complications outside of the gastrointestinal tract, such as skin irritation, arthritis and inflammation of the eye.
Once a person has the disease, it tends to fluctuate between periods of inactivity (remission) and activity (relapse). Treatment revolves primarily around attempting to manage symptoms, with the aim of promoting longer periods of remission and preventing flare-ups.
Crohn’s disease and diet
While there is no known cure, Crohn’s disease tends to respond very well to positive dietary adjustments and tailored nutritional programmes (including supplementation). This, along with the fact that it is more prevalent in the Western world, would seem to indicate a strong dietary link.
It is also important to note that most people with Crohn’s disease are allergic or intolerant to certain foods, most commonly gluten (the protein found in wheat, rye, oats and barley) and dairy. So avoiding such allergens, as well as intestinal irritants like extracted bran, can be particularly helpful.
Sufferers also tend to have higher levels of homocysteine – a naturally-occurring amino acid, which is found in the blood and is linked to a range of diseases. If levels are too high, it can have an adverse effect on a critical biological process called methylation.
The brain and body use this process to keep the body’s biochemistry in balance. Where this delicate balance is disrupted, the net result can be deterioration of health, including the development, or aggravation, of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, as well as other conditions such as arterial damage, anaemia, coeliac disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression and more.
As such, an alkalising diet packed with natural whole foods (such as fruit, vegetables and green leafy plants) are generally considered to be beneficial for Crohn’s sufferers. Some of the most important nutrients to look out for and proactively include in the diet where high homocysteine levels are suspected are: folate, vitamins B2, B6 and B12, zinc and Trimethylglycine (TMG or betaine).
At the same time, it is a good idea to avoid foods, beverages or daily activities which could be contributing to acidity in the body (and therefore higher homocysteine levels). For instance, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, sugar, caffeine, dairy, red meat, processed foods and other acid-forming foods. In terms of lifestyle factors, exercise regularly if your health allows, stop smoking, avoid toxins wherever possible and try to minimise your stress.
And don’t forget to spare a thought for the amount of beneficial bacteria inside your vulnerable and inflamed gut – the levels of these ‘good guys’ (essential for digestion and immunity) are likely to be very low. It is possible to support a healthy balance of friendly and harmful gut flora by increasing your intake of probiotic foods (such as sauerkraut, tempeh, miso and tofu) or taking a high-strength, multi-strain probiotic supplement. This must be discussed with the hospital nutritional team before commencing. In some health authorities feacal transplants are given to reintroduce beneficial bacteria with very positive outcomes.
Other nutrients which may help to calm inflammation and soothe the gut lining include Omega 3 fats, curcumin and the amino acid glutamine.
It is well worth working with a nutritional therapist, digestive health expert or other qualified health practitioner to help devise your ideal diet and supplement programme.
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