In 1978, while I was still in high school, my mother developed breast cancer. I had no idea what detoxification was or how it worked. The nutritional program that she decided to use to help her overcome her condition was the Gerson Program. The main strategy of this program is detoxification, which treats existing conditions and can prevent disease. Now in my 15th year of private practice, detoxification as a healing strategy is the most important part of my practice.
How does detoxification work and why is it so important?
Today we are exposed to many toxins from the environment such as the air we breath (including household cleaning products), the preservatives in food and of course toxins from alcohol, prescription and recreational drugs. Recent studies have suggested that long term low level exposure to toxins such as heavy metals (mercury, lead, arsenic), pesticides, and industrial compounds are associated with such conditions as chronic fatigue, environmental and chemical sensitivities and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. High levels of toxins in the body have also been linked to headaches, fertility problems, memory loss, and depression.
Not eating or fasting on water is NOT detoxification. According to research, the liver needs specific nutrients to detoxify. Depriving the liver during a detoxification program only produces more free radicals which can lead to a healing crisis or poisoning of the body. A safe and effective detoxification program requires specific nutrients to enhance the liver’s ability to remove the harmful toxins stored in the body.
Here are three foods, herbs and nutrients that are powerful antioxidants that can help our liver effectively and safely excrete toxins from the body:
Green Tea is the most popular antioxidant on the market today and has anti-cancer properties. The catechins (phytochemicals) in green tea have been shown to lower the incidence of Parkinson Disease. The National Cancer Institute is currently investigating green tea’s chemotherapeutic potential. In addition, green tea helps to regulate blood sugar and improves digestion.
Milk Thistle (silymarin the active ingredient) is a well known liver protectant and powerful antioxidant. Milk Thistle is the best antioxidant which should be taken on a daily basis to help the liver manage the many toxins we are exposed to.
Lastly, our B vitamins are essential for detoxification especially Folic acid. Folic acid helps our liver to metabolize homocystine, an amino acid which is associated with inflammation and heart disease. Folic acid also helps to rid the body of harmful heavy metals.