From brown rice diets, to fasting and juice cleanses. There’s a whole lot of buzz around the term detox, with influencers, friends and family all suggesting they know the best way to detox. But how do you sort the fact from the fiction?
First, let’s unravel what we mean by detox.
From food and drink to the air we breathe, our environments and diets contain toxins. Some of these, we consume willingly – like alcohol or caffeine. Some we can’t control – like air pollution and pesticides.
However we consume them, dissolved toxins end up in our blood. Luckily, your body is naturally equipped to detox (detoxify) toxins. The key organs responsible for detox are your liver and kidneys.
Your liver and kidneys filter your blood, transforming toxins into waste products like urea and bile, which leave your body via urine and faeces.
The two phases of detox
Detox involves two phases. Phase I breaks toxins down into smaller, or water soluble components. This process occurs through oxidation, reduction and hydrolysis.
Oxidation creates free radicals. Excessive toxin levels produce more free radicals which may result in oxidative stress and damage to the liver.
Cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cauliflower), citrus fruits, vitamin C, many B vitamins, magnesium and iron support Phase I of detox.
During Phase II, the liver binds the smaller toxins with other molecules, like antioxidants, amino acids and chemicals. Binding up the toxins allows your body to flush it out of your system. Without phase II, the broken down toxin may remain in the body, causing damage.
Amino acids like choline, methionine, taurine and cysteine produce peptides that wrap up toxins. A major dietary source for amino acids is protein, which is why fruity juice fasts that strip protein from your diet are counterproductive for supporting your liver and detox.
Exceptions to the juice cleanse myth are recipes that feature ingredients like kale, asparagus, onions and garlic, as these foods are high in sulfur, which is converted into sulphate and used by the liver to bind toxins during Phase II.
Cysteine and choline are particularly supportive to detox, as they help produce glutathione, which is also known as the ‘master antioxidant’; a key molecule your liver uses to bind toxins. Glutathione also reduces oxidative stress. Foods rich in cysteine and choline like meats, eggs, lentils, rolled oats and sunflower seeds help feed your liver what it needs to function at its best.
Though our bodies are naturally equipped to flush out toxins, our bodies are not adapted to the level of pollution we now face, especially here in Hong Kong, where air pollution is high, and foods are often contaminated with herbicides and pesticides.
What are we detoxifying from?
The sad truth is that our modern world is full of toxins. From mould in damp apartments, to chlorine in tap water, or pesticides in foods. In fact, the WHO has stated that Hong Kongers only get around 50 safe air days per year.
Toxins are an everyday part of life, but there are some things you can do to reduce your exposure to toxins.
Dangers of toxins
Toxins can cause many health concerns, from digestive issues, to skin conditions, fatigue, anxiety, mental fog, unhealthy cravings and more.
Toxins impact our immune, reproductive, cardiovascular and nervous system.
They also cause oxidative stress , which damages DNA, proteins and cell membranes, contributing to aging of our skin and organs.
How do I support detox?
When it comes to detox, one size does not fit all.
This is why juice cleanses or fasting won’t work for everyone. These programmes are not optimised for your body – they’re made with generalities in mind: antioxidants reduce oxidative stress, grapes help support liver function.
These quick and easy solutions may offer a boost for your body, but they are not designed to provide meaningful, therapeutic detox.
So, how do you detox the right way? Our naturopaths have weighed in on the ways you can support detox.
Upgrade your liver
Though one size does not fit all, there are some nutrients which meet some of those generalities in a clinically therapeutic way.
Silybin is the active part of silymarin, and derived from milk thistle. It acts as a free radical scavenger – mopping up pesky free radicals that otherwise cause cell damage. It also helps cells repair any damage and can even help the liver grow new cells.
Glutathione helps remove up to 50% of daily toxins, including persistent organic pollutants which are particularly damaging for our bodies. This protective nutrient also helps defend against oxidative damage. Though our liver naturally produces glutathione, studies show that glutathione levels decrease with age and supplementation can provide your liver with a boost for healthy function.
Sulforaphane stimulates the body’s detoxification system in an optimised way. Safe and efficient detoxification involves a slightly slower Phase I and more rapid Phase II; Sulforaphane helps achieve exactly this. It also helps increase glutathione production and binds to toxins for removal from the body.
Broccoli sprouts and cruciferous vegetables offer a natural source of glucoraphanin, which is converted into sulforaphane by the body.
Test for toxins
If you find you’re chronically tired, or can’t clear your brain fog, it may be time to get tested for toxins.
Research has shown that toxins have a clear impact on our health. Some people are also more sensitive to toxins like mercury and mould. Symptoms of high levels can show up as chronic exhaustion, brain fog, muscle pain and low mood.
Our industry leading tests can help you identify toxin levels in your body: from mould, to heavy metals, fungus and toxic chemicals.
Our tests can also measure oxidative stress and glutathione levels.
Even if you’re not yet experiencing visible symptoms, living with Hong Kong’s high levels of pollutants means you’re more than likely to be experiencing some level of toxicity in your body. Getting tested can ensure you catch the effects of pollution before they take hold.
If you’re unsure you can complete our MAQ assessment, which will give an indication of how much burden your body is under from toxins.
We recommend booking a test through one of our naturopaths, who can help you figure out which tests are needed to alleviate your symptoms and meet your personal health goals.
Do a clinical detox
Our clinical detoxes range from a gut detox, to a 10 day detox designed for busy people, and a customised chemical detox.
Our gut detox helps bring your gut into balance, clearing out bacterial gut toxins. This detox can reduce bloating, improve your digestion and clear mental fog.
The 10 day detox is designed to optimise your liver function, without demanding any extra time from your busy life. It features a ‘liver flush’ over one night of the programme, and helps cleanse your bowel while supporting lymphatic and skin health.
Benefits include better mental clarity and skin health; reduced bloating and lymphatic swelling, as well as reduced cravings for addictive foods and drugs. The 10 day detox is also an excellent starting point for weight loss. Are you ready for a page turning change?
The customised chemical detox includes tests to pinpoint toxins, a detox programme created to meet your body’s needs, and a final test to ensure that you’re free from toxins.
These options help ensure that your detox plan meets the requirements of your body – not a universal ideal of what detox should be.
水飛薊賓是水飛薊素的活性部分，來源於水飛薊。 是一種抗氧化劑（自由基清除劑）減少細胞受損。 還可以支持細胞修復，並幫助肝臟生長新細胞。
穀胱甘肽有助於清除高達 50% 的日常毒素，包括對身體特別有害的持久性有機污染物。 這種保護性營養素還有助於抵禦氧化損傷。 雖然我們的肝臟會自然產生穀胱甘肽，但研究表明，穀胱甘肽水平會隨著年齡的增長而降低，補充劑可以促進肝臟的健康功能。
如果發現自己長期疲倦，或者無法清除腦霧，可以考慮進行毒素測試。研究表明，毒素對我們的健康有明顯的影響。 有些人對汞和黴菌等毒素也更敏感。 高水平的症狀可能表現為慢性疲勞、腦霧、肌肉疼痛和情緒低落。
如果您不確定，可以嘗試IMI的 MAQ 評估，該評估將表明您的身體所承受的毒素負擔有多大。
專為忙碌人士而設計的 10 天速效排毒療程，屬個人化的化學排毒方式。提供腸道排毒讓您的腸道保持平衡，清除細菌性腸道毒素，減少腹脹，改善消化。
為期 10 天的排毒旨在優化您的肝功能，有助清潔腸道，同時支持淋巴和皮膚健康。使你頭腦清晰和皮膚健康； 減少腹脹和淋巴腫脹，以及減少對上癮食物和藥物的渴望。確保你的排毒計劃符合您身體的要求，達致全面健康。
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