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Nourish Your Body: A Naturopathic Approach to New Year's Cleansing and Detox

With the conclusion of the major holiday season, many individuals are eager to embark on a New Year’s ‘Cleanse’ or 'Detox.' While these practices can offer benefits to the body, it's crucial to approach them correctly. From a naturopathic standpoint, providing the body with essential nutrients is vital, alongside supporting the body’s inherent ability to eliminate waste.

cup of tea surrounded by raw herbs

The majority of detoxification in the human body takes place in the liver and specialized cells lining the intestines and colon. The liver plays a central role in detoxification, divided into two phases: phase I and phase II detoxification. In phase I, the liver transforms various toxins into intermediary metabolites, which ironically are more toxic than the original toxins. Phase II then converts these metabolites into less harmful substances, allowing for safe excretion through bile, stool, and urine.

Proper nutrition is crucial for optimal liver function and detoxification, as each phase requires specific vitamins and minerals. For example, phase I necessitates riboflavin (Vitamin B2), niacin (Vitamin B3), Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, folate, and flavonoids. On the other hand, nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, bioflavonoids, selenium, and zinc protect the body from oxidation caused by circulating intermediary metabolites [1]. Insufficient nutrition in these phases may result in 'sluggish' liver function, leading to symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, headaches, and general malaise.

It's essential to recognize that the liver is not just a detox organ; it's also part of the immune system, regulating inflammation. A healthy liver can neutralize toxins and eliminate antigens, but an excess toxic burden can lead to increased inflammation [2]. An elimination diet, temporarily removing common food allergens, can be beneficial. By optimizing nutrition and eliminating allergens, the liver can enhance detoxification, improving energy and overall vitality.

Thinking about trying a detox protocol in the new year? Interested in optimizing your nutrition? Book a FREE 15-minute meet and greet appointment today!

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  1. Cline JC. Nutritional aspects of detoxification in clinical practice. Altern Ther Health Med. 2015 May-Jun;21(3):54-62. PMID: 26026145.

  2. Cheng ML, Nakib D, Perciani CT, MacParland SA. The immune niche of the liver. Clin Sci (Lond). 2021 Oct 29;135(20):2445-2466. doi: 10.1042/CS20190654. PMID: 34709406.


This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.



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