You can't lose weight or build muscle if you are toxic and inflamed! You probably won't feel so good either...
Think detoxification is a myth or a fad? Then read on!
It is simply not enough these days to expect to get results from exercise alone. The old sayings 'abs are made in the kitchen' and 'you can't out train a bad diet' are spot on. Exercise is but one part of the equation. If you are not eating/hydrating well, or have fundamental hormonal imbalances then you will need to address these to get the results you desire.
A major player in obtaining body composition changes is your ability to detoxify. Everyone has a reserve ability to detox. Your body can only process so many toxins until it becomes backed up, and these foreign compounds, begin to spill into the body and get stored in connective tissue, muscles, fat and even in your brain. Many toxins are fat soluble and so they live in our fat tissue. The more fat you hold on your body, the more of a toxic burden you have.
When you lose weight, you need to seize some of these toxins as they are released into circulation. If you don't work at eliminating the toxins you are releasing from fat, then they likely will be shifted and stored right back where you started. So if you are bothering to try and lose weight or gain muscle, but not managing your nutrition, hormones and stress, then you might just be constantly shifting toxins around your system. This will make it hard to build lean muscle, lose fat and of course will increase your chances of chronic pain, inflammation and disease.
So what are these ominous toxins and do they really exist? A toxin is any chemical that your body cannot tolerate or recognize. There are over 85,000 chemical compounds in our environment that we are exposed to. Of these 85,000, we can only currently test and track 1000. Umbilical cords of newborns have been researched and shown to have around 300 unnatural chemical compounds, including parabens, plastics and rocket fuel! The real problem stems from the multitude of toxins our body has to deal with, and the effects that occur when toxins are added together. The synergistic effect of multiple toxins, can overload your toxic threshold much more than a single toxin would on it's own.
How do we become toxic? As we just discussed above with the sad state of our environment, we are already born toxic! Other than that we might encounter more environmental pollutants like vaccines, drugs, pollution, fluorides in your water, heavy metals etc. You might be eating toxic food that is loaded with cheap chemicals, pesticides or genetically modified ingredients. And our bodies make internal toxins as byproducts of metabolic processes. We make mycotoxins from fungus or candida in the gut, acetalaldehyde from sugar and yeast metabolism, and metabolic intermediates which build up when your body is lacking basic vitamins and minerals to complete metabolic processes. Not to mention the fact that a whopping 90% of our system is made up of the bacteria that live in/on us. When these bacteria die, it's yet another toxin our bodies must eliminate called Lipopolysaccharides which are particularly harmful to our muscles and brain when our gut is leaky.
Detoxification doesn't have to be a big heroic event. Every single person needs to detox, every single day. There are a lot of really bad detoxification kits out there, or one product wonders that claim to help you detox. The simple fact is, there is no quick fix as detoxification is a whole body effort. The organs of detoxification are the liver, intestines, kidneys, lymphatic system, the lungs and the skin.
There are 2 main phases of detoxification. In phase 1 the goal is to make toxins more water soluble. First up this is obviously problematic if you aren't drinking enough water! Our bodies add nutrients, vitamins and amino acids to the chemical, to help make it excretable. Either the compound gets neutralised and excreted, or it gets made MORE toxic and needs to go to phase 2.
Phase 2 adds a chemical compound to toxin to neutralise it and flag it so it can excreted. If it isn’t flagged it will be stored in fat tissue or bind to enzyme or hormone receptors, and alter how your enzymes of hormones function. Speeding up phase 2 is a great thing and eating cruciferous veggies, taking multi vitamins, eating sulphorous compounds like onions, leaks and garlic will help. Slowing down phase 2 is a big problem. Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) slow down your ability to detox. Low protein diets also slow down phase 2, and in as little as 48 hours without adequate amino acids from protein, your bodies ability to detox is compromised. (no protein juice fast anyone?)
Signs of chronic intoxication are headaches, lack of energy, lack of mental focus, muscle pain, rashes, skin problems, pimples, gastrointestinal symptoms, lowered immunity, hormonal imbalances and chronic diseases. Inflammation is the root of all disease and if your body is chronically toxic and overburdened, then you will struggle to feel well. Just the fact you are inflammed means your body will make more dangerous free radicals, which leads to a viscous circle of inflammation
Tips to Boost Daily Detoxification:
drink good quality water that is free from chemicals, fluoride and chlorine, and drink it from materials like glass or metal that won't leech plastics into your water!
take a multi vitamin to ensure you have adequate nutrients to support detoxification and lower your acidity level.
move, sweat, exfoliate or skin brush to help your skin excrete toxins
take a probiotic to ensure healthy GI function. Good bacteria bind to toxins to excrete them, make vitamins, fight bad bugs etc.
eat a variety of vegetables and salads with every meal to get good fiber, prebiotics and phytonutrients
eat meats, nuts, eggs and other good proteins to ensure you have amino acids to detoxify
avoid pro inflammatory foods like sugars, grains, processed foods etc.
check your body care products to avoid using chemicals directly onto your skin. You would be surprised if you checked how toxic some body products are. Look at ewg.org for more info on how to check your current products toxicity level.