Toxins are a part of our world. We would like to believe that this world was created for us, but the simple fact is that there is a lot of stuff out there that is bad for us. It is certainly true that many of these harmful substances were created by Mankind, but there are a huge number of naturally occurring poisonous substances. It may be surprising to learn that the body itself creates many of the toxic substances which must be eliminated.
By strict definition, toxins are poisonous substances which are created within the cells of living beings. This means that man made substances are toxic substances or toxicants. This seems a small difference; both toxins and toxicants are harmful to the human organism, and will eventually kill unless they are eliminated.
Fortunately, nature has equipped the body to be very effective at eliminating toxins as it goes through its daily cycles. Even environmental toxins, which can seem overwhelming, are largely eliminated by normal metabolic processes in healthy individuals.
The normal processes of living and breathing require nutritional fuel, and create waste products. Some of of these are known as Free Radical Compounds. Free Radical simply means that chemically they are ready to pick up a free electron wherever they can find one, usually from an oxygen atom, in a process called oxidation.
Oxidation naturally results in a breakdown of the structure of the original molecule. This is part of the normal burning of nutritional fuel, but the build up of waste can eventually overwhelm the system.
The metabolic processes of the liver, kidneys, and colon are very efficient at eliminating these wastes and other toxins from the body. Over the years, a huge industry has grown selling the idea that there are products which can help these natural systems to dispense with these toxins. This is what the Alternative Health Industry refers to as Detox.
Traditional Western Medical science has found no relationship between detox and improved health. In fact, because there is little regulation or oversight to Alternative Medicine, some of the detox practices associated with it may be ineffective, or even dangerous. Traditional Chinese Medicine, with its great valuation of harmony and balance, seems to have greater respect for certain detox practices.
There are two basic forms of diet based detox, soaking and flushing. A common type of soaking detox is French Green clay. This type of detox was employed by the Soviet Union in the aftermath of Chernobyl. The clay was ingested with chocolate. While in the body, the clay absorbs toxins; when the clay is eliminated the toxins go with it.
The various forms of flushing detox enhance the normal excretory functions of metabolism. This often requires increased intake of dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Both forms of fiber will aid in digestion and eliminating waste. A flush type detox may also require increased levels of certain vitamins.
Some of these vitamins are water soluble, meaning that the flushing regime will lower levels of the vitamin available to the body. Other vitamins, called antioxidants, will help to eliminate toxins. Most of the necessary vitamins are part of a balanced diet, but a multivitamin supplement can help to ensure that the body always has sufficient vitamins to detoxify itself.