With the amount of cleansing/detoxification programs and kits that are available at our fingertips, there is one very important thing to consider before diving into any cleansing/detoxification journey to avoid feeling potentially worse, and even ill.
What am I taking about? Preparing for detoxification.
What does detoxification actually mean?
Detoxification is the process of removing toxins from the body, but it can also mean the removal of pathogens from the gut, such as candida, parasites, and dysbiotic bacteria. We have to prepare for the detoxification of pathogens from the gut. This looks like working on digestion (improving bile flow, etc), opening up drainage pathways, improving nutrition, and more. The goal being that we reduce any pre-existing organ congestion/toxin load from the pathogens already being there all before we start pushing the liver with antifungals and biofilm busters.
What are drainage pathways?
Drainage pathways are the systems/organs that all of the toxins and pathogens must be eliminated through during the cleanse/detox. The first step that I guide my clients through before beginning a cleanse/detox is prepping the drainage pathways, which essentially means ensuring the main channels of elimination are open. To the right, you can see a photo of the drainage funnel.
When we use an antimicrobial/anti fungal to kill candida, it emits all of its toxic byproducts as it dies off. When we use biofilm busters, more pathogens and possibly even heavy metals are released into the system. Because of this, as well as because drainage pathways depend on the health of the other to function properly, we have to work on the functioning of each system and pathway to ensure that the body can effectively remove all toxins and pathogens.
What happens if we do not prepare properly?
When using antimicrobials/anti fungals to kill off pathogens in the gut, it causes something called die-off or the 'Herxheimer' reaction. If we do not prepare the body properly, the drainage pathways will struggle to process and eliminate toxins, which allows them to recirculate throughout the body vs. getting eliminated in a timely manner. This can leave you feeling extremely unwell, possibly even worse than before you started, as well as disrupt your ability to get better.
Let’s take a closer look at the 6 main detoxification channels, or, channels of elimination:
How to Open Drainage Pathways
Colon: The bowel must be moving 1-2 times daily. Constipation is one of the main reasons for the recirculation of toxins in the blood stream. Stool that has been sitting in the colon for longer than a day creates an environment that promotes the growth of bad bacteria leading to dysbiosis and pathogenic organisms in the gut. I make sure all of my clients are having regular bowel movements daily before we begin any sort of cleansing and I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Chronic constipation that has gone on for months or even years should be your starting point in getting to the root cause of your digestive problems. Some of the best ways to ensure healthy daily bowel movements are through the use of trace minerals to help with the electrolyte balance in the colon (Aussie Trace is my fav!), ensuring you are drinking enough water, potty stools, assessing fibre intake, addressing stress, and much more. Be sure to check out my constipation series on Instagram if you haven't already!
Liver & Bile Ducts: The liver is responsible for so many bodily functions, but mainly it is used to filter and remove toxins/waste products from the blood stream which relies heavily on phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification within the liver cells. In simplistic terms, these pathways need to be working harmoniously for optimal detoxification.
Phase 1 liver detoxification is responsible for neutralizing toxins, making them less harmful and essentially easier to excrete through the liver. As a result of this process however, it creates a more chemically active form known as intermediates (which is a necessary step in order to get the toxin to the next phase of detoxification in the liver). The production of these intermediates causes an increase in free radicals which can be damaging to the liver cells when it's constantly being bombarded with toxins, especially if phase 2 liver detox is slow moving. If phase 2 liver detox is sluggish then these toxins have no where to go leading to a build up of these intermediates in the liver. One way to reduce the instance of this happening is through supporting the liver with the nutrients it needs. Antioxidants are protective nutrients that play a huge role in liver health as they help to neutralize these free radicals and prevent damage. Vitamins, A,C,E, and minerals like selenium, zinc, are all strong antioxidants to consider. Bioflavonoids found in colourful fruits and vegetables are also a great source of antioxidant nutrients to support liver health.
If there is an imbalance in the detoxification pathways such as an overactive or under active phase 1 or 2, this can impair the way we effectively detoxify. Phase 2 is where toxins are bound and ready to be excreted through the bile to the bowels, or through urea in the blood stream to the kidneys. During the first month of working together it’s so important that we work on ensuring phase 2 liver detoxification is working optimally because once we start introducing antimicrobials/anti fungals later in the program it will drive up phase 1 liver detoxification, meaning phase 2 needs to be functioning at its best to be able to bind these toxins and eliminate them. Both phase 1 and phase 2 require specific nutrients to help them function optimally, and this type of liver support is what I provide my clients with pre-cleanse and also during cleanse to ensure toxins are moving into and out of the liver efficiently.
Aside from ensuring that the livers detox pathways are working optimally, the purpose of liver drainage pre-cleanse is another high priority item. We want to make sure that the bile being produced from the liver and into the gallbladder is moving fluidly instead of sluggish. If bile movement is sluggish it can impair the way that toxins are moved out of the liver for excretion and can increase the toxic burden on the body leading to recirculation of toxins in the blood stream. I recommend incorporating foods into the diet that promote the flow and production of bile such as beets, artichokes, dandelion, radishes, radicchio, lemons, apple cider vinegar, cruciferous vegetables and dark leafy greens (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, chard, bok choy, arugula, collard greens, cabbage, mustard greens, etc).
Kidneys: The kidneys are the last place toxins go to get detoxified and excreted in the urine so it is important to not forget about supporting kidney drainage. Herbal kidney drainage tinctures can be really helpful for anyone who especially suffers with UTI’s, bladder infections, cystitis, etc. These herbal tinctures are anti-inflammatory and help by stimulating/increasing the amount of urine made by the kidneys to assist in the excretion of matter through the urinary tract and promotes healthy kidney function. Drinking plenty of filtered water with electrolytes is also a great natural way to flush the kidneys! Some kidney loving foods and drinks to promote healthy kidney function include nettle tea, beets, berries, ginger, turmeric, cabbage and cruciferous vegetables, olive oil, and garlic.
Skin: Our skin is the largest organ in the body and it may surprise you that it is also a major detoxification organ as well. The pores in our skin allow for sweat and impurities to come to surface level. Some of the best ways to support skin detoxification is through skin brushing, infrared sauna exposure, sweating, and ionic foot baths. You can learn more about these practices in my blog post on Lymphatic Drainage.
Lungs: The lungs is where a lot of stale air can sit especially since we aren’t inhaling and exhaling our total lung volume capacity on a daily basis. Practicing deep diaphragmatic breathing is very cleansing to the lungs to move out stale air and bring in fresh oxygen rich air. Aside from this, the environmental toxins and pollution that we are exposed daily also have also an effect on the body. Understandably, this is something that can’t be prevented but it’s just important to note when thinking about detoxification and to consider things like air purifiers inside of your home and eliminating artificial toxic scents like candles, air fresheners, etc. In addition, the lungs can take a big hit from viruses/bacterial infections. Some of the best ways to support your lungs could be through steam rooms, regular exercise, or the use of some herbs to help bring down inflammation and strengthen the lungs like marshmallow root, slippery elm, yarrow leaf, comfrey, etc.
Hopefully after reading this, you can see now why ensuring that all channels of elimination are open should always be the first step for a successful cleanse. If you need some support with candida cleansing and are wanting to learn more about my 1:1 Multi Phase Candida Program, I would love to connect with you!
You can book a free discovery call with me through this link: