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Dear NEEDS Wellness Educators,
I am generally a healthy person and usually eat a decent diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables. But this holiday season was packed with celebrations and family events, which always involves eating! For the past few weeks, I have been eating too much sugar, processed foods, and consuming too much alcohol. It was fun at the time, but eating poorly has left me feeling tired, lethargic, and a few pounds overweight. I feel like I need a little boost to get back on track. Can you please help me create a detox program so I can cleanse my body of toxins and get my energy back?
~CP, Florida

Dear CP,
Post holiday cleansing is always a good idea! Detoxification is the body's way of breaking down and metabolizing the toxins and unwanted materials that have been absorbed through the intestines, lungs, and skin. Although detoxification is a naturally occurring process in various organs, at times the body can be overburdened and have a difficult time keeping up. Completing a detox will support and enhance the natural detoxification process, but you should also reduce the levels of toxins you are exposed to. You should plan to avoid alcohol, medications, and any other toxins that you can control during this detox program.

You'll want to support your liver with the nutrients it needs to effectively process toxins. One of the nutrients used in great quantities is glutathione, which can be synthesized in the body from three amino acids (glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine) or can be taken as a supplement. It is a potent antioxidant and helps metabolize toxins. When the body can't synthesize enough glutathione, supplementation is essential to keep up with a high toxin burden. Also, vitamin C and lipoic acid go hand-inhand with glutathione for optimal detoxification.

One easy way to get all three nutrients is the Daily Detox Drink, a formula inspired by the Detox Cocktail recommended by Dr. Sherry Rogers, MD in her book Detoxify or Die. It is a blend of vitamin C, R-lipoic acid, and reduced glutathione. In one of Dr. Roger's books she states, "Vitamin C, lipoic acid, and glutathione are a powerful combo that jumpstarts detoxification, plus healing cardiovascular diseases depend on these nutrients heavily." What better time to do it than before bed when your body will be in its healing phase and repair mode? It comes in powder form to mix it in a drink and the ingredients are GMP certified, non-GMO, and Kosher.

You can also add in milk thistle extract, which acts to support and protect the liver. It has been shown in clinical studies to be an excellent aid for chronic hepatitis and alcohol-related diseases. It can also be used in a detox program to optimize the liver's detox process and protect the liver from harmful toxins.

You might want to consider taking a protein powder during this time if you want to cut back on consuming food and calories. Also, be sure to take extra fiber to keep the intestinal tract moving and drink plenty of water to flush out toxins.

If this is your first detox, it's wise to start off slow and keep it simple. If you try to do too much all at once, you could end up feeling sick and potentially experience a variety of symptoms, such as rash, nausea, headache, or brain fog. If you experience a strong reaction, take a break and let your body recover as long as it needs. There is no point in making yourself sick in order to become healthier!

Yours in Good Health,
Dr. Jen
Naturopathic Doctor (ND) & NEEDS Education Director

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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