Do I Need a Detox?

Who can benefit from a cleanse? People who have had exposures to chemicals (recently or in the past); patients preparing for pregnancy or menopause; patients with or wanting to prevent autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, chronic disease, neurodegenerative disease, hyper-inflammatory disease, chemical sensitivities, frequent infections, migraines, allergies, hives, eczema, foggy-thinking, fatigue, IBS, constipation… so, basically, anyone could benefit from a cleanse.

The body has built-in systems for eliminating naturally produced waste products as well as chemicals and heavy metals from exposure. Unfortunately these cleansing systems are often under-utilized due to lack of fiber in the diet, nutrient poor diets, dehydration, shallow breathing, lack of regular sweating and lack of rest. This leads to the reabsorption of many of the toxins that would normally be eliminated from the body if the systems were in ideal working condition. For example constipation can lead to the build up of chemicals leading to a headache.

Solvents, fossil fuel products, insecticides, herbicides, plastic residues, flame retardants, wood preservatives, toxic metals, and more can be eliminated via sweating and via our liver and kidneys. Even breathing helps to eliminate volatile compounds from solvents, cleaners, dry cleaning fluids and fuel compounds.

The toxins in our bodies are often stored in fat, nerve cells and the brain decreasing the overall tissue functioning.

The basics: quality sleep, clean air, nourishing diet, adequate hydration, love, healthy thought processes, etc. all support organs in the elimination process.

Keep in mind: The more inflammation the body is already experiencing, the more antioxidant support needed during the cleansing process (a diet rich in antioxidants may be sufficient support for many while others may require supplemental support and greater time). Also, when we “stir things up” in the body, there is re-exposure (as the toxins are circulating to leave the body) and often strong emotions may surface. So it’s important to stay connected with your physician and other support networks during a cleansing process.

Photo courtesy of A. Graber

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Sleep – Nature’s Antioxidant

Happy New Year! This year, I resolve to improve sleep.I’m revisiting this topic because it  has the most profound effect on our health.

Generally any less than 8 hours of sleep is not enough for most people. Research has shown that just 2 hours of sleep deprivation leads to a whole-body inflammatory response that can be identified on blood tests. That means suboptimal sleep may be leading to or affecting pain, heart disease, allergies and many other conditions! In addition, sleep deprivation is known to decrease intellectual functioning, emotions and immune function! Consider also quality of sleep; make sure sleep is uninterrupted and on a regular daily schedule. This year reassess your sleep routine. The small changes  you make to improve sleep will benefit you immediately the next day and for decades in the future!

3 Health Tips That Will Change Your Life

People often ask me what my top health tips are; these 3 topics come up frequently as  significant factors in a broad range of conditions from acid reflux and  acne to heart disease and chronic pain. Before turning to medications or surgery, make sure you’ve got these areas optimized!

#1 Quality Sleep

How many hours of sleep do you get? Do you wake rested?

Is sleep that important?

A recent European study showed those who sleep 6 hours or less have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD). Disease risk also increases with poor quality sleep (not waking rested). When both short sleep and poor sleep quality are combined there is even higher risk (65% higher risk for CVD and 85% higher risk for CHD).

How is my sleep?

Fatigue, difficulty with concentration, irritability, poor blood glucose control, changes in mood, decreased stress tolerance, chronic pain, poor memory, weakened immune function resulting in infections are all possible symptoms of inadequate rest.

To improve sleep:

Determine what your sleep obstacles are: Stress, poor blood sugar control, eating large meals before bed, alcohol, caffeine, sleeping pills, insufficient exercise during the day, exercising late in the evening, irregular sleep routine, watching TV late, etc. all prevent us from getting quality sleep.

Keep the bedroom a place of rest (instead of a place to work or study), support a regular sleep routine ideally heading to bed by 10pm. Acupuncture, stress management, nutrition counseling, exercise prescription, screening lab tests and other tools may be used to improve sleep quality, in turn, improving energy level and overall health.

Photo courtesy of J. Chahal