Why Most “Detoxes” Cause More Harm Than Good

By joeylott / February 2, 2017

It’s a seductive premise: you’re filthy and toxic on the inside, and you need to be scrubbed and purified so you can gain health.

That’s the premise most “detox” products, plans, and protocols are built upon.

But is it true?

Yes and no.

Let me explain.

We live in a soup of potential toxins. The air we breathe has toxins. The water has toxins. The food we eat has toxins.

And not just human-made toxins like insecticides and pharmaceuticals and nuclear waste. I’m talking about the natural stuff that’s been in the air, water, and food of humans as long as humans have existed.

Mycotoxins. Natural radioactivity. Naturally-occurring heavy metals. And many of the foods we eat have naturally-occurring toxins in them.

Humans didn’t evolve in a sterile environment. And, in fact, many of the toxins that we are exposed to help to keep us healthy via what is known as hormesis.

The point is this: our bodies are naturally capable of and designed to detoxify.

So does your body have toxins in it? Yes, of course.

But do you need coffee enemas, juice fasts, and far infrared saunas to get all those toxins out? Probably not.

And, in fact, a lot of those supposed “detox” practices may backfire and cause a build up of toxins by actually impairing your body’s natural detoxification pathways.

The main ways in which your body deals with toxins is by way of some of the major organs, including the intestines, lungs, liver, and kidneys. These organs are your natural detox centers. They are, if you’ll indulge the poetic language, magnificently designed for detoxification.

And do you know what helps these organs to thrive?

I’ll give you a hint, it’s not overheating, overexercising, laxative or emetic purges, enemas, fasting, or juice fasting.

Here’s what helps these organs to thrive: nourishment.

Your body and its detoxification organs comprise a living animal. It is not a machine. It doesn’t need to be disassembled and scrubbed and purged and rinsed.

Like all living animals, your body is constantly regenerating itself. It is constantly taking care of unbelievably intricate processes of maintaining optimal life.

And what it needs to support that optimal life is nourishment in the form of adequate food, adequate rest, adequate light, adequate love, adequate care, and so forth.

In this post I’ll just touch on some of the nutritional needs of these organs.

The liver detoxifies through a variety of pathways, involving amino acids (mostly from protein), vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

For example, one way the liver processes toxins is through conjugation with amino acids such as glycine, glutamine, taurine, and methionine.

Another detox pathway in the liver is called sulphation, which requires sulfur, B vitamins, and a handful of other nutrients.

Where do these nutrients come from? From food. From animal proteins and vegetables and fruits and dairy and so forth.

Fasting restricts these nutrients and inhibits detoxification in the liver.

The result is a build up of the toxins that your liver cannot detoxify because you didn’t supply it with enough nourishment.

The kidneys detoxify through a variety of means. One of those ways is through cells called podocytes. And podocytes need adequate nutrition and particularly calcium and potassium in order to function well.

Again, where do the nutrients come from? From food, of course.

The intestines thrive when they have adequate amino acids, particularly glutamine. So once again, adequate quality protein is important for detoxification.

And adequate fermentable fiber found in foods like potatoes, rice, beans, fruits, and vegetables supports a healthy microbiome in the intestines.

If you want to support your body’s natural, safe, and healthy detoxification pathways, provide nourishment, not “cleanses”.

I feel for the cleanse mentality for decades starting at a young age. I started out relatively healthy, but in pursuit of super health I did a number of my health. Eventually, my health collapsed in a really big way, and continuing to attempt to cleanse only made matter worse.

Eating adequate calories, adequate protein, adequate carbohydrates, adequate minerals, adequate vitamins, and all-around supplying an abundance of nutrition has helped me to restore my body’s natural ability to detoxify.

I eat fruit, grain, dairy, sugar, meat (including organs and gelatin), fish, coconut, butter, vegetables, and a variety of foods. This supplies my body with all the nutrition I need.

I don’t do coffee enemas, far infrared saunas, juice fasts, green smoothies, fasting, or any of the things promoted as “detox” practices for a simple reason: they don’t support my body’s natural detoxification processes.

By focusing on nourishment – through nutrition, sleep, loving my life, etc. – I have made major recoveries and great strides in recovering from Lyme disease, chronic fatigue, and multiple chemical sensitivity, among other conditions.

Educating myself on basic biological needs of the human animal has helped me to no longer fall prey to the cleanse mentality. And as a result I am healthier and happier.

Sugar Doesn’t Cause Tooth Decay/Cavities – Part 1 of How to Remineralize Teeth (Heal Cavities and Reverse Gum Disease) Naturally

There’s so much information available these days for how to remineralize teeth, heal cavities, and reverse gum disease naturally.

And most of it is incorrect or unnecessarily restrictive.

With this post I intend to begin a series on how on the subject.

By the way, all this information and more is available in my book, How to Heal Cavities and Reverse Gum Disease Naturally, if you want it all in one place.

In this first part of the series, I want to begin by addressing the big elephant in the room: sugar

One of the most common “truths” held by mainstream and alternative views alike in regard to dental cavities is that sugar causes them.

And, no doubt, a review of the published scientific literature on the matter demonstrates an overwhelming amount of evidence that high sugar intake corresponds to high levels of dental cavities.

However, this has been over-simplified by most.

Sugar does not cause cavities.

Cavities are formed when the rate at which teeth are eroded by acids outweighs the rate at which teeth are remineralized.

If teeth are remineralized at a rate equal to or greater than the rate at which they are eroded by acids, cavities don’t form.

So you can see there are many variables at play.

Sugar is one of the most basic and needed forms of food for many animals, bacteria, and yeast.

Some bacteria produce acids as part of their metabolic processes.

Sugar (or any fermentable carbohydrate, including many fibers) held in the mouth long enough in the presence of these types of bacteria will result in large amounts of acids.

Unless remineralization occurs at a very high rate, the outcome will likely be cavities.

But it’s not the sugar that causes the cavities.

It is sugar (or other fermentable carbohydrate) + acid-producing bacteria in the mouth + sugar (carbohydrate) held in the mouth for long enough + not enough neutralizing alkaline substances + inadequate remineralization.

Though even more simply, cavities can be produce simply by adding acids. That is why sodas, which contain acids, or fruitarian diets, which contain a lot of fruit acids can produce cavities: the acids erode the teeth.

We have been trained to want simple, dumbed-down answers. “Sugar causes cavities”, “Cholesterol causes heart disease”, “Fat makes you fat”, etc.

But these answers are not entirely truthful. And reliance on them does not help us.

The fact that sugar intake is positively correlated to tooth decay does not, in and of itself, prove that sugar causes tooth decay, either.

Sugar intake is often associated with soda consumption (which contains lots of acids) and poor nutrition in general, both of which can be causes of tooth decay that have nothing to do with sugar directly. They just happen to often go along with high sugar intake. But that doesn’t mean sugar causes these consequences.

Before you jump to the conclusion that I am advocating for a sugar free-for-all, hold on. Hopefully you can start to see that I am not offering dumbed-down, overly-simple answers. The truth is, life is complex and nuanced.

What I can tell you is this: my own dental and oral health has dramatically improved at the same time as I have increased my sugar intake. However, simultaneously I have increased my overall nutrition.

I do not eat sugar from soda or processed foods. I eat large amounts of cane sugar, honey, and maple syrup along with fruit juice, whole fruit, and sugar-rich root vegetables such as carrots, beets, parsnips, and sweet potatoes.

In addition, I eat adequate protein, including lots of collagen-rich foods; natural fats like butter and olive oil; organs like liver; green vegetables like kale and broccoli; and dairy.

In other words, I eat a varied, inclusive diet rich in nutrient-dense foods. These foods supply a huge amount of nutrition, including many nutrients that are missing in many diets. For example, my diet is abundant in natural vitamin A, choline, vitamin B-12 (and all the B vitamins), fiber, biotin, vitamin C, vitamin K1, vitamin K2, glycine, oleic acid, butyric acid, potassium, magnesium, and so forth.

My experience is not unprecedented. Keep in mind that much of the alternative dental claims you’ll find are based on the research of Weston A Price.

Price reported in his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, that he was able to observe significant improvements in the dental health of school children simply by adding one meal per day to their diet consisting of bone broth, cod liver oil, and high vitamin butter oil.

Otherwise, the children were continuing to eat the same high-sugar, high-carbohydrate, low-nutrient diet that had caused the problems in the first place.

In other words, adequate nutrition seems to protect against cavities. It is not necessary to demonize sugar and eliminate natural sugar from one’s diet.

Also, let me add that with an elementary understanding of how dental cavities form (acids – often those produced by acid-forming bacteria in the mouth), it is also possible to take a few simple, sensible steps to protect against cavities and allow remineralization to regain the upper hand.

Perhaps the simplest is to simply rinse the mouth after eating. This reduces the amount of carbohydrates left in the mouth.

Rinsing with an alkaline rinse may improve upon rinsing with water alone. Adding some clay or even baking soda to water and rinsing with that may have greater benefits than water alone.

Also, oil pulling has been shown (I document this in my book, How to Heal Cavities and Reverse Gum Disease Naturally) to reduce bacterial counts in the mouth and have positive benefits on oral health if done regularly.

And, of course, brushing correctly can reduce plaque formation (plaque is biofilm that the bacteria live in to protect themselves from the immune system) and thus bacteria count.

Unfortunately, most commercial toothpaste has glycerin and/or other substances that block mineral uptake by the teeth. So they can be counterproductive.

However, brushing with something as simple as coconut oil and clay can be very effective. (I normally brush with only water because it’s easier, but using something like coconut oil and clay is more effective.) Or if you want convenience, my partner, Sarah, makes an herbal toothpaste that not only contains coconut oil and clay, but also herbs that are proven to have positive effects on oral health. You can purchase directly through her store, Rowan Tree Botanicals, or you can purchase through Etsy (where you can also see that the toothpaste gets rave reviews).

Of course, after all this, many people may say, “Okay, maybe sugar doesn’t cause tooth decay. But it does cause all kinds of other health problems. So best to avoid it.” Well, that’s a subject for another day.

But for now, understand that I’m not advocating for eating highly processed foods, soda, or other similar things. Nor am I suggesting that it is advisable to eat large amounts of sugar in stead of a variety of health-promoting, nutrient-dense foods.

However, I am suggesting that sugar is not the cause of cavities. And demonizing sugar is overly simplified, misleading, and ultimately not helpful.

Why Natural Calm and Vitamin C May Not Be As Safe As You Think

By joeylott / January 30, 2017

If you’ve got chronic health problems and you’ve been searching on the internet for solutions, you may have come across the idea of “copper toxicity”.

The idea promote heavily by Lawrence Wilson and other hair mineral analysis “experts” is that many people suffer from a form of copper toxicity that they call biounavilable copper. This is a scenario in which they claim that the body has stores of copper that is not bioavailable (usable by the body). Thus, one can be deficient in copper and simultaneously suffer from toxicity of too much (elemental) copper.

They claim that it is possible to diagnose this through hair mineral analysis – which it may or may not be. But they then go on to propose all kinds of (often highly restrictive and obsessive) dietary and lifestyle practices to remedy this situation.

The lifestyle practices are commonly extreme and potentially dangerous – and almost certainly unnecessary.

And depending on the practitioner, they may recommend an arsenal of supplemental nutrients.

When I am confronted with these complexities, I take a step back. I am strongly of the opinion that our bodies are largely capable of taking care of the complexities of health without us having to make it complex…as long as we keep it simple and don’t do things to obstruct balance in our bodies.

Animals, including humans, have existed for a very long time. And they have not needed complex protocols or dietary regimens to survive and thrive. So maybe, just maybe, the answers are simpler than we have been trained to think.

(Yes, at can be argued that we live in a time with unprecedented exposures to potential toxins – toxic metals, human-made poisons, halogens, etc. But before jumping into extreme remedies, it makes the most sense to me to first address the basics, which are about adequate food-based nutrition [which needn’t be restrictive], adequate sleep, loving care for yourself, letting go of unnecessary stresses, etc.)

Researchers studying how our bodies use copper tell us that our bodies need a type of protein called ceruloplasmin.

Without ceruloplasmin, copper sits around in elemental form and can be toxic.

With cerulopasmin, our bodies make use of copper (and iron) to carry out needed processes in the body and support health.

In other words, so-called “copper toxicity” or “biounvailable copper” may not be due to a deficiency in restrictive diets or coffee enemas. It may be because of something that we do that inhibits our bodies from producing adequate ceruloplasmin.

What does this have to do with nutritional supplements like Natural Calm and vitamin C?

Well, at least two things found in popular nutritional supplements may interfere with ceruloplasmin production. Please note that I used the word “may”. Don’t take this to an alarmist extreme. But some prudence may be worth exercising.

One of those things is citric acid (citrate).[1] If you take supplemental minerals, there’s a good chance you’re taking minerals bound to citrate. For example, magnesium citrate is one of the most popular forms of supplemental magnesium.

Another of those things is ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C. [ibid]

Okay, let’s put this in perspective: citrate is naturally-occurring in a variety of foods, including, not surprisingly, citrus fruits. If you eat an orange or drink a cup of orange juice, you’ve just ingested citrate.

Does that mean that if you eat oranges or squeeze lemon on salmon or a salad that you are causing a ceruplasmin deficiency?

Probably not. There’s no real evidence to support that view.

And so it may be that taking magnesium citrate supplements (like Natural Calm) or calcium citrate supplements or potassium citrate supplements may be completely benign – perhaps even beneficial. After all, citrate has been shown to reduce kidney stone formation.

But then again, maybe not. I don’t know of any human research demonstrating that supplemental citrate in these forms is benign in regard to ceruplasmin.

The Center for Magnesium Education & Research says that there is no proof that supplemental citrate is problematic.[2] But again, I don’t know of any research demonstrating that it is benign.

Now, what about ascorbic acid? Well, there are a few studies showing that supplementation with ascorbic acid in humans in relatively large amounts can reduce ceruplasmin levels. For example, one such study reported that “serum ceruplasmin activity was significantly reduced” among the ascorbic acid supplementation group.[3]

In the studies reporting these effects, participants supplemented with 1500-2000 mg of ascorbic acid daily, which is a fairly large amount. But consider that many ascorbic acid supplements these days contain 1000 mg per serving, so a lot of people are supplementing with 1000+ mg per day, and they may be experiencing reduced ceruplasmin levels as a result.

I have no idea what the effects of megadosing ascorbic acid may be, but I do know that there are a lot of advocates of supplementing ascorbic acid to “bowel tolerance”, which often involves taking 5000, 10000, or even more mg daily.

I don’t think any of this is cause of alarm. But I do think it is cause for prudence.

The point here is not to say that I know for sure that supplemental citrate or ascorbic acid is bad for health. Rather, it is point out that we simply do not know what the unintended consequences may be of these common practices.

Many of us have been sold the idea that magnesium citrate and ascorbic acid are entirely benign. But the truth is this: we don’t know.

Does this mean you should not take supplemental nutrients such as magnesium citrate or ascorbic acid? No, not at all. I can’t know that.

But I do think it is sensible to think twice when you come across such recommendations. We live in a time when many practices and lifestyle choices are normalized that are not time-tested.

People will argue in favor of or against many of these things, but the simple truth is this: we don’t know.

One thing I can say is that it seems to me that supplements can give us a sense of security – a sense that we’ve got the answer and a kind of health insurance policy through capsules and powders. This view is obviously promoted by the makers and sellers of nutritional supplements. They want us to feel that we’re making wise choices to ensure our health by buying and using these products.

But this can cause us to overlook the importance of attending to the basics, like eating a varied and adequate diet to cover our nutritional needs, sleeping enough, getting outside, taking responsibility for really loving our lives, engaging in meaningful relationships, and learning how to let go of unnecessary stresses.

Meanwhile, it can create a new unnecessary stress – the idea that somehow we need these supplements to be healthy, to ward off future illness. We can become dependent upon these stories, and that can generate a lot of stress that turns out to be counterproductive to health.

Please understand that this article is not a libel piece against Natural Calm or vitamin C or nutritional supplements in general. But it is just a call to consider how we’ve been brainwashed in some ways, and to have the courage to wake up from that and begin to take true responsibility for our health and happiness.

If this leaves you with more questions than you started with and perhaps some discomfort, then don’t be dismayed. That’s not a bad thing. That’s part of the process of waking up from the trance.

references

1 http://www.jbc.org/content/239/1/PC364.full.pdf

2 http://magnesiumeducation.com/consumer-education-research-on-magnesium-issues

3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6837490

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