Do You Know Nutrition: Out with the old, in with the new

Jan. 10, 2012 at midnight
Updated Jan. 9, 2012 at 7:10 p.m.

Phylis Canion

Phylis Canion

I have questions about doing a cleanse or some type of detox. Do you agree with detoxifying? Is one better than another? How often should one do a detox and how safe is it for your body?

Here are few thoughts to ponder about detoxifying or cleansing the body.

Toxins are stored in your fat cells primarily because most toxic chemicals are fat soluble, which means they only dissolve in fatty/oily solutions.

Your liver plays an enormous role in detoxifying because it converts the toxins into a water-soluble form in order for the toxins to be excreted out of the system in urine, sweat or via bile.

The liver is the body's filter, dumping bile into the intestines so that toxins can be eliminated through the stool. If you eat enough fiber, toxins will bind with the fiber and will be excreted easily in the stool. If you do not eat enough fiber, the toxins are simply re-absorbed through the intestines and travel back into the body.

The first step to detoxifying is to be aware of toxin exposure and eliminate them. Some toxins are BPAs (found in canned goods), PCBs (industrial pollutants), pesticides (used on fruits, vegetables and commercially raised meats), phthalates (used in fragrances and soft plastics), dioxins (found in animal fats), asbestos, heavy metals (drinking water, fish, antiperspirants, amalgam fillings), chloroform (found in chlorinated drinking water), chlorine (found in household cleaners) and VOCs (found in carpet, paints cleaning fluids, deodorants, varnishes and cosmetics-to name a few).

Toxins are in processed foods, so-named because they are processed with chemicals. And, of course, all of the additives, currently more than 3,000, not including the more than 10,000 solvents, emulsifiers and preservatives, that are added to food so that it does not rot, spoil or grow any bacteria.

There are many cleanses available touted to detoxify the body; a gut cleanse, a liver cleanse, a candida cleanse, whole body cleanse and on and on, but the bottom line is avoiding the toxic build up in the first place.

If you want to detoxify in a way that is safe, easy and simple, pick a weekend to eat high-fiber foods, drink plenty of water and sit in the sun. An easy way to remember when to cleanse the body of toxins: the change of seasons.

Thought for the week: Make peace with your past so it doesn't mess up the present.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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