Detoxes can be much more dangerous than they’re portrayed in the media, particularly if you’re already unwell, stressed, or holding a lot of toxins. If you want a safe and sane way to detox without making yourself sicker, then here’s what you should do.
1:15 - Liver congestion
3:04 - How Liver and Adrenals are related in detox
5:14 - Detoxification Metabolites
8:20 - Why do you feel worse with detoxes
10:30 - Tools to help liver detox safely (supplements, fiber)
14:30 - Fasting, Foods to Avoid
18:10 - Beware of overdetoxes
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Do you want to detox your body of all the chemicals and toxins that you have ingested over the years? As we are bombarded with so many toxins, it's very important to think about detox every day. But are you worried about the best way to do it without really negatively impacting your health? Detoxing is not as easy and simple as going on a juice fast or doing a coffee enema, or even intermittent fasting. In fact, extreme measures like this can cause incredible stress for your body, especially if you have adrenal fatigue. This is The Dr. Lam Show, where we talk about integrative medicine, and help empower you to take control of your health. I'm Dr. Carrie Lam. I'm board certified in family medicine, anti aging and regenerative medicine.Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
Hi, I'm Dr. Jeremy Lam. I'm a physician who is board certified in internal medicine. I also completed my board certification and anti aging and regenerative medicine as well as my fellowship in that. Today we're going to be talking about healthy, safe and controlled ways to help detox your body. Why is your liver having such a hard time metabolizing things? Why do you have problems with liver congestion? Liver congestion is a terminology that we use to describe people who have symptoms that most likely are tied to liver dysfunction. But clinically, their lab tests, and pathologically- it's very normal. So when you see a doctor, the liver panels become normal, as they've taken your blood and shows that the liver is doing well. However, we know that the liver might not be working perfectly, and it might not also be completely damaged. It's just right in the middle zone and you know that your body is not quite where it should be with the liver. What are some of these types that signals that your liver might be trying to tell you, Dr. Carrie?Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
When your liver is congested, you might have little symptoms, like brain fog, feeling that fogginess in your mind where you just can't concentrate very well. Sometimes you have discomfort of unknown origin. Sometimes you can have menstrual irregularities, since the liver is very important in metabolizing all hormones, especially estrogen. You could also have problems sleeping, and you could ultimately become very sensitive to medications and also supplements. These are some signs that you can take away if you're having a liver detox pathway issue. Why is the liver so important? How does it actually work, Dr. Jeremy?Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
The liver is so important, especially in people with adrenal fatigue, because the adrenal glands and the liver are very much tied together, because they're part of the pathway that helps allow the body to get rid of metabolites. If you don't have a strong functioning liver, then it's almost impossible to have a clean body. To add on to that, the people with adrenal fatigue, who have low cortisol levels, which then affect the fat metabolism, which then become sub optimal. Now with dysregulated, fat metabolism, then your liver is even more burdened. Then it has more of an increased workload and then you have even more problems with your detox pathway. Your detox pathway that's supposed to be responsible for breaking down these toxins and trying to get rid of it through the body is going to stay in the liver because of how burdened the liver is. It gets built up more and more in the body. So much so, that it overloads the body and that's why adrenal fatigue gets worse. It's almost like if you have a highway that has multiple lanes, and you have exits that go off the highway into regular roads. If the exits are blocked, no matter how wonderful or how straight or how many lanes the highway has, you're just going to be sitting there and you're going to get poisoned by the carbon monoxide because the traffic is not moving. So the liver, the kidneys, the interstitium and the adrenals are all tied in together because they play a part in helping to detox the body.Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
The liver basically works as a big detoxing organ by phase one and phase two metabolism. What does that mean? It means everything, toxins, drugs, supplements, and hormones, they have to go through your liver in order to be broken down. When we talk about metabolites, that's what actually comes down from becoming broken down, in order for you to be able to excrete whatever is metabolites from the drugs and supplements. However, if like you said, the highway is blocked up, and it ends up not being able to move forward, all these metabolites, they start to accumulate, and they start to congest. So that's why we call it liver congestion, kind of like that traffic jam that you have. It has a more difficult time, your liver has a more difficult time in detoxing, and processing all these metabolites. It cannot get to the kidneys, it cannot get to the extracellular matrix, which is the interstitial space, right in between cells that need to communicate with each other. Then when your cells cannot communicate with each other, that's when you get even more congested. So imagine all the communication pathways in your body start getting congested, that leads to the fogginess, the joint aching, just feeling very heavy and sluggish. That's what we mean by a reactive metabolite overload when you are unable to decongest and detox well.Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
Oftentimes, we also hear about people complaining of having paradoxical reactions or being very sensitive to supplements and medications, where they take these mostly calming supplements, and it actually has an opposite reaction. This, in turn is also a gentle sign that your body's telling us that maybe your liver and your extracellular matrix is congested by having these paradoxical reactions, where the body behaves a certain way that's opposite of its intended effect. So again, these are the kinds of whispers and the signs that your body's telling us that, "Hey, maybe we should start paying attention to our liver and our detox pathways." Because if not, then you're gonna keep ending up having more and more of a toxic load. That's why with many people with adrenal fatigue, with the best practitioners, we throw on supplements, we do good supplements, and yet they still fail. Because we have to learn when to press the gas and when to really kind of listen to your body and listen to it's inability to process these good things, no matter how good it is. No matter how good the nutrient is, it's of no value if you're unable to get it out.Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
We talked a lot about liver dysfunction and liver congestion and you might be going through some of these detox problems. What does it mean when someone does a detox and they actually feel worse? How is the liver being affected? When you undergo a detox, let's say, a coffee enema. It goes through your rectum, and the coffee can be actually very stimulating and you might think, "Oh, I'm doing a liver flush, I'm doing these coffee enemas to help detox my body from the toxins to get my leverage and move a little better." Some people can handle it very well but on the other hand, some other people, whenever you move these toxins and move them just a little bit, they are unable to handle it because the toxins start to re-circulate. They are unable to get it out, even if you get it out of the liver, they're unable to get it out of their extracellular matrix, because it's, like I said, it's so congested, and therefore they start having these paradoxical reactions or more brain fog from doing a detox. Sometimes when you do too much detox, you can get these herxheimer reactions. Herx- you can call it for short, where people- they feel worse after a detox. I don't know if you've ever tried doing a ketogenic diet or you go on a fast and the next few days, you just feel worse because when you detox, you're also releasing a lot more toxins out of your fat cells, out your liver. If you're unable to clear it very well, then you have these metabolites floating around causing more havoc. So it's very important to not just go your own way, do a detox, especially if you feel worse, especially if you have a weak constitution. If your liver is not functioning properly, you have tried detoxes and you don't feel like you're getting better, then you want to really get down to the bottom of how to help your liver. We might be able to help you with that if you call us 714-709-8000 for free phone call, and we will be able to talk to you and walk you through all of these things. Now that we've talked about the liver, we also want to see how we can actually do proper detoxes and how to improve the liver health.Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
The first thing to really help with your liver health is to help the digestion. One thing that's really good is bitters for digestion. Bitter herbs help in detoxification and it helps the liver to break down the nutrition and the impurities that it has to metabolize. A combination of some bitters in tea, when you steep it, and then you drink it, it can help with your digestion, and can also help your liver out. Dr. Carrie, what's the second thing that can be helpful?Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
Fiber is one of the most important things to help clear and get rid of your toxins. Fiber actually binds to toxins and bulks it up so that you can actually eliminate it. Things like psyllium husk, eating lots of vegetables that are fibrous, with good nutrition, having daily bowel movements and eliminating is very, very important to getting rid of your toxins. As well as having normal daily regular bowel movements, which you have to drink enough water to be able to have good bowel movements. That's another thing that's very important to help flush. It's very simple and important and so vital for detoxing.Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
Some supplements that also can help with the liver and perhaps the age old proven herb for the liver is milk thistle. It can come in various combinations and extracts so you have to make sure that you're getting the right one and a good one. It's not just ground up milk thistle that's thrown together, that's not what you want.You want one that you're able to ferment, for example, which breaks down the milk thistle into smaller pieces. When that process is going on, then you are able to absorb it much better and the results are quite significantly different than just taking regular milk thistle.Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
Other than milk thistle, there's also dandelion, like you mentioned the teas before. Milk thistle can also be in tea format, but like you said, fermented might be the best way to get the liver going. We know that the liver has multiple pathways, phase one, phase two of the detoxification. If you want to clean them up, you should actually clean both pathways up. Maybe one today, the other one tomorrow, to have that sustainability. I like to give the idea that.. let's say your liver is a cup of water and it's overflowing. Even though water is good for you, you need to be able to take out some water before you can even put some other water into it. Cleaning up means being able to take out the water so that even some of these nutrients you'll be able to tolerate. Some other supplements that can also help with liver detox, one that's very, very useful is glutathione. We like to use the liposomal form for the best type of absorption. Glutathione is one of my favorite supplements because it's so strong and it's a really great detoxification agent. It also is able to recycle other vitamins like vitamin C. Once it's been reduced, it's a great antioxidant to be able to make it work again. That's what it means to detox through the liver, is that it sometimes resets your nutrients that it needs to reuse to for your body to be able to balance itself out.Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
Other things that you can do to help the liver is fasting. Fasting hel s reset your liver and helps giv some time to metabolize and go hrough the toxins. Fasting s a good concept but when peo le have adrenal fatigue, you have to be quite careful. It only is good for certain eople with certain conditions a d in the right timing and unde the right guidance of a pract tioner. Make sure y u check your healthcare profes ional before you kind of go through the fasting, because sometimes it can happen wh re you can have the opposite eaction for which you call a e toxification reaction, or lik Dr. Carrie had mentioned arly, the herxheimer reaction. o make sure you're ready to go hrough fasting and then fasti g is very good for resetting the liver. Other things that you hould try to do is to also avoid over-eating. Sometimes fat y foods, processed foods are oing to make it harder for t e liver to process toxins. That' why clean eating is very impor ant. The more you eat, the ore your liver has to work so a oiding over-eating is import nt, but then also avoid eat ng toxic foods, that's very im ortant as well.Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
Toxic foods like alcohol, fatty foods, or even in Chinese culture, we call them 'heaty' foods. Certain spices can cause you to heat up and make you be a little less able to metabolize or regularize as well. That concept of heat is part of the Yin Yang, traditional Chinese medicine, where heaty foods tend to be a little more stimulatory, oily, anabolic like French fries. Versus cooling foods, like the ones with a lot more Yang are foods like cucumber. So, focus less on the heaty foods like red meat, even tomatoes and coffee can be heaty, and more on the cooler types of foods and definitely leafy vegetables are great. Another thing that's very important for detoxing and your liver health is exercise. Exercise is so important to get things moving. Your lymphatics are very important for detoxing, because they help drain the toxins both from the liver but throughout your body and help eliminate it. But keep in mind that just because we say exercise is great, it really depends on your specific body type. If you have adrenal fatigue, and you're just dead tired, you can't even move and you're bedridden, then definitely don't think about doing these exercises. You can start out really slow. You can do stretches, you can do liver stretches, or liver exercises even or to circulate your hands, your extremities and your body. But you have to be very careful if you have adrenal fatigue. Other ways of exercising is to sweat. Sweating is another form of detoxing. People love going into a sauna and smelling the sweat that comes out. But Dr. Jeremy, what do they need to be careful about with sweating too much?Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
Again, you have to be careful about really detoxing too fast, and also having that retoxification reaction as well. Sometimes it's very important to just make sure, because sometimes if you're detoxing too hard, then it's going to cause more stress. If you have adrenal fatigue, then it can kind of push you over the edge. So that's why it's very important to have that fine balance and know how much your body can take and how much you really can't. Lastly, it's very important to just rest, especially people with adrenal fatigue. They go through so much stress, and all these hormones that the adrenals are trying to put out are getting metabolized by the liver. Just keep in mind that rest is also very important for your body to allow the liver to have the time to metabolize and really do its work that it's supposed to do. That's very, very important. There are a lot of ideas out there that you can use to improve functioning your liver. We did mention a couple a couple of them already. But remember that your body is very unique. We keep mentioning this over and over again, because of how sensitive your body is, and each body is very different. You can try to use a trial and error approach to find a strategy that works best for you. But if you would also like some guidance and help from experts, then you can call into our office at 714-709-8000, and we can help you go through this, especially as experts in adrenal fatigueDr. Carrie Lam, MD:
Also keep in mind that anything, any of the things that we recommended today, you should always, always ask your doctor, your personal doctor. Don't take this as medical advice because even supplements can be dosed according to your body and has to be personalized. Some people can only tolerate one teaspoon of glutathione and others can only tolerate one drop of glutathione. Depending how congested your system is, that's where this personalization is very important in recovery and healing, especially with adrenal fatigue. So this is The Dr. Lam Show. We hope you enjoyed our episode today on how to do a healthy, happy and sane way to detox. Make sure to subscribe, like and share to our channel and we'll see you at our next episode.