Versatile prebiotic formula to optimize gut microflora, improve bowel function and support the immune system.
BiotaGen is a distinctive formulation of soluble dietary fiber with prebiotic activities that stimulates growth of colonic populations of beneficial bacteria and enhances gastrointestinal and systemic immune function in multiple ways. BiotaGen combines chicory inulin and oligofructose, highly effective prebiotics, with the immunomodulating actions of larch arabinogalactan and purified yeast beta-glucan.
Chicory-derived inulin and oligofructose are inulin-type fructans best known for their ability to sustain increases in populations of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Eubacterium, an important butyrate-producing species indigenous to the bowel. By escaping digestion and absorption in the small intestine, inulin-type fructans arrive largely intact in the colon where they selectively feed beneficial gut microbiota. In addition, inulin-type fructans promote normal colon transit times, enhance absorption of calcium and magnesium, favorably modulate lipid levels, improve gut mucosal barrier and immune function, regulate intestinal epithelial cell growth, and reduce the number of potentially harmful bacterial species.
Arabinogalactan, a polysaccharide derived from the Western Larch tree, is a highly soluble dietary fiber that enhances immune function by promoting cytokine production and increasing the number of natural killer cells. Indigestible by human enzymes, arabinogalactan exerts prebiotic properties including the ability to selectively stimulate Lactobacillus species. Arabinogalactan is metabolized to short-chain fatty acids acetate, butyrate, and propionate and reduces ammonia production.
Beta-glucan, a glucose polysaccharide prebiotic fiber, has broad, beneficial effect on immune function through enhancement of monocytes, macrophages, and natural killer cells. Beta-glucan stimulates immune response to a wide spectrum of pathogens, including fungal (Candida albicans), Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus), and Gram-negative (Escherichia coli) microorganisms.
BiotaGen is recommended to nutritionally support optimal gastrointestinal function, promote populations of healthful colonic bacteria, and enhance gastrointestinal and systemic immune function. BiotaGen® works synergistically with probiotics to assure intestinal microflora balance. Available in both powder and vegetarian capsule form.
Servings Per Container: 30
1 to 2 scoops daily with food or as directed by a healthcare practitioner..
Serving Size: 1 Scoop (Approx. 1 teaspoon or 5 grams)
Amount Per Serving Calories … 5g Total Carbohydrate … 5g Dietary Fiber … 4g BiotaGen Prebiotic Blend … 5g Inulin (derived from chicory root) Oligofructose (derived from chicory root) Beta-Glucan (purified from Saccharomyces cerevisiae) Larch Arabinogalactan (Larix occidentalis), dried water-soluble extract
Disturbing side effects of chewing gum. Alternative bad breathe ideas and reasons why you should rethink putting gum in your mouth. GutDestruction
Chewing gum manufacturers have been turning to an ingredient called titanium dioxide for years. Now used in nanoparticle form, this extremely tiny metal compound is posing some serious emerging health threats. This is probably the scariest reason to avoid gum.
Generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration, this compound is often used in nanoparticle form to create a bright white pigmentation in paints, plastics … and chewing gum. (2) It’s also found in tons of other foods, like candies and powdered white sugar (donuts!) and even bread. Although it’s allowed on store shelves and considered safe, scientists are starting to paint a different picture.
In fact, a 2017 study published in the journal NanoImpact shows that nano-titanium oxide ingredients like titanium dioxide can severely impact gut health. Researchers exposed small intestinal cells to a meal’s worth of nanoparticles over four hours (acute exposure) or three meal’s worth over five days (chronic exposure). What they found is a bit shocking.
Chronic exposure to titanium dioxide nanoparticles in the diet:
Weakened the intestinal barrier Slowed down metabolism Triggered inflammation Weakened the gut’s defense against pathogens
Blocked nutrient absorption of key nutrients like iron, zinc and fatty acids
The nanoparticles actually blunted the effectiveness of the small intestines’ microvilli. Microvilli are tiny projections that jut off of small intestinal cells and work to absorb nutrients our bodies need to survive. (3)
People also face this type of titanium dioxide exposure through toothpaste, and it’s even sometimes used to created a smoother texture in chocolates and to create a brighter appearance in skim milk.
In 2012, Arizona State University found that titanium dioxide nanoparticles turned up in five percent of products tested, including Twinkies and mayonnaise samples. Under public pressure, Dunkin Donuts stopped using nano-titanium dioxide in its donuts’ powdered sugar in 2015.
“To avoid foods rich in titanium oxide nanoparticles you should avoid processed foods, and especially candy. That is where you see a lot of nanoparticles,” — Gretchen Mahler, PhD, study co-author and assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Binghamton University, State University of New York. (4)
Beyond that, many chewing gum products contain emulsifiers to retain flavor and keep gum from sticking to your teeth. (5) The trouble is, many emulsifiers act almost like detergent in your digestive tract, throwing off the natural balance of your gut flora. In fact, research in lab animals suggests certain emulsifiers used as food additives could contribute to colon cancer development.
Is Chewing Gum Bad? More Reasons to Stop
For children and adolescents dealing with vicious migraines and tension headaches, the natural solution could be right under their noses: Stop chewing gum. A small study published in Pediatric Neurology discovered that nixing gum led to significant improvements in 26 out of 30 adolescents in the study. Amazingly, 19 of them experienced complete headache resolution. No pills, no treatments — they just stopped chewing gum. (6)
If you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of a migraine naturally, your gum habit is a great place to start. In tweens and teens, common proven headache triggers include stress, lack of sleep, hot weather, video games, noise, sunlight, smoking, skipping meals and menstruation. Now we can add gum to the list. Researchers aren’t sure if it’s the artificial sweeteners or a TMJ issue related to gum and headaches, but the good news is we can stop many headaches with this simple step. (7)
You’d expect fake sweeteners like aspartame in diet soda, but chewing gum? Come on! Different chewing gum companies turn to ingredients like aspartame, sorbitol, high-fructose corn syrup, acesulfame K, sucrolose and xylitol. Some actually use multiple fake sweeteners in a single gum product.
These ingredients are linked to serious health issues like tooth decay, liver fat buildup, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, leukemia, lymphoma, kidney tumors and more. Acesulfame potassium, also known as acesulfame K, is among the most common artificial sweeteners detected in breast milk. That’s troubling, since the ingredient is also linked to thyroid dysfunction. Sucralose harms the gut, throwing off healthy levels of enzymes and disrupting the microbiome. (8)
While xylitol and sorbitol may seem more natural, these processed sugar alcohols aren’t absorbed well by the body and cause an allergic reaction for those who have a sensitivity to it. And then there are the digestive sugar alcohol and xylitol side effects, including bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea. And get this: Its laxative effect is so pronounced that it’s actually part of the chemical makeup for many over-the-counter laxatives.
Special note to dog owners: Xylitol and other sugar alcohol-based sweeteners are life-threatening toxins to dogs. Be mindful of breath mints, candies, sugar-free gum, frozen desserts and other foods when your pets are around. (9)
Better Bad-Breath Fighters & Gum Alternatives
Bad breath is a good excuse to reach for gum, but as you can see, the side effects are bad news, especially for your gut. Luckily, there are better ways to cope. After ruling out potential underlying issues for bad breath, you can turn to these things to naturally improve your breath:
Eat parsley. Drink enough water, especially tap into the benefits of lemon water. Learn how to safely tap into peppermint oil benefits.(Not recommended for young children.) Learn about oil pulling with coconut oil. Avoid grains and added sugars. Final Thoughts on ‘Is Chewing Gum Bad for You?’
American played a huge role in spreading the popularity of chewing gum all around the world.
However, today’s ingredients include fake dyes and flavors. But perhaps most concerning is nanoparticle-sized titanium dioxide, an ingredient used in everything from gum, candy and bread to paint and plastics.
Nano-titanium dioxide helps create a vibrant white color, but scientists now show that it can impact small intestinal cells in a way that blocks absorption of key nutrients, slows the metabolism, increases inflammation and weakens the gut’s ability to protect against dangerous pathogens.
Chewing gum is also linked to migraines and tension headaches in children and adolescents.
There are still some chewing gum companies that rely on old-fashioned, real-food ingredients, but they are sometimes harder to come by.
Turmeric Curcumin 1000mg
Patient One MediNutritionals
60 capsules $21.25
Promotes normal inflammatory response while also supporting joint, immune, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular function
Promotes immune system function
* Supports brain and joint health
* Promotes healthy liver, gall bladder and digestive function
* Free radical scavenging properties
* Supports cardiovascular function
* Black pepper included for enhanced absorption
Unique Properties Curcumin, a polyphenol nutrient found in the spice turmeric (Curcuma longa), has beneficial effects for nearly every organ system in the body. Used for its medicinal effects for centuries and extensively studied, Curcumin has been shown to help maintain the bodys normal inflammatory response while also supporting joint, liver, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular function. To enhance the normally poor bioavailability of curcumin, our potent formula also contains black pepper extract that promotes rapid absorption of nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract. Key Ingredients Turmeric (Curcuma longa) Patient One Turmeric Curcumin combines the benefits of both whole Turmeric root and Turmeric extract (standardized to 95% curcuminoids), along with black pepper extract for enhanced absorption.
Curcumin is the orange pigment in turmeric (the primary ingredient in curry) and has been studied for its effective therapeutic outcomes acting as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anticoagulant, immuno-modulatory activities and even in wound healing. Research suggests support for joint, eye, GI tract, liver, prostate and nerve health.
Curcumin supports production of B and T cells which is useful for promoting proper immune function. It also supports production of bile and enzymes that digest sugars and fats. This helps to maintain cholesterol levels within normal range. Turmeric supports intestinal flora and the mucus membranes of the body, including those of the digestive tract. As such, it may be beneficial after a course of antibiotics and for those with unbalanced intestinal flora. It also helps protect the stomach against excess acid and is used for its soothing effect on the mucosa of the gut. Black Pepper Extract (as BioPerine®) It has been found that the therapeutic effectiveness of curcumin is often limited due to its poor absorption from the GI tract. When taken orally only traces appear in the blood, whereas most of the dose is excreted though the feces. Our formula includes BioPerine®, a patented extract derived from the common black pepper fruit that contains the alkaloid piperine. Black pepper has been shown to enhance the bioavailability and promote absorption of curcumin both in pre-clinical studies and in studies on human volunteers. Research
* Several studies have illustrated curcumins hepatoprotective effects, leading researchers to suggest its use in protecting the liver from exogenous insults from environmental toxins.
Servings Per Container: 60
Take 1 capsule daily, preferably with a meal, or as directed by a qualified healthcare professional.
Serving Size: 1 capsule
Amount Per Serving Turmeric Complex Proprietary Blend … 1000mg Turmeric (Curcuma longa) (root) and Turmeric Extract (Curcuma longa) (root) (Standardized to contain 95% Curcuminoids) BioPerine® Black Pepper Extract … 5mg (Piper nigrum) (fruit) (Standardized to contain 95% piperine)
Other Ingredients: vegetable cellulose (capsule), rice powder, l-leucine
This product is free of milk, egg, fish, peanuts, crustacean shellfish (lobster, crab, shrimp), soybeans, tree nuts, wheat, yeast, gluten, corn, sugar, and artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors and preservatives. This product is free of ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
BioPerine® is a registered trademark and patented product of Sabinsa Corporation
* Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, et al. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med 1998 May;64(4):353-56. [PMID: 9619120]
* Jagetia GC, Aggarwal BB. “Spicing up” of the immune system by curcumin. J Clin Immunol. 2007 Jan;27(1):19-35. [PMID: 17211725]
* Funk JL, Oyarzo JN, Frye JB, et al. Turmeric extracts containing curcuminoids prevent experimental rheumatoid arthritis. J Nat Prod. 2006 Mar;69(3):351-55. [PMID: 16562833]
* Jurenka JS. Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research. Altern Med Rev. 2009 Jun;14(2):141-53. [PMID: 19594223]
* Ng T, et al. Am J Epidemiol. 2006;164:898-906.
* Sun AY, Wang Q, Simonyi A, et al. Botanical phenolics and brain health. Neuromolecular Med. 2008;10(4):259-74. [PMID: 19191039]
* Neelofar K, Shreaz S, Rimple B, et al. Curcumin as a promising anticandidal of clinical interest. Can J Microbiol. 2011 Mar;57(3):204-10. [PMID: 21358761]
* Epstein J, Docena G, MacDonald TT, et al. Curcumin suppresses p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase activation, reduces IL-1beta and matrix metalloproteinase-3 and enhances IL-10 in the mucosa of children and adults with inflammatory bowel disease. Br J Nutr. 2010 Mar;103(6):824-32. [PMID: 19878610]
* Ukil A, Maity S, Karmakar S, et al. Curcumin, the major component of food flavour turmeric, reduces mucosal injury in trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid-induced colitis. Br J Pharmacol. 2003 May;139(2):209-18. [PMID: 12770926]
* Holt PR, Katz S, Kirshoff R. Curcumin therapy in inflammatory bowel disease: a pilot study. Dig Dis Sci. 2005 Nov;50(11):2191-93. [PMID:16240238]
* Lal B, Kapoor AK, Asthana OP, et al. Efficacy of curcumin in the management of chronic anterior uveitis. Phytother Res. 1999 Jun;13(4):318-22. [PMID: 10404539]
* Xie L, Li XK, Takahara S. Curcumin has bright prospects for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Int Immunopharmacol . 2011 Mar;11(3):323-30. 
* Martins CV, da Silva DL, Neres AT, et al. Curcumin as a promising antifungal of clinical interest. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2009 Feb;63(2):337-39. [PMID: 19038979]
* Mythri RB, Harish G, Dubey SK, et al. Glutamoyl diester of the dietary polyphenol curcumin offers improved protection against peroxynitrite-mediated nitrosative stress and damage of brain mitochondria in vitro: implications for Parkinsons disease. Mol Cell Biochem. 2011 Jan;347(1-2):135-43. [PMID: 20972609]
* Ravindran J, Prasad S, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin and cancer cells: how many ways can curry kill tumor cells selectively? AAPS J . 2009 Sep;11(3):495-510. [PMID: 9619120]
* Goel A, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin, the golden spice from Indian saffron, is a chemosensitizer and radiosensitizer for tumors and chemoprotector and radioprotector for normal organs. Nutr Cancer. 2010 Oct;62(7):919-30. [PMID: 20924967]
* Choi H, Chun YS, Shin YJ, et al. Curcumin attenuates cytochrome P450 induction in response to 2, 3, 7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin by ROS- dependently degrading AhR and ARNT. Cancer Sci. 2008 Dec;99(12):2518-24. [PMID: 19018768]
* Zhang, Dong Wei, Chuang Fang Huang, Chang Fu Yang, Ren Zuo Liu, Ji Feng Wang, Jian Zhao Niu, and Dieter Bromme. “Antifibrotic Effects of Curcumin Are Associated with over Expression of Cathespins K and L in Bleomycin Treated Mice and Human Fibroblasts.” Respiratory Research. Respiratory Research, 2011.
* Davis, J. Mark. “Curcumin Effects on Inflammation and Performance Recovery following Eccentric Exercise-induced Muscle Damage.” Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. American Physiological Society, 2007.
* Karlstetter, Marcus, Elena Lippe, Yana Walczak, Chistoph Moehle, Alexander Aslanidis, Myriam Mirza, and Thomas Langmann. “Curcumin Is a Potent Modulator of Microglial Gene Expression and Migration.” Journal of Neuroinflammation. Journal of Neuroinflammation, 2011. Warnings
If pregnant, nursing, have gall stones or gall bladder disease, consult your healthcare practitioner before taking this product. Individuals taking medication, especially blood thinners or cancer treatment, should discuss potential interactions with their healthcare practitioner. Discontinue use and consult doctor if any adverse reactions occur.
Food for thought as you prepare for the super bowl today? The alarming rates of Obesity need to published and talked about. Everyone wants to “live in the moment” But we are stealing precious moments due to our repeated poor food choices. If you want to be around to outlive your kids, and you want to be the fun mom or fun grandparent that can keep up with the kids we need to educate ourselves and start making better choices to make that happen.
You can do it. We can do it, and I can help!
Today, about 75% of US men and 67% of US women are either overweight or obese. Between 1988 and 1994, 63% of men and 55% of US women were overweight or obese. The NHANES says that about 35% of men and 37% of women are obese, 40% of men and 30% of women are overweight. 2/3 of US adults are at a unhealthy weight.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that Americans have been gaining weight since the 1960’s. The average US woman weighs about 166 pounds compared to 140 in 1960. 166 was the average for a man in 1960.
Our children are not expected to outlive us. Obesity is one of the biggest contributors to this shortened life expectancy, it is the root of a lot of chronic health conditions.
Our environment contributes in some of the following ways:
Overuse of antibiotics in food production and medicine
Growth-enhancing drugs used in food animals
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and pesticides
Social media centered around junk food and artificial sweeteners.
Highly processed genetically modified (GM) foods are full of ingredients that contribute to metabolic dysfunction and weight gain/obesity.
The McKinsey Global Institute says the annual global cost of obesity is now $2 trillion. (For comparison, alcoholism costs are $1.4 trillion annually, road accidents cost $700 billion, and unsafe sex costs $300 billion) The McKinsey report estimates that nearly 1/2 of the world’s adult population will be overweight or obese by 2030.
In the US, 8 obesity related diseases account for 75% of healthcare costs. These include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, cancer, Polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypertension, lipid problems, NAFLD (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease).
The National Health Expenditure Accounts (NHEA) are the official estimates of total health care spending in the US. In 1960, the NHEA measures annual U.S. expenditures for health care goods and services, public health activities, government administration, the net cost of health insurance, and investment related to health care.
U.S. health care spending in 2014 reached $3.0 trillion or $9,523 per person.
The nation’s Gross Domestic Product accounted for 17.5% of health care costs.
(CNN)You are not the only one who thrives in the summer and loves its warm, long days. Bacteria and other microbes that cause food poisoning, diarrhea and just general grossness also flourish, threatening to make it a season to be sick.
“Foodborne pathogens follow an annual cycle, and we tend to see peaks of them, especially bacteria, in the summer, at picnics, potlucks and all the outdoor events,” said Melinda Wilkins, director of the online science master’s program in food safety at Michigan State University.
Your gut is not the only part of your body at risk of assault by bacteria such as E. coli in summer months. Bugs lurk in air conditioning filters, especially when it is hot and humid, ready to cause trouble for those with breathing problems. And the skin that protects you from infections can become a portal for them after a bad, blistering sunburn.
Of course, even if some dangers await you at the picnic, pool or beach, it is worth it to get out and enjoy yourself. You can most likely handle what comes your way.
Don’t pee (or poop) in the pool
The burn you feel in your eyes after a dip in the swimming pool is not because of chlorine. It is because pee, poop and sweat from fellow swimmers (and maybe you) react with chlorine and form chloramine compounds,and this combination is what really stings your peepers. Aside from the gross factor, the formation of these compounds means there is less chlorine left in the water to kill bacteria, such as E. coli. Chloramines can also irritate the airways, and when they build up in the air, such as at indoor pools, they can trigger asthma attacks.
“We recommend that you not pee or poop in the water, and shower before you go in,” said Michele Hlavsa, chief of the Health Swimming Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A 2010 CDC report found that one out of 10 public pools don’t have proper chlorine levels. To make sure you’re not about to take a dip in a bacteria-laden pool, “you can use pool test strips at a pool supply or big box store” to check the chlorine level, Hlavsa said. (The CDC recommends chlorine levels in pools between 1 and 3 parts per million and pH of 7.2 to 7.8.)
Even at the right levels, chlorine does not wipe out everything. A new CDC report found that a parasite called cryptosporidium, which can cause diarrhea and lives up to 10 days in a chlorinated pool, was associated with 37 (54%) of the 69 outbreaks of illness at pools and water parks. “To protect yourself, it’s about not swallowing the water you swim in, and to protect others don’t swim if you have diarrhea,” Hlavsa said.
Lurking in seawater
A day at the beach may leave you with more memories than you imagined if you go home with vibriosis. The infection is caused by vibrio bacteria, which live in some coastal waters and flourish in the warm months between May and October, when the majority of cases occur.
According to the CDC, there are about 80,000 cases each year, and about 100 of them are fatal.
An estimated 52,000 of those cases result from eating contaminated food, such as raw oysters, that have been infected in the water they once lived in. Symptoms usually begin within 24 hours of consumption. They include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. The illness lasts about three days.
The bacteria can also cause skin rashes that lead to infection when contaminated water gets into an open wound or even a scratch.
The best way to prevent this infection is to thoroughly cook shellfish and clean hands well after touching raw or undercooked shellfish. Cuts or scrapes should be cleaned well with soap after contact with infected water. When possible, cover the wound with a waterproof bandage before getting it wet.
Beware the picnic burgers
The thought of potato salad sweltering in the heat at the summer picnic may make the burgers on the grill sound pretty appetizing, but think again. “Actually, potato salad has kind of a bad rap, but it is not really a particularly high-risk food,” said Wilkins, of Michigan State University. “But people tend to bring frozen (burger) patties and throw them on the grill before they are fully thawed, (and) ground meat that is not thoroughly cooked is one of the riskiest items” because it can have E. coli, she said.
Ground beef and pork should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, ground chicken and turkey to 165 degrees. And yes, that means using a meat thermometer to test the temperature in the middle of the burger, Wilkins said.
Of course, bacteria can still lurk in a big bowl of gooey potato or pasta salad, but not for the reasons you may think. Ingredients such as potatoes, pasta and eggs, not the mayonnaise, are prone to contamination. To play it safe, keep containers of anything you’re supposed to eat cold, such as potato salad, in big bowls or coolers full of ice, Wilkins said.
Bacteria scream for ice cream (machines)
An issue that can plague many an inadequately cleaned soft-serve ice cream dispenser is bacteria. “Listeria (bacteria) is a really sneaky pathogen in that it likes to live in cooler temperatures and populate machinery,” Wilkins said. Listeria infections can cause fever and muscle aches, and they are especially dangerous for pregnant women, who may miscarry as a result.
On the bright side, the Blue Bell ice cream scare has made people more aware of listeria’s potential to lurk in frozen desserts, Wilkins said. It is a good idea to ask the person working at the yogurt shop or ice cream truck when the machines were last cleaned. “It brings the issue to the awareness of the workers and management to double check their procedures,” Wilkins said.
Burn, baby, burn
Sunburns may seem like a sweet souvenir from a day at the beach, but they should really be thought of as potentially harmful wounds. In the most severe cases, people can develop blisters and need to be treated like burn victims, said Dr. Cameron K. Rokhsar, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “The skin sloughs off, (and) if there’s any kind of raw wound, it can predispose you to an infection” and should be treated with a prescription antibiotic ointment, he said.
Worse yet, even just a few serious sunburns may greatly increase your risk of developing skin cancer. A 2014 study found that white women who had five or more blistering sunburns when they were teens were 68% more likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Despite that old episode of “Friends” where Joey peed on Monica’s jellyfish sting, urine is not the antidote to the venom of this goopy animal, which is common off beaches across the United States and thrives in warm water. Rinsing the wound with saltwater is one of the most recommended ways to relieve the stinging, redness and swelling that follow a brush with a jellyfish tentacle.
A more surprising but also effective treatment is vinegar, said Rokhsar, who knows firsthand that it can make the pain go away almost instantaneously. “It happened to me. It hurts a lot, and I actually went to the lifeguard station, and they had vinegar spray,” he said.
Also beware of the not-so-cute baby jellyfish called sea lice. Unlike the adults’ sting, theirs doesn’t hurt, so you don’t have to worry about rinsing the wound with saltwater or vinegar. Save the vinegar for rinsing your swimsuit before you wash it. Some believe the larvae can become trapped in the fabric.
You will usually experience an itchy, red rash and small blisters within 24 hours. The rash is sometimes accompanied with fever, chills, headaches and nausea. The symptoms can last as long as two weeks and are not contagious.
The sea lice, which are actually microscopic larvae of marine life such as jellyfish or sea anemones, are most often found in summer waters in Florida and the Caribbean.
Grossness flourishes in air conditioning filters
When air conditioners are working around the clock in hot summer months, dust, mold and pollution from outdoor air (in the case of central AC) or indoor air (in the case of a window unit) tend to build up on the filter of AC units. Not only does this slash the air conditioner’s efficiency, it can also carry health risks, said Abby Brokaw, director of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest Health House program.
“People who are already having problems with breathing or lung health — so people with allergies or respiratory disease — are going to be affected” if the filter is not properly cleaned, removing dust, mold, dander and other detritus, Brokaw said.
To keep your filter in tiptop shape, clean or replace it every three months, Brokaw advised. But take precaution when you do. Mold and bacteria love to grow on filters, especially in the summer humidity.
“You don’t want to breathe in mold spores and bacteria. We would recommend that you wear gloves and a mask,” Brokaw said, referring to surgical masks sold in drugstores.
This week Jodi featured vegetables of all shapes sizes and colors. Spaghetti Squash, Cabbage, Green and Red Bell Peppers, Tarragon, Garlic, Black Beans, and more. These classes are a great way to learn new ways to cook healthy and still make very tasty dishes. In class today, Jodi made:
Tummy ulcers, likewise called peptic or stomach ulcers, are open sores in the cellular lining of the tummy. As a result of the amount of acid existing in the stomach, when abscess happen, they are usually very uncomfortable. One of the most usual root cause of tummy ulcers is the germs Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori. Abscess could additionally be triggered by overuse of painkillers, such as aspirin, as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, such as advil or naproxen.
Belly ulcers are frequently alleviated with prescription antibiotics or medicines to decrease, block, or neutralize belly acid. There are additionally all-natural natural home remedy you could utilize to assist ease the signs of a stomach abscess and also assist it heal.
Here are some great resources that I found for ways to cure stomach ulcers
The simple definition is this: a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances; detoxification.
Cleansing and Detoxing have be around for hundreds of years. Since ancient times, individuals had actually already recognized the numerous benefits of cleansing. The Chinese started with vapor bathing in their lots of hot water pools, and the Japanese are firm followers of detoxing by steaming in their warm mineral swimming pools.
We all know that the ‘detox craze’ is upon us so I decided to compile a few of my favorite detox articles for your perusal. These articles are from all different types: doctors, stay at home moms, some in favor of cleansing, some think it is a bunch of crap. You can decide for your self, either way it is very informative.
Juice cleanses, colon cleanses, fruit detoxes, sugar detoxes—we’ve all seen these things, but do they actually work? What are they supposed to do? Let’s take a look at the science behind the fad.
Cleanses and detoxes are trendy, popular, and promise to clear out nasty toxins from your body and make you healthier. It’s a tall promise. So, we decided to talk with Las Vegas-based registered dietitian Andy Bellatti, nutrition researcher Kamal Patel, and science writer and educator Beth Skwarecki to see if they can measure up to the claims.
What Cleanses and Detoxes Promise
There are tons of different cleanses and detoxes. For the most part, a cleanse and a detox are the same thing. They’re typically used interchangeably and have the same basic goals: to remove “harmful” things from your body. Sometimes, they aim to target a specific organ like the liver or colon, and supposedly, detoxing makes you feel better.
There’s no specific definition of a detox or cleanse, but they often involve limiting your food intake to pressed juice, avoiding specific types of food, or drinking a concoction of juices that supposedly rids your body of toxins. These supposed toxins are rarely described by cleansers in detail, but generally referred to as “poisons” or “pollutants.” In the medical field, toxins can refer to just about anything, from alcohol, to foods, to medicines, to asbestos. “Detoxing” can also refer to treatment for drug addiction, but that’s very different—here, we’re specifically discussing these food-and-drink cleanses.
There are far too many of these cleanses and detoxes to dig through, but here are 10 that Shape Magazine deemed popular in the last year, to give you an idea of what they’re all about. As an example, let’s take a closer look at the Master Cleanse, one of the most longstanding and popular cleanses out there. Here’s an excerpt from the book that describes exactly how the Master Cleanse works:
The cleanse starts with a herbal laxative tea both morning and evening. If this is not sufficient to clean out the intestinal tract, he advises a salt-water wash. These stops are necessary to remove the toxins loosened by the lemon juice cleanse.
I was then to drink between six and twelve glasses of lemonade, which consisted of lemon and maple syrup in proper proportions, with a small amount of cayenne added to wash out the mucus loosened by the cleanse.
Sounds gross, right? Well, it might be worth it for you if you believe the promises purported by Master Cleanse creator Stanley Burroughs:
For the novice and the advanced student alike, cleansing is basis for elimination of every kind of disease. The purpose of this book is to simplify the cause and the correction of all disorders, regardless of the name or names. As we eliminate and correct one disease, we correct them all, for every disease is corrected by the same process of cleansing and building positive good health.
The hyperbole goes on from there, but you get the idea. Kamal Patel sums most cleanses up like so:
What ties these diets together is a dual aim: weight loss plus a notion that we have built-up toxins in the body which are slowing us down and possibly killing us. So a typical cleanse, let’s say of juices only, is meant to shift your intestines away from digestion and absorption and towards “ridding the body of toxins”. That’s where the benefits are claimed to lie, but they may actually lie elsewhere.
Most cleanses have similar promises, claiming that going on some sort of juice fast (or other cleanse) can free your body of harmful toxins.
What Happens in Your Body When You’re On a Cleanse
We’re all aware that fruit and vegetables are good for us, so following that logic suggests that a diet of just fruit and vegetables must be super healthy, right? Right??
Not really. If you drink nothing but juice for a week, you’ll lose weight, but it’s because you’re not eating, not because your body is “detoxing”. Water is stored in your muscles with glycogen. When you eat a low calorie diet, you use up those glycogen stores, and lose the water weight with it. You’ll gain that water weight right back when you return to your normal diet. You’re also missing out on all those other vital nutrients like fat, fiber, and protein. In fact, some cleanses suggest that you avoid exercise when you’re on them because your caloric intake is so low—which leads to fatigue and dizziness.
After a few days, your body is basically running on fumes, and without protein your body might start to break down muscle tissue instead. Likewise, the lack of fiber in your diet tends to impact the function of your large intestine, which might explain why people tend to describe their gut feelings on a juice cleanse as similar to the stomach flu.
Most importantly, a juice cleanse doesn’t do anything that your body doesn’t already do on its own. Andy Bellatti reminds us that our bodies are already pretty good at removing toxins. If they weren’t, and you needed a yearly detox, we’d all probably be dead:
Will drinking nothing but juice for three or five days land you in the hospital or result in irreversible nutrient deficiencies? No, but it is also unnecessary. Our bodies remove toxins on a daily basis thanks to the kidneys, lungs, and liver. The whole point of going to the bathroom is to flush out toxins!
Beth Skwarecki adds that while most of these cleanses and detoxes aren’t dangerous, they can cause some problems. Since juices don’t include much fiber, the body ends up absorbing more fructose sugar, which—as we all know—isn’t good for you:
The ones that are mostly sugar (like with lots of fruit juices, or the lemonade thing) may put you on a sugar crash roller coaster and negate the potential good effects of fasting that have to do with insulin sensitivity and such.
The good news on depriving yourself is that it takes months to get any serious vitamin deficiencies. Most of these cleanses are probably stupid but not seriously harmful (if all you’re doing is restricting food for a few days). As for the claims of eliminating toxins, well, even the ones that name specific toxins don’t actually give any mechanism by which the diet/herbs they’re pushing affect what your body does with them.
Skwarecki’s final point is key: most commercial detoxes don’t list what a toxin is. And even when they do, they don’t give an evidence that they work. If they did, we could test the effectiveness of their claims. In a 2009 investigation by Sense about Science, they checked 15 commercial detox products and found that none could name toxins, agree on a definition of detox, or supply any evidence for their claims.
All of this is to say: the only thing a detox or juice cleanse actually does to your body is make you hungry and nutrient deprived for a few days.
Better Alternatives to Cleanses
So, cleanses don’t really do anything productive and a special juice mixture won’t remove toxins from your system. That doesn’t mean you can’t do other things to get your health back on track.
In fact, the idea of a cleanse is basically just a reboot of your diet, which Bellatti agrees with:
There is something to be said for doing “food resets.” That is, going back to the basic tenets of healthful eating (mainly eating whole, minimally processed, largely plant-based foods) to reaccustom the taste buds to more subtle flavors. That, however, should not be confused with a cleanse.
But he does add:
Nutrition and health is about the big picture. What you do for five or seven days out of the year is pretty inconsequential.
Rather than worry about ‘detoxing,’ people would be better off thinking about eating nutritious, health-promoting foods on a daily basis. Think leafy greens, beans, whole fruit, nuts, and seeds. The idea that six months of unhealthy eating can somehow be remedied by drinking nothing but green juice for 72 hours is erroneous.
Likewise, an actual fast, as in, just drinking water, has some research showing that it’s useful. Patel explains:
There is a lot of misunderstanding about what a detox is and how to do it, so let me explain how I understand detoxification.
Detoxification is what your body does naturally to neutralize, transform or get rid of unwanted materials or toxins. It is a primary function of the body, constantly working and interacting with all other functions of the body. So when I am talking about detoxification, it is about improving and optimizing the function of your body’s own detoxification systems. This is done by decreasing the amount of toxins we put into our bodies while at the same time supporting our body’s detoxification and elimination systems with the nutrients it needs to function properly.
As a culture we are very aware of our external cleanliness. We clean our teeth daily, we bath and wash our hair daily or every other day and we like to look and smell clean because it makes us feel better. Similarly, I see detoxification as internal cleansing. The problem is that it’s often hard to know when our internal cleansing mechanisms are not functioning well. Unlike other parts of our body it is very hard to know how well our liver is working, and our liver is the main detoxification organ. Apart from synthesizing and secreting bile, the liver acts as a filter for toxins and bacteria in the blood and chemically neutralizes toxins, converting them into substances that can be eliminated by the kidneys.
Although it is mostly ignored by our current medical system, the detoxification system is a key component of our body’s functioning. Most of the molecules made by our bodies every day, are for getting rid of waste products. We need hundreds of enzymes, vitamins and other molecules to help rid the body of unwanted waste products and chemicals. We need to manufacture these molecules to help take the good from what we ingest and get rid of the unwanted. Although the bulk of the work is done by the liver and the intestinal tract, the kidneys, lungs, lymphatic system and skin are all involved in this complex detoxification system.
The purpose of a detoxification program is primarily to support these organs of elimination so that toxins present in the body can be metabolized and excreted. Time and time again I’ve seen the benefits a good internal cleanse can bring.
Most of us equate a detox with deprivation—or worse. We think hunger, weird food, kale juice and colonics. We might feel better at the end, but is it really worth the pain and suffering? The thing is, you don’t have to suffer. There’s another kind of detox that’s all about fabulous, delicious food. It’s a new kind of detox that’s a giant jumpstart for your health and a reboot for your metabolism. It’s fun, easy to do and a direct route to feeling fabulous. It’s what I do with my patients, and you can do it in just 10 days.
Over the last 20 years, I’ve taken care of tens of thousands of patients who suffered from the harmful effects of the wrong foods: industrial, factory-made science projects, boatloads of sugar and flour—152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour per person per year, to be exact! It’s done more than make them struggle with weight and yo-yo diets. It’s completely derailed their health. Worse, they blame themselves for not being able to succeed at controlling their eating habits or cravings.
Millions of us, over half the population, suffer from FLC Syndrome. That’s when you Feel Like Crap. Sometimes it’s annoying little symptoms such as achy joints or muscles, brain fog, fatigue, headaches, allergies or gas, or more serious problems such as autoimmune diseases, migraines, asthma, acne, irritable bowel, reflux, arthritis or worse.
When I use the word “detox” I mean a scientifically designed medical detox from sugar, and all things that turn to sugar. The fun part is that it’s done simply by taking out the bad stuff and putting in the good stuff…lots of good stuff. Maybe I should call it The Feel Good with Good Stuffplan!
5 Reasons You Need to Detox
You have FLC Syndrome: Feel Like Crap.
You wake up feeling less than vital, vibrant, alive, joyful and full of energy. Even if you are thin but have symptoms of being toxic like fatigue, brain fog, achiness, digestive issues, allergies, headaches—really any symptoms at all—the detox can help heal you quickly. Most of us don’t connect what we’re eating to how we feel. In the 10-day “feel good with good stuff” plan—the program in my new book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet—you will learn how you have put up with needless suffering. Feeling good is only a few days away.
You can’t lose weight and keep it off (you want to fit into your jeans).
The scientific establishment has convinced us that losing weight is just a matter of calories in/calories out, that it’s about energy balance, about eating less and exercising more. How’s that working out for you? Probably not so well! Problem is, the scientific establishment is different from the established science. The science says sugar and flour calories are WAY different. First, they trigger addiction and overeating. Second, they spike insulin and inflammation, which makes you store belly fat and blocks your ability to feel full. The verdict is in: Sugar calories are worse than whole food calories. Sugar spikes insulin and triggers inflammation, a double whammy guaranteed to mess up any attempt at long-term weight loss.
You can’t control your sugar and carb cravings (you may be suffering from food addiction).
The fact is that sugar and flour are biologically addictive. The science behind it is clear and conclusive. Yet we blame the fat person for being a lazy glutton, which leads to shame and guilt. I am here to tell you it’s not your fault. Your biology has been hijacked by the food industry. They have done a hostile takeover of your taste buds, brain chemistry, hormones and metabolism. More than 300 food industry insiders spilled the beans to Michael Moss in his book, Salt, Sugar and Fat, explaining they hire “craving experts” to create the “bliss point” of junk food to create “heavy users” and increase their “stomach share.” Sugar is the new nicotine. In fact, sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine. If you are trying to use willpower to lose weight you will fail. You have to use science to unhook yourself from the addictive power of sugar, flour and hyper-processed, hyper-palatable food-like substances (or “non-food junk” as my friend Dr. Aviva Romm calls it).
You never have detoxed.
Most of us have never in our life taken 10 days to put nothing in our bodies but delicious, whole clean food. Just 10 days. Even if you think you are healthy and feel good, you may not realize that your normal state is not your optimal state. Think of it as a tune-up, a super-quick, super-easy way to supercharge your health.
You need a STAYCATION.
All of us stray from living in a way that supports our health: too little sleep, too little exercise, too much bad food, too much stress, not enough time for ourselves. The best way to reset your life is a 10-day detox. Simple, delicious foods. No toxins or drugs, by which I mean sugar, flour, processed foods, caffeine or alcohol. Self-nurturing practices: deep breathing, sleeping 7-8 hours a night, a little exercise, self-love. All this works to get your body and mind back to their original factory settings—and quickly!
5 Ways to Detox, Lose Weight & Feel Great
So now that you know why you need a detox, how do you do it without pain and suffering? How do you take a shortcut to feeling great? Here’s a little secret that the diet and food industry, the medical establishment and Big Pharma don’t want you to know: Most of us are only a few days away from health and happiness. Even if you have a really bad case of FLC Syndrome or even a chronic disease, food is the most powerful medicine on the planet to fix it.
Be a turkey (a cold one) and take a drug holiday.
There is no way to handle a true physiological addiction except to stop it completely. Addicts can’t have just one line of cocaine or just one drink. Go cold turkey. But you won’t have to white-knuckle it because if you follow “5 Ways to Detox” you will automatically reset your body’s neurotransmitters and hormones. Stop all forms of sugar, all flour products and all artificial sweeteners. They all cause increased cravings and slow metabolism, and lead to fat storage. This especially includes liquid sugar calories—a latte can have more sugar than a can of soda—that makes you eat more all day and drive storage of belly fat. Also get rid of anything with trans or hydrogenated fats and MSG (watch for hidden names). Ideally, for 10 days you avoid any foods that come in a box, package or can or have a label, and stick to real, whole, fresh food. And the best way to really detox is to give up all grains for 10 days. Give up all drugs, too. Caffeine and alcohol are the two biggest after sugar.
Power up the day with protein.
Protein, protein, protein at every meal, especially breakfast, is the key to balancing blood sugar and insulin and cutting cravings. Start the day with whole farm eggs or a protein shake. I recommend my Whole Food Protein Shake. Use nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, chicken or grass-fed meat for protein at every meal. A serving size is 4-6 ounces or the size of your palm.
Eat unlimited carbs (the right ones).
Yes, that’s right. Unlimited carbs. Did you know that vegetables are carbs? And you get to eat as much as you want. Unlimited refills! There is one catch. I only mean the non-starchy veggies such as greens, the broccoli family (including cauliflower, kale and collards), asparagus, green beans, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, fennel, eggplant, artichokes, peppers, etc. What’s out are potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash and beets—just for 10 days. Also skip grains and beans for 10 days. It supercharges the results so you lose weight and feel great.
Fight sugar with fat.
Fat is not a four-letter word. Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does. Fat makes you full, balances your blood sugar and is necessary for fueling your cells. Along with protein, have good fats at every meal and snack including nuts and seeds, which also contain protein, extra virgin olive oil, coconut butter, avocados and omega-3 fats from fish.
Use friend power, not willpower.
Extraordinary new research shows that obesity is contagious. You are more likely to be overweight if your friends are overweight than if your parents or siblings are overweight. But health is contagious too. In a large social experiment I did with my friend Rick Warren at Saddleback Church we got 15,000 people to lose 250,000 pounds in a year by doing the program together. They met in small groups, helped, loved and supported each other. And those who did it together lost twice as much weight and got twice as healthy. I call it the Love Diet! Every “body” needs a “buddy.” Find a friend or form a small group and do the detox together.
Feeling sluggish or out of sync? Struggling with skin problems, aches and pains, or digestive problems? Can’t seem to lose weight? It might be time for a body detox.
Practiced for centuries by cultures around the world — including ayurvedic and Chinese medicine systems — detoxification is about resting, cleaning and nourishing the body from the inside out. By removing and eliminating toxins, then feeding your body with healthy nutrients, detoxifying can help protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain optimum health.
How does detoxification work?
Basically, detoxification means cleaning the blood. This is done by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. However, when this system is compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered and every cell in the body is adversely affected.
A detox program can help the body’s natural cleansing process by:
Resting the organs through fasting;
2.Stimulating the liver to drive toxins from the body;
3. Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys and skin;
4. Improving circulation of the blood; and
5. Refueling the body with healthy nutrients.”Detoxification works because it addresses the needs of individual cells, the smallest units of human life,” says Peter Bennett, N.D., co-author of 7-Day Detox Miracle with Stephen Barrie, N.D., and Sara Faye.
How do you know if you need to detoxify?
Bennett suggests that everyone should detox at least once a year. However, Bennett cautions against detoxing for nursing mothers, children, and patients with chronic degenerative diseases, cancer or tuberculosis. Consult your health care practitioner if you have questions about whether detoxing is right for you.
Today, with more toxins in the environment than ever, “it’s critical to detox,” says Linda Page, N.D., Ph.D., the author ofDetoxification. Page recommends detoxing for symptoms such as:
Puffy eye or bags under the eyes
How do you start a detox?
First, lighten up your toxin load. Eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugars and saturated fats, all of which act as toxins in the body and are obstacles to your healing process. Also, minimize use of chemical-based household cleanersand personal health care products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants and toothpastes), and substitute natural alternatives.
There are many how to articles on how to detox, and instructions for detox. Many people detox for weightloss. Some use DIY liquid diets for dieting. Questions like how do I, or what do I do are common when talking about detox.
Another deterrent to good health is stress, which triggers your body to release stress hormones into your system. While these hormones can provide the “adrenaline rush” to win a race or meet a deadline, in large amounts they create toxins and slow down detoxification enzymes in the liver. Yoga, Qigong andmeditation are simple and effective ways to relieve stress by resetting your physical and mental reactions to the inevitable stress life will bring.
Which detox program is right for you?
There are many detoxification programs and detox recipes, depending on your individual needs. Many programs follow a 7-day schedule because, as Bennett explains, “it takes the body time to clean the blood.” His program involves fasting on liquids for two days, followed by a carefully-planned five-day detox diet to allow the digestive system to rest. Page recommends a 3-7 day juice fast (drinking only fresh fruit and vegetable juices and water) as an effective way to release toxins.
1. Eat plenty of fiber, including brown rice and organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed are excellent detoxifying foods.
2. Cleanse and protect the liver by taking herbs such as dandelion root, burdock and milk thistle, and drinking green tea.
3. Take vitamin C, which helps the body produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.
4. Drink at least two quarts of water a day.
5. Breathe deeply to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system.
6. Transform stress by emphasizing positive emotions.
7. Practice hydrotherapy by taking a very hot shower for five minutes, allowing the water to run on your back. Follow with cold water for 30 seconds. Do this three times, and then get into bed for 30 minutes.
8. Sweat in a sauna so your body can eliminate wastes through perspiration.
10. What is the most important way to detoxify? “Exercise,” says Bennett. “Yoga or jump-roping are good. One hour every day.” Also try Qigong, a martial-arts based exercise system that includes exercises specifically for detoxifying or cleansing, as well as many other exercises with specific health benefits.
Whether it’s cucumbers splashing into water or models sitting smugly next to a pile of vegetables, it’s tough not to be sucked in by the detox industry. The idea that you can wash away your calorific sins is the perfect antidote to our fast-food lifestyles and alcohol-lubricated social lives. But before you dust off that juicer or take the first tentative steps towards a colonic irrigation clinic, there’s something you should know: detoxing – the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go – is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things.
“Let’s be clear,” says Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, “there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn’t.” The respectable one, he says, is the medical treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions. “The other is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you’re supposed to have accumulated.”
If toxins did build up in a way your body couldn’t excrete, he says, you’d likely be dead or in need of serious medical intervention. “The healthy body has kidneys, a liver, skin, even lungs that are detoxifying as we speak,” he says. “There is no known way – certainly not through detox treatments – to make something that works perfectly well in a healthy body work better.”
Much of the sales patter revolves around “toxins”: poisonous substances that you ingest or inhale. But it’s not clear exactly what these toxins are. If they were named they could be measured before and after treatment to test effectiveness. Yet, much like floaters in your eye, try to focus on these toxins and they scamper from view. In 2009, a network of scientists assembled by the UK charity Sense about Science contacted the manufacturers of 15 products sold in pharmacies and supermarkets that claimed to detoxify. The products ranged from dietary supplements to smoothies and shampoos. When the scientists asked for evidence behind the claims, not one of the manufacturers could define what they meant by detoxification, let alone name the toxins.
Yet, inexplicably, the shelves of health food stores are still packed with products bearing the word “detox” – it’s the marketing equivalent of drawing go-faster stripes on your car. You can buy detoxifying tablets, tinctures, tea bags, face masks, bath salts, hair brushes, shampoos, body gels and even hair straighteners. Yoga, luxury retreats, and massages will also all erroneously promise to detoxify. You can go on a seven-day detox diet and you’ll probably lose weight, but that’s nothing to do with toxins, it’s because you would have starved yourself for a week.
Then there’s colonic irrigation. Its proponents will tell you that mischievous plaques of impacted poo can lurk in your colon for months or years and pump disease-causing toxins back into your system. Pay them a small fee, though, and they’ll insert a hose up your bottom and wash them all away. Unfortunately for them – and possibly fortunately for you – no doctor has ever seen one of these mythical plaques, and many warn against having the procedure done, saying that it can perforate your bowel.
Other tactics are more insidious. Some colon-cleansing tablets contain a polymerising agent that turns your faeces into something like a plastic, so that when a massive rubbery poo snake slithers into your toilet you can stare back at it and feel vindicated in your purchase. Detoxing foot pads turn brown overnight with what manufacturers claim is toxic sludge drawn from your body. This sludge is nothing of the sort – a substance in the pads turns brown when it mixes with water from your sweat.
“It’s a scandal,” fumes Ernst. “It’s criminal exploitation of the gullible man on the street and it sort of keys into something that we all would love to have – a simple remedy that frees us of our sins, so to speak. It’s nice to think that it could exist but unfortunately it doesn’t.”
That the concept of detoxification is so nebulous might be why it has evaded public suspicion. When most of us utter the word detox, it’s usually when we’re bleary eyed and stumbling out of the wrong end of a heavy weekend. In this case, surely, a detox from alcohol is a good thing? “It’s definitely good to have non-alcohol days as part of your lifestyle,” says Catherine Collins, an NHS dietitian at St George’s Hospital. “It’ll probably give you a chance to reassess your drinking habits if you’re drinking too much. But the idea that your liver somehow needs to be ‘cleansed’ is ridiculous.”
The liver breaks down alcohol in a two-step process. Enzymes in the liver first convert alcohol to acetaldehyde, a very toxic substance that damages liver cells. It is then almost immediately converted into carbon dioxide and water which the body gets rid of. Drinking too much can overwhelm these enzymes and the acetaldehyde buildup will lead to liver damage. Moderate and occasional drinking, though, might have a protective effect. Population studies, says Collins, have shown that teetotallers and those who drink alcohol excessively have a shorter life expectancy than people who drink moderately and in small amounts.
“We know that a little bit of alcohol seems to be helpful,” she says. “Maybe because its sedative effect relaxes you slightly or because it keeps the liver primed with these detoxifying enzymes to help deal with other toxins you’ve consumed. That’s why the government guidelines don’t say, ‘Don’t drink’; they say, ‘OK drink, but only modestly.’ It’s like a little of what doesn’t kill you cures you.”
This adage also applies in an unexpected place – to broccoli, the luvvie of the high-street “superfood” detox salad. Broccoli does help the liver out but, unlike the broad-shouldered, cape-wearing image that its superfood moniker suggests, it is no hero. Broccoli, as with all brassicas – sprouts, mustard plants, cabbages – contains cyanide. Eating it provides a tiny bit of poison that, like alcohol, primes the enzymes in your liver to deal better with any other poisons.
Collins guffaws at the notion of superfoods. “Most people think that you should restrict or pay particular attention to certain food groups, but this is totally not the case,” she says. “The ultimate lifestyle ‘detox’ is not smoking, exercising and enjoying a healthy balanced diet like the Mediterranean diet.”
Close your eyes, if you will, and imagine a Mediterranean diet. A red chequered table cloth adorned with meats, fish, olive oil, cheeses, salads, wholegrain cereals, nuts and fruits. All these foods give the protein, amino acids, unsaturated fats, fibre, starches, vitamins and minerals to keep the body – and your immune system, the biggest protector from ill-health – functioning perfectly.
So why, then, with such a feast available on doctor’s orders, do we feel the need to punish ourselves to be healthy? Are we hard-wired to want to detox, given that many of the oldest religions practise fasting and purification? Has the scientific awakening shunted bad spirits to the periphery and replaced them with environmental toxins that we think we have to purge ourselves of?
Susan Marchant-Haycox, a London psychologist, doesn’t think so. “Trying to tie detoxing in with ancient religious practices is clutching at straws,” she says. “You need to look at our social makeup over the very recent past. In the 70s, you had all these gyms popping up, and from there we’ve had the proliferation of the beauty and diet industry with people becoming more aware of certain food groups and so on.
“The detox industry is just a follow-on from that. There’s a lot of money in it and there are lots of people out there in marketing making a lot of money.”
Peter Ayton, a professor of psychology at City University London, agrees. He says that we’re susceptible to such gimmicks because we live in a world with so much information we’re happy to defer responsibility to others who might understand things better. “To understand even shampoo you need to have PhD in biochemistry,” he says, “but a lot of people don’t have that. If it seems reasonable and plausible and invokes a familiar concept, like detoxing, then we’re happy to go with it.”
Many of our consumer decisions, he adds, are made in ignorance and supposition, which is rarely challenged or informed. “People assume that the world is carefully regulated and that there are benign institutions guarding them from making any kind of errors. A lot of marketing drip-feeds that idea, surreptitiously. So if people see somebody with apparently the right credentials, they think they’re listening to a respectable medic and trust their advice.”
Ernst is less forgiving: “Ask trading standards what they’re doing about it. Anyone who says, ‘I have a detox treatment’ is profiting from a false claim and is by definition a crook. And it shouldn’t be left to scientists and charities to go after crooks.”
And That’s That
You have officially been detoxed, or at least introduced to the concept. I hope these articles were helpful and have given you enough information to make an informed decision on whether or not to detox. I have linked most of the images to the best detox product/system that I have found, hope it helps.