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Detox Challenge

Day 1 – Reduce everyday environmental toxins

Reducing exposure to environmental toxins involves making conscious choices in various aspects of your lifestyle. While it may be impossible to completely eliminate all sources of environmental toxins, you can take steps to minimize your exposure. Here are five practical tips:

  • Eat Organic Food: Opt for organic produce to reduce exposure to pesticides and herbicides commonly used in conventional farming. If buying all organic is too expensive, use the dirty dozen clean 15 list to choose which items to buy organic. You can also find farms that are not certified organic but do not use pesticides.

  • Select Non-Toxin Products: Use environmentally friendly and non-toxic cleaning products like detergents and washing powder. Stay away from bleach and other strong smelling products. Choose personal care products, such as shampoo, soap, and cosmetics, with minimal or no synthetic additives. Look for products with fewer synthetic chemicals, such as phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, sodium laureth sulfate etc. If you have a garden, use natural pesticides and fertilizers and steer clear of glyphosate-containing products. Be cautious about exposure to pesticides and herbicides in your outdoor environment.

  • Filter Your Water: Tap water contains low levels of heavy metals that can build in the body (esp bad with illness), and there can also be pathogenic contaminants like E.coli and Cryptosporidium in some water supplies. You can also filter shower water or even install a whole house filter.

  • Limit Plastic Use: Reduce your use of plastic products, especially those containing harmful chemicals like BPA (bisphenol A). Use glass or stainless steel containers for food and beverages. If you can’t avoid plastic altogether, at least make sure you don’t heat up food in plastic. Definitely do not drink out of plastic water bottles, but use stainless steel or glass instead.

  • Mind Your Cookware: Choose cookware made from materials that do not leach harmful substances into your food, such as stainless steel or cast iron. Avoid Teflon and other non-stick coatings at all costs!



Day 2 – Support the detox organs, especially the liver, for optimal detoxification

Supporting the liver is crucial for overall health, as the liver plays a central role in detoxification and various metabolic processes. Now there is a school of thought suggesting detox supports are unnecessary because I detox organs are built to detox, and what I would say to that is that our bodies were not built to deal with the level of toxins that we come up against in today’s world, so sometimes a little help is necessary. Here are five diet & lifestyle tips to help support liver health:

  • Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. A well-balanced diet provides essential nutrients that support the liver. Minimize the intake of processed foods, as they often contain additives, preservatives, and unhealthy fats that can strain the liver. Incorporate foods that specifically support liver health, such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage), garlic, turmeric, beets, and leafy greens. Watch your sugar intake - it can contribute to fatty liver disease.

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to help flush toxins out of the body and support proper liver and kidney function. Appropriate water consumption is also important for good stool consistency and transit time, which is very important for removing toxins.

  • Moderate Alcohol and caffeine Intake: Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation, and consider having alcohol-free days. Excessive alcohol and caffeine intake can strain the liver and other detoxification organs.

  • Consider Liver Support Supplements: Some supplements may support liver health, such as milk thistle, dandelion root, burdock root or N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC). Consult with a healthcare professional before adding supplements to your routine. You can also consume some of these supportive herbs via detox teas.

  • Do the Basics: Chronic stress can impact liver function and contribute to insulin resistance. Practice stress-reducing activities such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or qi gong. Engage in regular physical activity, such as aerobic exercises and strength training. Exercise promotes blood circulation and supports overall liver function. Quality sleep is essential for liver health and overall well-being. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Make sure you have good sleep hygiene.



Day 3 – Get involved in detox-promoting activities

Detox-promoting activities focus on supporting and optimising the body's natural detoxification processes and overall well-being. Here are five activities that can help promote detoxification:

  • Sweating: Sweating plays a role in the body's natural detoxification processes by helping to eliminate certain substances through the skin, including heavy metals, alcohols, and environmental pollutants. Water-soluble toxins, such as salts and urea, can also be excreted through sweat. This includes metabolic by-products that are dissolved in the water component of sweat. Sweating can contribute to the mobilization and release of toxins stored in fat tissues. As the body breaks down fat during activities that induce sweating, stored fat-soluble toxins like mould toxins may be released and eliminated. Activities include exercise, sauna, steam rooms, hot baths.

  • Moving the Lymph Fluid: The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in maintaining fluid balance, filtering toxins, and supporting the immune system. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system does not have a pump like the heart. Instead, it relies on muscle contractions, breathing, and body movements to circulate lymph fluid. Here are some strategies to help move the lymph:

    • Dry brushing involves using a natural-bristle brush to gently brush the skin in the direction of lymph flow before a shower. This can help exfoliate the skin and stimulate lymphatic circulation. This is particularly useful if you cannot move much due to pain or fatigue.

    • Manual lymphatic drainage massage is a specific technique designed to stimulate the lymphatic system. A trained massage therapist can perform this type of massage to encourage the movement of lymph.

    • Rebounding on a mini-trampoline can be an effective way to stimulate lymphatic flow. The up-and-down motion helps open and close the one-way valves in the lymphatic vessels.

    • Alternating between hot and cold water in the shower can stimulate circulation. The contrast in temperature promotes vasodilation and vasoconstriction, which may help improve lymphatic flow.

    • Avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing still. Take breaks to move, stretch, and change positions regularly.

  • Epsom Salt Baths: Epsom salt baths may help relax muscles, promote circulation, and facilitate the elimination of toxins through the skin.

  • Castor Oil Packs: Castor oil packs are a traditional remedy believed to have detoxifying and anti-inflammatory effects. While scientific evidence on their efficacy is limited, some people use castor oil packs for various health purposes, including supporting detoxification. Here's a general overview of how castor oil packs are thought to work:

    • Lymphatic drainage - Castor oil packs are often applied to the abdomen. The skin absorbs the oil, and it is believed to penetrate into deeper tissues, promoting lymphatic circulation. The lymphatic system plays a key role in removing waste and toxins from the body.

    • Blood circulation - The application of castor oil packs, along with gentle heat, is thought to stimulate blood circulation in the area where the pack is placed. Improved blood flow may help the body deliver nutrients and oxygen to cells while aiding in the removal of waste products.

    • Castor oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and it is believed that the application of castor oil packs may help reduce inflammation in the tissues.

  • Coffee Enemas: Coffee enemas are used as a potent way to enhance your natural detoxification mechanisms in three ways:·     

    • Emptying the colon - Your large intestine is responsible for storing and eliminating toxins and waste that your body needs to excrete, so having regular and healthy bowel movements is essential for the proper removal of toxins.  During a coffee enema, your lower intestines are distended and the caffeine is absorbed through the blood vessels in the walls of your intestines. The combination of caffeine and the distention of your bowels triggers the smooth muscles in your intestines to contract – causing you to have to go. 

    • Increase antioxidants - Thanks to the compounds cafestol and kahweol found in coffee, coffee enemas have been found to increase levels of the powerful antioxidant glutathione.

    • Promote the release of bile - Your liver is one of your primary detoxification organs, constantly filtering your blood and removing any harmful compounds. Once the liver filters out wastes the wastes collect in the gallbladder and are stored in bile, which eventually flows into the digestive tract to be excreted with fecal matter. Coffee enemas are believed to dilate your blood vessels and stimulate the flow of bile. This increase in bile flow essentially speeds up your body’s ability to detox and filter out unwanted wastes and toxins.



Day 4 – Mould and mycotoxin exposure

First of all, let’s talk about the impacts of exposure. We’ve long known about the dangers of eating mouldy food, so food standards limit mycotoxin contamination in grains and other food for this reason. But there is far less recognition of how mould and mycotoxins cause illness when inhaled. In a water-damaged building, a phenomenon called amplification occurs where certain moulds and bacteria flourish and have the resources to produce significantly more biotoxins. When these toxins are inhaled over time, people living or working in those buildings can become unwell. Some of the subsequent health issues that arise are allergy, fungal infection, toxicity, and an overactive innate immune system called CIRS. In the latter case, the immune system can detect but not remove biotoxins from the body, so the body becomes more and more inflamed over time, causing the chronic inflammatory response that CIRS is named for.

 

1.     Determine and eliminate the source of mould exposure. This may involve addressing mould growth in your living or working environment. Professional mould remediation may be necessary – make sure you can somebody that knows about CIRS and is IICRC certified.

The ABCs of mould remediation are:

  • Abate the water intrusion.

  • Building materials that are contaminated must be removed (or encapsulated).

  • Clean reservoirs on possessions, in the air, and on all surfaces. (Every room must be cleaned if air from one room could get into another.)

2.     Since CIRS is a multi-system multi-symptom illness, completing Dr Shoemaker’s symptom cluster analysis can be helpful to determine if you may have CIRS. You can find this for free on my clinic website at dtkatehealth.com. You can also complete a Visual Contrast Sensitivity test (VCS) online at vcstest.com to find if you neuro-inflammation that is suggestive of CIRS. If these are positive and you suspect mycotoxin exposure or have symptoms related to mould exposure, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional. They can assess your situation, conduct relevant tests, and provide personalized advice.

3.     In terms of generalised treatment, my clinic has a framework that’s used for most patients but also tailored to their specific needs. First we work on diet and lifestyle, specifically removing foods that are high risk for mould growth and also reducing systemic inflammation with an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle protocol. Foods rich in antioxidants help protect cells from oxidative stress, so things like berries, leafy greens, and colourful fruits and vegetables are great.

4.     Next we typically support the gut. This may include leaky gut support, microbiome support, anti-microbial or anti-fungal therapy, stomach acid support, motility support. Making sure you’re pooping at least once a day is of the utmost important when trying to detoxify from mould.

5.     Next we support the nervous system and introduce brain retraining techniques. So when you inhale mould spores, these tiny airborne particles travel from your nasal passage and through your nasal epithelium – where they can then pass into your brain. As these mould spores cross into your brain, they stimulate electrical activity in the amygdala and hippocampal areas of the limbic system. Exposure to an acute, high-level dose of mould or recurrent low-level, intermittent exposure to mould can alter the limbic system response – essentially hijacking your limbic system. This hijacking stimulates the electrical activity primarily concentrated in your limbic system, bypassing your more rational prefrontal cortex, and triggering an onslaught of neural, psychological, and psychiatric abnormalities. This is essentially a chemical trauma, and can cause you to get stuck in “fight or flight” mode. So it’s crucial to reset your limbic system by rewiring it to return to a more balanced, restful state.

6.     Finally we support detoxification in three ways. First, we support the detox organs by using many of the suggestions from day 2’s video. Second, we support bile flow with various herbal cholagogues. And third, we stop the recirculation of toxin-laden bile with binders such as activated charcoal, okra, and bentonite clay. However, the use of these substances should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional.



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