By Sylvie Beljanski
The term “detoxification” has been popping up everywhere recently, with chat shows buzzing about Beyoncé’s rapid weight loss through juice fasting and the best combination of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper to drop pounds. However, detoxification is about much more than weight loss; when incorporated into your lifestyle, healthy detoxification can be an effective strategy for overall health and disease management. To get the maximum health benefits from a detoxification regimen, the first thing you need to do is separate the myths from the truths about this approach to wellness.
The first major myth that we encounter is that detox is just about losing weight. In fact, detoxification involves the removal of harmful toxins that build up in your body over time, especially in the liver, kidneys, lymphatic system and colon. These toxins come from the pollution in our environment and are impossible to avoid. They are in our food, water, the air we breathe and products that we use daily. This relationship between pollution in the environment and our health can no longer be denied. There are countless studies coming out showing how the toxins in our environment are damaging our health; think of the news headlines about lead paint, asbestos and, more recently, Bisphenol A in plastics, and you can see how environmental toxicity has become an unavoidable reality.
The study of this relationship began in the 1960s when scientists began to examine the correlation between disease and the environment. Research by scientists such as biochemist Mirko Beljanski, Ph.D. brought to light the fact that pollution in the environment is negatively affecting our DNA. Dr. Beljanski discovered that the normal structure of DNA is altered when exposed to pollutants in the environment. He showed that, when the DNA of a cell becomes destabilized, it may lead to chronic disease and other major ailments, including cancer. Beljanski showed that DNA destabilization is a cumulative process that is influenced by the level and frequency of our contact with harmful molecules that damage DNA structure.
Our body is designed with its own detoxification systems and shouldn’t need any more help, but in today’s polluted world it cannot cope on its own with the amount of harmful molecules that it encounters. For example, according to the World Health Organization, 13 million deaths worldwide could be prevented every year by making our environment healthier. Since we don’t always have control over our environment, we need to support the body’s natural detoxification systems as much as possible.
The first step is to try to control what toxins enter your body whenever you can (sadly, it’s not always possible.) Skin is the largest organ in the human body, and performs various vital functions such as the protection of internal organs and temperature regulation. So, protecting the skin should be among our highest priorities. Inform yourself about the ingredients in your skincare products, and avoid those that have ingredients known to be harmful. Websites such as cosmeticsdatabase.com offer a comprehensive database of dangerous chemicals in common products such as lotions, lipsticks and shampoo.
Companies claim that preservatives, notably parabens, are necessary to prevent the growth of microorganisms in cosmetic products, but this is for products that go through months of shipping from factories in China to the United States, then sit on store shelves potentially for years and, in some cases, endure extreme temperature conditions.
It takes little effort to choose natural cosmetics that are not mass produced and therefore don’t need harsh chemical preservatives. These products use natural preservatives that are not dangerous to health yet still prevent the growth of microorganisms. You should look for products that are based around essential oils, which have a long history of use for both mental and physical benefits. When inhaled, their aroma can stimulate and arouse the senses. Applied topically, they can have various benefits.
The next step is to remove the harmful molecules through natural detoxification methods such as gentle chelation, which helps remove heavy metal buildup, or by taking natural supplements to help support elimination function. Natural supplements should be used regularly to help detoxify your body and keep it performing optimally. For example, heavy metal buildup is a major health concern, as it can lead to weakness and fatigue but also chronic ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Chelation is one way to help tackle this issue by removing the heavy metals that have accumulated in the body over time. It can be done intravenously though a series of drips or, more conveniently, by taking oral supplements that help bind to the metals and expel them from the body.
The best oral supplements incorporate only the highest-grade natural ingredients for maximum absorption. Innovative formulations combine several ingredients for multiple and synergistic approaches. Look for a supplement that contains L-glutathione – a tri-peptide containing L-cysteine, Chlorella, Chitosan, or HumifulvateTM, which is obtained from a 3,000 – 10,000 year old geologically young peat deposit on the shores of Lake Balaton in Hungary. These peat deposits contain many types of humic and fulvic acids, chemical by-products of decomposition of organic matter. Humic and fulvic acids are very efficient chelators and ion exchangers.
Finally, one of the biggest myths about detoxification is that it is a one-time venture: you take two weeks to do the Master Cleanse and then it’s over. This is a big misconception. In life you never completely stop coming into contact with toxic molecules. Sustainable detoxification is about building a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise and regular detoxification treatments depending on what your needs are.
This is done by educating yourself about how to avoid molecules that are known to be harmful and how to live a healthier life. Make sure to buy organic food and natural products free of dangerous preservatives. Steer clear of foods that are known to be harmful to your health, such as refined sugar, caffeine and trans fats. Exercise is essential as well to free toxins that collect in muscle knots and increases blood circulation so that the toxins can be more easily removed. By taking charge of your own health, you give yourself the best chance at staying healthy in an increasingly polluted world. The correct use of detoxification should be an integral part of that.
Sylvie Beljanski is the President of Natural Source International, Ltd., (www.natural-source.com) which offers dietary supplements stemming from her father’s lifetime of research at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France. She is overseeing the development of the Beljanski Wellness Center in Manhattan (www.beljanskiwellness.com), as well as the creation of the Targetage® line of dietary supplements for detox (www.targetage.com) and the French SecretTM line of preservative-free skincare and mineral makeup products (www.frenchsecretinc.com). Ms. Beljanski speaks at conferences across the country about the importance of environmental medicine and serious detoxification.