JJ Virgin, PhD, CNS, CHFI is a 25 year veteran of the health and fitness industry. She has a PhD in holistic nurtition, is a certified nutrition specialist, and has been an on air nutritionist for Dr. Phil's weight loss shows.
Question: I have heard mixed reviews about juice cleansing as a form of detoxification, and I am thinking about trying a cleanse. What do you think about this?
Answer: I am a big fan of detoxification. Even if we stop polluting our world right now, we will be dealing with the past damage for decades to come. I believe that the healthiest people in this millennium will be those who are the best detoxifiers. This is why I am totally against juice fasting and fasting in general for detoxification.
The body detoxifies in two phases. In the first phase the body releases the toxins from the tissues where they are stored. In the second phase the body eliminates these toxins through the sweat, feces and urine.
The second phase of excretion is dependent on amino acids (from protein) and if these are not readily available this whole process slows down or stops. This creates a lot of reactive intermediates also knows as oxidative stress which in turn creates inflammation.
We call this auto toxicity - you are freeing up the toxins and now they are roaming around your body which is a far worse situation than leaving them where they were sequestered in the first place. If you are doing a 'cleanse' or detoxification program and you feel terrible this is probably what is happening and it means you are making yourself worse not better!
Ideally, we should be detoxifying on a daily basis. Detoxification is a continuum. It starts with gut function which means that you are having 2-3 normal bowel movements daily. Then you consistently increase and continue good detoxification habits.
Consistent daily detoxification can help overcome weight loss resistance, improve thyroid and overall hormone function, improve skin and help with overall mood and brain function. Make detoxification a daily habit as you are getting inundated with toxins on a daily basis. As far as toxins go ... better out than in!