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Is It Safe To Detoxify On Your Own?

I frequently receive questions about detoxifying, as many people are aware of the benefits of following a detoxification program, and want information on how to successfully do one on their own.  So I thought it would be a good idea to write an article that not only discusses the benefits of detoxifying, but also talks about the risks involved when trying to detoxify on your own.

Let me begin by talking about why many people need to detoxify their bodies.  Even if you feel healthy, you have accumulated many different toxins over the years.  There are toxins in the water we drink, the food we eat, the products we use, and the air we breathe.  In fact, there are thousands of more toxins today than there were a decade ago, as a few thousand new chemicals are manufactured each year.  And many of these chemicals haven’t been tested in order to determine whether or not they are toxic to your body.  One of the problems is that many of these chemicals simply haven’t been around long enough to determine whether or not they are toxic and if they have long-term health issues.

In any case, it is obviously impossible to avoid all of these toxins.  You can minimize your exposure to them if you were to eat a 100% organic diet, drink and bathe in purified water, and use only natural products.  But even if you did this you would need to live in a plastic bubble in order to avoid the other environmental toxins you’re exposed to.  This is why everyone can benefit from detoxifying on a regular basis.  Even if you feel great this doesn’t mean  toxins aren’t taking their toll on your body, as there is a good chance they will eventually lead to certain health issues.

How Can One Effectively Detoxify?

There are numerous ways in which one can detoxify their body.  There are so many different detoxification products on the market, being sold in health food stores, nutrition stores, and of course on the Internet.  As is the case with other supplements, not all of the detoxification products out there are of high quality.  I’ve used numerous detoxification supplements over the years.

For the last six or seven years I’ve used the purification program by Standard Process.  You can view the components of this program by visiting the website www.StandardProcess.com [1].  This involves taking the following supplements:

SP Cleanse. This is the primary detoxification supplement which helps the kidneys, liver, and intestines to eliminate toxins.  According to the Standard Process website, this helps to “support a healthy gastrointestinal environment and promote regular elimination, as well as support the lymphatic system”.

Whole Food Fiber. This is a good source of fiber from nutrient-rich whole foods in order to help you have regular bowel movements, which is extremely important when following any detoxification program.

SP Greenfood. This is a supplement which contains brussels sprouts, kale, alfalfa, buckwheat, and barley grass, and helps to support detoxification of the liver.  I’m sure some people with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis will wonder if they can take such a product, since it consists of some goitrogens.  It all comes down to risks vs. benefits.  In most cases, taking this for the required 14 days (the last two weeks of the program) shouldn’t cause any long-term problems to the thyroid gland, and so the benefits of detoxifying should outweigh the “risks” of consuming the goitrogenic foods.

SP Complete. This is a supplement which helps to provide some of the necessary nutrients and amino acids during the purification program.  This is actually what I use not only during the purification program, but I also use this supplement as part of the daily smoothies I consume.  I will use this supplement along with two cups of purified water, one cup of mixed berries, some flax seed oil, and will also add a raw organic egg to this (I refrain from adding the raw egg while following the actual purification program, and don’t do this every single day).

Like any other detoxification program, this involves changing one’s diet during this period.  Some people think they can just take detoxification supplements and continue eating junk food during this period.  But to really clean out your system thoroughly you should eat healthy, and try to avoid the common food allergens during this time (wheat, dairy, etc.).  You of course also want to drink plenty of purified water during this time.

How Long Should You Detoxify For?

As for the length of the detoxification, most programs are usually between two and four weeks in length.  If someone has an extreme condition, such as a severe hormone imbalance, then they might need be on a detoxification program for a longer period of time.  Most people who follow the Standard Process purification program need to be on the program for three weeks.

The first few days are usually the most difficult ones, as it’s not uncommon for a person to experience symptoms such as headaches and fatigue.  Most people who don’t follow through with the program usually do so because of these symptoms they experience.  But if you can get through the first three or four days of the program then the rest of it shouldn’t be as difficult.  Eventually you’ll be feeling better, experience more energy, and will probably wonder why you didn’t follow such a program sooner.

Risks Of Detoxifying On Your Own

Getting back to the main question as to whether it is safe to detoxify on one’s own, the truth is that there are risks when doing this without the guidance of a doctor.  I have told a story in the past about my experience with detoxifying, as many years ago, before I became a chiropractor, I purchased some detoxification products from a reputable company.  There was no set protocol to follow (at least not at that time), and so I just created my own protocol.  One night, after taking these supplements, I got up to go to the bathroom, but I was unable to urinate.  I then avoided the supplements and my “health issue” resolved. Even though I was almost certain the supplements are what caused this problem, I decided to test it out again, as I followed the same protocol, and that night I had the same exact problem.  This is just an example of how taking supplements on your own can be risky.

If you’re following a proven protocol then this definitely is safer to do on your own.  But if you’re detoxifying for the very first time then it’s still a good idea to consult with a holistic doctor.  Then if you decide to do a detoxification on an annual basis to maintain your health it probably wouldn’t be much of a problem to do it on your own.  Speaking of which, after going through your initial detoxification it’s a good idea to go through one every six to twelve months.  Since you will continue to be exposed to toxins this will help to benefit your health, and help to prevent future conditions from developing.  I’m actually going through a purification program right now (I’m on day #10).

In summary, just about everyone can benefit from following a detoxification program.  When following a detoxification program for the very first time it’s best to do so under the guidance of a competent holistic doctor.  Then if you decide to go through follow-up “detoxes” it won’t be as risky doing it on your own.