Contributed by our friend, Dr. Sara Gottfried
One of the top questions I get asked is what I recommend to help the body fix itself, at a foundational level. Perhaps you are craving this knowledge, and want nothing more than to return to a state of wholeness and zen-like hormone balance. Maybe you feel frustrated and desperate. Maybe you’ve worked with other doctors, only to be given prescription medications, and worse, mediocre results. But did your doc recommend a detox? In our modern world, it’s likely that you suffer from some sort of hormonal imbalance, with characteristic signs such as burnout, anxiety, insomnia, or weight gain. You want answers to healing these conditions, not just quick fixes.
First and foremost, I suggest that people begin by cleaning out the body, clearing out the jammed hormone receptors, and resetting key hormones. We all accumulate so much junk mentally, emotionally, and physically on a daily basis; it’s imperative to allow yourself the time to rest, reset, and recover. It’s like rebooting your computer.
I recommend that everyone detoxify for at least 21 days on a quarterly basis. This practice is critical in maintaining resilient health, happy genes, and excellent molecular sex between your hormones and their receptors.
The next big question is how you can possibly fit a 21-day detox into your busy schedule. You list the work, travel, and family commitments. Volleyball practice. Care for a parent. Visiting a sister who just had surgery. Society pushes women toward perfectionism and the fear that we may not be able to follow a detox perfectly may cause inaction. Anne Lamott, a Bay Area writer, has this to say about it:
Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.
Aiming for perfection will hold you back from greatness, cell to soul. Instead, consider life as a series of “detox, retox, and detox.” This means that periodically allowing your body the time to heal via detoxification is essential, even if after the detox you don’t maintain that supposedly perfect way of eating and living, i.e., living life with a few indulgences or re-toxing. You can always go back to detoxing, and thus, resetting the stage for balance again. In fact, the cycle of detox, retox, detox may be a better way to define “balance.”
After all, what’s the point of a life not richly enjoyed—from moment to moment? A fulfilling life is an essential part of the inner nourishment you deserve to give yourself. Enjoyment includes the pleasures you receive from eating delicious, laughing until it hurts, and sharing moments with friends and family that suspend time.
Here are my top 5 strategies when it comes to implementing a successful detoxification:
1—Preparation is key. Set a start date, and let your loved ones know. Find accountability partners. From the research, we know that an accountability partner you don’t know very well subconsciously gives you less room to wiggle and slide. Make a contract with yourself of this commitment—silent or written.
2—Be all in. While I believe that too much focus on perfection can in turn paralyze you; I also believe in jumping into something—heart and soul. You’ll hear the typical excuses replay in your mind, (“I’m too busy,” “I’m too tired,” “I have too many commitments,” or “I’m traveling.”). Life never stops. So jump in, and commit!
3—Start your day with a shake. Breakfast is, without a doubt, the most important meal to starting your day right. In my years of research, I have found that certain protein shakes will fill in your micronutrient gaps, and allow your hormones to get back into its balance. A healthy, medicinal shake for breakfast sets the metabolic tone for the day.
4—Enjoy life in between. Savor good food and wine with friends and family. I highly recommend indulging once in a while without guilt. (Let’s repeat the mantra together: “detox, retox, and detox.”)
5—Take essential, proven, and highest quality supplements. The ones I recommend are as follows:
- Berberine is the main active component of an herb called Coptis chinensis, and has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of conditions from metabolic syndrome, cancer, and gastrointestinal inflammation. More recently, studies are showing that berberine is also an effective blood glucose regulator that is even superior to metformin (a prescription medication used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes) in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (Wei, 2012). The safety profile is excellent (Lan, 2015).
- N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a powerful chelating agent for heavy metals from the body, such as lead and mercury. Your main source of lead? Lipstick, and lead dust and/or peeling paint if your home was built prior to 1978. Mercury? Fish, dental amalgams, possibly vaccines.
- Curcumin gives turmeric its characteristically bright orange color. Ayurvedic medicine has used curcumin for a wide variety of diseases and conditions. In studies, curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities—and may be the most potent anti-inflammatory known.
When approached using my time-tested strategies, a detox is your nutrient rehab in life. This is why I offer detoxes regularly. It is within a like-minded community of detoxers that you build accountability, a container to self-nurture and bring your hormones back to balance. To learn more about our next guided Detox, click here. Share the process with a friend, and it’ll double your accountability and fun!
3. Joshi D, et al. Reversal of methylmercury-induced oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, and DNA damage by the treatment of N-acetyl cysteine: a protective approach. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol 2014 33(2):167-82.
4. Kasperczyk S, et al. Effect of N-acetylcysteine administration on homocysteine level, oxidative damage to proteins, and levels of iron (Fe) and Fe-related proteins in lead-exposed workers. Toxicol Ind Health 2015 Mar 2. pii: 0748233715571152.
8. Wei W, et al. A clinical study on the short-term effect of berberine in comparison to metformin on the metabolic characteristics of women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Eur J Endocrinol 2012 Jan;166(1):99-105.