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How to Know When You're Due for a Detox

When your body becomes overloaded with toxins, it will send you signals that detoxification is needed, pronto! Weight gain, skin irritation, GI disturbances, and fatigue are all common signs that you're due for a detox.


In this blog, we will further explore the symptoms telling you to detox and how to get rid of them for good.

yoga, detox, detoxification, toxins

But first, what is the detoxification process?


Detoxification is a natural process inherent to the human body. Every day, our bodies accumulate toxins, mainly from our environment and food sources. And every day, our bodies work to rid these toxins through the detoxification process. And as we accumulate more toxins, we become less effective at detoxification.


Efficient detoxification depends on a series of seamless reactions that bind toxins to shuttle molecules and “escorts” them out through a series of doors. Dysfunction of the three-phase detoxification system is the most common and insidious root cause of toxic accumulation in the body. True health requires that all phases function in balance, or the whole system cannot work properly. With an increase in our daily exposure to toxins, it is imperative that our detox pathways are working at 100%.


In the most simplified description, in the detoxification process, a toxin goes through several biotransformations in order to be removed from the body.

  • Phase 1 is activation. Phase 1 takes fat-soluble toxins and makes them water-soluble. This actually makes the toxin more reactive within the cell and must immediately be picked up by a Phase II molecule.

  • Phase II is conjugation. Phase 2 consists mainly of conjugation reactions that link biomolecules such as glutathione, glucuronic acid, and sulfation to the toxin for removal.

  • Phase III is transportation. Toxins leave the body mainly from the GI tract and kidneys but also from the skin with sweating. With GI excretion, the toxin travels from the cell into the blood, from the blood into the liver, from the liver into the bile, and then into the intestines. With Kidney excretion, toxins travel from the blood into the proximal tubules and into the urine.

This process is constantly taking place throughout your liver, kidneys, and skin. And there are several factors that can cause holdups or a slowing of the detoxification process. Lifestyle factors, nutrition, and genetics can all play a detrimental role in your ability to detox.


What are the signs that you need a detox?


When your detoxification system becomes overloaded with toxins, it will signal to the rest of your body that it needs some help. Here are some common signs that you’re due for a detox:

  • You feel very fatigued all the time → If you feel like you just can’t catch up on sleep or constantly feel exhausted, your body is sending a cry for help. Adrenal fatigue is not normal and can easily be caused by toxic buildup, inflammation, and microbiome imbalances.

  • You’re constantly craving sweets → Frequent cravings for sugar is another sign that something in your body is out of whack. If your diet is full of processed foods, it can cause imbalances in your blood sugar and leptin hormones. This will only further increase your sugar cravings.

  • You’re not cool with your stool → Digestive stress and other GI disturbances are one of the most obvious signs you need a detox. Bloating, gas, diarrhea, and infrequent stools are all key signals that your GI system isn’t functioning properly.

  • Your skin is acting up → The health of your skin is intrinsically linked to the health of your gut. A buildup of toxins in the gut and subsequently on the skin can lead to skin conditions like acne, rashes, psoriasis, and eczema.

  • You aren’t as mentally sharp → Brain fog and troubles with concentration or memory are all signs that you need a detox. When your body can’t eliminate toxins fast enough, they build up and cause inflammation. This inflammation can cause damage to the blood-brain barrier, which will cause oxidative stress in the brain.

  • Your joints are sore → Inflammation caused by the buildup of toxins can also affect your muscles and joints. If you feel constantly achy and sore, without spending extra time in the gym, it’s likely that toxic inflammation is to blame.

  • You struggle to shed the extra pounds → If you find yourself putting on the pounds, without changing your diet or exercise routine, you’re likely due for a detox. Fat cells tend to hold on to toxins. And when they become too overloaded, your body decides it’s “unsafe” to break down the toxic fat cells, causing you to hold on to weight.

  • Your BO and breath are not smelling great → A toxic buildup in your gut can lead to both bad breath and bad BO. Especially since the body eliminates toxins through body odor, if you’ve got a chronic stench, it’s probably a bad sign.

  • Your sleep patterns are out of whack → Hormonal issues like adrenal fatigue and leptin resistance, often caused by the buildup of toxins, can cause irregular circadian rhythms. A detoxification protocol could help you get the night’s sleep you’ve been craving.

Some other symptoms signaling that your body needs a detox include:

  • Stress or anxiety

  • Headaches

  • Increase in asthma and allergies

  • High blood pressure

  • Food sensitivities

  • Numbness and tingling in the face

  • Intolerance to fatty foods

  • Gallbladder problems

  • Weak immune system

  • Hormonal imbalances

  • Lower back pain

  • Low libido

  • indigestion

If you frequently consume alcohol, have a history of using steroid drugs like oestrogens, or have high exposure to cleaning solvents, pesticides, antibiotics, diuretics, NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen), thyroid hormone, you’ll likely need to detox more often than most. As you have increased toxic exposure a subsequently increased toxic buildup.


Dr. Johnson’s detox protocol:


Dr. Johnson recommends all of her patients enact healthy detoxification techniques every day. This will help assist with the daily toxic buildup. Then, once or twice a year, undergo a larger, more serious detoxification protocol.


Some ways you can detox every day include:

  • Eat a diet full of leafy greens, sulfur-rich vegetables, and organic organ meat

  • Include the following foods into your daily diet:

    • Garlic

    • Cilantro

    • Parsley

    • Spirulina

    • Sage

  • Drink clean water. Dr. Johnson recommends Berkey.

  • Eat only organic produce and meat.

  • Sweat at least once every day.

  • Take it easy on the alcohol consumption.

  • Limit your sugar and processed food intake.

  • Eat foods rich in antioxidants.

  • Take some probiotics or eat fermented foods.

  • Incorporate fasting.


But the most important issue to consider before embarking on a detox is checking to see if all of your detoxification pathways are open and functioning ideally. If you’re only supporting phase 1 of detoxification (which actually makes the toxins more toxic) without supporting phase 2, your body will have an overfill of these new, more toxic toxins. To function properly, your detox pathways need the proper nutrients, a healthy microbiome, and a “normal” level of toxic buildup.


The phase II detoxification pathway must be working optimally to prevent the build-up of toxic intermediates from the phase I pathway. Dr. Johnson recommends testing markers for glutathione and methylation. Without testing, you can support phase 2 by supplementing with glutathione, N-Acetylcysteine, B12, B6, folate, and sulfur compounds. These nutrients all help to support the detoxification processes that occur during phase 2.


For more information about detoxification protocols at the Johnson Center, click here to contact us! Or, call 276-235-3205 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute discovery call.


The Johnson Center for Health services patients in-person in our Blacksburg and Virginia Beach locations. We also offer telemedicine for residents of Virginia and North Carolina!

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