Jan 16, 2018
Well, I've been at it again folks: putting my mind and muscles through a brutal ringer for the sake of science. In my recent post "Biohacking Your Manhood: The Proven Habits, Foods, Exercises, Workouts, Nutrients & Tools That Boost Testosterone & Libido", you learned how Men's Health magazine recently sent me on a 3 month global expedition to do everything a fella could possibly to do increase testosterone, size, orgasm quality, libido and a host of other manhood related parameters - including stem cell injections, acoustic sound wave therapy, red light blasting and beyond. Shortly after completing that article, I received my next writing assignment: outfit my pantry with an arsenal of the latest trendy hangover cures - from Oriental raisin extract hovenia dulcis to prickly pear concentrated extract to self-administered Myer's cocktail IV's - then engage in extreme alcohol hedonism and see what happens (you can read the surprising results here). So, after all this brutality, I've decided to kick off 2018 by pushing the reboot button and cleaning up my entire system with a giant, scientifically proven detoxification mop, and I'm inviting you to join me. In this article, you'll learn why detoxification is not a myth, exactly why you should seriously consider detoxing (even if you live an ultra-clean lifestyle and don't necessarily treat your body as an N=1 guinea pig like I do), and how I'm personally going to detox using a relatively unique approach.
A few years ago, The Guardian released an article entitled: You can’t detox your body. It’s a myth. So how do you get healthy? In the article, the author says that:
“...detoxing — the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go — is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things.”
So is this true? Can you really not detox your body? As you go into the New Year, during which detox diets and claims are sure to surround you, it’s important to know the truth about detoxing. It’s important to begin with an understanding of what toxins actually are. No matter how “clean” you live your life, just about everybody shows some evidence of a buildup of toxins. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted the Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, they found some pretty shocking results. On average, the CDC’s report found 212 chemicals in people’s blood or urine, 75 of which had never before been measured in the U.S. population. The chemicals included:
When you put all these together, these chemicals can potentially present a toxic burden to the human body, and (as the CDC has found) can accumulate in your body’s blood, urine and tissue — possibly one reason why the plastic-based versions of these chemicals are sometimes referred to as “obesogens,” due to the suggestion that they may somehow accumulate in fat tissue. While your body does actually have detoxification organs (your liver and kidney) that can process many of these chemicals and toxins, they can potentially cause medical problems if your liver and kidneys are not functioning properly or are overburdened with a poor diet. While the kidneys are indeed important for acting as a filtration mechanism for your blood and removing wastes and excess water from the body, it’s the liver that has an incredibly important job when it comes to detoxification. Along with filtering your blood to remove toxins, your liver uses a two-phase process to break down chemicals and toxins. During phase 1, toxins are neutralized and broken into smaller fragments. Then, in phase 2 they are bound to other molecules, creating a new non-toxic molecule that can be excreted in your bile, urine or stool. But order for this liver detoxification to work properly, your body must have adequate nutrients. If not, the phase 1 and phase 2 processes may not work adequately, which can leave toxic substances to build up in your body. There are specific nutrients that support both pathways. For example: Phase 1:
Multiple studies have demonstrated the efficacy of these nutrients for supporting proper liver detox pathways. In addition, as you can learn in this recent "Nourish, Balance, Thrive" podcast on everything you need to know about detoxification, Dr. Bryan Walsh has introduced the concept of a third "Phase 3" detoxification pathway. Now that you understand detoxification, let's delve into how detoxification products are actually supposed to work. The first claim in the article from The Guardian is based on a quote from Edzard Ernst, a professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University. He says:
“...there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn’t. The respectable one is the medical treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions. The other is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you’re supposed to have accumulated.”
The article goes on to explain that when it comes to products that range from dietary supplements to smoothies and shampoos, not one of the manufacturers can actually define what they meant by detoxification, or name the toxins these products are supposed to remove. However, just because a manufacturer of — say — spirulina powder (a popular green powder found in the detox section of many health foods stores) can’t say how it works, doesn’t mean there isn’t scientific evidence for it’s potential to remove toxins from the body. For example, cyanobacteria is a specific type of bacteria found in spirulina that is an accumulator (also known as a “biosorbent”) of heavy minerals. It does this via a process called ion-exchange binding, and can significantly reduce heavy metal toxicity in tissue. 100 micrograms (a very small amount) of spirulina hexane extract has been shown to remove over 85% of arsenic in tissue. At a does of 250-500 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, spirulina has been shown to prevent metal toxicity from occurring in pregnant rats’ offspring when the mothers were given fluoride, and it has also been noted to reduce lead accumulation in brain tissue, protect against heavy metal cadmium buildup, and attenuate mercury accumulation in the testes. Granted, spirulina is one of the few molecules in existence that actually has a large body of evidence to support it’s detoxifying activity, but other compounds such as dandelion extract, ginseng and zinc have also been clinically proven to reduce heavy metal buildup. And while heavy metals are only one form of a toxin that can accumulate in your tissues, there is no doubt that science has proven that these toxins can indeed be removed via the use of these specific “detox” compounds found in nature. So when the article in The Guardian “guffaws” at the ideas of superfoods such as spirulina, I would actually beg to differ. Or take milk thistle extract, another popular detox or cleansing supplement. While the article in The Guardian would have you to believe there is no value whatsoever in consuming this type of nutrient, studies show that milk thistle actually protects and promotes the growth of liver cells, fights oxidation (a process that damages cells), and actually blocks toxins from entering the cell membrane. Silymarins, a group of antioxidants extracted from the seeds of milk thistle, have antioxidant properties several times greater than that of vitamins C and E, with silybin as one silymarin that has been shown to be especially effective in promoting liver health. Milk thistle also helps to enhance detoxification by preventing the depletion of glutathione, which is necessary for phase 2 liver detoxification to be completed. As you can see from the two simple examples of spirulina and milk thistle, things aren’t quite as simple as painting with a broad brush and saying that detox supplements and diets simply don’t work. While the detox evidence for — say — cayenne pepper and maple syrup juice really doesn’t exist, evidence for other nutrients actually does exist. The article in The Guardian then goes on to address colon cleanses, noting that:
“...proponents will tell you that mischievous plaques of impacted poo can lurk in your colon for months or years and pump disease-causing toxins back into your system. Pay them a small fee, though, and they’ll insert a hose up your bottom and wash them all away.”
“Some colon-cleansing tablets contain a polymerising agent that turns your faeces into something like a plastic, so that when a massive rubbery poo snake slithers into your toilet you can stare back at it and feel vindicated in your purchase.”
When you think about it, the idea of toxins being somehow reabsorbed by your body as they sit in your colon actually makes some sense. After all, rectal suppositories are used to rapidly administer drugs — so if drugs can enter your bloodstream from your colon, it’s certainly possible that toxins could be entering too. However, your colon is equipped with several natural mechanisms to keep toxins from building up. For example:
I personally suspect that if colon cleansing or enemas have any effect in making you feel like you have more energy or have been “cleansed”, it is more likely to do with an activation of specific reflexes in your gut that cause your nervous system to relax, along with stimulation of bile production by the liver, which can indeed improve digestion, have a laxative effect, relieve constipation and cause you to go to the bathroom. Sure, this could potentially make you feel better by allowing you to better digest your food, or to even pass some feces that may have built up over the past few days, but I’d have to agree with the article in The Guardian that there is no evidence that poo can simply sit inside you for years, slowly rotting and toxifying your body. So should you detox? Ultimately, as the article in The Guardian alludes to, your body has it’s own powerful methods of detoxification — and can activate these methods without the use of fancy diets or fancy detox spa visits. These methods primarily come in the form of your liver and your kidneys. For example, your liver prevents pathogens from passing into your bloodstream, processes environmental toxins for safe removal, and helps to rid your body of excess nitrogen that build up from the breakdown of proteins and amino acids. Your kidneys filter blood, remove excess water, pass urea (which is a toxin that builds up as a byproduct of protein breakdown), and sends this all out of your body via your urine. So if you eat foods that support your liver and kidneys, or avoid foods that stress your liver and kidneys, you’re already detoxing every day — and theoretically, unless you’ve gone through something like a serious bout of alcoholism or heavy metal toxicity, you don’t really need any fancy herbal blends or colonic cleanses (at least, that's what I used to think. More on that in a second...as it may not be quite that simple). But first - to start simple indeed: for your liver, you can do things like avoid high amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats from processed and packaged foods like canola oil and French fries, and instead eat those type of fats from fish, meat, seeds and nuts. You can avoid high amounts of fructose and sugar, limit alcohol, consume plenty of egg yolks (which contain choline that your liver uses to process fats), eat good, organic liver every now and then and pay attention to what kind of soaps and shampoos and household cleaners you’re using. For your kidneys, you can limit intake of high fructose corn syrup, drink plenty of water, limit alcohol intake, and — if you are predisposed to renal issues — limit excessive protein intake (e.g. more than 200g/day of protein). So, as The Guardian article notes, many popular detox and cleansing diets probably feel beneficial very much in part because of what they eliminate. All the processed fats, high fructose corn syrup, alcohol, candy, soda, commercial meat and snack foods you’re eliminating on a detox diet are giving your liver and kidneys a chance to step up and do their normal detoxification duties, since they’re no longer overburdened with bad food and not enough micronutrients and minerals to support their normal function. But alas, the plot thickens, and it turns out that in our modern, post-industrial, radiated, metal-laden, polluted, glyphosate-sprayed, GMO-concentrated era, you may need to engage in a bit of better living through science and supplementation to truly detox.
So you eat a clean diet, take care of your liver and kidney's, and you don't need to detox, right? As I alluded to above, it's likely not that simple. See, when I interviewed Dr. Dan Pompa in the podcast episode “The Most Effective Detox You’ve Never Heard Of (And Exactly How To Do It), he described a serious issue called “cellular toxicity” and explained why it is an underlying cause of numerous health issues, including gut problems, thyroid issues, sluggish metabolism, brain fog and much more. Once again, the cause of this modern phenomenon is not "woo-woo" or non-quantifiable toxins, but rather measurable physical compounds: plastics, phytoestrogens, metals, pharmaceuticals, herbicides, pesticides and all manner of other chemicals that can overwhelm our liver, kidneys and built-in detoxification system. And what’s especially unfair is that you and me (even when we’re living a clean lifestyle) have to get exposed to these toxins on a constant daily basis, whether from brake dust on car roads, or mercury from electronic equipment, or herbicides on the apples at our friend’s house, or estrogens in the shampoo at the hotel, or mold on the carpeting at the gym (don't even get me started on gyms - just read this two part series on gym issue - Part 1 and Part 2)…you get the idea. So even if your waistline and fat cell storage survived the holidays, the same might not be said for your brain, your lungs and the rest of your insides. In other words, over the past year, was your body ever exposed to over-processed and refined foods, chemical additives, antibiotics and pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides, chlorinated water, artificial sweeteners or anything else that might remotely be consider “unnatural”? Did you drink many diet sodas? Eat much non-organic or farm-raised meat? Travel extensively? Chomp on fruits and vegetables without washing them? Get sick and have to get on a drug protocol? Engage in a few excessive nights of drinking? Get exposed to second-hand smoke? Spend much time around cleaning supplies? You get the idea. To make matters even worse, the world’s largest study on air pollution, just published October 25 in the European Heart Journal, found that when you breathe the average air in the average city (with all other variables held constant, such as eating healthy and exercising) you develop a huge risk for high blood pressure. How? In the study, the biological mechanisms for the adverse effect of air pollution on the functioning of the heart and blood vessels included: -Local and systemic inflammation… -Oxidative stress (a build-up of damaging molecules in the body)… -An imbalance in correct functioning of the nervous system… This also means that no matter how healthy you eat, how much you workout or how clean your water is, you’re still getting blasted with toxins from air pollutant every time you step into a city, or airport, or public gym, or just about anywhere else they aren’t using massive HEPA filters.
So why am I telling you all this? Frankly, everything that you've just read about is exactly I’m going to detox my entire body and brain beginning this February of 2018, and I’m asking you to join me. That’s right, I’m going to detox my entire body and brain, beginning Monday, February 12, 2018. And I’m not going to do just any ol’ detox like putting cayenne pepper into a nasty concoction or pushing giant grocery shopping carts full of random herbs through the supermarket. As you can learn about by clicking here, these popular detoxes can actually release toxins from tissues such as fat cells and shove them into the brain, causing even more damage and serious brain and body repercussions that include permanent brain fog, weight gain, skin breakouts, mood disorders, and much more. Instead, I’m partnering up with one of the most brilliant detox minds on the face of the planet: the guy I mentioned earlier named Dr. Dan Pompa, and Dr. Pompa's is going to walk us through the exact brain and body detox program that he’s studied and perfected for years. But I'm not going to stop there. I’m then going to combine Dr. Pompa's proven detox formula with my own exercise and biohacking protocols so that I can completely clean up my body without losing fitness by doing only, say, hot yoga and trampolining for weeks upon weeks. See, I don’t want to come out of my detox having lost my muscle or having to huff and puff whenever I climb a flight of stairs, so I’m pulling out all my fitness tricks that allow me to sculpt my body while I detox, without actually causing adrenal fatigue issues or ruining the detox protocol. I going to incorporate many of the similar modifications that I included in my detox last year, which you can listen to in nitty-gritty detail here, where you'll discover: -The 5 strategies I’m personally using to ensure I don’t lose fitness or muscle during my detox… -How fringe techniques like dry skin brushing, rebounding and infrared therapy can maximize the effectiveness of a detox… -The exact workouts I’ll be performing during my detox… -Whether or not you should use the dietary strategy of ketosis during a detox… -The best fasting strategy to use during a detox… -How meditation can fit perfectly into a detox program… -How oil pulling can assist with detox… -Why fermented foods are crucial during a detox… -The crazy, unique tea blends I’ll be using to accelerate my detox and wean myself off coffee… -And much more! During that episode, you'll learn why I'm going to incorporate strategies such as: –The True To Form book –Infrared sauna –Kundalini breathwork –Body By Science super slow training –Rebounding –WholeTones therapy CD’s –Dry skin brushing –Rumble roller deep tissue work –Coffee enemas (yep) –Organic bone broth Now don't worry - if this all sounds crazy complex or if you don't have time to go back and listen to that podcast, then please understand that I've taken all the guesswork out of it for you, and mapped out the entire program out in an easy-to-understand and simple-to-use dashboard, training plan, and downloadable pdf's. You simply wake up each day, and do exactly what the plan says, and you can, of course, look forward at the beginning of each week to preview the entire program. No head scratching or laying awake at night worrying whether or not what you're doing is actually working (your detox even includes simply and easy-to-interpret urine strips to track your detoxification progress)
My “True Cellular Detox” Challenge begins on Monday, February 12, and you can click here to join me. When you join, this means Dr. Pompa and I will walk you through every step of the detox, and you’ll get things like:
Whether you can’t seem to decimate a single fat cell and you’re experiencing brain fog, achy joints and serious lulls in energy or you want to blast your brain and body performance through the roof, look good naked, live as long as possible and feel amazing while doing it… …this challenge is the ticket: it will completely reboot your body. You can click here to read all the nitty-gritty details and to sign up now, but please be sure to get in on this detox soon because it will fill up fast and Dr. Dan and I want to be able to fit everybody in... ...the deadline to signup is by February 8th at 4pm! The same way you need instructions on how to detox the right way without harming your body, I need your help and your accountability to get me through this detox. Goodness knows that even though I’m a pretty healthy guy, I’m going to need a proper detox after both the holidays and an entire year of hard-charging, fast-living, daily post-industrialized world exposure, along with all that guinea-pigging. So let’s do this together.
Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for me about the 2018 True Cellular Detox challenge? Leave your comments at BenGreenfieldFitness.com and I will reply! (and remember, you must sign up no later than February 8th at 4pm).