We all have to optimize our natural ability to remove the overwhelming amount of toxic fat from our bodies. Even if you are thin and don’t need to lose weight, there is still a need to detox your cells.
Detox Dangerous Fat Part I
Detox Dangerous Fat Part II
Remove Toxins From Your Cells
Three Keys To Optimal Health
To stay healthy, live long and prevent disease, there are three factors that I have found critical to the success of my practice.
- Lifestyle: For the past twenty-six years, I have been writing and lecturing on the values of a healthy lifestyle, which includes a whole foods diet, regular exercise, and both daily and seasonal routines. For more information please check out my book The 3-Season Diet, or one of my Gaiam DVDs.
- Toxicity: In the 100,000 years that humans have been on this planet, never before have we had to deal with such high levels of toxicity as we do today. A variety of man-made toxins often find their way into the deep tissues of our bodies and can store there for an entire lifetime. These toxins wreak havoc on our immune systems, causing cancer and disease.
- Deficiencies: Yes, our depleted soils have put us all at risk of nutritional deficiency. In the same way, if you don’t have gas in your car, not much else matters. If we are deficient in a mineral or vitamin, eventually this nutritional stress will weaken the body and make it more vulnerable to disease.
These three factors stand for LTD, which as you probably know is the abbreviation for “Limited.” This is appropriate because when Lifestyle, Toxicity and Deficiencies are ignored, one’s longevity, optimal health and disease protection will become limited.
Fat Soluble Cancer Causing Toxins Must Go
Our body was designed to continuously and naturally remove cancer and disease causing toxins. There are two kinds of toxins; water soluble and fat soluble. Water soluble toxins are easily flushed out of the body via the blood and kidneys, but the fat soluble toxins are a challenge for the body to remove. These fat soluble toxins are man-made toxins like heavy metals, parasites, pesticides, preservatives, food additives, pollutants, plastics and other environmental chemicals. If our digestive and detox pathways are not functioning optimally, these toxins find their way to the liver, blood, fat cells and brain where they store indefinitely.
For example, in one study done on our Panchakarma detox program, a fat soluble, aggressive, cancer causing chemical called dioxin was removed from human fat cells where it had been stored for 25 years. Storing toxins is unacceptable!
Diseases related to these ingested toxins are almost impossible to calculate because they are so vast and insidious. Even so, according to the Center of Children’s Health and the Environment, an average of 54.9 billion dollars a year is spent researching toxicity’s relation to four diseases in children; asthma, lead poisoning, cancer and neurobehavioral disorders. Imagine the cost if every toxin-related disease for both children and adults were being addressed. The costs would be astronomical.
I believe that if we keep our digestion, stress levels and detoxification pathways balanced, we can prevent dangerous chemicals and toxins from storing in our bodies.
Here Is How It Works
When we digest a meal, the nutritional and toxic fats are shuffled through the stomach into the small intestine where bile secreted from the liver and gall bladder emulsifies them. In the small intestine, millions of small villi and lacteals, which are little finger-like grasses that sweep the gut, help absorb nutritional fats and remove dangerous toxic fats. If this detoxification pathway is not working the body absorbs the toxic fats, rather than removing them.
The Most Important ½ Inch of the Body
The very beginning of the body’s lymphatic system is the Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissues (GALT), which surrounds the entire intestinal tract. This is what I call, “the most important half inch in your body” because it is here that lacteals help absorb and process nutritional and toxic fats. The ¼ inch on the inside of the gut wall must have those villi and lacteals functioning well and the ¼ inch on the outside of the gut (which is that lymph tissue) must not be congested.
Symptoms of congested GALT affecting the lymphatic system are:
- constipation or loose stools
- holding extra weight around your belly
- skin rashes or itching
- swollen hands and feet
- breast swelling and tenderness during the menstrual cycle
Both Constipation and Loose Stools Store Toxins
There are many factors that could irritate the intestinal villi and compromise their function. A history of constipation will dry out these villi (grass-like mucus membranes) and force them to produce a reactive mucus. If this mucus is excessive, the stools could appear normal (2-3 regular bowel movements a day) but you could still be unhealthy and bloated or carrying that extra belly weight. If the mucus is even more excessive, the stools can become looser, diarrhea-like and more frequent. If you EVER see mucus in your stool, this should be addressed right away. Basically, the villi become stuck and cannot function in the excess mucus. This means that even if the bile successfully broke down the fat soluble toxins in the small intestine, the GALT will not be able to remove them from the body. Normally, white blood cells in your immune system and 500+ lymph nodes will attack these toxins and naturally neutralize them. But if mucus is excessive, this may not happen. Some of the other causes for irritation that compromise the intestinal villi are stress, worry, anxiety, food additives, processed food, coffee, soft drinks and hyper acidity – to name just a few.
Where Do These Toxic Fats Go?
If our intestinal tract is irritated, toxic fats may not be processed properly and begin to enter the large intestines. Optimal bile flow in our large intestines is critical to our health because it acts as the great immune system responder and absorbs all the fat soluble toxins it can find. This includes heavy metals, parasites, pesticides, bad bacteria and numerous other cancer and disease causing chemicals. These toxins that the lymph earmarked for assimilation in the small intestine are now being re-acquainted with the bile in the large intestine. In this common scenario, the bile is not eliminated with the stool. Instead, up to 90% of the bile – along with it’s toxic baggage – gets reabsorbed back to the liver to be recycled. The liver becomes overwhelmed because it is not expecting the return of these toxic fat cells. Over time the liver becomes congested and the bile becomes thick and sludgy, making it more difficult to break down a hamburger, heavy metals or food additives. Now that the toxic fats are not broken down, it doesn’t even matter if the villi are functional – we now have a more serious problem. As a result, the bile is too sluggish to buffer the stomach acids that start to enter the small intestine. The acid acts as another irritant to the villi and thus more congestive reactive mucus is produced. As the bile becomes more viscous, it blocks the flow of pancreatic enzymes into the small intestines. The pancreas shares the common bile duct with the gall bladder and when this flow stops or becomes sluggish, the digestive process is compromised.
What Happens When The Liver Becomes Overwhelmed?
When the biliary tubes in the liver become congested with thick bile and toxins, the liver pushes the fat soluble toxins into the blood stream. These toxins find their way into the fat cells where they store for many years and cause oxidation (free radical damage) and degeneration.
Burn Fat to Burn Toxins
This is why one of the main focuses in Ayurveda is to convince the body to burn fat. Not primarily for weight loss but because fat metabolism is the body’s detox fuel and it is critical that we flush these fat cells in order to turn over and remove toxins. Once the nervous system can function without stress, the body will naturally burn fat. This is the topic of my book, The 3-Season Diet, where diet and lifestyle are used to burn fat as well as my book Body, Mind and Sport where nose breathing exercise is used to burn fat.
The bottom line: there are many ways to burn fat and our lifestyle plays an important role. The majority of the fat burning and detox responsibility lies in the integrity of the digestive system, lymph and bile flow.
Toxins in the Brain
The sad part is that the fat cells have a limit of how many fat soluble chemicals they can store. Once saturation is reached, the fats will re-enter the blood stream to find a new unused depository of fat cells. If the liver is still overwhelmed, it is common for the fat cells to become neurotoxins and deposit in the fatty tissues of the brain. These neurotoxins may cause cognitive problems like Attention Deficit Disorder, lack of memory, inability to focus, as well as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and perhaps the growing number of brain concerns.
Food Allergies and Inability to Absorb Good Fats
Many of us simply do not break down and absorb the good fats because the villi and lymph around the gut are congested. So perhaps, before we start ingesting mega-doses of fish oils or EFAs, we should make sure that we are able to digest and assimilate them. This is also why so many of us are diagnosed with wheat, dairy and soy allergies. These foods are heavy, harder to digest and are high mucus content foods. If there is already excessive mucus in the gut, the gluten will stick the villi down to the intestinal wall and the heavy meal will just sit, putrefy and ferment in the gut. There is a time to reduce or even eliminate these foods for a time – but a life sentence of no wheat and dairy for many of us is a hard (and unnecessary) pill to swallow.
To Sum it all Up
Your detoxification and assimilation pathways may be compromised if you experience constipation, loose stools, see mucus in your stools, have to avoid certain foods, or eat more healthy foods to maintain regular elimination. If you feel that a heavy or fatty meal just sits in your stomach or you get nauseous or experience pain after that meal, then your bile flow may be compromised and you are likely storing toxic cancer causing fats. These are some simple guidelines that are an important first step in responding to these conditions. Let me now make some easy and preliminary suggestions that you can read more about on my web site.
If You Are Experiencing These Symptoms:
- Storing extra belly fat – Read up on manjistha, amalaki and Elim 1.
- Constipation – Read up on Elim 1.
- Loose Stools – Read up on Elim 2.
- Mucus in the Stools – Read up on amalaki.
- Sluggish Liver and congested bile – Read up on Liver Repair.
- Feel sick after a heavy meal – Read up on Liver Repair or Beet Cleanse.
- Gluten Sensitive – Read up on turmeric and Liver Repair.
- Lymph Congestion – Read up on manjistha and turmeric.
In Ayurveda, much of the diagnostics and therapies are designed to heal the gut, flush the lymph and de-stagnate the bile and liver. The ghee taken in the Short Home 4-Day Cleanse and is designed to flush the bile and reset your fat metabolism. I always evaluate and treat the eliminative channels like the lymph, liver and digestion first. Seasonal detox programs like the Colorado Cleanse or the Short Home 4-Day Cleanse are designed to reset digestion and elimination while removing cancer causing toxic fats that may be stored in your fat cells, liver or brain. In one study on Panchakarma 14 of the major fat soluble cancer causing toxins were detoxified from the body during a 7 day program and continued detoxifying for 3 months after the Panchakarma had ended.
Toxins Can Be Emotional and Psychological
What makes the Ayurvedic approach to detox so profound is the understanding that our toxicity is not only environmental. It is well understood that our toxic relationships, and emotional and psychological imbalances – created even as children – may be responsible for physical disease and imbalance. The emotional and protective mind creates patterns of behavior that strain the function of the physical body and can directly compromise digestion, elimination, assimilation and detoxification. If this connection between the emotions and the physiology are interesting to you please read more about these concepts and how Ayurveda comprehensively treats the body, mind, emotions and spirit in my article, The Psycho-Physiology of Stress.