Spring has officially sprung, which means that, in addition to clearing out our closets, scrubbing the hardwood floors and giving the car a good detail, many of us are also embarking on spring our bodies. And this is a good. From environmental pollutants to pesticides on our food, GMO ingredients, chemicals in home cleaning and personal care products, we are constantly bombarded by vast amounts of toxins. And, when those toxins are not cleared out, they can trigger various ailments—from symptoms as simple as gas and bloating, to more serious diseases like cancer.
I wholeheartedly believe food is medicine, and the first step in any detox program is to switch to a healing diet consisting of whole foods. But, since many of us are battling years and years of built up toxins, food alone won’t always produce the results we need as quickly as we would like. That’s where high-quality, scientifically-proven supplements come in. With the right help, you can rev up your digestion, then triggering your body’s natural, ongoing detoxification process.
Here are five detox supplements you may never heard of—but which could be just the thing you need to fast-track tremendous gains in your overall health.
Shisandra, a medicinal berry with multiple healing properties, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Shisandra is probably best known for its impact on liver and adrenal function—it boosts the production of various detoxifying enzymes, while also balancing hormones naturally, thereby improving our ability to deal with stress and providing extra support for the adrenal glands. But shisandra is also a potent digestive aid with the ability to improve circulation, digestion and waste removal.
Like shisandra, the reishi mushroom has a medicinal history going back thousands of years. It is a staple of Chinese medicine as well, and it is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits and its ability to improve immune function, longevity and mental clarity. The fungus is so revered, in fact, that it is called the “king of mushrooms.”
Because Chinese medicine places an emphasis on disease prevention instead of treatment, there is a strong focus on the liver, since that is the organ responsible for cleaning, processing and circulating healthy blood and nutrients. Reishi mushrooms assist this process by strengthening the digestive system, where nutrients are broken down and absorbed, and supporting liver function by allowing waste and toxins to be flushed from the body more efficiently.
In my new book, Eat Dirt, I talk a lot about how our obsession with cleanliness has had a negative impact on our health. Our microbiome has suffered, throwing off the balance of good-to-bad bacteria and making us more susceptible to leaky gut and a host of other health conditions.
Fulvic acid is an active chemical compound found naturally in the soil that is known to boost digestion, improve nutrient absorption and improve gut health. It works by boosting the numbers of good bacteria in the intestines, while also fighting inflammation within the digestive organs and boosting the absorption rate of nutrients by making cells more permeable. Finally, fulvic acid helps restore the body’s ideal pH level, which further discourages the growth and proliferation of harmful bacteria, yeasts, fungi and other microorganisms. And you don’t have to actually eat dirt to get more fulvic acid. It is readily available in supplement form.
It’s no secret that sea vegetables pack tremendous nutrient power and should be a regular part of everyone’s diet, but you may not be aware of their ability to help you detox. One of the most significant health benefits of chlorella (a blue-green algae similar to spirulina) is that is a natural chelator. It can wrap itself around heavy metal toxins in the body and keep them from being reabsorbed while they are expelled. This is of particular importance for anyone who has mercury fillings in their teeth, has been vaccinated and/or eats fish regularly.
Additionally, chlorella is also proven to be beneficial in post-radiation and chemotherapy detoxification. The high levels of chlorophyll in chlorella have been shown to protect the body against ultraviolet radiation treatments while removing radioactive particles from the body.
Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, is an organic compound that contains biologically active sulfur. This is important because sulfur is the fourth most plentiful mineral in the human body, and it’s necessary for many critical bodily functions—including detoxification.
In our bodies, MSM helps facilitate the detoxification process by making cells more permeable, which helps to release built up heavy metals, waste and toxins, while also making it easier for nutrients and water to enter the cells and continue the cleansing process. The sulfur contained in MSM is also an important factor in the production of glutathione, the body’s “master antioxidant” and potent detoxifier.
Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. He recently authored Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and Five Surprising Steps to Cure It, and he operates one of the world’s largest natural health websites at www.DrAxe.com. Follow him on Twitter @DRJoshAxe.