Detoxification or “detox” is a concept that has been around for a very long time. Maybe you have done a detox yourself. There are countless diets, drinks, supplements and entire programs that are designed to help you detox. Doing a detox sounds like a good idea but do you really need to do a detox? There are countless questions that arise once we begin a conversation about detoxification and detoxification programs.

  1. What is “detoxing?”
  2. How does your body get rid of these toxins?
  3. Are there different types of toxins?
  4. Are these toxins originating from outside your body or within?
  5. How long should you detox?
  6. What is the best way to detox?

The purpose of this article is to help you understand some of the basics of detoxification and why detoxification is actually a life-long process and not something to do for 2 weeks then forget about it. You would be sick all of the time if your body did not have a group of systems to keep itself clean. You are constantly exposed to natural and man-made chemicals that need to be eliminated from your body. Toxins would be a problem even if you lived in a toxin-free environment because your body makes chemicals which are toxic if not removed.

Which organs detox your body and keep it clean and healthy?

Detoxification Organs

  • Liver
  • Kidneys
  • Lungs
  • Skin
  • Digestive Tract

When most people think about detoxing they are usually only thinking about the liver. Your liver is the major detox organ in your body. As you can see there are other organs that help keep your body clean and free of toxins.


Everything that gets absorbed from your digestive tract is sent directly to your liver. Your liver is the detox-center between your gut and the rest of your body. It filters, cleans up and detoxifies what you have absorbed and prepares it to be sent out to the rest of your body. Now that you know this, how important do you think your diet is when it comes to toxin accumulation? All the junk that enters your body from your food, including pesticides, herbicides, preservatives and all of the other toxins our food is exposed to goes to your liver.

Your liver has 2 phases of detoxification

Phase 1: takes toxins and changes them so that they can be removed from the body. One major function of Phase 1 is to take toxins that are fat-soluble and begin the process of making them water-soluble…so they can be eliminated from the body. Common nutrients required for this process include:

  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Carotenoids

Phase 2: takes the toxins from Phase 1 and makes them harmless to the body and renders them water-soluble. Phase 2 basically packages the toxins up so they can be safely released from the liver; re-enter your body and be eliminated. They are eliminated through the digestive tract and the kidneys.

You need these two phases to be in balance; if they go out of balance, detoxification will not occur well. Some of the nutrients used in Phase 2 detoxification are:

  • Glutathione
  • Taurine
  • Cysteine
  • Glycine

The liver takes toxins and changes them so they are less toxic and can be removed from the body.

Detoxification…lungs, skin and kidneys

Lungs: your lungs remove toxic gases from your body.

Skin: toxins can also be eliminated through your skin and sweat.

Kidneys: your kidneys also detoxify your body by filtering the toxins out of the  blood which are then eliminated in the urine.

Should you detox?

So you are all ready to start a detox…or are you???

Here are a few final thoughts to keep in mind when it comes to detoxification.

  • If you are really toxic, then you would want to start out easy. Don’t do a radical detox program if your liver is not working well, if you are very ill or if you don’t have sufficient nutrients required to detoxify. You also want to make sure you drink plenty of water so your kidneys can flush out the toxins.
  • If you are going to keep putting toxins in your body; mainly through toxic foods, then you really are not going to get much lasting benefit from doing a detox…you will just get toxic again. You don’t want to clean up your body, only to make it toxic again.
  • Doing a detox can help you jump-start a new healthy lifestyle. However, if you don’t also make lifestyle changes, you are just going to have toxins build up again. Detoxification is really a life-long process. You are going to be constantly exposed to toxins; not only from the environment but from the toxins your body makes naturally.

Doing a “detox” once or twice a year is somewhat like going the gym once a month…its great that you are making an effort but you probably won’t notice much overall improvement in your health long-term.

 It is for this reason that I recommend detoxification support and toxin reduction over the long run…a detoxification lifestyle.

Detoxification is occurring every minute of every day of your life…it is not something that occurs periodically. If you want to become healthy and remain healthy, detoxification should be become a regular part of your lifestyle.

If you live in Naperville, Orland Park, or other local areas AND are interested in functional medicine, contact us today!

I wish you health, happiness and a better quality of life!

If you would like more information about functional medicine and integrative medicine or Dr. Sexton go to

Do your own research, inform yourself and ask lots of questions. When collecting information, you MUST consider the source. There is no shortage of false, misleading, outdated, profit-driven and utterly biased information in healthcare today; even from the most respected sources and organizations.

This approach to healthcare is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. Why? The FDA enforces its position that these words can only be used with drugs. This approach does not use drugs.