Natural Body Detoxification: How Your Body Cleanses Itself

By Val Silver

Natural body detoxification is part of normal physical functioning. Your body is designed to cleanse your itself of waste and toxins on a continual basis. And yes, you can help it do its job by what you do and don't put in and on yourself.

Several organs of elimination remove toxins produced from normal metabolic processes. They also break down, store, or eliminate toxins taken in from the environment or foods.

How Your Body Detoxifies

The body cleans itself of waste and toxins through organs of elimination and systems within the cells and the body. 

Organs of Elimination

The lungs remove carbon dioxide from the blood and replace it with oxygen. When you exhale, they excrete carbon dioxide and other gasses, along with water and heat resulting from cell respiration. 

Skin is a major organ of elimination. When you sweat, heavy metals and chemicals can be excreted from your body. If other elimination channels are overloaded, the skin may have to deal with extra toxins.

Two kidneys filter drugs, heavy metals and metabolic waste products carried by the blood from body tissues. This liquid waste is passed to the bladder where it is removed when you urinate.

The liver plays a major role in natural body detoxification. This three pound organ is the largest in your body. It is responsible for approximately 500 functions in your body, including detoxification and immune health. 

One and a half quarts of blood flow through the sieve-like liver every minute.  Certain hormones, chemicals, drugs and metabolic waste are processed and eliminated from the blood during the liver's three phases of detoxification. If the toxic burden is too great, they are recirculated through the blood before heading back to the liver. Bile from the liver carries waste and toxins to the feces for elimination. 

Toxins that can't be broken down are stored in the liver or fat cells. It’s especially vital to keep your liver in good health if you want to protect yourself from cancer and other diseases brought on by toxicity.

natural body detoxification systems and organs of elimination

Other Modes of Natural Body Detoxification

Organs of elimination are just part of the body detoxing system.  

  • All body cells detoxify and eliminate waste as part of their normal functioning. Waste passes out of the cells into the fluid that surrounds them where it drains into the lymphatic system. Wast is also carried away by the blood and released through the major elimination channels. Brain cells shrink while you sleep so that waste carrying fluid can move more easily between them.
  • The lymphatic system filters bacteria, metabolic wastes and toxins as the fluid passes through the lymph nodes located throughout your body.
  • Fat cells throughout the body store fat soluble toxins. Toxins that cannot be handled by the liver are stored in fat cells. Most of us store hundreds of chemical toxins in our fat cells. When you lose fat during weight loss, these toxins are recirculated. They are either eliminated from the body or redeposited in other tissue. If your fat cells are holding a lot of toxins, it may be extra difficult for you to lose weight.
  • Your colon is the last stop between the intestines and anus. It holds toxins in forming feces until it can be eliminated. Fiber in the feces traps toxins. It is important to eliminate at least daily to get waste and toxic substances out of your body before they are reabsorbed into the blood stream. 
  • Your nose also plays a role in natural body detoxification. Sneezing and a runny may be annoying, but the mucus carries foreign particles such as pollen, viruses, bacteria and other irritants out of the body. When you take medications that interfere with this process, you limit your body's ability to do a healthy cleanse by ridding itself of foreign substances and waste through your nose.
  • Emotional tears and crying rid your body of stress hormones and stimulate the production of feel good endorphins. That is why you often feel better after a good cry. Regular tears cleanse the eyes of dust and other particles and keep them lubricated.

Supporting Natural Body Detoxification

detoxing the body foods

Even though your body is adept at healthy detox and cleansing naturally, channels of elimination sometimes get overwhelmed.  When toxins build up in your cells, certain illnesses or other conditions occur. When one channel is burdened, others become challenged as well.

Intentionally support natural body detoxification. Because we are exposed to so many toxins, it is helpful to intentionally support your natural body detoxification system and your detox pathways as part of your long-term wellness plan. This is the best overall first line of defense. Cleansing supportive foods, avoiding toxic foods and products, exercise, quality sleep, and plenty of clean water will help you do that on a daily basis. 

Periodic short term detox cleanses may be beneficial.  Some people find it helpful to fast or go on a mono-diet of organic apples for a day. Others may use binders such as clay or activated charcoal with psyllium for a week or more per month to trap and release toxins in the colon. There are many options. If you follow a sensible plan, it may reduce the typical burden on your system and give it what it needs to release some stored toxins. They can also get you back on track if you backslid with your eating and other health habits. Most of these cleanses will not get rid of heavy metals already trapped in the cells.

Except in cases of toxic poisoning, which requires immediate treatment, the benefits of doing cleanses is hotly debated. Some experts swear by them, others consider them of no use or even health-harming. Depending on which types of cleanses you choose and for how long, both of them may be correct.

For optimal physical health and a lasting effect, it is in your best interest to think and act long term. Support your organs of elimination with healthy living and eating habits. Be mindful of minimizing incoming toxins and give your body what it needs to cleanse itself naturally. 

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Natural Body Detoxification page updated 03/2020

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