Question: Like many Islanders I am sure one of my new year’s resolutions is to get healthy and lose weight so I thought I would start with a cleanse. What do you recommend?
Answer: I get this question very frequently and virtually every adult could benefit from a “cleanse” given that babies are born today with an average of 700 chemicals in their umbilical cord blood. There are certain people who should not do a cleanse, such as those going through chemotherapy, but you can afterwards.
Cleanse means to enhance the detoxification pathways of the bowels, liver, lungs, kidneys and skin. In order to best support this process, first you want to stop adding to the toxic load through your diet and chemicals you may be exposing yourself to in the form of food, drugs (including cigarettes and alcohol), skin care, and cleaning products. Secondly, ensure you have the correct nutrients to support normal body function. Thirdly, add specific herbs and therapeutic doses of nutrients to speed up the process. Finally, try infrared saunas two to three times per weel to induce perspiration because your skin is responsible for 25 per cent of detoxification and often your unhealthiness will be reflected in your skin.
For those who just want a simple list, I prefer to use a good multivitamin, NAC, selenium, a herbal blend (that includes milk thistle, curcumin, dandelion root and artichoke) and magnesium oxide powder as needed to produce two to three controllable bowel movements per day. Water intake, which includes uncaffeinated herbal teas, should be at two litres spread throughout the day and follow a diet free of dairy, flour, sugar, potatoes, white rice, corn, peanuts, mushrooms, bananas, strawberries, oranges, grapes and alcohol. Try the infrared sauna in our office. I would do all of this for two to four weeks.
Question: I plan to quit smoking after Christmas and was wondering if there is anything natural to make it easier?
Answer: You can do it. Currently, only 22 per cent of Islanders still smoke, but they are connected to people who are concerned about them and whose health is also affected by their decision to smoke.
There are ways to ease withdrawal from nicotine and to increase detoxification of the many toxic chemicals found in cigarettes. Niacin, vitamin B3 is also known as nicotinic acid and binds nicotine receptors. This acts as a healthy substitute for the calming feeling one gets from smoking cigarettes.
I recommend a flush-free niacin 800 mg 20 minutes before food to avoid uncomfortable flushing. Niacin at these doses should not be taken long-term without supervision from an ND or MD.
Selenium is a necessary cofactor in the cellular detox pathway that is responsible for 75 per cent of the body’s detox mechanisms. Taking selenium with C and E can speed up detoxification and as a result reduce your chance of dying from lung cancer or any other type of cancer by 50 per cent according to JAMA 1996.
Many people smoke to ease anxiety. Being deficient in B vitamins and/or magnesium can contribute to anxiety and slow detox. If you are still anxious, GABA is also an option to “take the edge off.”
When you feel tempted just remind yourself of the reasons you are quitting.
Kali Simmonds, ND is a doctor of naturopathic medicine who practises in Charlottetown. The information provided is not intended to diagnose or substitute the advice of your health-care professional. Please consult a health-care provider before making any changes. She welcomes questions for this column, which is published every second Tuesday in The Guardian. She can be reached by mail at 34 Queen St., Charlottetown, C1A 4A3 or by email at email@example.com.