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Nutrition during Detoxification

After a 1- to 2-day fast, a low-inflammation diet of rice, frozen fruit, and steamed vegetables is followed for 4-5 days to reduce digestive problems and joint pain [16]. Raw vegetables, fresh fruit, and a variety of protein foods can be added after the first week. Food choices need to be based on whole foods—lots of vegetables, fruits, and fiber to increase detoxification. Olive oil and lean, unprocessed meat/poultry/ fish, and eggs should be eaten daily. Undenatured whey protein or free amino acids support glutathione synthesis and add variety to protein choices at breakfast and snacks.

Exercise and Rest

Exercise increases the lymphatic flow and induces sweating for improved metabolism and detoxification efficiency. Proper sleep and relaxation is important during any detoxification program—whether it is a 1-day fast per week or a 5-day fast and detoxification regime.

Sauna or Hydrotherapy

Sauna therapy supports the removal of fat-soluble toxins but needs to be tailored to the individual. Medical studies on the effectiveness of sauna and hydrotherapy have not been done but it stimulates symptom relief by mechanisms not fully being understood [17].

Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are used by cells to counteract potentially harmful oxidizing proteins that interfere with cell repair. HSPs are induced by heat from the sauna by increasing core temperature for short periods. As the body adapts to these HSPs, plasma volume, and blood flow to the heart and muscles increase along with stimulation of human growth hormone [18].

Saunas are a warming and relaxing therapeutic way to experience detoxification for toxins, body fat reduction, and boosting metabolism.

  • • 15 minutes of infrared sauna have been shown to improve capillary function, revitalize circulatory systems, and increase cell metabolism.
  • • Infrared energy improves immune function and enhances cell regeneration.
  • • The human body is 60%-70% water and sauna heat causes the body’s water molecules to dilate capillaries and increase pH within the body to reduce acidity and remove toxins [19].

Sauna temperatures should not exceed 150°F-180°F for 15-20 minutes one or two times per day during a detoxification program. No alcohol is allowed and 8 oz. of water pre- and post-sauna is recommended with a rest or laying down period of 5-10 minutes after each session. The cool down after a sauna can be achieved by towel drying and/or warm shower. Cooling down with a cold shower or water plunge has been called a “healthy stress” because it may increase glutathione and lower uric acid but caution is advised for those with hypertension and obesity [20,21].

Women who are pregnant are advised to use caution when using a sauna. Individuals with a history of elevated blood pressure, heat exhaustion, stroke, aortic stenosis, or fainting should also use caution when considering the use of sauna therapy.

Sauna therapy is recommended to be continued weekly for at least a month as the detoxification process continues to improve the gastrointestinal tract, liver function, and immune system [18].

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