Monthly Archives: May 2013

Detox From Alcohol And Other Drugs

Harm Caused By DrugsTable.svg

Alcohol is a socially accepted drug and has been for thousands of years. It is such an integral part of so many people's lives that we don't realise how big a presence it has.


When legislators make new policies and frame new initiatives against the increasing use of recreational drugs they disapprove of such as cannabis or so called Dance Drugs I imagine they then go to the bar and relax with an alcoholic drink afterwards – satisfied with their efforts to keep drugs off the streets.


The reason that this is odd is because Alcohol is more dangerous than almost any drug you could name.

Over-consumption of alcohol is one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide.

Here is part of a table published in the Wiki showing Deaths In The US


When an expert and government advisor to the British government on the toxic effects of drugs stated plainly that alcohol was more dangerous than Cannabis this was deemed unacceptable to the British Government minister he reported to and for the cardinal sin of telling the truth he was sacked.


And I dare say the government Minister involved had a nice little drink afterwards.

Harm Caused By DrugsTable.svg

Alcohol is a natural substance and we have been equipped by evolution to detoxify it. It is a toxin that is produced when fruits and grains or other carbohydrates rot.


This may happen on a fruit tree or even in our intestines!


There are many types of alcohol found in nature and the one so used in alcoholic drinks is ethanol also called ethyl or grain alcohol.


One of the main effects of alcoholic drinks is that alcohol sedates the analytical part of the brain and it is this part of the brain that is on overdrive all day long producing high levels of anxiety and worry in most of us.

Turning to alcohol provides some relief from the ceaseless yammering of the "monkey mind" and allows some relaxation and de-stressing. It is easy to see how this can become a dependency and an addiction.

And that is when society steps in with official "Drying Out" programmes and clinics.

These are run by government and by private clinics where those dependent on alcohol can go on a short term "alcohol fast" and receive some level of support as they go through the withdrawal symptoms.

Some support may be targeted at the feelings and emotions experienced as the alcohol is eliminated from the body; some support may help the body deal with the damaging effect of alcohol on the liver, intestines and other organs.

Oddly, this kind of supervised withdrawal program is often referred to as an "Alcohol Detox". Real detox is different – let me explain.

Real Detox From Alcohol

Real detoxification is the step by step biochemical process that goes on in the cells of your body after drinking alcohol.

Alcohol truly is a poison and so the body has to work hard to render it harmless. To do this involves some chemical magic or alchemy, because a toxic substance has to be transformed into a safe substance.

This magic goes on in every cell of the body but is mainly focussed on the liver which has the unwelcome job.

An enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase starts the task and this turns alcohol into a substance called an aldehyde.

Odd really because aldehydes are dangerous and cause damage in the body. A well known aldehyde is formaldehyde –used to preserve specimens in laboratories and museums.

The aldehyde is then transformed into an acid.

That sounds even more dangerous but the body knows what it's doing and after this piece of alchemy the ex-alcohol molecule has been thoroughly disarmed and can be expelled from the body safely.

That is real detox – explained with the least gobbledegook I could manage.

All this magic comes at a price. The magician needs rabbits and top hats and other props and the liver needs vitamins such as vitamin C, B complex and bioflavonoids as well as minerals such as magnesium, zinc and copper and amino acids.

Without these essential props the liver cannot detox the toxins it grapples with and gets damaged in the process and delivers substances perhaps even more dangerous than the original toxin.

To sum this up – without a whole slew of  amino acids, vitamins and minerals the liver will be damaged in its work of detox.

Real detox is about nourishment– targeted nourishment for the liver and other organs that are doing the "heavy lifting".

Following a real detox programme takes several weeks as you go through a careful process of helping your body heal and repair. I've covered the whole process in my Detox book so I won't go over it again here.

What drives the taking of any drugs is a desire to feel better and the belief that the drugs will produce that better feeling. Anxiety can be tackled in many better ways and relaxation can be learned

When the compulsion to take the drug or alcohol is reduced and feelings of anxiety and tension handled in more creative ways a new dimension of freedom appears that is much more liberating than anaesthetising the most creative part of your brain and getting trapped in chemical dependency.

Detox from alcohol or any other drug is a special targetted process that takes several months to do safely and thoroughly. There are no quick fixes or overnight solutions, just the slow healing work of nature.


photo credits  wiki


Is Bio-Detox the Right Detox Supplement for You?

One of the main messages made very strongly here the Natural Detox Blog is that Detox cannot be accomplished just by drinking pure water or green juices or by following any particular diet – however good the diet is.

And if you are wondering why this is so – the answer is very simple – and it is because detox processes going on in the liver and elsewhere in the body need extra supplements to get them going and detoxify the toxins in your tissues.

Detox needs specialised nutrition which you cannot get from water or fruit juices.

That's why we need Detox supplements – the next point is whether Bio-Detox by Biotics Research is a Detox Supplement that would work for you.

Before we start I have to say that I have not taken Bio-Detox myself, so this section will be based on a discussion of the ingredients as shown in a PDF on their website.

It has a long list of ingredients including vitamins, minerals, herbs, enzymes, amino acids, and a few like CoQ10 which do not fit into any neat category and finally, glandulars.

So let's breeze through each of these in turn and see if anything stands out…


There's a nice spread of A, C, E and B. My only comment here is that in my opinion the amount of the individual B vitamins is too small. For example, B1 has 1 mg and B2 1 mg too. To me these are oddly tiny values.

Here for example is the extract from the Wiki on Vitamin B1 aka Thiamine

Reference Daily Intake and high doses

The RDA in most countries is set at about 1.4 mg. However, tests on female volunteers at daily doses of about 50 mg have claimed an increase in mental acuity. There are no reports available of adverse effects from consumption of excess thiamine from food and supplements.

I'm not going to labour the point, so let's close this section by looking at the B1 dose in my daily multi– it is 32 mg and really I'd like a higher dose!


Zinc, copper, selenium and molybdenum on the list and magnesium a major detox mineral missing.



Milk thistle, cleavers, dandelion as well as Burdock, red clover and Indian Barberry all superb detox herbs and Adrographis a wonderful herb not well known outside Ayurvedic medicine which is so extraordinary all you can do is call it the ginseng of India. There are some other herbs too as well as Oregano.

The problem with assessing the herbs mentioned is that we do not know how much of each is present because it is simply labeled a proprietary blend of 2455 mg.


Enzymes are proteins that make things happen –like digestion. There's Bromelain from pineapple present and Papain from Papaya both powerful aids to digestion, cleansing and detox.

Other specialist enzymes included are cellulase, lipase, amylase and ficin. The first 3 on this list are from fungi and ficin is from figs.

Amino acids

These are the workhorses of detox that few people are aware of. So we get Taurine, Methionine, NAC, glutamine and Cysteine – all powerful detoxers.


One of the first things I noticed on the ingredients list is "Cholesterol 5mg".

This is surprising in a nutritional or detox product because cholesterol is an animal product and is your first clue that further down the list you'll find glandular products.

So we find 150 mg of Pancrelipase (Porcine) which is a small amount from the Pancreas of a Pig.

Added to that we find Parotid tissue (bovine) 10 mg – a tiny amount from the Salivary gland from a cow.

If you are OK with animal parts in your supplements that is fine I guess but clearly this is a "deal breaker" for vegetarians and vegans.

Added to the long and pretty impressive ingredients in Bio-Detox there are some that don't fit neat bullet points – like Alpha lipoic acid ( one of my fave supplements) and Co Q10 ( likewise).

There is also fish oil stated to be from Tuna, Anchovy or Tuna.

Whew! That's a long list of ingredients!


Summing Up On Bio-Detox

This is a detox formulation with an impressive range of ingredients. The only deficiency in my opinion is in the B vitamins, so to use this you'd need to take a B complex as well or a separate multi. I wonder too if there is a significant amount of magnesium in the "Blend".

I was surprised to find Bio-Detox to have Glandulars.

To my mind the use of glandulars is a fad.

They used to be much more common and frankly I think the use of ingredients that exclude a significant and growing section of the population – vegetarians, is unwise.

The encapsulation is also questionable with old fashioned glycerin rather than use vegecaps.

The power of this detox formula is probably going to depend on the "Black box" of the Proprietary Blend. Judging by the rest of the formula I'd expect it to be effective but who knows?

If you believe in the use of glandulars then this detox supplement may well be on your shortlist for consideration. And if you don't then you'll find it easy to find several detox supplements without glandular products.

You may get more info on Bio-Detox from the Biotics Research website and compare the price you see there with the price at Amazon.


Blackmores Detox Kit – a Review

thumbs up image for a well designed Detox Kit

Blackmores are a well respected Australian Company founded 70 years ago by Naturopath Maurice Blackmore.

I have used their products for years both for my own health and used them in my Clinic too. Patients found them to be effective but I have not seen this product before or used it.

So let's look the ingredients of this detox kit designed as a 10 day program to cleanse 5 organs  – and size it up!

Blackmores Detox Review – What's In It?

The Kit consists of 5 items – 4 of which are supplements leaving one which assists skin "brushing".

In no particular order they are (1) Digestive Bitters (2) Milk Thistle (3) Acidophilus (4) Colon Care (5) an Exfoliating Mitt

So let's look at these in some detail now…..

Digestive Bitters– the purpose is to tone up the digestive system and consists of Dandelion, Gentian, Meadowsweet, Agrimony and Cinnamon. This is a very nice combo of well known and effective herbs which will start the detox process gently and safely.

Milk Thistle – this is probably the most used and most respected herb to detox the liver. The Digestive Bitters also have a detox effect but Milk Thistle provides a lot of extra muscle.

Then we come to the Colon with 2 parts of the Kit devoted to the health of the Colon.

Acidophilus Bifidus – billion organisms supplied to help condition the inner lining of the gut. Detox actually makes extra demands on the colon and it is part of all thorough detox programmes to use friendly bacteria to assist the body get back to full health.

Colon Care – this is supplied as a powder which you can mix in to a juice or just take with water. It is a combo of herbs, with Senna and Buckthorn acting as gentle laxatives, Psyllium acts as a gentle sponge and Aniseed and Fennel acting to ease griping and flatulence.

Lastly we get to Bearberry which is an all purpose detox herb, Licorice is demulcent and anti-inflammatory and agar which is similar to psyllium in some ways in that it carries toxins out of the colon.

Exfoliating Mitt

I call this skin brushing because I am used to doing this using a special brush like a bath brush. The purpose is to remove the surface layer of debris on the skin and stimulate circulation and the lymphatics – the drainage system of the body.

Using a mitt is more convenient for some folks although how you would reach your back I have no idea!

Blackmores Detox Review and Summary

thumbs up imageAltogether this adds up to a good programme focussing on the Digestion, Liver and colon.

I would continue with normal supplementation and in particular vitamin C and eat a mild easily digestible diet during the time of the detox. But this Blackmore's Detox Kit gets a double "Thumbs up" from me.

If you have used it then please share your experience in the Comments section below.Thanks.




Image Credit findyoursearch

Is Bentonite Clay Good For Detox?

Green-clayBentonite is one of the clays commonly used in Naturopathic and medical treatment as well as in cosmetics and beauty products.

Healing clays are used all over the world and have been for thousands of years, the clay having a varying mineral content depending on where is it collected.

So the clay you buy may be red showing its high iron content. Or green showing a high plant content.

One problem with clay is the high aluminium ( or aluminum ) in them constituting a possible health hazard if swallowed.

Other than the mineral composition, clays are named after their place of origin. So Montmorillonite clay comes from a town in the west of France called Montmorillon and Bentonite comes from the Fort Benton area in Wyoming, USA. (Note before that it was known as Taylorite and before that Pascalite.)

Lots of confusion in the naming of these clays has led to the names being used interchangeably.

Internal and External Use of Clay

In medical use Bentonite has been used as a bulk laxative although care must be taken because Bentonite swells a lot when it absorbs water.

It has purely a passive effect when swallowed and it functions as if you had swallowed a sponge.

This might be useful if you have parasites in the bowel but it cannot detox the body because most of the toxins are in the liver or in the fatty tissues of the body and not in the gut.

Despite that most websites witter on about Bentonite "absorbing toxins". All the Bentonite can do is absorb what is in the gut and that may include essential nutrients and food so you must make sure to leave several hours after a meal before taking clay by mouth.

The best way to do a Bentonite Clay detox is to make a clay mask or poultice so that it cleans and detoxes the skin.

It is also used as a barrier to protect the skin from irritants and to absorb and adsorb heavy metals and to generally clean and degrease your skin.

Used in the beauty industry for skin treatments it removes oils and leaves the skin feeling soothed, cleansed and refreshed. As well as being used as a face pack it can be applied to any part of the body as a poultice.

In this use the clay powder is mixed with water and applied to a cloth or bandage which is wrapped around the area being treated.

Another simple way of enjoying the skin cleansing benefits of clay is to use it in a bath.

Although this may evoke amusing visions of "wallowing in a hollow" like a hippopotamus only a cup full ( or less) of powdered clay is used and mixed into a full bath of comfortable hot water.

This is the simplest and probably the best way to take advantage of the healing and cleansing effect of clay whether Bentonite or Montmorillonite.

Although used by some as part of detox procedures it takes a "strong stomach" to overcome the feelings of revulsion at swallowing a mix of powdered clay and water – even if you only use a quarter tea spoon of powdered clay.


In my opinion there is no place for the internal use of clay in Naturopathic practise because whatever health purpose is claimed for the clay can be accomplished and better accomplished by other means.

As a regular part of skin care however there is no objection or hesitation.

The final issue is to find a good supplier and a good price. Even though I do not advise taking clay by mouth it is a good idea to buy "Food Quality" clay because it will be cleaner. On the matter of price it is best not to buy as a beauty item because the prices will be inflated but to look for a good bulk supplier

Should You Do a Bentonite Clay Detox?

Bentonite and Montmorillonite have some limited used as clay packs for detoxing the skin. They can cleanse the skin and help healing but I don't advise internal use of clay because there are better ways to heal and help the gut. And there is no need to face the possible problems of high aluminium levels in the clay. If you are looking for a Bentonite supplier checkout prices and delivery options at Amazon.




Natural Asthma Remedies – The Detox Connection

embroidery on yellow cloth of a picture of 2 lungsIt is Monday morning and I sit down to blog about Detox. Having just finished the writing of my Detox book I expected to write some more along those lines – food, the digestive system, detox and so on.

An article in the latest issue of the "Townsend Letter For Doctors and Patients" got my attention though.

The article written by Ingrid Kohlstadt MD,MPH calls attention to Asthma and to factors we tend to overlook and that are tied in to toxins that are involved and it was that insight that really got my attention.

Dr. Kohlstadt argues that toxins find it easier to gain entry to the body via the lungs than by the digestive tract.

So the lungs act as a short cut for toxins!


This ties asthma firmly together with Detox and makes us more determined to find and use some natural asthma remedies.

Let's look into this…

Down the Hatch

The first barrier that toxins face when swallowed is the acid in the stomach. This is very strong and will digest just about anything! The rest of the gut has sophisticated alarm systems that marshal the immune system if triggered.

Part of the 3 Step Detox process I write about is called, “Healing the Gut”.

Just to be clear what we are thinking of is repairing any portion of the tube starting at the mouth and going all through the body from mouth to stomach to small and large intestines and out to the anus.

If you compare this “living tube” to an old fashioned bicycle tire then you can see that any part of it that gets a puncture needs attention and needs fixing.

This condition in the gut is well understood and is called “leaky gut” and Naturopaths and Nutritionists see lots of patients with this condition and it’s usually pretty straightforward to fix and a simple laboratory test can tell you when the gut has been repaired.

The results are good – allergy symptoms reduce if they were due to the food allergy and leaky gut picture and your energy levels and sense of well being increase.

So not only do ingested toxins ie swallowed toxins face several barriers – even when the gut lining is damaged it's easy to fix and restore.

Let’s see how this compares to the situation of toxins that enter the body by breathing.

Airborne Toxins

We are used to thinking of toxins as being carried into the body on food – as a spray for example. But a significant part of the toxins in the body are carried in as we breathe.

Years ago as part of a Physics course I had to teach the working of a 4 stroke car engine. As I recall the 4 strokes were…..

Intake – fresh air and fuel are pulled into the cylinder

Compression – the air fuel mix is compressed and that heats it

Power – a spark is added to the hot mix of air and fuel igniting it and pushing the cylinder down

That’s 3 strokes, OK?  The last one pushes all the burnt toxic gases out of the engine so that the whole thing is restored and a new intake stroke can start. The name in the books for this is the Exhaust stroke but it so riled me that all this toxic brew was pumped out so that we could breathe it in that I called it the…..

Pollution stroke.

My students hated that name. To link pollution which we all regard as “Bad” to a vehicle which they were dying to drive and own was hateful to them. I still called it the Pollution stroke though! I wanted to make a point!

Breathing toxins in is serious.

Air fills up all the little cavities in the lungs and is in contact with a delicate membrane that separates and protects us from those toxins. On the other side of the membrane flows your blood.

When the toxins cause inflammation in these little spaces or alveoli, the body has to heal the inflammation and still keep the absorption of oxygen going.

Healing the Lungs

The obvious question here is can we fix the lungs like we can fix the gut?

There are 2 problems to be solved, we need to damp down the inflammation AND heal the damage caused by the toxin and perhaps even by our own immune system enthusiastically putting the fire of inflammation out.

Anti-inflammatory Action Steps

There are several anti-inflammatory vitamins and supplements we can use, the most obvious of which is vitamin C. It is hard to give general dosage advice but I take a minimum of 3 grams per day and if feeling under the weather or a little flu, I respond by doubling the dose. For asthma I would increase the dose some more.

Vitamin C not only has a natural anti-histamine action but also helps the body make better and stronger collagen so that the damaged parts of the lung can be healed.

Along with vitamin C the bioflavonoids act as anti-oxidants. A supplement makes sense but the best way of getting a good variety is to eat a good diet with varied fruit and vegetables so that good range of carotenes and flavonoids are consumed.

Along with calming the fires of inflammation a treatment plan needs to relax the respiratory system. Asthma goes along with a tremendous tension and dealing with this directly is helpful and easy.

Magnesium relaxes muscles directly so using a good magnesium supplement is helpful. If available, the Blackmore’s supplement called PPMP is ideal.

There are many helpful herbal remedies that could be used as well.

Gingko is perhaps the most obvious and Euphorbia another relaxing herb for asthma. These can be used as a tincture or in a combination formula with other asthma herbs.

Remove The Cause

This is basically the root motto for Naturopathic treatment. The cause may be environmental smog from vehicle engines – so lobby for change and choose your travel options carefully. But there’s lot to do in the home too.

We spend around a third or a quarter of our life asleep, so how about checking the toxins in the bedroom.

Is the paint work emitting toxic gases? Almost certainly, yes!

Are the curtains coated with non stain or other treatments? If so they add to the toxic atmosphere…..

Now the flooring – if carpeted it is almost definitely  contributing fumes from the dyes and materials and if you have a lovely polished wooden floor then the varnish or wood treatment will probably be outgassing as well.

The bed?

I left this to last. Safety regulations about fire risk mean that most furniture like sofas and beds have fire retardant in them and you are breathing that all night.

I don’t want to frighten you or alarm you with all this info. It is a picture of a civilisation that has lost sight of its real values and just produced all these products in an thoughtless and silly way that makes the most profit and one that pays little or no heed to our health or to the environment.

By being well informed your buying decisions can reduce the atmospheric hazards in the home.

And being well informed about Detox you can take the right supplements and diet to help your body deal with atmospheric and ingested toxins.

For as long as industry produces toxins and triggers into the atmosphere we will be exposed to them but building our own resilience and our knowledge gives us the edge in creating a healthy life.

So asthma has quite a lot to do with toxins and detox but the good news is that there’s lots of help, and Asthma does not have to be a life long curse.

There are some natural asthma remedies and you can get further help by consulting a Naturopath or by taking measures at home to "clean up" your home environment by reducing the number of chemical cleansers and products sending toxic gases into the air.

Resource Links

Townsend Letter

Ingrid Kohlstadt MD, MPH

Image credit hey paul