By Dr. Catthie Lippman, MD
What does it mean to detoxify? Detoxification is the way that our bodies get rid of toxins that can harm us or even kill us. What are toxins? They can be chemicals; they can be microorganisms; they can even be heavy metals. Our bodies are set up to detoxify via our lungs, our liver, and our kidneys so that we manage to get rid of these toxins through our breath, through our skin via sweat, through our urine, and through our stools. Well, why is this so important? Detoxification is important because we’re exposed to toxins every day through the air we breathe, through the water we drink, and through the food we eat.

Where do we get exposed to these toxins? The tap water we drink and bathe in is a major source. The chlorine and fluoride added to it convert into chemicals that are toxic for our bodies. There’s industrial run-off and agricultural run-off. There are pesticides, and there are even prescription drugs that we flush down the toilet. The food that we eat, if it’s not organic, has pesticides and herbicides and fungicides on it. In addition, much of the processed food has additives and preservatives, flavorings and colorings that also can be toxic for us. Lastly, there are heavy metals in our environment, like arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury that are not healthy for our bodies.

Okay. So if our body is detoxifying, what’s the problem? Here’s the problem: Our environment has become much more toxic for us over the last 100 years. Since World War II, for example, industry has created 80,000 new chemicals, only one or two of which have been actually tested for their effects on humans. So if we take in more toxins than we can eliminate, that’s the problem. What is the body going to do with them? The body has to stick them someplace. The body will put them in joints, for example, where we get joint pain. Or maybe it sticks it under the skin and we end up with rashes. Or maybe it puts it in the organs so that we end up feeling tired or have high blood pressure or other problems. I think you’re starting to understand what I’m talking about.

Let me ask you this: Have you ever had a toilet overflow? Isn’t that a yucky thought? Imagine that happening in your body. That’s why detoxification is so important. Well, what is a person to do then? There are two things in particular where you can start right away. The first is to clean up your diet. Get rid of processed foods, fried fats, sodas, processed sugar, artificial sweeteners and all that junk food.

Instead of eating that, eat wholesome food. Lots of vegetables; as many vegetables as you can, preferably pesticide-free. If you eat meat, eat pasture-raised organic meat. Chicken should be free range; fish should be wild-caught. If you’re a vegetarian, it’s important to be sure that you get enough protein, iron, and vitamin B12 either in your diet or a supplementation.

Vegetables — eat lots of vegetables, as much variety and color and textures as you possibly can, preferably organic. I’ve never had a patient come in who was eating too many vegetables. If you have a sweet tooth, eat fruit. Don’t eat the processed cane sugar or sweetened processed bakery goods. They really don’t help you when you’re trying to detoxify.

For grains and dairy, it is essential that they be organically produced and use whole grains. Drink lots of filtered water that will help you to flush out your system. Remember, you don’t want to have tap water. We already spoke about what you find in that. So it’s important to have a good filter at home or to buy good filtered water from a store.

Exercise is very important for building up our energy levels and for getting toxins out of the body via the lymph system. The lymph system is like our trash collector, and we need to have bodily movement and muscle contraction, which exercise provides in order to push the lymph along. That’s why regular exercise is so valuable for us.

It’s important not to let yourself be constipated. Remember, through our bowels is one way we get rid of toxins. If this is a problem for you, I suggest taking extra vitamin C and/or extra magnesium. Be sure to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night at least. Sleep is when we heal, so sleep is really important for effective detoxification.

Well, what about fasting programs? Many people take a one or two-day fast in order to speed up the detoxification process. That’s fine for the average healthy person. If you have a medical condition, however, I recommend you consult your health practitioner before undertaking a fast.

There are some additional supports for you to consider for detoxification. One is skin brushing. The skin is one way we get rid of toxins, and the brushing of the skin gently facilitates that process. Massage, besides being comfortable, helps to move the lymph along and get rid of toxins through the lymph system. Colon hydrotherapy involves inserting water into the colon to facilitate getting the toxins out of the colon. It’s very different from an enema and must be done by a certified technician.

There are supplements you can take that also support the detoxification process. There are teas like detox tea and horsetail tea, algae like chlorella, and even extra vitamin C and extra essential fatty acids like fish oil or flax oil can be helpful.

If you suspect you have heavy metal toxicity, that kind of detoxification, which is called chelation therapy, should be done under the supervision of a health practitioner trained in that process. These include medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths, and acupuncturists.

In conclusion, people who follow a detoxification program commonly find they feel better. Their energy is better; their skin looks better; they lose weight; they’ve had friends come to them and say, “What did you do to yourself?  You’re looking so good.” Consider a detoxification program.

If you want more information about this and other wellness issues, please consult my handbook “Staying Healthy In a Challenging World.”

Visit Dr. Cathie Lippman, MD for more information.


By Dr. Catthie Lippman, MD
I’m going to talk with you about heavy metal toxicity. What is all this stuff about heavy metals? The metals that we’re talking about include aluminum, mercury, cadmium, lead, bismuth, arsenic, just to name a few. The federal government actually has standards for how much of these metals is too much in our bodies. The problem is many people run around with less than that amount, but it still affects their health. Let me give you some examples of what these ailments are from the heavy metals.

Let’s take lead, for example. There’s no safe level for lead in the human body. Some of the ailments from lead include reduced intelligence, poor growth, poor bone development, and poor muscle coordination, irritability and anxiety, high blood pressure, even ringing in the ears. Cadmium. Some of the ailments associated with excess cadmium include fatigue, learning disabilities, skin disorders, even increased risk of infection and cancer.

Mercury affects every system in the body. For example, the cardiac system: people experience irregular heartbeats and palpitations. The nervous system: people experience depression, irritability, anxiety. They can also experience nightmares, seizures, even. The immune system: people are more vulnerable to infection. Skin: people get acne and rashes. The gastrointestinal system: people can experience colitis, heartburn, bloating, and even nausea.

So how does a person become exposed to these metals? Many ways. Amalgam fillings are a source for mercury and nickel. Smoking is a source for cadmium. Using ceramic and glass containers that are glazed with lead paint is a source for lead. Hair dyes are a source for lead. Using aluminum cooking utensils, a source for aluminum. Antiperspirants contain aluminum. Many body lotions and creams contain cadmium. Eating a lot of fish is a source for mercury. Though mercury has been removed from many vaccines, it’s still found in the flu vaccine. Vaccines can contain aluminum or mercury.

You’re probably wondering how a person finds out if they have heavy metal toxicity. If you have amalgam — those are the silver fillings in your mouth — I can guarantee you, you have heavy metal toxicity. If you had those amalgam fillings removed but did not do the special detoxification for heavy metals, chances are you still have heavy metal toxicity. Even a fetus can become toxic with heavy metals if the mother is toxic because the metals pass through the placenta.

Well, how does a person find out if they have heavy metal toxicity? There are tests: tests of the stool, tests of the urine, tests of the blood, and even tests of the hair that will show heavy metal toxicity. One gets these tests through a knowledgeable health practitioner like a medical doctor, a naturopathic doctor, an osteopath, a chiropractor, and an acupuncturist.

There’s a special kind of therapy for getting rid of heavy metals. It’s called chelation therapy because it pulls the heavy metals out of the body. The therapy involves the use of medications like DMSA, DMPS, and EDTA. Those are abbreviations for longer names. The therapy can be given orally, intravenously, transdermally, which means it’s put on the skin, and rectally.

The treatment can last weeks, months, or even years, depending upon how toxic the person is and their response to treatment. There are other remedies available for removing heavy metals from the body. These include herbs and homeopathics. I do recommend that any treatment be done under the supervision of a knowledgeable health practitioner like a medical doctor, a naturopathic doctor, an osteopath, chiropractor, or an acupuncturist.

Let me give you a couple of examples where chelation therapy has been helpful. Jane is a 35-year-old woman who had severe eczema. We discovered that she was toxic with heavy metals, especially mercury, through urine testing. With chelation therapy, we reduced her mercury level significantly in her body. As a result, her eczema improved by 80 percent, her mood got better, her food allergies diminished significantly, and Jane felt much better overall.

Another example is Michael, a 10-year-old boy brought to me for learning difficulties and slowed speech development. Michael, as it turns out, was toxic with lead. After chelation therapy, Michael no longer had his learning difficulties, his speech was normal like his peers, and he felt much better about himself, as did his parents.

In summary, you can see that heavy metal toxicity is associated with a wide variety of health problems. If you have health problems, consider consulting a knowledgeable health practitioner like a medical doctor, naturopathic doctor, osteopath, chiropractor, or acupuncturist who can assist you with the testing for heavy metals and also with the chelation therapy to get rid of them.

If you want more information about wellness topics, consult my handbook “Staying Healthy In a Challenging World.”

Visit Dr. Cathie Lippman, MD for more information.