How do you know if you’re body needs a little extra help to detox? First of all, you can subjectively look at how your excretory system is functioning.
Check your urination: Your urine should be a pale yellow and you should be drinking enough clean water to urinate every two hours. We generally recommend one quart of clean drinking water, preferably reverse osmosis filtered water, per fifty pounds of body weight not to exceed three quarts.
Bowel Movements: You should be having at least one bowel movement a day which is solid. Vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grain breads can increase the fiber in your diet to help bulk your stool. Diets unbalanced with high meat and “white food” consumption tend to slow digestion and therefore interfere with efficient excretion.
Signs and symptoms of toxic overload will differ from one body to the next. But here are a few signs that your body may be warning you:
- Feeling tired, sluggish, lethargic
- Trouble with memory, concentrating and staying focused
- Trouble sleeping
- Frequent colds, flu, infections
- Thyroid disorders
- Neurological disorders
- Developmental disorders
Toxic elements aren’t the only cause of these symptoms. This is why it is vitally important to test and test properly to assess the whole situation and validate the cause of your symptoms.
Toxic Element Testing
As a screening tool, no one laboratory test exists that is absolutely definitive. It is critical that any test result be looked at in careful consideration of other test results, symptoms, and environmental exposures. Toxic elements can be assessed via blood, urine and hair sampling. Using blood to measure toxic elements is unreliable unless one has had an acute “poisoning” very recently prior to taking the blood sample. It is not a reliable means of assessing long-term body burden of toxic elements. Urine and hair samples however can be used to test the body’s ability to excrete toxic elements and body burden of those elements.
Testing of hair elements has had some controversy over the years. Much of the controversy arises in choosing a trustworthy lab and how data is interpreted. There is no question that ineptness has been observed at some commercial laboratories. The issue of inter-laboratory differences is not sufficient reason however, to conclude that hair analysis is not of value. It is simply a question of tightening up sampling and analytical protocols. We use Doctor's Data because they are the leading laboratory in this field and have been pressing for the establishment of standardized procedures for hair analysis under CLIA and the Health Care Financing Administration. Doctor's Data only accepts hair samples from licensed physicians or for research purposes. Critics claim that reference ranges are based exclusively on small data pools. This is simply not the case. Available reference ranges are based on 28 years of doing hair analysis.
Blood testing which is considered the “gold standard” in metabolic testing has evolved in the same fashion. Blood reference ranges change as new data arise. Even blood laboratory reference ranges differ from lab to lab. Lab A could have an entirely different set of reference ranges than Lab B for the same test yet we do not claim that blood testing is unreliable. It’s about “standardization”. Lab testing is more reliable when you stay with the same lab for your follow up tests so that the reference ranges stay the same.
One problem occurs with hair testing when the provider uses only the hair elements to try to assess nutrient deficiencies and toxicities. While hair testing does give valuable information when interpreted properly, to claim one can assess an individual’s whole nutritional status using this test alone is absurd. The hair root is in constant contact with blood vessels, allowing both essential and toxic elements to enter the hair shaft continuously as hair grows. Since hair typically only grows at a rate of ½ inch per month, hair analysis reflects long-term excretion rates of the various elements. One must understand that hair is an excretory tissue so any results that are “high” in the hair tissue are being excreted. In a way, this is good thing! When it comes to toxic elements, if one is getting exposed, we want to see them coming out. Another important point is that in identifying exposure to that toxic element we can infer the nutrient depletions it can cause.
Most alarmingly and even more importantly is what is NOT being excreted. Just because a toxic element is not coming out via hair or urine does not mean you have not been exposed to that toxic element. Many times the clients that show no toxic element elimination in the hair or urine will be the sickest clients! It can indicate one has an inability to excrete the toxic element which can lead to many of the symptoms discussed early. In our industrial society and with the very real problem of pollution explained in Part 1 of this newsletter topic, it is well understood that you will get exposed to many toxic elements. It is important to assess what you are being exposed to and determine if you’re excreting efficiently. It is crucial you understand the affect your environment has on you and in some cases certain individuals will need higher levels of supplementation due to their environment. In most cases, it’s virtually impossible to get all of the minerals from your food that the body needs to excrete these toxic elements efficiently.
The Urine Toxic Element Challenge testing comes in especially useful when you find there is very little excretion of toxic elements in the hair elements test. This test allows us to see what you excrete on your own via urine and what we’re able to “purge” or “chelate” using a provoking agent. A “provoking agent” is a product known to “purge” toxic elements. Some provoking agents are metal specific. For example, EDTA is well known for ability to provoke or purge Lead from the body. To perform the test, there are two days’ worth of urine collection. The first day, one typically collects the urine for 6 hours to determine what the individual is excreting in the urine on their own ability. The second day of testing, a provoking agent is administered and another 6 hours urine collection is performed. This information reveals the body burden of stored toxic elements that the provoking agent is able to help the body purge.
If you're considering “detoxing”, do it the safe way. Get tested to determine your overall health and ability to handle a detox program and to monitor the effectiveness of the therapy. Detoxing is unsafe for pregnant or nursing women. People with certain health conditions such as anemia, diabetes, thyroid, liver and kidney disease should only consider detox protocols under the supervision of a health care provider who is testing to determine progress and safety. Keep in mind, you can have only 20% kidney or liver function left and have virtually NO SYMPTOMS. You may be simply a little fatigued.
What does one test tell you?... nothing definitively. This is where combining the blood work with the toxic element testing gives you the best overall picture and plan of action for your health. Schedule your appointment today to determine if a detox program is right for you.