We are exposed to chemicals and toxins on a daily basis, at work, at home, in the air we breathe, the food we eat,and the water we drink. As the public becomes more aware of the toxins that reside in their bodies through pollutants such as heavy metals pesticides, etc., and inadequate nutrition because of poor diets there is a growing interest in detoxification protocols and cleanses.
Do a Google search on “cleanse”. There are almost 15,000,000 results! There are body cleanses, liver cleanses, colon cleanses, cleansing diets, juice fasts, detox recipes, on and on. It is a vast subject – and big business.
So, you’ve done some research, maybe bought a packaged cleanse off the Internet or at your local health food store, or gotten a diet book on various types of cleanses, and started off full speed ahead. You’re a couple of days into the protocol and you feel really, really rotten. You have headaches, your energy is low, perhaps you’re suffering some diarrhea. You’re wondering if this cleansing stuff is just so much hype because you’re supposed to feel better than when you started, not worse. You’re ready to chuck it all and go back to your old ways.
Actually, in all probability the cleanse is working exactly as it should and what you are feeling is probably a Herksheimer’s reaction. Herksheimer’s reaction is a term that describes the principle that you get worse before you get better when using, for example, an antibiotic or other health solution. This is due to the releasing of toxins as the body responds to the remedy. Many people have a lot of bugs and toxins in their system and if you kill them off too quickly, you will get a Herksheimer’s reaction (weakness, nausea, etc.).
The safest solution is to work with your ND or health care professional to ensure you suffer minimal adverse side effects when you start your cleansing regimen. If you’re going it alone, follow the directions for the cleanse you have chosen to the letter. If you get a strong Herksheimer’s reaction, you should probably cut down on the dosage or spread the cleanse out over a longer time period. Of course, if adverse symptoms persist, see your health care professional.
Cleanses do work, but not all cleanses are suitable to all people. Remember, too, the toxins in your body didn’t accumulate overnight, so don’t expect to feel at the top of your game the day after you start a cleanse.