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HOLISTIC HEALTH - February 2018 - Kansas City

Detoxing for the New Year

By Nancy Russell, M.D. and Debbie Rodman, RN, APRN


This month’s feature is a continuation of our January article regarding toxins. We discussed environmental toxins, their prevalence, and our bodies’ natural detoxification systems.


It is a well-established fact that we come into contact with a multitude of environmental toxins every day:  pesticides on our produce, pollutants in the air, unpronounceable ingredients in processed food and personal care products, and heavy metals like mercury and arsenic in the soil, to name just a few.


Toxic chemicals in our environment are substances that can cause severe illness, poisoning, birth defects, disease, or death when ingested, inhaled, or absorbed by the skin. Many of these chemicals are also known carcinogens. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration includes a list of carcinogens on their website.


What is total toxic load?

Total Toxic load is the amount of toxins accumulated in body tissues. It is also referred to as "body burden." High exposure to one toxin can be harmful, while low exposures to many toxins also can do severe damage.


Determining toxic load.

There are subjective questionnaires to assess toxic load. More definitive tests are available to determine the amounts of environmental toxins such as lead, mercury, and cadmium.


Detoxification Process.

Detoxification refers to the removal of toxic substances from the body. Our bodies have four main pathways that remove toxic build up, which includes our digestive tract, liver, skin, and lungs. However, as the toxic load increases our bodies may need assistance to stay healthy. There are two main avenues to protect yourself: minimize intake of toxins and enhance elimination of toxins. 


  • Food: eat organic, especially dairy, animal products, and the following produce: lettuces, apples, pears, grapes, berries, carrots, and potatoes. 

  • Water: purified, filtered water for drinking and cooking. Drink plenty of water, about 1/2 ounce per pound of body weight per day. Use a shower head filter to remove chlorine. 

  • Use natural cleaners, detergents, soaps and personal care products.

  • Avoid food additives: monosodium glutamate (MSG), textured vegetable protein (TVP), yeast extracts, sodium nitrite, aspartame (NutraSweet), saccharin, sucralose (Splenda) and synthetic food colorings.

  • Avoid sugar and high-fructose corn syrup: replace with stevia, xylitol, honey, or Grade B maple syrup.

  • Avoid plastics containing BPA (bisphenol A): often found in food and beverage containers, such as water bottles. Store food in glass containers. BPA exposure has been linked to endocrine disruption and cancer. 

  • Avoid environmental contamination: lead based paints and asbestos containing compounds found in older homes and buildings.

  • Exercise regularly and sweat: if you don’t sweat, consider using a sauna.

  • Add detox nutrients: N-acetylcysteine (NAC), vitamin C, and milk thistle are among the nutrients that play a role in detoxification.

  • Protect your nervous system: omega-3 oils, antioxidants, trace minerals and vitamin D3.

  • Water: drink plenty of water as mentioned above to aid the kidneys in flushing toxins.

  • Fix the gut: gut imbalances are a key source of toxins for many people. Most people see dramatic improvements by eliminating food sensitivities like dairy and gluten.


Effective detoxification is based on a scientific understanding of the body’s natural cleansing process. Safe and effective herbs and nutrients are important. The program should be gradual and gentle and work with the body’s own detoxification ability and normal patterns of elimination. When looking for a cleansing program, make sure it contains a bowel protocol with natural fibers and laxatives, rather than herbal stimulants like senna and cascara.

Evolving Magazine

Kansas City

Click to Read the Current Issue!

Nancy Russell, M.D. has been a holistic Internal Medicine physician in the Kansas City northland for over 30 years at 5140 N. Antioch Road in Kansas City, MO.

Her phone number is 816-453-5545 and website is where you can get more information. Dr. Russell is board certified in holistic medicine and is a member of the American Holistic Medical Association and a prior board member.


Debbie Rodman, Co-Author, is licensed as an APRN-FNP in Missouri, Kansas, and Hawaii. 


We would love to hear from you regarding your list of toxins, revelations about items you did not know were toxic and your positive changes. We have a professionally trained staff eager to assist you along your journey to improved health! 

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