Common Body Detoxification Symptoms (Updated 11/2019)
"I woke up today and felt terrible! I'm so tired I haven't felt this tired in memory. I'm sitting at work feeling like I've been hit by a tonne of bricks and almost slightly nauseous. I realise maybe this could be from withdrawals from caffeine and sugar?? And maybe some of the herbal supplements? Do I just stick it out for a few days? I feel like if I had a piece of cake and a coffee I would feel better."
"So I took your advice about doing some exercise, but did so after about a week on your programme to ease myself in. And the first day of exercise was fine, but on the 2nd day of exercise I immediately got flu like symptoms, my face was flushed for the rest of the day, and I got some chills. I took some ibuprofen, rested and was fine the rest of the day. Now this morning I wake up feeling fine, and as soon as I did some light in-bed stretches I got the flu symptoms worse than before. I'm freezing with chills on this warm day and my nerves in my skin are going nuts... As in immense pain when my skin feels just a little bit of cool air. I use to work out everyday and never had this happen.
What has happened? Have I worked out too hard for my metabolic type (fast type 4) as indicated on my HMTA?* I have just now taken my smoothie. Hopefully it ameliorates some of these symptoms. What do you think is going on?"
* HTMA: hair tissue mineral analysis. Metabolic Type Fast 4 is indicative of being in a thoroughly exhausted metabolic state.
These people typically have had ongoing, vague and diffuse health issues, usually associated with yeast/fungal, parasite infections, or exposure to toxins. They may complain of symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, itchy skin, constipation, heavy periods, food intolerances, overuse injuries that do not fully heal, aches and pains, weight gain, brain fog and chronic fatigue (by the way yeast produce alcohol and a person with a yeast overgrowth typically complains of symptoms that are similar to a hangover).
Is it a Herxheimer Reaction?
When commencing a programme to improve health, a person who has been struggling with chronic health issues may feel like they are going backwards at times and not getting better. Symptoms of previous illnesses may reappear, as might old injuries. This is "normal" and more common than not, and it is quite random who may be affected. This phenomenon of appearing to go backwards before getting better is very well-known in natural medicine. It is called the "Herxheimer Reaction". Look it up on the internet. It is a fascinating thing to study.
It is important to understand what is most likely to be going on because the exacerbation of symptoms within days or weeks of starting this kind of programme can be distressing to many and the natural reaction may be to quit altogether while criticizing the natural health practitioner.
On the contrary, the exacerbation of symptoms may actually be cause for celebration - it means we may have stirred the muddy waters or disturbed the wasp nest deep within your body. While it is sensible to back off, the best follow up action is to quietly come back later armed to the teeth to kill - totally! The worst thing to do is to run away and hide. Celebrate!
Typical Symptoms of detoxification:
joint and muscle aches and pains
mucus or other discharge
a coated, pasty tongue
flu-like symptoms, sensitive skin etc.
irritability and emotional volatility
Withdrawal from caffeine (often part and parcel with going on a "health-kick") can be most unpleasant:
Feeling depressed and angry
Feeling like having the flu
If you are on Bug Patrol
If there is the mass die-off of bugs within the body such as yeast, bacteria, protozoa or worms, much of the detritus will enter the bloodstream where it is eventually filtered out by the liver. This is stressful for the liver and may cause pain in the lower right quadrant of the chest. This toxic filtrate is excreted via the bile and it will be foul. This may irritate the gallbladder. When the gallbladder squirts its contents (bile) into the stomach, the stomach may react with feelings of nausea and possibly dry retching, constipation or loose stools. As the toxic bile makes its way through the intestines, there may be further abdominal discomfort. Feeling run over by a train, or fluey is a good way of describing how one may feel.
Are you eliminating toxic elements?
In many cases a person may have toxic elements, such as arsenic, aluminium, lead, mercury and even uranium that have accumulated deep within their bodies, possibly from decades ago. What your body can't get rid of during the initial exposure to a toxin, your body sequesters the remainder in liver and in relatively inert tissues such as the fat and bones where it may remain for decades.
Think of these sequestered toxins as being like rust in your chassis - you can't see it or feel it but it is gradually eating away at your structural integrity - not good!
These toxins are everywhere nowadays. Every creature on the planet has mercury in them, thanks to a century of industrial pollution. Almost without exception, every farmer and builder in New Zealand has significant levels of arsenic in them. Bathing in natural thermal waters in New Zealand may result in toxic exposure to arsenic. People who have owned a gun - even a slug gun as a child - often have high levels of lead in them. If this is the case, then any therapy that stimulates the mobilisation of toxic elements such as arsenic may cause most unpleasant symptoms for however long it takes to get over the spike in levels of these nasties within the circulation. If this is happening then this will show as an increase in the levels of toxic elements when the Interclinical Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) is repeated 4-6 months into the programme.
Are you losing weight too fast?
Rapid weight loss may trigger emotional and physical symptoms of detoxification. Body fat, especially the brown fat of long term storage, is one of the main areas that toxins, like arsenic and pesticides are sequestered if, at the time of exposure, the person was unable to safely excrete them. If a person undergoes rapid weight loss there may be the release of large amounts of these toxins and this may make the person feel unwell and even emotionally unstable. If you are a fan of reality TV programmes, such as the Biggest Loser, you may have noticed that many, if not most of the participants become more like blubbering children as the weight is shed. This is not surprising because most of the participants lead very toxic lives prior to this extreme health kick.
Are your meds toxic?
Being on medication such as antidepressants, asthma meds, antihistamines, blood pressure meds and painkillers to name a few can be a major cause of sluggish metabolism and toxic buildup. Many medications are addictive and the replacement of these with healthy alternatives may be a slow process of careful withdrawal and detoxification.
Are you up-regulating?
As you begin to regain your health there will bean up-regulation of liver, thyroid and adrenal function. This may trigger a detoxification similar to what may be experienced with candida kill-off. By the way, candida and similar infections are almost always associated with glandular dysfunction (liver, thyroid, adrenals). They go hand in hand: fix one and you are likely to fix the other. It is best to work on all concurrently, in order to get a pleasing and lasting result.
Cleaning up takes time and effort
The body will eventually cleanse itself but this may take several days, possibly months in some cases, to get over the worst of it. Some people who may have been exposed to toxic elements, such as lead, may take years to be declared "clean". This is because toxins like lead are osteophilic and lipophilic, which means they are attracted to bone and fat and are therefore end up being hidden deep in the body. Being lipophilic is one reason toxins like lead, arsenic and mercury are so damaging to the brain which contains a lot of fat.
Think of detoxification as being similar to an old and cranky car that is being expertly serviced and restarted for the first time in a long time: It may cough and splutter and blow out a whole lot of smoke and gunk until warmed up and running smoothly. There may be several false starts and other difficulties, but rest assured you will get through with the help of your experienced natural health practitioner.
Please consult your natural health practitioner
If you are undergoing any kind of therapy that may trigger an unpleasant detoxification, rest assured that there is always an end with a delightful improvement in health. However, the process needs to be controlled so as not to cause too much discomfort. How long it takes to feel well varies hugely from one person to another.
If you feel worse for wear when undertaking a treatment regime, you must contact your natural health practitioner who will guide you. The most usual action is to have a break from everything for a few days to allow you to settle down, then resume at a lower dose, so as not to trigger an excessive detox reaction. If, on the other hand, you are coping well with the detox reaction, your practitioner may advise a reduction in doses while you get over the worst of it and then the doses may be ramped up to ensure you get a full and final victory over these horrible body-squatters!
If you think you have triggered a detoxification, your best first action to drink plenty of water (water dilutes any toxins in the stomach and intestines), then consult your health practitioner.
A few handy Tips:
A dessertspoon of apple cider vinegar with a twist of lemon/lime in a large glass of water chugged down quickly may settle the upset tummy. Do it quickly and do not swill the liquid around the teeth because the acid may erode the tooth enamel a little. Rinse the mouth with water to ensure the teeth are not affected by the acid in the apple cider vinegar. Have one or two gulps of plain water down the hatch to finish. I find this is very effective for the relief of most tummy upsets.
Have a dandelion and milk thistle tea brew. These herbs assist the liver with detoxification.
As a general rule of thumb, it is necessary to do a full 12 weeks, or longer, for most conditions of "body toxicity" to clear and to be absolutely sure that you have the upper hand; then continue with a gentle sustenance programme for several months after being apparently clear of any symptoms.
Always do a InterClinical Laboratories Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis before commencing a programme and make sure that it is repeated 4-6 months later, then about once a year thereafter so that you and your healthcare practitioner are working from hard evidence, rather than guesswork.