Have you ever experienced a “gut feeling” that something in your body was amiss? Like you’ve suddenly lost appetite, felt dizzy, or became nauseated without an identifiable reason?
Perhaps you have felt that your liver was overloaded after a fun night of eating and drinking. These sensations may seem unrelated, but contrary to common knowledge, they actually emphasize the intricate connection between the gut and liver, known as the gut-liver axis.
What is the gut-liver axis and what is its role in overall health?
The gut and liver are intricately linked, collaborating to support the body’s detoxification processes through a vital communication pathway called the gut-liver axis. This axis facilitates bidirectional interactions between these organs, ensuring the elimination of undesirable substances from the body.
Think of the gut-liver axis as a pathway connecting your stomach and liver, allowing them to communicate with each other. It’s like a busy road where information travels back and forth.
Just as traffic congestion can create problems on the streets, any disruption in the gut-liver axis can lead to different liver diseases that can harm your overall health. So, it’s important to keep this communication pathway working smoothly to maintain your well-being.
Understanding the gut-liver axis is crucial for health because doing so will also help you look for prevention measures and interventions in case it is disrupted.
With the role of the gut and liver in keeping the body free from harmful toxins, detoxification measures for the gut could be beneficial for you and your body. And while this article will focus on how to detoxify your gut, here’s one that can show you the ropes to liver detox.
Why should you do a gut detox?
The human body naturally undergoes detoxification every day, but sometimes, the process can be inadequate significantly when the gut or the liver is compromised. This is where a gut detox comes in handy.
Gut detox is a process that aims to remove toxins and residual fecal matter from the intestines, colon, and gastrointestinal systems. Although not medically recognized, a gut detox is essential as it aids the body’s natural mechanism to keep toxins away from the gut and the liver.
A gut detox can be beneficial for you for the following reasons:
1. Gut detox helps prevent the development of a toxic gut.
Your body is exposed to loads of toxins on a daily basis– toxins that your gut has to filter and keep away. But in the event that these toxins have built up, the gut can become damaged, more permeable, and cause these toxins to enter the bloodstream, affecting the liver and other organs. Among a number of them, here are the most common toxins to watch out for.
A toxic gut can lead to systemic health issues that are not only limited to digestion but can also escalate into bigger issues such as a weakened immune system, hormonal imbalances, mental health problems, and even autoimmune diseases. Gut detox can prevent the gut from being overloaded with toxins to avoid these issues from arising.
2. Gut detox helps reduce inflammation and gut conditions.
Detoxifying and resetting the gut through a gut detox provides the digestive system with a rest from the work of digestion. It can alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms by decreasing the feeding of bad bacteria that proliferate off of eating sugars or other fermentable carbohydrates.
A gut detox can benefit gut conditions like leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by lowering inflammation and enhancing the health of the gut microbiome.
3. Gut detox can make you less susceptible to illness and disease.
Your overall health can be significantly enhanced, and you become less prone to illness and disease when your gut is detoxified. Unhealthy foods, stress, and environmental factors can all cause harmful toxins to build up in our gut.
However, we can get rid of these toxins and enhance our gut health through a gut detox that can promote improved digestion, a stronger immune system, and better nutrient absorption.
What are the best methods for gut detox?
A colon cleanse can help remove toxins and waste from the digestive tract by flushing out harmful substances that do not belong in the gut. There are a variety of ways to do a colon cleanse like a salt water flush or a concoction of apple cider vinegar and raw honey.
Hydration is one of the best gut detox methods because it helps to flush out toxins from the body and supports the digestive system. Drinking plenty of water helps to keep the digestive system running smoothly and aids in the elimination of waste and toxins.
Water also helps to soften the stool, making it easier to pass and reducing the risk of constipation. In addition to water, drinking herbal teas, such as peppermint or ginger tea, can also help to soothe the digestive system and reduce inflammation.
Adequate hydration is an essential part of any gut detox program and can help to improve overall health and well-being.
Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Digestive Enzymes
Probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes are considered the best gut detox methods because they have proven gut health benefits and help balance the microbes in the gut. They work symbiotically with the body’s unique rhythm to get rid of waste without causing any harmful effects.
When combined with the right all-natural supplements that are close to nature, they can help you detox without the sluggishness or laxative effects caused by traditional supplements.
The best supplements are the ones that focus on delivering oxygen to feed healthy bacteria and clear acidic toxins, without the need for harmful herbs and chemicals to clear the system.
It is important to note that relying on supplements alone is not enough and they should be used in tandem with a healthy diet and a mindful lifestyle to keep the gut healthy and clean.
While packaged gut detox products may make different kinds of claims about what they do, there is no research supporting the claims that these protocols work in a larger population, or even why and how they would work and what they do.
In summary, it may be more beneficial to work through a protocol that introduces individual ingredients methodically, one at a time.
Glutamine (bone broth)
Glutamine is an amino acid found in bone broth, and preclinical trials have shown that it can improve intestinal function. Glutamine is also considered to be a conditionally essential amino acid, meaning that the body may require more glutamine than it can produce.
It functions as a major nitrogen transporter and is critical for the maintenance of a healthy nitrogen balance. Additionally, glutamine acts as the primary fuel for the rapidly growing cells of the immune system and GI tract.
Bone broth protein contains glutamine, among other essential nutrients, such as collagen, gelatin, glucosamine, chondroitin, and key minerals that are often missing in the diet. These vital nutrients are essential for joint health, gut health, skin health, brain health, and healthy aging.
Therefore, bone broth protein can help soothe the gut and support a healthy gut, skin, and joints.
Exercise is an important gut detox step because it helps to stimulate the digestive system and increase blood flow to the gut. This increased blood flow helps to flush out toxins and waste from the gut, promoting bowel regularity and reducing bloating.
Exercise also helps to improve energy levels by removing toxins that can make a person feel sluggish and tired. Additionally, exercise can help to improve food sensitivity by aiding in the absorption of nutrients in food.
Overall, exercise is a crucial step in gut detoxification as it helps to promote a healthy digestive system and eliminate harmful toxins from the body.
What foods should you eat and avoid on a gut detox?
Foods You Should Eat For Detox
Ginger is recommended to be consumed while on a gut detox because it is an herb that can help to maintain good gut health. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce gut inflammation and can also help in reducing bloating and gas.
Additionally, ginger has been known to aid in digestion and ease nausea. Therefore, consuming ginger while on a gut detox can be beneficial for maintaining good gut health.
Flaxseed is a great source of binding fiber which helps in the natural detoxification process of the body during gut detox. It is also a good source of healthy fats and protein which are vital components of a healthy diet and help the body maintain its natural digestive enzymes to help in detoxification.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Consuming apple cider vinegar during a gut detox is beneficial because it contains probiotics that help restore and improve the positive bacteria in your gut, as well as aid in releasing unwanted toxins.
Consuming cruciferous vegetables during a gut detox is highly recommended because they are among the most powerful tools that can be used to help the body detoxify.
Cruciferous vegetables are anti-inflammatory, contain potent antioxidants, and play a big part in producing energy while supporting the immune system preventing cancer, and reducing the risk of autoimmune disease.
One of the key benefits of chai tea for detoxification is that it can help to support healthy digestion. Many of the spices in chai tea, such as ginger and cardamom, have been shown to have a positive effect on digestion.
Fiber helps your body naturally detox by helping move waste and toxins out of your body during digestion. Thus, consuming fiber-rich foods is critical to gut health during a detox.
Foods To Avoid For Detox
Alcohol should be avoided during a gut detox because it can irritate the gut lining and disrupt the balance of gut bacteria. Consuming alcohol can also change the intestinal microbiome and trigger gastrointestinal inflammation.
It is best to limit or avoid alcohol during a gut cleanse to promote a healthy gut microbiome and reduce inflammation. Additionally, alcohol is an acidic substance, which can trigger unpleasant digestive symptoms such as acid reflux and heartburn.
Diseases thrive in acidic environments, so limiting the consumption of alcohol is a good way to keep yourself healthy during a gut detox.
Caffeine should be avoided during a gut detox because it is acidic and can trigger unpleasant digestive symptoms. Additionally, caffeine can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria and can contribute to inflammation.
It’s best to limit the consumption of caffeinated beverages for effective detoxing and replace them with nourishing, hydrating drinks like water or herbal teas.
Consuming high amounts of sugar can disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Furthermore, high-sugar diets can lead to metabolic diseases such as obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Fats and oils
Refined carbohydrates, such as pasta, pizza dough, cakes, and pastries, should also be avoided as they can cause inflammation in the body. Foods high in saturated fat, such as processed meats, can also contribute to inflammation in the body and should be limited.
Are there any side effects when doing gut detox?
There is currently no scientific evidence to support the idea that “gut detoxes” are necessary or effective. In fact, some popular gut detoxes may even be harmful or have side effects.
If you are considering a gut detox or have already started one, it is important to be aware of potential side effects, which may include:
Many gut detoxes involve consuming large amounts of fiber or diuretic supplements, which can cause dehydration if you don’t drink enough water.
Nausea and vomiting:
Some gut detoxes can cause nausea and vomiting, especially if you are consuming large amounts of unfamiliar foods or supplements.
Diarrhea and constipation:
Rapid changes in diet can lead to diarrhea or constipation, as your body adjusts to new foods or supplements.
Detoxes that involve fasting or severe calorie restriction can lead to headaches, as your body adjusts to lower energy levels.
If you are eliminating entire food groups or consuming a restricted diet, you may be at risk of nutrient deficiencies, which can cause a range of health problems.
It is important to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any gut detox program, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications. They can help you determine whether a gut detox is safe and appropriate for you, and provide guidance on how to minimize potential side effects.