Our increasingly toxic world creates significant risks to health. Among the widely distributed toxins we are all exposed to are PCBs, persistent organophosphates, herbicides and pesticides, phthalates, parabens, BPA, and heavy metals. Unfortunately, there are no studies examining the cumulative effects of having all these toxins in our bodies over many years, while we simultaneously eat more poorly, exercise and sleep less, experience chronic stress, and consume high levels of both prescribed and OTC drugs (including alcohol and caffeine), all of which place heavy demands on the body’s detoxification systems.
IFM has adopted the acronym PURE to help clinicians learn to execute a scientifically sound and clinically effective personalized detox plan for appropriate patients. Briefly, the letters of the acronym represent the following issues:
- P = pattern recognition
Symptoms of toxicity are often general and diffuse, characteristic of many diverse chronic conditions, and usually slow to develop, thus challenging the clinician’s ability to recognize toxicity in the patient. Mitochondrial toxicity, metabolic toxicity, and immunotoxicity are a few of the core patterns of toxicity clinicians can learn to recognize.
- U = undernourishment
Adequate protein and healthy fats are necessary to an effective detox regimen, as are phytonutrient-dense foods such as onions and garlic, berries, broccoli and cauliflower, and green tea. While in the fasting phase of a detox program, nutraceuticals and liquid medical food products can help ensure adequacy of key nutrients.
- R = reduce toxins
Identifying the sources of the patient’s toxic exposure(s) is a complex process that may involve looking at foods, drugs, cosmetics, water, dental amalgams, and other environmental influences. Eventually, the goal should be to help patients reduce or eliminate these exposures, so that they can achieve and maintain improved health.
- E = ensure a safe detox
The first step in ensuring a safe detox is recognizing contraindications or complicating factors. Impaired GI function, for example, should raise a red flag when considering a detox protocol. Evaluating liver function is vital; as toxins are mobilized, the demand on the liver intensifies. Genetic testing may be appropriate to determine whether the patient is struggling with a genetic predisposition to poor detox function. Finally, phytonutrient support to help the liver handle the increased detox load may be indicated.