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What’s the Difference Between a Detox and a Cleanse?

The terms cleanse and detox are often used interchangeably, and while they both remove toxins from your body, a detox and a cleanse are two different things! At the root of the word “cleanse” is clean, and you should think of a cleanse as a way of cleaning your body. Often a cleanse uses supplements or pills to eliminate substances directly and cleanses normally focus on the digestive tract. On the other hand, detox programs strive to support your body’s natural toxin-eliminating processes. Since the body’s main detoxing centers are the liver and the kidneys, good detox programs focus on supporting your liver and kidneys by giving them the nutrients and supplements they need to function optimally.

So what are toxins anyway? Heavy metals including mercury are top of mind, but the lists also include persistent organic pollutants, plastics, and pesticides. Basically, toxins are harmful particles that can stay in your body, irritating cells, causing inflammation, and interfering with your body’s normal functions.

Signs of toxicity or a high toxic load (and thus the need for a detox or cleanse) include:

  • fatigue,
  • headaches,
  •  joint pain,
  • depression,
  • anxiety,
  • and constipation.

But there’s much more to detoxes and cleanses, in fact, season is important. Watch the short video above to see why spring is a great time for a cleanse, to find out why a toxin load is important, and what lowering your toxin load can do for you. Or view the whole video on my Facebook.

For more information, we offer a Detox Treatment kit with our Detox Guidebook, Fiber Blend, Liver Support with Antioxidants, Daily Detox Support, and Magnesium Tablets and you can take our Medical Symptom Questionnaire for toxins.

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Why Detoxing is a Spring Cleaning Must-Do

Spring Detox

The idea of Spring cleansing is ancient.

For 3,000 years most of Asia, the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin and the Caucasus have celebrated the Persian New Year, the first day of Spring, by cleaning everything from the curtains to the furniture.  Passover, in the Jewish tradition, also asks us to Spring clean our homes.  Almost all religions have a period of fasting that are considered spiritual cleanses.

Cleansing is Synonymous with Detoxifying

At Blum Center for Health, spring is the best time to cleanse the body, with a focus on the liver, your primary detoxifying, or cleansing, organ.  Your liver safely removes toxins out of your body with the help of antioxidants, B vitamins, and amino acids.  With over 8,000 chemicals in circulation in the environment, we need to constantly support this process with the food we eat, and sometimes with supplements, otherwise, the liver pathways can get jammed, become overburdened, and toxins can bioaccumulate in tissues and fat cells.  This can make us feel unwell and lead to excess accumulation of weight.

We strongly believe that periodic liver support cleanses are essential for good health.

Here are 7 signs that you are carrying a toxic load:

  • You constantly feel tired.
  • You experience achiness in your joints.
  • You experience brain fog.
  • You suffer with headaches.
  • You experience mood swings.
  • You feel heavy in your body and in your mind.
  • You have difficulty losing weight.

One place that you might be exposed to toxins is in your water supply. Water is so important and yet our water has become a big issue.  This is something you are exposed to on a daily basis — multiple times a day — due to showering, baths, washing your hands and hair, brushing our teeth, and washing our clothes.

Here are the possible chemicals commonly found in water and their potential toxicity issues:

 Lead — from leaching lead from pipes, or solder, in our water system

  •      in children, colic, developmentally delayed and learning difficulties
  •      fatigue, irritability, nausea, constipation, miscarriages, anemias, kidney issues

According to the New York State Department of Health: Lead affects all organs and functions of the body to varying degrees. The frequency and severity of symptoms among exposed individuals depends upon the amount of exposure.

There are also chemicals that can found in your water supply that create havoc in your body:

Copper, from our pipes

  •      vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea
  •      associated with liver and kidney damage

Fluoride, fortified in our water

  •      can cause bone disorders

Pesticides, a problem if your well is shallow, or if you live near a farm or golf course

  •      nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, night sweats, muscles aches

This is our water and it is not good news.

We are also exposed to chemicals in our food, our cars, our homes, our clothes, our furniture – and the list goes on.  Safe removal of these compounds is possible with a liver that functions well.  I hope you agree, that it is MANDATORY that you detoxify and tune-up your liver on a routine basis.  A good detox program can lead to a reversal of symptoms, improved metabolism and a decrease in weight. Spring is a great time!

If you live near Blum Center, consider joining our popular 5-Day Intense Detox Group Program, a medically-sound jumpstart to reducing your toxic load. The group kicks off on Monday, May 15th at either 10am or 6pm. Join Now

If you don’t live near the Center and want to detox, purchase our quintessential 21- Day Simply Detox Kit, which includes a step-by-step guidebook and all the liver cleansing supplements you need to detoxify your body and eliminate your toxic load.
Learn More

About Mary: Mary Gocke, Director of Nutrition at Blum Center for Health, has been successfully using food and nutrition science to treat and heal people with chronic illnesses and acute conditions for over 25 years. When Mary’s not helping people feel better through nutrition, this mother of two grown children can be found practicing yoga, which she has taught for years, or in her kitchen cooking something colorful.

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Mercury and Your Health


By Susan Blum, MD 

Are you concerned about your exposure to mercury from the food you are eating?  If you eat fish at all, then you should be. This can be confusing, but is very important because mercury can cause autoimmune disease and other health-related problems.  That is why I decided to dedicate our April newsletter to this topic…to shed some light on this issue and to help you decide what to eat, and what to do to protect yourself from this environmental toxin.

Where do you find mercury and what is it?

Mercury is part of a group of compounds called heavy metals. There are ‘good’ heavy metals like iron, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc.  They are good because humans require these metals to function properly.  However, keep in mind that these too can be toxic at excessive levels.

On the other hand, heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and plutonium are ‘bad’ toxic metals and if they accumulate in the body over time, can cause serious illness.   For our purpose today, I will focus on mercury because there is plenty of data that explains what it does in the body and how we are exposed.

Where does Mercury come from?

There are 2 main sources of mercury that we are exposed to.  First, mercury is released into the air from coal burning power plants and from volcanoes.  After it settles in the oceans and soil, we end up eating it from the fish or plants or animals that grow and live in these places. The big fish eat the little fish, and the mercury bio accumulates, which means it gets more concentrated in the bigger fish.

The other main source of mercury is the vapor released from silver fillings.  While this is somewhat controversial, there is enough evidence suggesting this is a real issue, and why I recommend replacing your fillings if possible.

There are also other places you can be exposed to mercury, like in the preservative of some vaccines, and old thermometers.  But fish and silver fillings are the biggest problem.

How does mercury accumulate in your body and make you sick?

Your body was created with multiple detox systems in place to clear out the mercury you are exposed to.  One of these, called the glutathione system, is very active in your liver and also in all the cells in your body.  If you are exposed to more mercury than this system can handle, the mercury can build up in your body and cause damage to your nerves, thyroid, immune system (autoimmune disease, for example), and all the cells in your body by causing something we call oxidative stress.  This simply means that you run out of the important antioxidants that your body needs to protect itself, resulting in free radicals created by the mercury that can then damage the tissues.

To protect your cells and tissues, it is critical that you keep your liver detox system in tip-top shape by eating lots of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables with plenty of color.  In addition, you can take specific antioxidant supplements to boost your glutathione.  Our favorite and most convenient way to do this is by taking our BlumBox Immune & Antioxidant Support Packets, created for just this purpose.   

The next step is to support your liver and its ability to clear this metal out of your system. The best strategy is to do a liver detox program once or twice/year, and to make sure you are eating foods with selenium, sulfur (onions), cruciferous veggies, and lots of antioxidants.