There’s nothing to be ashamed of – so you ate too much, drank too much, loaded up on refined carbs and sugars and gave the gym a wide birth over the silly season. We all do it, and really there’s nothing wrong with having an end of year blow-out – as long as that blow-out doesn’t continue into late January, February, then linger into March…
One of the best ways to kick-start a metabolism that may have become a little over-indulged and sluggish over the Christmas period is with a de-tox. Nothing crazy like lemon juice-only for three days, just regular exercise combined with clean, fresh, nutrient-rich food and some vitamins to top up your depleted supplies.
We’ve done the research and compiled a list of the best vitamins and supplements to help flush out the toxins this February and get your health back on track:
One of the most effective antioxidants in the vitamin pantheon, Vitamin C mops up free radicals expelled by the liver as this hard-working organ flushes out accumulated toxins. Too many free radicals are what makes you feel sluggish and getting them under control will immediately improve your health and put a pep in your step.
B6 helps supports the healthy functioning of the lymphatic system – this is important as your lymphatic system is in charge of detoxifying your blood and flushing toxins out of your body. Good supplies of Vitamin B6 are also needed by the liver and it’s the liver that receives most of the punishment when we over-indulge in alcohol and refined foods like Christmas candy canes. In fact all the B group vitamins (B1, B3, B6, Folate, B12) are helpful during a de-tox as supplies are often depleted during a prolonged booze binge.
Zinc and magnesium
Magnesium and zinc are the supplements you go to when you want to get the de-tox job done. Both these elements flush toxins from the cells of your body. Zinc in particular is a strong antioxidant and helps rid the body of heavy metals. Clinical studies have shown that alcoholics have lower dietary zinc compared to the general population and that people who drink regularly are zinc-deficient. There’s a saying amongst some nutritionists – if you’re going to drink, take some zinc!
While technically not a vitamin, milk thistle still earns a place on this list due to its impressive liver cleansing actions. Remember it’s the liver that needs the most attention during a de-tox. A 2011 study conducted by Columbia University Hospital in New York found that milk thistle is extremely effective in reducing liver inflammation in children receiving chemotherapy. At the end of the 28-day trial, the children who had been taking milk thistle had much higher levels of good liver enzymes than those on a placebo and had a much lower risk of the kind of liver damage that can be caused by chemotherapy drugs.
Melatonin is more commonly known as the neurohormone that regulates sleep (again, technically not a vitamin), however melatonin can also help during a de-tox by improving gut health and helping with digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome. Several studies have found that melatonin works to suppress inflammation in the gut and reduce the prevalence of scavenging free radicals in the body. These free radicals typically grow in number when the body experiences a build-up in toxins.
In Australia, Melatonin can only by obtained with a prescription from a registered GP.
For more information on vitamins and supplements that may help during a post-Christmas de-tox speak to your integrative doctor. Visit National Custom Compounding’s website to find an integrative doctor in your local area.