Ultimate Detox: Expert Strategies to Prevent Disease and Enhance Vitality

A good detoxification approach should focus on supporting and enhancing the body's natural detoxification phases

The body's detoxification process works through a series of phases that must work in unison to eliminate harmful substances.
Ultimate Detox: Expert Strategies to Prevent Disease and Enhance Vitality
(Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock)
Christy Prais
Every day, our bodies are under siege from the air that we breathe to the products that we use. We're exposed to more than 86,000 chemicals, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Chronic exposure to these toxins, including heavy metals, has been linked to cancer, respiratory disease, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, allergies, autoimmune conditions, and more.
The body’s natural detoxification systems work hard to counter this chemical assault. But when the amount of toxins that we take in outpaces the body's ability to remove them, they accumulate in tissues and cells, depleting our protective mechanisms and potentially contributing to various diseases.

So, it's important to support the body's inherent detoxification capabilities by implementing a consistent strategy of expelling toxins from cells and intercepting them before they can wreak havoc.

The Body's Natural Detoxification Process

The body's detoxification process has a series of phases that must work in unison to eliminate harmful substances.

The liver is the central detoxification organ and detoxifies in three phases:
  • Phase I: Toxins are removed from cells and organs. Enzymes then transform them into less-harmful compounds.
  • Phase II: Chemicals bind to toxins, prepping them for elimination. The glutathione pathway is essential for detoxifying heavy metals in this phase.
  • Phase III: Processed toxins are transported from the blood to the liver, then to bile, and are removed from the body through urine, feces, or sweat.
Detoxification isn't limited to the liver; the intestines, kidneys, lungs, and brain also play crucial roles in eliminating harmful substances from the body.
The intestines contribute by processing and eliminating waste, while the kidneys filter and remove toxins from the blood. The lungs expel toxins through exhaling, and the brain's glymphatic system helps clear waste products during sleep. 

An Expert's Guide to Complete Detoxification

“Most people have big stores of toxins in their bodies and need to not only do a formal detox to clear them out, but incorporate detoxification into their lifestyle,” Christopher Shade told me in a recent interview on Discovering True Health, a YouTube channel and podcast dedicated to health and wellness.

Mr. Shade holds a doctorate in environmental sciences and bioanalytical chemistry and is the founder of Quicksilver Scientific, an advanced nutritional systems manufacturer with a focus on detoxification.
Interventions to improve toxin excretion are extremely valuable for reducing related health issues, according to a 2021 study in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Public Health.

“Accordingly, it is imperative that health providers understand the fundamentals of detoxification physiology and biochemistry to secure functioning of the organs of elimination,” the study states.

Aligning with this perspective, Mr. Shade's approach aims to support the body's natural detoxification phases while actively assisting the process. He stresses that “optimal health is built by supporting our body’s built-in, profound detoxification abilities regularly.”

'Push and Catch'

Effective detox hinges on a simple insight: We push toxins out of cells, then catch and bind them before they cause damage, Mr. Shade said.

“I call this ‘push and catch,’” he said.

Proper detoxification requires supporting all phases while moving toxins in the right direction—from cells to tissues to total elimination.

The “push” phase stimulates cells to release toxins for liver processing and bile secretion into the gastrointestinal tract.

The “catch” phase follows within 30 minutes, using binders to eliminate toxins.

Without this binder step, toxins dumped into the intestines can be reabsorbed, causing detox side effects, Mr. Shade said.

“This is what causes a lot of the negative symptoms of a detox or cleanse when they are done incorrectly,” he said.

There are several core concepts to Mr. Shade's detoxification strategy.

Glutathione Support

The liver relies on many enzymes and molecules to detoxify, but one of the most important when it comes to detoxification is glutathione.

Mr. Shade stresses that glutathione can become chronically depleted by toxins and lost during the removal and elimination of mercury and other toxins from the cell. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that our bodies have sufficient amounts.

Strategies to increase glutathione include:

Decrease the need for glutathione. This means decreasing the toxic load on the body by avoiding man-made chemicals.

Supplement with antioxidants to decrease oxidative stress. A-lipoic acid has been shown to increase mitochondrial glutathione.

Administer glutathione. It can be done orally, topically, intravenously, intranasally, or in nebulized form. Oral administration is controversial, as not all oral supplements are shown to be effective. Liposomes and S-acetyl glutathione have been shown to be the most effective oral methods.

Supplement with nutrients to promote glutathione production. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been shown to increase glutathione levels, although studies vary as to effective dosage levels.

Another strategy, Mr. Shade said, is to encourage our body's natural production of glutathione. This process can be achieved through the Nrf2/ARE pathway, which triggers the production of enzymes and proteins that aid in detoxification, he said.

Certain natural substances such as lipoic acid, selenium, DIM, sulforaphane, lycopene, milk thistle, and EGCG have been found to activate Nrf2, along with lifestyle factors such as relaxation, breathing exercises, and regular exercise, according to Mr. Shade.


Bile flow is vital for detoxification. After the liver processes toxins, it secretes them into bile to travel to the intestines. But when bile flow stops, toxins get trapped, Mr. Shade said.
This condition, called intrahepatic cholestasis, decreases detox enzymes, allowing toxin buildup, which may eventually lead to liver damage, chronic diseases, and other toxic effects.

Trapped toxins even cause skin problems, Mr. Shade said.

“When the toxins try to leave your body, they can trigger rashes because they affect your immune system,” he said. “So, itching and rashes happen when toxins can't leave your body through bile. The bile salts and toxins under your skin cause this itchiness."

The good news is there are natural alternatives to improve and support bile flow.

Bitter botanicals have been used for centuries to treat digestion issues by increasing bile flow and balancing gut flora.

Some of the classic bitter botanicals that offer digestive support include:

Gentian: Increases glutathione levels, improves bile flow (in rats)

Milk Thistle: Protects liver from toxins, raises glutathione levels in liver and gut

Myrrh: Antimicrobial, guards against oxidative damage from lead

Goldenrod: Enhances bile flow, detoxifying, anti-inflammatory

Dandelion: Supports liver, shields from oxidative injury

Toxin Binders

Binders help the body to decrease its toxin levels by attracting, attaching to, and removing toxins from the body, preventing their reabsorption and promoting efficient removal.

Toxins excreted into the intestines can get reabsorbed rather than eliminated if detox pathways are impaired. This disruption, called enterohepatic recirculation, forces endless cycles of liver processing and intestinal reabsorption of the same toxins, putting a significant burden on the whole body as it tries to detoxify itself. This is where binders can help.

"There is no universal binder that has an equal affinity for all toxins,” Mr. Shade said, noting that a combination will offer a broader protection.

Binders to consider include:

Bentonite clay: Bentonite clay is a volcanic ash with a large surface area that contains minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, silica, potassium, and sodium. It’s capable of binding to numerous harmful substances, including mold toxins, heavy metals, and LPS, a pro-inflammatory bacterial byproduct.

Activated charcoal: Contains millions of micropores on the surface that capture toxins in the gut, including, bacterial lipopolysaccharide, metals, and mycotoxins.

Chitosan: Studies have shown that it binds heavy metals and microbes. Chitosan is derived from the outer skeleton of shellfish, so individuals who are allergic to shellfish might have issues.

Thiol-functionalized silica: Shown to capture heavy metals and has a high affinity for capturing inorganic mercury.

Because binders can effectively absorb chemicals and toxins, it's possible that they may bind to beneficial nutrients, although this hasn't been heavily researched.

Taking binders on an empty stomach such as first thing in the morning or before bed can reduce the chance of binding to essential nutrients, Mr. Shade said.

People on medications should consult with a health care professional as binders may interfere with or reduce absorption of medications.

Prerequisites for Detox

Detoxing is a holistic process, Shade said, emphasizing a holistic detox must address nervous system regulation, inflammation, and gut health.

Nervous System Regulation

The sympathetic "fight-or-flight" nervous state impedes detoxification, while parasympathetic "rest-and-digest" mode supports it.

Calming practices that promote relaxation and stress reduction such as tai chi, yoga, mindfulness, and meditation can help to shift the body's nervous system out of the sympathetic mode and into parasympathetic dominance.

“If you're always stressed out, you're not going to be able to detoxify,” Mr. Shade said.


Chronic inflammation also hinders detoxification and amplifies mercury toxicity, he said. A 2012 study published in Environmental Research examined fish consumption in children and compared the levels of mercury with inflammatory markers. Researchers found that higher mercury levels are linked to certain proteins that indicate inflammation in the body.
Gut Health
Inflammation can also be caused by gut issues such as leaky gut. Leaky gut causes dysbiosis, an imbalance of gut bacteria, releasing inflammatory endotoxins from cell walls into the bloodstream. Endotoxins also amplify heavy metal toxicity and inhibit cell signaling pathways regulating inflammation and liver detox function, Mr. Shade said.
Christy A. Prais received her business degree from Florida International University. She is the founder and host of Discovering True Health, a YouTube channel and podcast dedicated to health and wellness. Prais also serves on the advisory board at the Fostering Care Healing School. She is a contributing journalist for The Epoch Times.