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Detox Program Tips and Tools

Clinical insights from Metagenics Institute LIVE event


Host: Deanna Minich, PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMCP

Guest: Tricia Paulson, ND

In this discussion, Drs. Tricia Paulson and Deanna Minich discuss the nuts and bolts of detoxification or “detox” and explore practical tips for practitioners in structuring a successful group detoxification program for their patients. While negative perceptions and misinformation about the word “detox” exist, Dr. Paulson explains that detox is simply a “physiological process of taking toxins in the environment, of which there are an abundance, and trying to eliminate them from the body in a very safe and healthy way, so you are minimizing your overall toxic load.”

While our bodies do naturally possess detoxification physiology (think liver and kidneys), an intentional, systematic detox program can help improve the efficiency of our body’s organic detox processes, providing incremental value in the environment we live in with bioaccumulation of countless toxic inputs. As Dr. Minich astutely points out, individuals have unique detoxification efficiencies due to their genetic makeup, so a detox program can help level the playing field via a personalized approach.

Dr. Paulson’s group detoxification program served as a springboard for the growth and success of her naturopathic medicine practice in Wisconsin. She shared that the 2 most common reasons participants seek out her detox program include their desire to 1) have more energy and 2) lose weight. Since it is a challenge to find 4 consecutive weeks with no significant food celebration (e.g., holidays), Dr. Paulson recommends the beginning of the year as a prime time for a 4-week detox intervention. She further explains how a group setting can be leveraged for detox success.

Pre-detox activities and contraindications are shared. Of particular note in Dr. Paulson’s program is that after an introductory kick-off night, participants have 2 weeks to invite friends and family to join. This is important because changing eating habits is not easy in isolation. Social support and a sense of community is critical for patients embarking on a detox program.

During the program, the group meets one time per week for 4 consecutive weeks. Each week includes a new set of educational information and instructions to expand the participants’ food and health vocabulary. With a “food first” focus, Dr. Paulson describes the step-wise changes that occur in weeks 1, 2, 3, and 4. Some topics covered include a modified elimination diet, hydration, macronutrient balancing, combating “hangry” feelings and food addiction, targeted nutrition additions, and how to reintroduce healthy foods and sustain the positive health changes experienced during the 4 weeks.

Dr. Paulson shares that the #1 symptom improvement that her patients are surprised by following detox is pain reduction or pain resolution. Further, Dr. Minich reminds us that not all toxins are environmental or physical. There are also psychological aspects of detox too. Dr. Paulson explains that she has, indeed, observed positive, changes in emotions in patients undergoing her detox program, an “emotional clearing” of sorts. Whatever the toxic offender, stress or otherwise, the practitioner should focus on addressing the root cause.

This Metagenics Institute LIVE broadcast took place live December 18, 2018 on the Metagenics Institute Facebook page.

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