s5 e5: How To Naturally Detox

how to detox naturally

How To Naturally Detox

While the internet would have you believe that you need a supplement or cleanse to support your body’s detox pathways, our bodies detoxify daily on their own. We can absolutely have difficulty with certain organs that can negatively impact our ability to detox, but you might be surprised at what will actually help you detox better. No, it’s not milk thistle. While I do love this herb, there’s a lot more to supporting liver detoxification and detoxification in general than just taking a supplement.

If you want to learn more about specific foods and supplements that can support detoxification once you have the foundations in place, join patreon.com/hormonehealingrd to get access to this week’s bonus episode where I dive different options for detox support depending on what you have going on. 

As always, this podcast episode is not medical advice. Please talk with your provider before making any changes to your nutrition, lifestyle, or supplements. 

This episode covers:

  • How our bodies detox on their own
  • Signs and symptoms of poor detoxification
  • Four areas that can hinder detoxification
  • How to support and enhance your liver and natural detoxification 

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Amanda Montalvo [00:00:01]:

Welcome to the are you menstrual? Podcast, where we dive deep into all things women’s health to support you on your healing journey. I’m Amanda Montalbo functional and integrative dietitian, also known as the hormone healing Rd. If you enjoyed this podcast and you want to keep learning, check out the podcast Patreon, where I share a bonus episode with additional downloadable resources each week. You can go to Patreon.com forward slash Hormone Healing Rd or check out the link in the show notes we’re going to dig into detoxification. This is something I get questions about on a regular basis. How can I support usually it’s liver detox. And while the internet would have you believe that you need a supplement or a cleanse to support your body’s detox pathways, our bodies actually detoxify daily on their own, and we can absolutely have difficulty with this, like if we have issues with certain organs that can negatively impact our ability to detox. But you might be surprised on what’s actually going to help move the needle and help you detox better.

Amanda Montalvo [00:01:04]:

It’s typically not a supplement. It’s often some sort of nutrition or lifestyle change that you can work on if you want to learn more about specific foods, supplements that can support detoxification once you have the foundations in place. And what I mean by foundations is just everything that I’m going to cover in this episode, then you could take it to the next level and learn about those inside my Patreon. It’s just Patreon.com hormonehealingrd that will get you access to this week’s bonus episode where I go through different options for detox support depending on what you have going on. Because that’s the other thing is not everyone needs the same foods or supplements specifically to support detoxification. Sometimes we can benefit from certain ones more than others. So I’m going to go through that in the bonus episode. I’d love to have you inside Patreon.

Amanda Montalvo [00:01:52]:

Please remember that this podcast is not medical advice. It’s just me giving general recommendations, sharing about my clinical experience with clients. So make sure you talk with your specific healthcare provider before you make any changes to your nutrition, lifestyle, or supplements. So really quick what I’m going to cover before I dive in, I’m going to start with going through how our bodies detox on their own. And then I’m going to go through possible signs of poor detoxification. Because just like most symptoms, while these can be signs of poor detox, they can also be signs of other things. And then I’m going to go through what hinders detoxification, which is going to take us right into the end where I talk about how to support your liver and detoxification in general. I think once I go through what can hinder detoxification, you start to get the picture of, okay, so if I work on these things, then it should help support my detox pathways naturally.

Amanda Montalvo [00:02:43]:

So it’s going to be a good one. Let’s start with how our bodies actually detox. We’re primarily detoxing through our liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, and our GI tract. The liver is the main organ for detoxification. It breaks down and metabolizes toxins. Basically, it’s converting them into less harmful substances that can easily be excreted from the body. And it does this through two primary phases, phase one and phase two. Phase one liver detoxification, it involves enzymes that take toxins.

Amanda Montalvo [00:03:15]:

They convert fat soluble toxins into intermediate products. Basically, they’re just making them less reactive. And a lot of this is all about oxidation. To get this whole detox process started, typically phase one is going to be activated by external toxins like things in our environment, our food, beauty products, alcohol, things like that. So having an excess of toxins from those things can actually kick start our liver’s phase one detoxification and get this whole process started. It can also be activated in a positive way from certain herbs, citrus, vitamin c rich foods, cruciferous, veggies, b vitamins, even certain amino acids and minerals like magnesium and iron. Those can all kick start phase one liver detoxification. And phase one is really our first line of defense against toxins.

Amanda Montalvo [00:04:06]:

But the substances that we detoxify in phase one, they do have to go to phase two in order for us to actually be able to excrete them. So phase two is really involving conjugation. So these intermediate products that phase one takes these fat soluble products, turns them into intermediate products, these are combined with other molecules that make them water soluble, which just means they’re going to easily be able to leave the body. And that’s the main goal of phase two. So it’s really complex. I’m not going to go into all of it. We do use six different pathways to take water soluble phase one metabolites out and put them through our sweat, bile, urine, and stool to get rid of them. And that’s really phase three, which we’ll talk about in a little bit.

Amanda Montalvo [00:04:52]:

But phase two is really neutralizing any free radicals or really reactive toxins from phase one. And what we need for phase two, we need sulfur, we need amino acids, we need vitamin b twelve, and we need glutathione. The kidneys also play a huge role in detoxification by filtering waste products for us. They also filter excess substances and toxins from the blood. And then these waste products are then eliminated through the urine. So kidneys are also very important. Along with the liver, our respiratory system helps eliminate gaseous waste products like carbon dioxide during respiration, so when we’re breathing, so we also eliminate toxins while we’re breathing, and then finally our skin. We can eliminate certain toxins in waste through sweat, though it’s a lot less than if we compare that to what we eliminate through our liver and kidneys, but it’s still something.

Amanda Montalvo [00:05:44]:

And then phase three of this whole detoxification process is really where our GI tract comes in. So once we have these toxins packaged up. They’ve gone through phase one and two. They’re now water soluble. We can get rid of them easily. We have to eliminate them. And we’re primarily doing that through our bowel movements. So again, we do it through breathing, do it through urine, and we do it through sweating.

Amanda Montalvo [00:06:07]:

But a lot of this is happening through bowel movements. So if we are not eliminating properly or having a bowel movement at least one every day, then we can recycle these toxins and it can increase the body’s overall toxic load. So that’s the main ways that we are detoxifying. That’s our body’s natural processes. I am going to talk about circadian rhythm has a big effect on this too, and like sleep and stuff. So we’ll get into all that. But that’s like the main gist of how our bodies naturally detoxify. Okay, so let’s go through some possible signs of poor detoxification.

Amanda Montalvo [00:06:42]:

If we have poor detoxification, this is basically referring to the body’s inability to efficiently eliminate toxins and waste products. I’m going to go through a bunch of different signs and symptoms that can be signs, possible signs that the body’s detox processes are not working well. They’re compromised. Right? It is very important to note that these symptoms can have various underlying causes, so they may not necessarily be detox related. A lot of these symptoms also link up with thyroid issues, certain hormone imbalances, metabolic issues, but they are also really common signs of poor detoxification. So if you feel like these are all popping up for you and now you’re worried about detox, make sure you talk with your healthcare provider to figure out what’s accurate for you because it’s all going to depend on your health history. So some signs are possible signs of poor detoxification. Fatigue.

Amanda Montalvo [00:07:34]:

Right. Constantly feeling tired, lacking energy, especially after you get enough rest and sleep. This is a big one. This can also be very tied to many other things, especially like chronic stress and burnout. But fatigue is a very common one when your detox pathways are not working as optimally or you have a really big toxic burden. Digestive issues like frequent bloating, gas constipation, diarrhea, they can be signs that the body’s having trouble processing and eliminating waste products. Constipation in general is just a huge red flag because that’s going to lead to the body recycling toxins. And so it’s going to increase your burden already.

Amanda Montalvo [00:08:12]:

So even if it’s not necessarily maybe it’s like a stomach acid issue and that’s why you’re constipated, we still have to understand that that’s going to affect your body’s detox and your just toxic burden in general. So digestive issues are a big red flag. Skin problems. This is probably when I think of poor detoxification or someone that has a completely overburdened liver, I think of skin issues and not just acne, but like eczema, rashes, that can all be related to toxins not being eliminated effectively. Or they could have some sort of imbalance in their digestive system, like their gut and a very overburdened liver, and it just can’t keep up with the demand. So it’s showing up on their skin. That’s very common. Bad breath and body odor.

Amanda Montalvo [00:08:57]:

So having foul smelling breath and body odor, that’s a sign of just excessive toxin buildup in the body. Headaches again, these could definitely be related to hormones, but I would say like frequent or chronic headaches, they can definitely be related to the accumulation of toxins in the body, of course, as well as like excess estrogen, not having enough progesterone, which also puts a larger burden on the liver. Right. And if we add constipation to this picture, then that person’s not eliminating. We eliminate estrogen through our stool along with toxins. So they’re not eliminating, they’re recycling. And then they’re raising the estrogen levels more. So this is why even hormonal headaches, it’s not just our hormones that we have to address.

Amanda Montalvo [00:09:39]:

If we want to figure out and get to the root and fix that, we have to look at how is our liver functioning, how’s our digestive system, where’s inflammation coming from, and all those things too. Brain fog is another one. So having difficulty concentrating, mental fatigue, memory problems, those can all be linked to poor detox. Joint and muscle pain too. I think a lot of people don’t necessarily think of these, but the toxins can contribute to inflammation and pain in the joints and muscles. Weight gain or difficulty losing weight. Impaired detoxification processes can hinder the process of metabolizing and eliminating fat effectively. We also store a lot of toxins in our fat tissue.

Amanda Montalvo [00:10:18]:

So if we have a higher toxic burden, maybe our liver is not functioning as optimally. Maybe you have a health history that is challenging our liver and making its job harder, or it’s many, many jobs harder, but detoxification included, then it can be difficult to lose weight because your body may not necessarily be ready. When you do lose weight, you will get an exposure to a lot of those toxins inside the fat tissue. That’s why some people get negative symptoms and stuff with weight loss. But it could also be that your body can’t necessarily handle that right now, so that weight gain or difficulty losing weight, obviously that could be very related to many other things. But that can also be a sign of poor detoxification, allergies and sensitivities, having like an increase in allergies or sensitivities to different substances or things that you maybe don’t normally react to. That could also indicate detox pathways are overloaded. I also tend to see this with gut issues and having overloaded histamine that is not being broken down properly.

Amanda Montalvo [00:11:18]:

A lot of this does go back to imbalances in the gut, also digestion, and then all of that putting a huge burden on your liver. And then that will impact things like estrogen. And having excess estrogen can exacerbate histamines and it becomes this vicious cycle increased susceptibility to infections. So if our Detox system as a whole just isn’t functioning optimally, our immune system can become weaker, and it can make us more prone to infections. So our liver is really important for our digestive abilities. It got a huge part in that if you listen to the how to have Healthy Digestion episode, then you’ll know how important the liver is for digestion and making bile and having bowel movements and all those things. So we definitely need an optimally functioning liver. And if not, then that can impact our immune system.

Amanda Montalvo [00:12:09]:

And then finally hormone imbalances. Again, these could be related. This is like there’s so many other things that are going to impact this. But if we don’t have good Detoxification, whether it’s phase one, two, or three, where we’re actually eliminating, that can lead to excess estrogen. And we have to process that through our liver and eliminate it in our bile and our bowel movements. So bile is very important for eliminating estrogen. Then we can recycle that, and it can make our levels even higher. So liver Detoxification is very important for hormone imbalances, especially excess estrogen, estrogen dominance.

Amanda Montalvo [00:12:44]:

So that’s something that we definitely want to think about again. All these episodes from this season absolutely build off each other. So while if You’re Just Listening to this Detox episode, I hope you Go Back and listen to Episodes One through Four where I Talk About, like, I Talk About nutrition for Optimal Hormones in Episode One, talk about stress. In episode two. And then we get into supplements, how to have healthy digestion, all those things really critical for optimal detoxification in the body. So what can make Detox harder? There’s a lot of things that can challenge our Detoxification pathways. It’s primarily going to be a combination of our nutrition, our environment, and our lifestyle habits, plus our health history. So that’s kind of how I’ve categorized this section.

Amanda Montalvo [00:13:31]:

So we’ll go through nutrition first. Undereating is really not great for a Detox. Detox requires energy, and I think this is something that people just don’t think about. I think of so many Detox programs that are out there that to me make no sense. Because when you learn what the liver actually needs to function optimally, slashing your calories, reducing protein intake, and putting your body in this fight or flight because you’re not eating enough is the exact opposite of everything that we want to do for a liver Detoxification and our health in general, especially as women. So eating enough is really important. I talk about this and how to know if you’re eating enough and signs and everything in episode one from this season, how to Eat for Healthy Hormones. I forget the exact title.

Amanda Montalvo [00:14:22]:

We’ll link it in the show notes, though. But basically, how to eat for hormone health really important, right? Eating enough. And I think that’s something where it’s kind of like, how do I know if I’m eating enough. So I go through how you can figure this out in that episode. It’s pretty simple, and honestly, it takes some experimentation, and you paying attention to your body and what it’s telling you and different signs and stuff. And again, check out that episode. We go through it all. But also, making sure you’re eating enough protein is very important for detoxification.

Amanda Montalvo [00:14:52]:

This is why I remember I was like a baby dietitian, and I was working with this other dietitian, and she had a more functional perspective, and I hadn’t been trained in that yet, so I was very new. I was fresh, just graduated, just got my Rd license, and I was kind of mesmerized by this whole functional nutrition space. But now that I look at it, I’m like, it really wasn’t functional nutrition. It was just, like, a lot of diets and supplements, but I didn’t know any better at the time. And there was this specific cleanse that we would have some of our clients do. And I remember we always did it differently because we were very much about focusing on whole foods. But then she started to incorporate it for some people, where it’s like the company that has the supplements. They recommend that you reduce your protein intake and remove all protein for I think it was, like, the first two weeks, and I was like, I cannot ethically recommend that to people because that’s not what fuels your liver.

Amanda Montalvo [00:15:52]:

Like, how is anyone going to detox and have healthy blood sugar if they’re not eating protein? We need amino acids for basically everything in the body, but especially for our liver function. So I was like, I’m not doing that, but you can if you want. And it was kind of like where everything ended for that business relationship, but that’s okay. And protein is huge. It’s very important. And I understand the amount that someone’s going to eat is going to be unique to them. But I feel very strongly that we need to eat animal proteins in order to have optimal health, especially for women. There’s an abundance of research to show us that there’s endless benefits.

Amanda Montalvo [00:16:33]:

And it’s not even just amino acids and protein. It’s also like, certain vitamins and minerals that we just can’t get in the bioavailable form from plant foods, especially not in a realistic amount that you’d be eating. So amino acids from animal protein is crucial for the liver, and I think a lot of women struggle with eating enough protein, and it’s just sometimes I think it’s a digestive issue. Maybe we’re not making enough stomach acid. Maybe we have passive restrictive eating, so we’re just not eating enough in general, and that includes lacking adequate protein. But getting animal protein in all your main meals and at least in some of your snacks is a really easy way to hit that 100 grams of protein a day, which is what I recommend for a minimum for most people, like an absolute minimum, not like an optimal minimum. Nutrient deficiencies can also make it really difficult to detoxify properly. Like vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, b, vitamins Magnesium.

Amanda Montalvo [00:17:33]:

Our liver needs all of those in order to function properly. And it’s really easy to be deficient, especially in magnesium. It’s hard to get enough from food. And with supplements, it kind of depends. Like if you have really low sodium, you often can’t take a lot of magnesium because it’s going to cause further low sodium. So it’s a bit of a balance there. And vitamin A, I think it’s at least a third of women are deficient in vitamin A when they go into pregnancy. That’s really significant.

Amanda Montalvo [00:18:06]:

And I know that a lot of people know I’m in the United States think that we don’t have those types of deficiencies here. But we do. We absolutely do. And I think a lot of it has to do with restricted eating dieting. A lot of people are told not to eat dairy and stuff. Dairy is a great source of vitamin A. Not to eat egg yolks, another great source of vitamin A. A lot of people aren’t having things like organ meats regularly, another great source of vitamin A.

Amanda Montalvo [00:18:34]:

So it’s pretty easy to be deficient in that. So nutrient deficiencies can be another thing that really hinders it from a nutrition perspective. And the last big one is fasting. So prolonged and extreme fasting can absolutely impair liver function and detoxification in shorter term, less extreme fasting. Like if someone’s fasting for 12 hours overnight. I got a question about this. I think it was inside my patreon, or it could have been on an Instagram post, but someone was asking if I thought that a twelve hour fast would be stressful. Obviously it depends on the person, right? But I’m like, I don’t really look at that as extreme fasting.

Amanda Montalvo [00:19:12]:

I just look at that. Like if you stop eating at 07:00, like say you have dinner and you stop eating and then you don’t have breakfast the next day until 07:00 A.m., I think that’s pretty normal. Most people are going to go at least 10 hours without eating anything. And I would not call that extreme. I don’t think that’s going to impair liver function detoxification, but these more like 24 hours fast, or fasting for 20 hours a day and only eating during four hour time period, those are going to be a bit more stressful in the body. And that’s when we can have issues with detoxification. Our monthly cycle is like a report card. Understanding how to track your cycle and know what is and is not normal as far as symptoms go, can help you identify possible hormone imbalances and whether or not a nutrition or lifestyle change you made is working for you.

Amanda Montalvo [00:20:01]:

This is huge. So many of us are looking to experts and outside ourselves to figure out what’s going on with our bodies. But tracking your cycle and understanding it can help you do that on your own. And this is why I created my free Healthy Period Starter guide. It walks you through the different phases of your cycle, goes through how to track, teaches you what’s at the root cause of hormone imbalances, and even has a section on nutrition tips for healthy hormones. I think every woman should have this knowledge easily accessible to them. So if you want to grab the guide, you can get it via the link in the show notes or on my website, hormonehealingrd.com. So that’s from a nutrition perspective, from an environmental perspective, what we surround ourselves with, the personal care products that we use, cleaning products, our water, all those things, they can add up over time, the toxins in our environment, and that can put an increased burden on the liver.

Amanda Montalvo [00:20:55]:

Now we’re never going to eliminate all toxins, we’re just not. But knowing what is filling your bucket. So if you think of toxic load as like little drops of water from all the different toxins you’re exposed to filling up your toxin bucket. If we can minimize certain areas and certain products, that’s going to help decrease how much water is in that bucket and it’s going to keep it from overflowing. So that’s something where I think people feel like you have to be absolutely perfect, otherwise it’s not worth it when it comes to switching to cleaner products. I couldn’t agree less. I think that even if you make one change, then that’s going to lower your burden. And then if you change one product, I think about deodorant.

Amanda Montalvo [00:21:44]:

That’s a first one for a lot of people, not using your other deodorant that has fragrance and more toxic ingredients in it, that’s going to lower the burden on your body, right? And then maybe the next thing you switch to, maybe you’re like, I wear foundation most days, like some sort of makeup, then I would say that’d be a next great one. What are you using the most? And how can you slowly transition those to less toxic products? Again, I wouldn’t say nontoxic. I would say less toxic because it’s hard to find things that have absolutely no toxins. And also if we look at the definition of a toxin, it’s like everything’s a chemical, even like in nature and stuff. So I think it just gets very convoluted and we want to use the information that’s going to help us and apply it to our lives, but not add to our stress. Because at that point I’ve had so many clients that they just get overwhelmed and they’re making their stress and their health worse because they’re trying to live this completely nontoxic life. And I’m like, that’s not helping anything. So let’s try to be more realistic and support yourself versus obsessing over it and trying to be absolutely perfect and actually hindering your healing journey.

Amanda Montalvo [00:22:58]:

So figuring out little things like that for deodorants. I know people ask I love Primally Pure. I’ve used them for I don’t even know how many years now, probably since I lived in Texas. So I would say at least like five years, which is like, a really long time to use a product. And I’ve tried other deodorants in the meantime, but they just don’t work as well for me personally. And the Primally Pure one lasts so long, so I love that one. I don’t have a code anymore. I really got to update all my affiliate stuff, but I’m so bad at that.

Amanda Montalvo [00:23:33]:

I don’t have a coupon code or anything, but they’re worth it. They have a subscription that makes a little bit cheaper, too. And then makeup wise, I obviously don’t wear a lot of makeup. If you’re watching on YouTube. I’m just not like, a makeup person. When people are so good at their makeup and stuff, I’m just like, that’s amazing. That’s great for you. I’m just not into that kind of stuff.

Amanda Montalvo [00:23:53]:

And especially after having a daughter, I’m just like I don’t like stuff on my face around her. So definitely I would say I’m pretty basic with that. But for foundation, I am picky because my skin is definitely more sensitive. So the beauty counter tint Skin Foundation, not a beauty counter consultant. I don’t love all that kind of stuff, but I will say it’s one of the best foundations I’ve ever used. So I do like that one a lot. And it doesn’t make me break out. It doesn’t make my skin dry or oily.

Amanda Montalvo [00:24:28]:

It just works really well for me. I recently tried the Arasa Foundation. It’s coconut based, which really freaked me out because my skin usually doesn’t do great with coconut. But it’s awesome and it works really well. I just make sure they’re really big jars, but you can get little tiny sample ones so that you can get it the perfect color for your skin. I had to get, like, three different little sample ones to get the right color, but the sample size is like you can use that like, three or four times. So I was like, Actually, I don’t even need to buy more yet because I still have the sample one, and then the big jar lasts forever. So I would say it’s totally worth it.

Amanda Montalvo [00:25:08]:

You just want to make sure you do the sample so you can get the right skin tone. Or maybe people are better at finding that than I am. And then honest mascara, I really just wear foundation mascara. So those are the products that I like to use. And they also had, like I got a couple of lip colors from Araza and stuff. So they’re I would say, like, completely nontoxic 100% natural, if you’re like, I’m not into that. And you want a little more just less toxic version, not as natural. Beauty counter is great, but I think you have to shop with a consultant.

Amanda Montalvo [00:25:43]:

So that’s just something to consider. But I’m sure there’s many better people to follow for makeup advice than me. But I know people are going to ask. The other big one that I love to have clients consider is menstrual products. And obviously we’re not using these every day, but we are using them on an ideally monthly basis and at a very sensitive time. And a lot of times we’re inserting them and absorbing things from them. So to me, menstrual products are right up there as well as something you would want to switch. I love Salt is SAALT and I’m going to link all this stuff in the show notes as well.

Amanda Montalvo [00:26:22]:

It’s a great brand. They originally only had menstrual cups, but I love theirs because they have like a soft menstrual cup that didn’t. Sometimes I would get pain with menstrual cups, but their soft one I never get pain. So love that one. And they have a few different types so you can find the best one for you. But love, love their menstrual cups and then their period panties are out of control. They’re the most comfortable ones I used to oh my gosh, I can’t think of the other brand that I used to recommend all the time. And then I tried Salt and I was like, just kidding, these are my favorite.

Amanda Montalvo [00:26:53]:

I used them postpartum. Oh my gosh. I just couldn’t believe how comfortable they were. So highly recommend. They also last a really long time. Like, I’ve used mine a million times and so they’re really high quality as well because sometimes you get a pair and it doesn’t last as long and you’re investing a lot in it. So salt would be my recommendation for menstrual products and then cleaning products. There’s a ton of brands out there.

Amanda Montalvo [00:27:16]:

A lot of people like branch basics. I personally love this company called Made Organic. M-A-I-D organic. They’re from Connecticut. I used to work out with them, the family that started it at a CrossFit gym there. They’re just really good products. I remember I used to use them when I lived in Connecticut and I didn’t even think I could get them online. And then when I was living in Texas, I was like, man, I really miss the Made Organic cleaning products.

Amanda Montalvo [00:27:43]:

They just work so well and they last a long time. I was like blowing through other products and my husband didn’t love a lot of the other ones I was using because he’s just like a very clean person. So a little anal about the cleaning. But he did like the Made Organic products, so love them. Highly recommend, totally worth it. Now they make big bottles, which I really like, and you can refill them and stuff. So madeorganic.com. I’ll link them in the show notes.

Amanda Montalvo [00:28:12]:

They’re just like a small family company that hopefully they don’t get too overwhelmed. I mean, hopefully they get a. Lot of orders because they deserve it, and it’s a great product, but we’ll see. I don’t have a code, but I should reach out to them for one. Okay, water filters. This is the last big area that I think is worth honing in on for you. A lot of people are like, what’s your favorite water filter? And I’m like, it depends on your circumstances. Are you renting? Do you own your home? How long are you going to live there, and what’s your budget? Because again, I don’t think we have to be purists even with water.

Amanda Montalvo [00:28:51]:

And I think it just depends if you’renting or if you move a lot. We’re a military family. I use a Berkeley right now because it’s portable, and I don’t want to spend like 800 to a couple of $1,000 on an under the counter unit that you have to get a plumber to install it. It’s like, unless you have your spouse knows how to do that, you’re super handy. But usually you need a plumber to properly install it, make sure you don’t break the unit right, which is an investment in itself plus the cost of the unit. So I don’t know. I think some people get really obsessed over water, and while I think it’s important to have properly filtered water, I think that you can do what works for you in the current circumstance that you have. Like, once we’re going to be in our forever home, hopefully in a few years, I would invest in that a really good under the counter unit.

Amanda Montalvo [00:29:45]:

I love pure effect filters for that. Another great company, smaller company, but I trust them. If you have any questions. Like, the owner is incredibly knowledgeable. It’s just great. And they’re really high quality water filters, so I love those. I have a shower filter from them that I use. Berkeley water filter.

Amanda Montalvo [00:30:02]:

Shower filter is great. Aquasana has some great ones, too, kind of depending on your water source. That’s the other thing. You want to look at your water report and see what do you even need filtered out of your water. I have a video inside Master Minerals on why we want to use water filters and then how to pick a good one based on your situation. But yeah, that would be like a whole podcast episode on itself. But I would say some people are like, well, I have a Berkeley, but I feel like it’s not as good as, like, reverse osmosis. And you got to do the best you can with what you have in the current situation that you’re in.

Amanda Montalvo [00:30:38]:

So I’ll leave the water filters at that and then finally the lifestyle. So different aspects of our lifestyle can also put not sometimes an increased burden on the liver, but sometimes it just can affect how our liver functions. Well, like chronic stress, for example, when we’re stuck in fight or flight, it leads to imbalances and dysfunction in different areas. Of the body that can have a negative downstream effect on the liver. So for example, we have more blood sugar imbalances. We typically have an increase in insulin resistance. Both of those can negatively affect the liver. Inflammation from stress hormones that can lead to inflammation dysfunction in the liver.

Amanda Montalvo [00:31:18]:

Oxidative stress can damage liver cells. And then if we have issues like maybe our gut microbiota gets altered from chronic stress, can absolutely do that. Other physical stressors too can do that. Antibiotics, medication, things like that. Gut pathogens, parasites, that kind of thing, that can impact the function and health of our gut and eventually impact our liver, putting like a larger burden on it. So chronic stress, mental, emotional, physical stressors, all those things, they don’t directly affect the liver, but because of the dysfunction they create in the body, that will eventually overburden the liver. The last big one I want to go through when it comes to our lifestyle is light exposure and circadian rhythm. If we are out of sync with our body’s natural circadian rhythm, it can lead to issues with detoxification.

Amanda Montalvo [00:32:08]:

Absolutely. When we think of like circadian rhythm, and I’ll link to a podcast episode that I have on this, but when it comes to circadian rhythm, it impacts so many different things. Our digestion, our blood sugar, our metabolism, those are the biggest ones. During the day it regulates stomach acid digestive enzyme production. It can increase hormones and enzymes that help support digestion and absorption. Even our gut bacteria changes. So during the day we have more beneficial bacteria to support digestion than at nighttime. Blood sugar, if we have too little or too much blue light, that can impact insulin signaling, which can impact blood sugar balance.

Amanda Montalvo [00:32:46]:

And then we make more energy during the day. So our metabolism is stronger during the day. And then at nighttime we will produce melatonin for restful and restorative sleep hopefully, and then detoxification. A lot of this is done at night. It’s particularly with restful sleep. So our liver detoxification is huge at nighttime. But we also detoxify the Glymphatic system which is our brain’s natural detox process. And this is a big part of why one of the signs of poor detoxification is having cognitive issues.

Amanda Montalvo [00:33:19]:

Whether that’s poor memory, mental fatigue, like learning issues, stuff like that, that could all be impacted by not having our lymphatic system properly detoxing each night. Recovery is a big one. Our tissues are actively being repaired at night, whether that’s recovery from exercise, illness, some sort of injury, something like that, and then gut health again. Our bacteria are going to adjust at nighttime just like they adjust during the day. And the bacteria that support detox increase more at night. So if we are someone that is staying up later and sleeping later and you’re just not quite lined up, I don’t think we need to be perfect when it comes to this. I really don’t. But I do think it’s important to try to get close to going to bed around when it gets dark, close to within a couple of hours, and then waking close to within a couple of hours when it’s light and primarily eating when it’s light out.

Amanda Montalvo [00:34:12]:

All those things can naturally help your body circadian rhythm. All those things in. That is very important for liver and detoxification at nighttime. And then finally, health history. Like, what parts of our health history could possibly lead to an increased burden on the liver? And this is like physical kind of burden, right? So excess estrogen, typically, we’re going to see this with people that have endometriosis period pain, fibroids, polyps, things like that. Absolutely doesn’t have to just be that population, though. I also see with people that have gut issues as well, that can put an extra burden on the liver. PCOS increases our risk of iron overload, which can mean more iron is going to be stored in our liver.

Amanda Montalvo [00:34:52]:

That can lead to dysfunction. Same with hemochromatosis. You’re going to see that iron overload, chronic stress, that can lead to deficiencies, and that can absolutely affect how our liver functions. Insulin resistance. So a lot of women with PCOS struggle with that, but insulin resistance in general can impact how the liver functions. Obviously, insulin resistance can lead to fatty liver, which can impact how the liver functions. Gallbladder removal puts, like, a bit of a stress on the liver, and it just changes how our bile is getting into our intestines, right? Instead of our bile being made in liver and stored in the gallbladder and released during digestion, we’re just kind of getting like a slow drip, and it’s a little bit more diluted. So gallbladder removal can definitely, I think, put a larger burden on the liver and then poor gut health that can lead to inflammation, which can lead to pathogenic overgrowth.

Amanda Montalvo [00:35:43]:

And all those things put a bigger burden. It makes more work for your liver. And that can, of course, lead to poor breakdown of an absorption of nutrients, which, again, can impact the deficiencies, making detox more difficult. And then finally, history of constipation. Again, we have to eliminate in order to get rid of toxins, estrogen, all those things. So if we’re struggling with constipation, this is going to impact our liver’s ability to detox our hormones. And then finally, I feel like now that we’ve gone through, okay, what can hinder our detox? It’s pretty obvious what can help it, right? So eating enough food, making sure that you’re getting enough energy in, so definitely refer to episode one for that. Having enough carbohydrates in calories in order to keep our glycogen levels stable, that’s the stored glucose in our liver.

Amanda Montalvo [00:36:30]:

When we don’t eat enough carbs, we create a lot more work for our liver. And it already has, like, 500 plus functions that it’s doing. So trying to eat within 30 to 60 minutes of waking and then eating regularly throughout the day. So avoid going long stretches, avoid skipping meals, and you can try including a bedtime snack if you’re someone that thinks you might have issues with glycogen. Often, if you’re waking up a lot at night, that can be a sign that you don’t have enough stored glucose in your liver. Also, when we are eating regularly and not having all that stress hormone, it helps with our thyroid. So that’s a big one. Fueling our liver trying to get food sources of B vitamins, vitamin C, amino acids, vitamin E, vitamin A, taurines are really important, amino acid and then magnesium.

Amanda Montalvo [00:37:17]:

And I will put a list of all the foods that are rich in these in the show notes. And of course for the Patreon people, you’re going to get the document anyway. And then finally, lifestyle and environment, if we can eat enough food. Optimize primarily whole foods, a mix of animal and plants. All the stuff that I talk about from episode one, that’s huge for our liver. It removes a large burden that most people have. A lot of people are not eating enough consistently. They don’t have a consistent routine around food, maybe they’re not getting enough protein.

Amanda Montalvo [00:37:50]:

All these things add stress and they impact your blood sugar, your stress hormones, and of course liver detoxification. So that’s huge. If we’re talking about, okay, what are some lifestyle environment things we can do, we talked about reducing toxic exposure that’s going to help reduce the burden on the liver. So remember, even making one swap a month, then that is huge. That means you’re going to swap out twelve things in a year, which will greatly reduce the burden on your liver. So avoid going to extremes with the nontoxic stuff. But I do think it is worth it to start by reducing plastic switching, or maybe menstrual cup or period panties and then looking at the things you’re using on a regular basis. Maybe it’s cleaning products, maybe it’s makeup.

Amanda Montalvo [00:38:33]:

If you wear makeup, maybe it’s skincare, whatever that might be. Deodorant those types of things that can be really helpful for reducing that overall burden. And sleep. I know sleep is a tough one for a lot of people. I have a toddler, she still nurses at night. But I think that if we can aim for consistent bedtimes and wake ups and I don’t think it has to be exactly the same, but within like an hour, that really helps with melatonin production, having routines for yourself and the people around you. If you have anyone else that’s in your home and it just takes the guesswork out of it. Our bodies love routines, our hormones and adrenals love routines.

Amanda Montalvo [00:39:18]:

So if we can consistently go to bed around the same time, wake up around the same time, within reason, within an hour or so, I think that can really set us up to have more restorative sleep. And that sleep is restorative to every organ in the body. So trying to go to bed around when it’s dark, waking close to when it’s light. This is going to vary on the person, your schedule, but know that that’s going to support your circadian rhythm, which is supportive of your adrenals, your stress response. But it’s also great for detox, gut health, brain function, hormones, so many things. So trying to get 8 hours of sleep ish a night and being realistic and just trying to get quality sleep. Because I think sometimes we aim for I want to get eight to 9 hours or seven to 8 hours, but then your sleep isn’t really high quality. It’s not restful, you don’t wake feeling rested.

Amanda Montalvo [00:40:09]:

Then you don’t just want to look at the amount, you want to look at how you’re sleeping. What kind of routines and stuff do you have around that? Get moving is another big one. When we are getting regular movement and exercise, it’s doing a few things. It supports our blood flow, which is really important for liver detoxification. We need that blood flow to the liver. And then our Lymphatic system, we have to keep our Lymph flowing. Our Lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump, so it requires us to get moving. And movement is often also a really big stress reliever.

Amanda Montalvo [00:40:43]:

And whether that be like some sort of exercise or going for a walk, right, that is going to be a big stress reliever for a lot of people. So I think it can have way more than just one benefit and it supports your blood sugar levels. So all those things in turn support your liver. So movement, exercise are huge. I do also have episode from I think it’s season two on the Lymphatic system that I’ll make sure to link in the show notes as well. If you want to learn more about, I mean, at Lymph, Love Club on Instagram is my favorite. Leah she’s, who I did the episode with, she shares an insane amount of free information videos how to do Lymphatic massage. She busts a lot of Lymphatic myths on her Instagram.

Amanda Montalvo [00:41:27]:

She’s an amazing follow if you want to learn more about that. But I think even just keeping it simple and just getting moving, I think sometimes we overcomplicate these things now. I mean, I personally love lymphatic massage. I do it on my face every morning and night when I put on my skincare products because now it’s easy, it’s part of my routine. But I don’t necessarily think that’s going to make or break someone’s health journey. But I think being more intentional about getting movement throughout the day because you know, your body needs it will help someone feel significantly better. Getting in the sun and sweating light exposure is really important. We talked about that in episode two.

Amanda Montalvo [00:42:01]:

We talked about Cortisol sweating. Obviously we can get rid of toxins that way. But I think again, there’s nervous system benefits, there’s stress relief benefits, there’s so many things we can get from that as well. And then finally, this is more of like I would call a bonus. It’s castor oil packs. You’ve probably heard me talk about these before. I have a ton of posts on them. They can be really helpful.

Amanda Montalvo [00:42:26]:

I would definitely call this a bonus, because if you do castor oil packs, but you’re not eating enough, you’re super stressed. All these other things, they may not be incredibly beneficial to you. Things like casserole packs and supplements, they are so much more beneficial for us. Once we have all those foundational things in place, that’s when they can be life changing, right? That’s when we can really see a significant difference. But if you haven’t switched over many products and you’re just kind of stepping your toe into getting out of maybe a more restrictive mindset around food, I wouldn’t feel like you have to do casserole packs to support liver detox. I would work on those other things first, but incorporating them two, three times a week, it can be great. It can help reduce liver inflammation. Maybe you have a history of iron overload or PCOS.

Amanda Montalvo [00:43:14]:

Maybe you have a history of excess estrogen constipation. They can be really great for constipation period, pain, things like that. They can be really beneficial for gut health if you have a history of gut issues. So those are something that I think can be great for most people. I would say you just want to start slow. I wouldn’t use it for more than like ten or 15 minutes if you have a lot of the list of symptoms of possible symptoms of poor detox, because they can be detoxifying, and sometimes our bodies aren’t ready for that, which is why I always say start with the nutrition and lifestyle piece. And then you can add in layers. I would say like a more advanced layer on top, like a casserole pack.

Amanda Montalvo [00:43:56]:

But they’re easy. You can do them at home. And sometimes it’s really nice to do something that doesn’t have to do with food or supplements. Right? It’s just more of like relaxing self care. They can also lower cortisol levels, so lots of benefits. I’ll link to. I love the Queen of the Thrones. She has a casserole pack kit.

Amanda Montalvo [00:44:13]:

And it’s just nice because it has everything in it. It ties around your waist, super simple. And she has very high quality castor oil. So I will link to that in the show notes. And you can use Code Amanda for a discount. This is an affiliate code, so I do make a small commission off of this. It’s not any cost to you, but just so you know, it is an affiliate code. But that’s really it.

Amanda Montalvo [00:44:37]:

A lot of what supports our liver is the same things that we would want to do anyway to support our overall health. I think what can get confusing in this whole liver detox space is that we’re kind of recommended to take supplements to do Detox protocols, but it’s like you may not even be a good candidate for that because you don’t have a lot of the foundations in place anyway. So I hope this is helpful. I hope this hope eases your mind a little bit, makes the whole liver detox a little less intimidating, and just shows you how powerful our nutrition and lifestyle choices and creating a healthy environment for our healing can be. Thank you for listening to this episode of the Are You Menstrual? Podcast. If you want to support my work, please leave a review and let me know how you like the episode. This lets me know what you guys want more of less of. I read every single one, and I appreciate them more than you know.

Amanda Montalvo [00:45:32]:

If you want to keep learning, you can get access to the bonus episode and additional resources on Patreon.com hormonehealingrd. I’d love to have you in there. Thanks again and I will see you in the next episode.

Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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Hormone Healing RD