The Pre-Cleanse: What To Do Before You Detox

Friday Mar 27 | BY |
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Various Freshly Squeezed Vegetable

Our bodies are repositories of everything we’ve eaten, drank, and breathed in. The wise approach to tissue cleansing is to prepare your body for fasting or intensive detoxification.

Our bodies work tirelessly to build healthy tissue, but optimal health comes at a price. We live in a sea of foreign substances including natural toxins, as well as drugs and man-made chemicals.

All living things evolved complex protective and regulatory systems against poisons, toxins, and toxic substances. Our bodies are evolutionarily programed to maintain balance between the inner and outer environment. We have to eat, but we also must eliminate. We need food, herbs, and medicine, but we have to balance their benefits to potential harm.

Don’t worry. Nature worked it out long ago. We may harbor unfriendly microbes and toxic chemicals, but our body has complex protection systems that work 24-hours a day carrying out what scientist call biotransformation. Our bodies filter, metabolize, and remove countless waste products from our cells, blood stream, connective tissue, and lymphatic system.

Before you cleanse, practice a few simple rules to assure maximum results.

Tune Up Your Liver

Because toxins are also produced in the body as a natural process of food digestion and metabolism, eliminating foreign substances is an essential process that our body undergoes every day of our lives.

Just under your ribs on the right side of your body lies a metabolic powerhouse – the liver.

Other organs are also involved in detoxification including the kidneys, the colon, as well as the skin and lymphatic system. But, the liver performs the bulk of the work of protecting the body from toxicity from the foods we eat, the drugs we take, and the chemicals we ingest.

Optimize Cytochrome P450 Detox Pathways

Scientists know of three metabolic phases involved in the detoxification of drugs. You can use knowledge of detox pathways to optimize results of your cleanse.

Phase I metabolism makes toxins water-soluble so they can be eliminated by the kidneys in the urine. Support Phase I detoxification during tissue cleansing by drinking plenty of pure water, dilute green juices and herbal teas.

Phase II metabolism takes care of toxins that cannot be eliminate easily in the urine. In this phase, liver cells conjugate chemicals making them easier to eliminate from the kidneys or in the stool.

Phase III metabolism also takes place in the liver for the detoxification of drugs. It helps pump toxic substances out of cells.

Cytochrome P450s (CYPs) are a group of iron-containing molecules in a super family of specialized proteins involved in enzymatic reactions. In the body, CYPs metabolize thousands of chemicals, both those produced in the body and ones that come into the body from the environment.

CYPs also help create and breakdown hormones like estrogens and testosterone, and they are involved in cholesterol metabolism. But, it is in the liver where CYPs play principle roles in detoxification, especially in Phase I metabolism.

Every One Is Different

Researchers in the field of CYP450 know that there are a lot of variations on how people’s detoxification systems function. Weight, gender, ethnicity, and age make a difference. Our state of health or disease also matters.

There is no easy way to know your detoxification genes, but simple tests will soon be widely available. A detox profile of CYP450 genes is available from 23andMe.

Knowing your genetic variations could help personalize the way you detox, but the clinical science is not there yet. If you must know, your doctor can order special, and expensive, gene typing tests to see if you have CYP450 mutations.

Foods Influence Detoxification Pathways

Humans eat complex diets. In the U.S., almost none of it comes from the ground to the plate. Foods not only support energy production, they alter how our body processes drugs, and environmental chemicals. Certain foods balance out the process and support optimal biotransformation.

Plants in particular influence Phase I and II detoxification. Grapefruit decreases Phase I detoxification. Drinking grapefruit juice when taking certain drugs to treat a disease is useful because it keeps the drug longer in the body. But, that’s not what you want for tissue cleansing. You want to detoxify and eliminate as many chemicals, including drugs, as possible through the kidneys in urine, from the colon in stool, and to mobilize the liver’s capacity to metabolize toxic substances out of cells.

Take Liver Gallbladder Detox Supplements

Support the liver’s detoxification pathways with herbs and lipotropic nutrients. I recommend milk thistle (Silybum marianum) and artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) extracts. Take liver gallbladder detox herbs in low dosages. The goal is to nudge the liver, not overwhelm it.

Lipotropic nutrients help the liver metabolize fats and lipids, including cholesterol. Many chemical toxic substances are released from the liver in fat molecules and eliminated from the body in the stool. Lipotropics include choline, inositol, methionine, and methylcobalamin (a form of vitamin B12).

The Wisdom of Bioregulatory Medicine

In the middle of the last century, when Europe was suffering from the consequences of industrialization and the ravages of war, scientists sought ways to return health through balance with nature. The result of their research was bioregulatory medicine. Heel is the world leader, but other companies that produce bioregulatory medicines include Pascoe, Hevert, and Guna.

Plants and other natural biological substances possess complex chemistry that have affinity with human body systems. Low-dose bioregulatory medicines help restore balance to all body systems in a gentle, non-toxic way.

Drainage remedies support detoxification pathways. These specialized bioregulatory medicines are designed to assist cells in eliminating disease-causing toxins. Drainage remedies are complex medicines utilizing a variety of substances that emphasize detoxification of the liver, lymphatic system, and extracellular matrix.

pre-cleanse table foods


Get Tested

I advise blood testing as part of your pre-cleanse program. You need to know the functional status of your kidneys and liver, as well as cholesterol levels. Also check inflammation markers.

Pre-Cleanse Blood Tests:

  • CBC – complete blood count with differential and platelets
  • CMP 14 – comprehensive metabolic panel, which includes kidney and liver function tests
  • Lipid Panel – to check your cholesterol, triglyceride, HDL, and LDL levels
  • ESR – sedimentation rate
  • CRP – C-reactive protein

Timing Matters

I recommend that my patients perform cleansing programs in the late spring and early summer for 5 to 15 days. Pre-cleanse preparation should last at least two weeks, and four weeks is better.

Avoid Extremes

The way to health is also the way of peace and harmony. In contrast, diseases cause extreme reactions in the body. Health is quiet and gentle. Radical cleansing practices are counter productive to long-term health. They can shock your body’s vital systems, starve your brain, and disrupt metabolism. Over a lifetime, balanced detoxification and tissue cleansing produce the best results.

Dr. J. E. Williams


Dr. Williams is a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, the author of six books, and a practicing clinician with over 100,000 patient visits. His areas of interest include longevity and viral immunity. Formerly from San Diego, he now resides in Sarasota, Florida and practices at the Florida Integrative Medical Center. He teaches at NOVA Southeastern University and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine.

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  1. June Hanson says:

    Wow, our bodies are marvelously and wonderfully made. Yet, how often do we get information, such as this, to keep them fine tuned, cleansed and healthy?

    Knew, it was not wise, to eat heavy, before detox. Yet, if doctors have you fast, they tell you to eat complete meal beforehand. Which does not make sense.

    So thankful, have you as my Doctor, to inform, help me through, this much needed part of my life. Everyone, needs someone, like you. It is not the popular American way of life. Consequently, we are one of the sicker nations on earth.

    Our servings of food, are based on largest portion on our plate of meat. Veggies are in the minority. Salads are immersed in dressings. Which are devoured in few minutes, completely undigested, which stays with us for longer periods of time, than is healthy. Same with main meal, so we eagerly look forward to sugar laden desert. Then we wonder, why we later in life have so many diseases, that need so many drugs. Never told, to change our eating habits. Stop, prepare bodies to detox, cleanse and fast.

    Slow down, follow, Dr Williams instructions, you will never regret it.

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