Understanding the proper ways to help your body detox during H pylori treatment can be a game changer when it comes to your symptoms and tolerance of the protocol. This blog will show you why detoxing during treatment is so important, and you’ll learn four simple ways to start right now.
Oh, detox. It’s such a buzzy word these days. Just a quick Google search will have you wanting to try the latest detox tea, drink only lemon and cayenne pepper water for three days, or consume olive oil and Epsom salts before going to bed. None of those are backed by science, by the way, and can actually cause way more harm than good.
The liver (along with almost 500 other processes) is the master of all detoxification in your body, and rarely needs your help to do so.
However, there are some situations in which the liver’s ability to complete proper detoxification gets impaired – which is mainly brought about by an over-accumulation of toxins.
“Toxins” is another popular word today, with everything from gluten to sugar being named the next big toxin.
But, toxins that actually put a burden on your liver are more likely to come from things like taking prescription medications, byproducts of gut bacteria fermentation, exposure to mold, chemicals or heavy metals in skin care products, or simply breathing in car exhaust on your way to work.
And if you’re here, it’s likely that you have an active H pylori infection you’re treating… which, yes is another toxin that your liver will need to deal with.
The Importance of Detox During H Pylori Treatment
For people with chronic illnesses, gut infections (like H pylori), and autoimmune disease (all conditions that increase the liver’s toxic load), the liver can get a little busy, and actually become overburdened.
Just by having this overgrowth of bacteria in your stomach, your liver is having to handle a larger load of byproducts, BUT when you add in antimicrobial supplements or antibiotics in attempt to treat this overgrowth, the toxic burden in your body increases dramatically, and so does the work that your liver needs to do.
What happens when you take these supplements and prescriptions to kill bacteria in your gut is that those bacteria release toxic byproducts while they’re being eradicated – they don’t like to go down without a fight!
If you fail to support your liver and work on detox during H pylori treatment, you may end up with a temporary worsening of digestive symptoms, while your body is busy dealing with this increased burden.
Some symptoms that may pop up as an indicator that you are struggling to detox during treatment are:
- trouble tolerating fatty foods
- stomach aches
- brain fog
- diarrhea and/or constipation
- brittle nails
- white spots on nails
This sudden increase in symptoms during H pylori treatment does not mean that your treatment isn’t working and that you should abandon ship. It’s just a sign that you may need to take a step back (lower your dose or stop supplements altogether) until you’re able to give your liver the love and support it needs.
Here are four simple ways that you can show your liver the love that it deserves and help it detox more efficiently during H pylori treatment.
(And just as a disclaimer: all of these detoxification methods are extremely gentle, however other detox methods can cause a lot of harm if your detox pathways aren’t open and your body isn’t healthy enough to support a detox. I wouldn’t recommend attempting any sort of detox without the guidance of a trusted medical professional.)
Easy Detox Tip #1: Drink More Water
Toxins are carried out of the body in a few different pathways – one of which is through the kidney’s ability to filter toxins from the blood and excrete them through the production of urine.
When you’re not well hydrated, you don’t expel those toxins as readily through urination, and they have a better chance of getting reabsorbed into your body.
Another way toxins leave your body is through your intestinal tract. And staying hydrated is a key way to help your keep your bowels moving regularly so that those toxins don’t have time to re-enter your body.
I know this tip sounds boring and way too simple to actually be worth anything – but trust me, I’ve been seriously upping my water intake for the last few months and I can see a difference.
And if I don’t get enough to drink one day, I’m usually so thirsty when I wake up in the morning – a sign that my detox organs are loving that extra hydration and are missing it when it’s not there.
So, just try it – work on drinking half your body weight (in ounces) of water every day. There won’t be any magical moment when you know it’s working, or a drastic decrease in symptoms like we’re all used to on antimicrobial protocols. But, I bet that over time you’ll start to feel better and some of those small annoyances (like headaches and that afternoon energy crash) might just disappear.
Easy Detox Tip #2: Eat More Bitter Foods
As far as the best foods to support detoxification go, the more bitter the better.
Bitter foods help to stimulate the liver to release bile – and bile is the vehicle by which toxins in your gut are stored and excreted from your body.
Which is maybe one reason why detoxification issues are so common today – bitter foods just aren’t that pleasant to eat.
Bitter leafy greens (like beet greens, turnip greens, or mustard greens) are especially powerful in helping support our detoxification pathways, and they contain so many key nutrients that also support proper liver functioning (like B vitamins, folate, and magnesium).
This article from The Paleo Mom does a great job of describing the phases of detoxification, which nutrients are essential for each phase, and what foods can support these processes.
To help support my liver and detox pathways I’ve started including leafy greens each night with my dinner, and I make sure to eat plenty of servings of sulfur and phytochemical rich veggies (like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and asparagus) with every meal.
It’s not a change that you’re going to be able to make overnight, but slowly adding in more of these nutrient rich vegetables into your diet will do wonders for your body’s ability to detox properly.
Easy Detox Tip #3: Use Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil is readily absorbed through the skin and is extremely high in ricinoleic acid which gives it amazing antiinflammatory and lymph stimulating properties.
The idea behind a castor oil pack to support the liver and gallbladder (which in turn supports detox) is that you keep the castor oil in contact with the skin directly over the liver (just under your right rib cage) for at least an hour with a heat source (like a heating pad).
When I first heard of this method of detox, I’ll admit I was pretty skeptical – I mean how can an oil on your skin help your liver and gallbladder to function better and improve your detoxification?
But, as I began to incorporate this method into my daily routine, I noticed a few things.
First, my gallbladder would gurgle and make noises like crazy almost as soon as I put the castor oil and heat on my right side. If I put my hand over my gallbladder (just under your right rib cage, close to the center line of your body) I could feel fluid moving – it was pretty cool, and as you can imagine my skepticism quickly disappeared.
And now that I’ve been doing castor oil packs for a few months, my fat digestion and nausea have slowly subsided, and I have to believe that this pretty far-out detox method is actually doing some good.
Not to mention that laying down in a quiet, dark room for an hour does wonders for relaxation and my stress response!
All you need to get started is this simple castor oil kit (you can get 10% off with the code NINJA10!). And, The Wellness Mama has a great article on how to do castor oil packs, you can check it out here.
Easy Detox Tip #4: Take Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt baths have been something I’ve been doing for years, but I had no idea that they actually help support my body’s detoxification processes.
There are a few reasons why soaking in a hot bath are great for getting all those pesky toxins out.
First, although you cannot “sweat out toxins,” sweating and increasing your internal temperature helps to improve fluid and lymph flow through the body – which can help to remove toxins.
Also, epsom salt (also known as magnesium sulfate) is an antagonist to toxins in the body. So, when you absorb this form of magnesium through your skin in a bath, it basically takes up all the space in your cells that was once held by the toxins and forces them out.
To make your epsom salt bath even more detoxifying, you can add a binding agent like bentonine clay to soak up all the toxins that the epsom salts displaced.
And if you’re not a fan of an entire bath on a regular basis, I have a foot bath recipe that might be more up your alley. Foot baths are a great, more approachable way to make detox part of your daily life.
Incorporating these baths into your weekly routine is not only a great way to support detoxification, but it also helps you relax and wind down after a stressful day, and the hot bath water and calming magnesium will help you fall asleep more easily too.
The Bottom Line
Supporting your body’s natural detoxification processes will go a long way in making your next H pylori treatment more successful and more tolerable.
Your body may be able to keep up with the extra burden of removing the toxic byproducts of both the bacteria and the antibiotics for a little while, but if you’ve been on this treatment bandwagon for some time, it may be a good idea to take a step back and support your liver.
To get started on your detox journey during H pylori treatment, you can work on incorporating these four, easy methods into your weekly routine.
And just know, improving your body’s ability to detox is a slow process, change and noticeable improvements won’t happen overnight. But, if you’re consistent and faithful to these methods, your body’s ability to detox will improve – and your liver will love you forever!