Holiday overindulgence can leave the body feeling sluggish. As we approach the New Year, this is an ideal time for a detoxification program. According to SPINS, a market research and consulting firm that caters to the natural and organic products industry, sales of herbal formulas for cleansing, detoxification and organ support among natural food retailers were more than $27 million from Dec. 2, 2007, to Nov. 29, 2008 (this is the most recent statistic available at this time). A survey by Mintel International found that 54 food and drink products were launched in 2008 with the word “detox” in their descriptions—up from 15 in 2003.
People are exposed to countless toxins on a daily basis through the foods they eat and the air they breathe. By removing and eliminating these toxins, and then feeding the body with healthy nutrients, detoxification can support a strong immune system and renew our ability to maintain optimum health. This is accomplished by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. Additional “channels” within the body that also eliminate toxins include the kidneys, lungs, the gastrointestinal and lymph systems and the skin.
Our liver is our major detoxification organ. One of the most popular botanicals used to cleanse the liver is milk thistle, or its active compound, silymarin. Native to Europe, Milk Thistle has a long history of use as both a food and a medicine. Historically, it has been used as a digestive tonic, a general tonic for the spleen, stomach and liver, and to promote bile flow. Bile acids are essential for the digestion and absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins, proteins and starches. They also regulates the intestines’ level of good bacteria.
There are additional nutrients that have been suggested to aid in detoxification and cleansing that may or may not have clinical studies to back them. They include:
• Green Tea
And last but not least, Fiber…
Both soluble and insoluble fibers provide bulk in the large intestine and encourage bowel regularity. A diet that is heavy in red meat, fat and sugar and low in fruits and vegetables can slow down intestinal transit time. A slow transit time means that there is more of an opportunity for bacterial exposure to a roster of pathogens within the colon. Fiber is crucial to helping move any impurities out of our bodies.
Any of these nutrients can be incorporated into premixes utilized in product applications that aid in detoxification and cleansing the body of a roster of impurities. But, to successfully introduce new products to the marketplace, a manufacturer needs lay a solid foundation at the very beginning of the development process. This includes partnering with an experienced nutritional premix formulator to minimize the challenges associated with not just bringing their products to market, but also ensuring a product lives up to its label claims and delivers repeat purchases.