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Functional Medicine Cleanse

Functional Medicine Cleanse

By Dr. Patrick Lovegrove Medically Reviewed by Lindsay Langley, BSN, RN, CHT
Posted Thursday, January 11th, 2024
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Functional Medicine Cleanse

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine might be the answer if you’re looking for a holistic approach to your health and wellness. Functional medicine looks at the whole person, while traditional medicine addresses symptoms. It tries to find and fix the natural causes of health problems by looking at how the different parts of the body work together.

What is a Cleanse?

Now that you understand the concept of functional medicine let’s explore what a cleanse is all about. A cleanse is a short-term program to support your body’s natural detoxification processes. It involves making dietary and lifestyle changes to eliminate toxins and promote better health. Cleanses can vary in duration, with some lasting for just a few days while others extend to a month or more.

Benefits of a Functional Medicine Cleanse

A functional medicine can benefit your health and well-being in several ways. Here are some key reasons why you might consider trying a cleanse:

  1. Detoxification: Cleanses help to rid your body of toxins accumulated from environmental factors, poor diet, and stress. A cleanse can help you feel lighter and more energized by supporting your body’s natural detoxification processes.
  2. Improved Digestion: Many cleanses focus on eliminating common allergens and inflammatory foods. It can break your digestive system and help relieve signs like bloating, gas, and indigestion. It can also improve nutrient absorption, allowing your body to extract more goodness from your food.
  3. Increased Energy: As toxins are flushed out and your body’s systems function more efficiently, you may notice a boost in overall energy levels. It can make you more productive and make you feel alive.
  4. Weight Management: Besides improving digestion, a cleanse can help reset your eating habits and break unhealthy patterns. It can support healthy weight management and kickstart a more beneficial relationship with food.
  5. Reduced Inflammation: Many chronic health issues are linked to inflammation in the body. By removing inflammatory triggers in your diet and supporting inflammation-reducing nutrients, a cleanse can help alleviate symptoms associated with inflammation.
  6. Improved Mental Clarity: As toxins are eliminated, you may experience enhanced mental clarity, focus, and concentration. It can benefit both your personal and professional life.
  7. Enhanced Immune Function: A cleanse can strengthen your immune system by making the liver and kidneys work less hard to eliminate toxins. A more muscular immune system means better defense against illnesses and infections.

Remember that functional medicine should be approached with guidance from a healthcare professional, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications. They can give you personalized advice and keep track of your progress as you go through the cleanse.

Remember, a functional medicine cleanse is a temporary fix and a stepping stone toward long-term health and wellness. It can help you reset your body, establish healthier habits, and gain valuable insight into the unique needs of your body.

Preparing for a Functional Medicine Cleanse

Consultation with a Functional Medicine Practitioner

Before embarking on a functional medicine cleanse, it is essential to make an appointment with a functional medicine practitioner who knows what they’re doing. A practitioner can assess your health history, discuss any underlying conditions or concerns, and address any potential risks or contraindications associated with a cleanse. They will also guide you in personalizing the cleanse according to your specific needs.

Setting Clear Goals and Expectations

Setting clear goals and expectations is crucial to make the most of your functional medicine cleanse. Are you aiming to improve digestive health, boost energy levels, or address specific symptoms? Identifying your goals will help you effectively tailor the cleanse to target those areas. Additionally, it is essential to have realistic expectations about the cleanse’s outcomes and understand that it is not a quick fix but a step towards long-term health optimization.

Stocking up on Nutrient-Dense Foods for the Cleanse

One of the critical aspects of a functional medicine cleanse is nourishing your body with nutrient-dense foods. Before you begin the wash, stock up on various fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These foods contain essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants supporting overall health and detoxification.

During the cleanse, consume minimally processed foods free from additives, artificial sweeteners, and hydrogenated oils. Incorporate foods like leafy greens, berries, herbs and spices, turmeric, ginger, garlic, and green tea, which have anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties.

In addition to food, it is also essential to drink plenty of water throughout the cleanse. Hydration is crucial for optimal detoxification and elimination of waste products from the body.

Implementing the Functional Medicine Cleanse

Eliminating Potential Food Sensitivities

During the cleanse, you may be advised to eliminate common food allergens or sensitivities such as gluten, dairy, soy, and refined sugars. It can help reduce inflammation and uncover any underlying sensitivities affecting your health.

Supporting the Liver and Gut Health

The liver and gut play crucial roles in detoxification processes. To support these organs during the cleanse, incorporate foods and supplements that promote liver and stomach health. It may include consuming cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, which contain compounds that assist with liver detoxification. Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut can help restore gut health.

Engaging in Stress-Reducing Activities

Stress can negatively impact the body’s ability to detoxify effectively. During the cleanse, engaging in stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature is essential. These activities can help promote relaxation and support the body’s natural detoxification processes.

Maintaining a Balanced Lifestyle Post-Cleanse

Once you have completed the functional medicine cleanse, living a healthy and happy life is important. It includes prioritizing nutrient-dense foods, regular exercise, adequate sleep, stress management, and regular check-ins with your functional medicine practitioner. Embracing a holistic approach to health will help you sustain the benefits of the cleanse and support long-term well-being.

In conclusion, preparing for a functional medicine cleanse involves:

  • Consulting with a practitioner.
  • Setting clear goals.
  • Stocking up on nutrient-dense foods.
  • Implementing specific strategies to support the wash process.

Following these steps, you can optimize the benefits of a functional medicine cleanse and support your overall health and well-being.

The Science Behind Functional Medicine Cleanse

Role of Toxins in Health Issues

Did you know that toxins in our environment can significantly impact our health? From air pollution to pesticides in our food, we are constantly exposed to things that are bad for us and can mess up the way our bodies work. These toxins have been linked to various health issues, including allergies, hormonal imbalances, and chronic diseases.

How a Cleanse Supports Detoxification

A functional medicine cleanse is designed to support the body’s natural detoxification processes. It helps to remove toxins that have built up in the body and restore balance. Following a cleanse protocol, you can give your organs, such as the liver and kidneys, a break and allow them to focus on eliminating toxins.

During a cleanse, you’ll typically follow a specific diet that includes foods known to support detoxification, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You may also incorporate supplements and herbal teas that aid in detoxification. You will also be told to drink a lot of water to help eliminate toxins in your body.

Impact of a Cleanse on Gut Health

Did you know that gut health is crucial to your overall well-being? Functional medicine can improve the health of your gut by helping good bacteria grow and lowering inflammation.

During a cleanse, you’ll eliminate processed foods, sugar, and other inflammatory foods from your diet. Instead, you’ll focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods that support a healthy gut, such as leafy greens, fermented foods, and bone broth. These foods provide essential nutrients and promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria.

You may experience improved digestion, increased energy levels, and a strengthened immune system by improving your gut health. Many people also report decreased bloating and digestive discomfort after a cleanse.

So, a functional medicine could be worth considering if you want to support your body’s natural detoxification processes and improve your gut health. Before making big changes to your diet or starting a cleanse program, talk to a qualified healthcare expert.


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About the author

Dr. Patrick Lovegrove

Dr. Patrick Lovegrove is board certified by the American Board of Family Physicians. He was born in Staunton, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia where he majored in Biology. He received a Medical School Scholarship from the United States Air Force. A graduate of Nova Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine, his over 20 years of clinical experience includes Family Practice, Anti-aging, Holistic Internal Medicine, Pain Management, Aerospace, Sports, and Emergency Medicine. He believes that holistic medicine should be integrated with conventional medicine in a scientifically based model to achieve the best results for patients.