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Jackie, a 38-year-old math teacher, had strong willpower, exercised three times a week, and tried to make healthy food choices, but her excess fat stubbornly held on. At 5 feet 3 inches tall and 183 pounds, she knew she should go to the gym a little more often, but she was so tired after school every day that nothing could compete with her living room sofa. She might have felt more motivated to exercise if she’d been able to keep off the weight when she lost it, but no matter what she did, she always gained back the extra pounds, and then some. Yo-yo dieting was a way of life for Jackie.
Jackie had been blaming her fat for her fatigue, but the fatigue and the fat were caused by the same culprits: environmental toxins in her body. I assured her that if she reduced her load of toxins, she would have more energy and fewer pounds of fat.
There’s no delicate way of putting it, so we may as well face the plain hard fact: we’re all toxic. And that’s one of the biggest reasons that so many people are overweight. Most people fail when it comes to losing weight. They don’t know that they’re fighting the wrong battle. When you fight the real enemy—toxins—you win the battle of the bulge once and for all.
In my book, Clean, Green, and Lean: Drop the Weight in 30 Days, I outline how to rid your home of toxins (e.g., many household cleaners and air fresheners), as well as clear out the “junk” and toxic burden most of us carry in our bodies, re-vamp your diet, and eat clean.
Following are supplements I recommend to accelerate the reduction of your toxic load and increase your overall health. These are the basic supplements that we all need to help us handle the toxic environment we’re currently living in, along with those necessary for anyone doing any form of cleansing and who want to speed up fat loss.
These are the supplements that I think are the absolute minimum that everyone should be taking just to stay on an even keel in our environment. These are the nutrients we are deficient in because of our daily toxin exposures (and the toxic burden that we carry), and the nutrients that will help us metabolize the toxins and keep them from doing much damage.
1. Take a Multivitamin and Mineral Daily
Your multivitamins should have a combination of all of the normal vitamins and minerals, with a little more of each of the following common ingredients:
Vitamin B1—100 mg
Vitamin B2—50 mg
Vitamin B6—100 mg
Alpha-lipoic acid—50 mg
N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC)—100 mg
In addition to higher levels of these nutrients, the best multivitamins for dealing with toxicity also contain extracts of:
2. Supplement Your Multivitamin
You should supplement your multivitamin or mineral with the cleansing powers of the following:
- Vitamin C. Begin with 3,000 mg a day. If you’re a smoker or live with one, you’ll need to double this amount. That also goes for those who drive a lot or live in highly polluted urban areas. I typically have my most toxic patients on a total of at least 9,000 mg. Some people will experience diarrhea if they go above 1,000 mg a day; if you’re one of them, don’t take any more than that.
- Magnesium. Start with one capsule of about 150 mg a day and build up to three or more doses a day. You’ll know you’ve had enough if you start having loose stools.
- Good fiber to help usher the toxins out of the body. The best is one that’s mostly rice bran fiber, with some psyllium added. Begin with one scoop or three to four capsules of rice bran fiber after each meal.
- High-quality whey protein powder. Add two scoops a day to juice or soy milk. This will help to make glutathione which helps your liver to clear toxins from the bloodstream.
In addition to taking supplements that help you with cleansing, you want to be sure you’re getting what your body needs to build and repair any damage done by the toxins. The supplements I’ve found to be a necessary part of any cleansing and weight-loss program include:
- Chlorophyll. If you aren’t eating a lot of green veggies, take one ounce of a liquid extract, one bottle of a green drink, or a scoop of greens powder daily.
- Probiotics. Take one capsule a day. Probiotics such as acidophilus provide good bacteria that the intestines need to stay healthy. There’s also evidence in the scientific literature that these healthy bacteria prevent the absorption of some toxins in the gastrointestinal tract.
- N-acetyl-L-cysteine. Take1,500 mg a day. This nutrient helps increase the amount of glutathione in the body, a main defender against environmental toxins. This is especially important if you live in an area with high pollution. I make sure I take more on the days I go out riding my bike in the city.
- Vitamin E. Take an extra 400 to 500 IU daily above the amount in your multivitamins. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that can cross your blood-brain barrier and protect brain cells from damage from chemicals and toxins as well.
- Fish oils. Have at least 1,500 mg daily of these essential oils. The DHA portion of fish oil is one of the best ways to protect the brain from damage from pesticides.
- Ginkgo biloba. Take one capsule of ginkgo solid extract daily for mitochondrial protection.
- Milk thistle. Take 100 to 200 mg twice a day for powerful liver protection and repair.
Accelerate Your Weight Loss
Additional help to speed up fat loss:
Drink 2 cups of strong green tea (not the decaf kind) daily to help with weight loss as well as clearing compounds from the body.
Use this to spice up your meals on a daily basis. You don’t need much. Or use 0.4 to 1 mg of capsaicin extract a day.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Take 3,000-4,000 mg a day for an added weight-loss boost.
Digestive enzymes (follow label instructions) improve digestion and help reduce toxins, enhancing the ability to burn fat. One I recommend is Enzymedica Digest Gold, which contains a range of digestive enzymes that help the body break down proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and fiber.
Green foods supplements may be particularly beneficial in not only assisting the body in clearing away the “junk,” but in everyday maintenance after a cleanse and in weight control. Chlorella, for example, binds to heavy metals and chemicals to help the body eliminate them, says David Nelson, PhD, a nutritionist at the Center for Advanced Medicine in Encinitas, Calif., where he recommends this therapy to his patients. “Chlorella is very effective in helping to cleanse,” he says. Taken daily, it can boost energy and provide protein and minerals that help control cravings. “Chlorella provides nutrients and trace minerals that the body really needs,” says Nelson. “When your body isn’t starving for the nutrition it needs, weight loss will occur naturally.”
aw good buys
KAL NAC +, with 600 mg of N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) per tablet, plus added fiber, riboflavin, and calcium, helps support liver detox and neutralize free radicals.
Natrol Tonalin CLA. Research indicates that CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) may help reduce body fat and increase muscle retention. Tonalin CLA is the only patented form of CLA.
Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw B-Complex features 100% raw-food-created nutrients, enabling natural recognition and maximum absorption by your body.
Rainbow Light Gummy Vitamin C Slices. Each box contains convenient, individual-serving mini-packs, giving you an extra boost of vitamin C beyond what your multi provides, plus added vitamin E.
Sun Chlorella Packets. Carry these convenient packets anywhere and mix in your favorite food or cold drink. Chlorophyll, beta carotene, vitamins C and E, and other nutrients assist in the body’s detoxification process.