As a chiropractor, you understand the importance of taking a holistic approach to health.
You also recognize that, to achieve optimal wellness, a patient must address the five pillars of health: proper mental attitude, proper exercise, proper nutrition, proper rest, and a properly functioning nervous system. One method for addressing nutrition in a chiropractic setting is to use clinical nutrition as an adjunct to adjustments.
Detoxification is one proven method for making the body cleaner by eliminating external toxins (i.e., something originating in the environment, such as heavy metals) and internal toxins (i.e., foods the patient is sensitive or allergic to). Removing these systemic stressors can lead to an overall healthier patient.
Signs that indicate a detox is needed can include the inability to lose weight, dry skin or skin tags in the neck or armpit area, toe fungus, and chronic fatigue. You may not see the same type of results with adjustments on a patient exhibiting these symptoms as you do with other patients.
To determine external toxin exposure, there are two testing options: a hair analysis, which can detect toxins retrospectively for a three-month period, or a blood analysis, which provides an internal snapshot at the time of the test. If heavy metals are found in the body, chelation therapy, whether oral or intravenous, can be used for detoxification.
To determine the presence of internal toxins, the first step is to conduct a three-day (two weekdays and one weekend day) diet history and analysis, as well as blood work. Often, corn, grains, gluten, and dairy products will cause bowel inflammation in patients, and a detoxification of the body via nutrition can help reduce inflammation.
When patients ingest foods they are sensitive or allergic to, or they are exposed to antibiotics unnecessarily, it can upset the microbiome. The cells lining the intestine can become inflamed (i.e., inflammation of the bowel) and more permeable, allowing toxins, microbes, and undigested food particles to be released into the blood stream. This is called “leaky gut syndrome.” The obvious solution is to eliminate the foods or toxins causing inflammation in the patient, but also, after eliminating the inflammatory agents, the next step is to heal the gut using probiotics, prebiotics, antioxi- dants, and nutrients.
It is highly recommended to have patients supplement with liposomal glutathione along with liposomal curcumin. Aloe vera drinks can help sooth inflamed intestinal tissue, while gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) help to tighten junctional permeability in intestinal monolayer cells.
For these patients, the solution is a long-term lifestyle change. Reassure them that they will have good days and bad days (especially at first), but in order to feel their best they should stick to anti-inflammatory foods and avoid known causes of inflammation, including the highly processed foods that are unfortunately a large part of the standard American diet (SAD).
Good foods to include are colorful whole fruits and vegetables, healthy fats (fatty fish), fiber such as ground flaxseed, and moderate amounts of organic meats, such as bison and grass-fed beef.
Consider, for example, one patient in particular—a long-term chiropractic patient in her 50s who had a difficult time losing weight and felt generally sick and tired. To try to stay healthy, she was receiving chiropractic adjustments several times a month—which certainly helped, but were not enough.
After a standard three-day diet assessment, she was put on an anti- inflammatory and detoxifying diet that eliminated dairy, bread, gluten, and corn. Within four months, she dropped 50 pounds and saw improvements with her skin, along with regular bowel movements. She felt better and had more energy. Overall, she was much healthier.
But when she reintroduced bread and dairy into her diet, she returned to her initial condition. In this particular case, it was critical for the patient to keep toxins out of her body by sticking to her regimen.
You may find different outcomes or challenges based on your patient’s response.
For either type of toxic exposure, it’s important to conduct routine blood work throughout the process to see how the patient is responding and make adjustments as needed. Although understanding how the patient feels is useful, having raw data to work from can lead to better results.
Patrick Montgomery, DC, MS, FASA, is an associate professor of chiropractic history, philosophy, and technique; and of clinical nutrition, at Logan University. He is currently president of the Logan Faculty Senate, president of the Faculty American Chiropractic Association, and president of the Association for the History of Chiropractic. He is a member of the Council on Nutrition and Council on Pediatrics of the ACA. He can be contacted at logan.edu/home/faculty-search/patrick- montgomery-141.