10 Ways To Support Detoxification In Kids
Do kids need to detox? It is a controversial question and I believe that the reason for the controversy is because of the often harmful way that detoxes are applied in the natural health community. Kids don’t need to take harsh laxative or diuretic herbs to “flush” their systems and they definitely don’t need to fast or severely restrict their food intake. These strategies have the potential to make kids (and many adults) quite sick. However, it is undeniable that we are living in a world that is more toxic than ever. An approach that focuses on supporting optimal elimination, replenishment of key nutrients, and adequate hydration is a pragmatic, safe, and gentle way to address the issue of toxicity.
Key points to keep in mind when using any detox strategies, including the ones below.
- Focus on gentle, nourishing, supportive strategies and avoid harsh, stimulating, and purging strategies.
- Make sure that the routes of elimination are working optimally before supporting other forms of detoxification. This means that pooping, peeing, and sweating all happen regularly and with ease.
- Detoxification is a whole body process that involves the liver, intestines, lymph, skin, lungs, reproductive system, and urinary system.
- Some people are more sensitive than others and kids tend to be more sensitive than adults. If using herbs to support detoxification, start with low doses and keep an eye open for reactions.
Ways To Support Detoxification In Kids
Support gut health.
Before doing any other detox strategy, gut health has to be optimal. That means daily, well-formed bowel movements without straining. I’ve got some articles that can help:
Load up on fiber.
Increasing the fiber content of your meals helps improve the elimination of toxins, improve liver enzymes involved in detoxification, and supports healthy body composition. Try my easy chia pudding recipe for a tasty and convenient source of fiber.
Take bitter herbs.
Herbal bitters are a time-tested remedy for strengthening the digestive tract and optimizing digestion and elimination. Some bitter herbs that are safe for kids include: dandelion, yellow dock root, turmeric, burdock, oregon grape, chamomile, hops, and yarrow. Dr. Green Mom supplements that feature herbal bitters include:
Increase cruciferous vegetables.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage improve detoxification pathways of the liver and are a great source of fiber.
Support glutathione production.
Glutathione is the master antioxidant and is crucially important for detoxification. Nutrients that support glutathione production include: vitamin C, vitamin E, quercetin, zinc, selenium, and beta glucans. Foods that support glutathione production include: meat, yogurt, oatmeal, egg yolk, cruciferous vegetables, onion, and garlic. Glutathione and/or it’s precursor N-acetylcysteine (NAC) can be supplemented. Dr. Green Mom supplements that support glutathione production include:
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Hydration is key for all organs of elimination to work optimally. Breastmilk, formula, and water are the best ways to hydrate as part of a daily routine. If dehydration occurs, my electrolyte recipe can be helpful.
Sweating is an often overlooked route of elimination, but it is vitally important to healthy detoxification. Luckily, kids love to play. Time outside in the sun (with sun protection), on a playground, or playing sports helps support the lymphatic system and the detoxification function of the skin.
Detox with an Epsom Salt bath.
Detox baths with epsom salt are a favorite way to support detoxification. For kids over age 1, add 1-2 cups of epsom salt to the bathtub and soak for 20 minutes or less. For kids under 1, add ½ cup epsom salt to a sink bath or 1 cup of epsom salt to the bathtub and soak for 15-20 minutes or less. Do not leave children unattended in the bath or allow them to drink the bathwater. Epsom salt may irritate sensitive skin; a rinse in the shower and moisturizer (I like coconut oil) can help prevent irritation. If the child is uncomfortable in the bath, remove them and rinse skin right away.
Use herbal support.
When faced with a higher than normal toxic burden, herbal support for detoxification may be appropriate. This could include after a period of overindulgence (like a holiday), after illness of any sort, or after vaccination or other medication. Dr. Green Mom products that support detoxification for kids include:
Jump on a rebounder or trampoline.
If you have access to a rebounder or trampoline, encourage your kids to use it and join them yourself if you’re able. Jumping on a rebounder or trampoline (with age-appropriate safety guidelines) helps support the lymphatic system and usually produces lots of laughs.
We live and play in a world full of toxins, but our bodies are capable of handling them given the right support. A lifestyle that includes gentle, sustainable detoxification strategies is preferable to harsh, purging cleanses for people of all ages and especially for children. Sometimes more support is needed and it is important to choose products that were formulated with the specific needs and sensitive systems of children in mind.
Kieffer, D. A., Martin, R. J., & Adams, S. H. (2016). Impact of Dietary Fibers on Nutrient Management and Detoxification Organs: Gut, Liver, and Kidneys. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 7(6), 1111–1121. https://doi.org/10.3945/an.116.013219
Kapusta-Duch, J., Kopeć, A., Piatkowska, E., Borczak, B., & Leszczyńska, T. (2012). The beneficial effects of Brassica vegetables on human health. Roczniki Panstwowego Zakladu Higieny, 63(4), 389–395.