by Dr. Alison Kerns, ND

water w lemonFirst, let’s clarify a difference in terminology between the term “detoxification” and another related concept, “depuration”.

Detoxification is a metabolic process by which the toxic qualities of a poison or toxin are reduced by the body. However, depuration is the process of helping the body to remove these unwanted materials that are incompatible with health. Depuration as a term is not commonly used in popular culture (as detoxification has been incorrectly embraced) but it actually means to “cleanse, or purify” by promoting the elimination of waste products from the body. Detoxification, or reducing the toxic nature of a toxin, is only one part of depuration, which allows for the removal of specific unwanted toxins. Therefore, it is imperative to incorporate a depuration program that includes detoxification!

IBile Enhancing Food 2, Greensn naturopathic medicine, the basis for promoting depuration is to support an individual’s emunctories. An emunctory is an organ or part of the body that gives off waste products thus having an “excretory function”. The main emunctories that are supported are the liver, gallbladder, plasma, kidneys, GI tract, skin, lungs, neurological system, and the mental/emotional body. Once the individual’s emunctories have been supported and are functioning properly, then they are ready for a deeper detoxification protocol.


Depuration, Detoxification, and their relationship with Hypertension

Hypertension is a disorder characterized by a pathological increase in blood pressure. Prevention is the best medicine for hypertension! There are many lifestyle factors that can significantly increase the risk for developing hypertension. These factors include obesity, smoking, diabetes, excessive sodium intake, poor intake of fruits and vegetables, a sedentary lifestyle, and alcohol. Thus, in order to prevent hypertension, or to treat it once it has developed, it is imperative to maintain an ideal body weight, to get regular exercise, limit or avoid alcoholic beverages, implement dietary changes including the addition of quality proteins, ample fruits and vegetables, and dietary fiber while limiting sodium intake and saturated fat, and quit smoking.

girl w fruitWhen embarking on a depuration and detoxification program with your doctor, you are incorporating many of these preventative tactics into your daily life. Thus you are significantly reducing your risk for developing hypertension while also implementing many lifestyle treatment options. Through the process of depuration and detoxification, you are reducing your toxic load and creating a healthy lifestyle that can be maintained after your program is done. Through participating in this program, you have increased your emunctories’ functioning abilities and created the foundation for a vibrant self, free from many chronic disorders, including hypertension! Talk to your naturopathic doctor about implementing a detoxification and depuration program that is right for you.


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Dr. Alison Kerns is an associate at Alpine Integrated Medicine.  A primary care physician, Dr. Alison is interested in family medicine and is also specializing in detoxification, women’s health, bio-identical hormones, and homeopathy.