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  • Writer's pictureKim Smolders

Breast Implant Illness Detox.


Breast implants have serious effects on your body. Not only are they foreign objects in your body, sometimes weighing more than 1kg and sitting on top of your most vital organs (your heart and lungs) but the toxic materials, heavy metals and silicone that the implants are made from cause damage to your body's immune, endocrine and digestive systems. This is known as Breast Implant Illness (BII) as each woman will be affected differently, and will show different symptoms.


Your breast implants need not be old or ruptured for there to be gel bleed of these toxins into your body. When they are ruptured, there is indeed greater cause for concern as the leakage of toxins is much greater and greater amount of silicone will get into your system as well as your lymph nodes.


Detoxing your body from BII is an important part of the healing process. Your body has a remarkable way of finding homeostasis (balance) and will work hard to achieve that. A clean, healthy and organic whole foods diet is a must, as is a healing mindset and adequate sleep and movement. There are also other holistic health practices that can be tapped into to support your healing. We all have different bodies and needs, so healing will be a personal journey, varying in length, protocols and progress. Find what works for you and most important of all, be kind to yourself!



Steps to healing.

1. Explant

The first step towards optimal healing is always to remove the implants. Make sure you find a qualified plastic surgeon that is sympathetic to your situation, who believes in BII and is committed to removing the capsules around the implants as well as the implants themselves. The ideal procedure is an en-bloc removal, where the implant is removed with the capsule in its entirety still around it, or a total capsulectomy, where the implants are removed separate from the capsules but the surgeon makes sure that all of the capsules is also removed from the body. Explant surgery is in itself taxing on the body, so be gentle with yourself the weeks after surgery before starting any detox protocols that might be too intense.


2. Biomarkers

Doing tests based on your symptoms such as blood, stool, urine and/or saliva tests shortly after explant is a good idea as these will highlight any deficiencies you might have, or any other conditions may be present and in need of addressing. As implants are major disruptors to all your body systems, it is wise to check your ANA, vitamin and mineral status, hormone levels, adrenal function, detox pathways, gut microbiota, thyroid health & heavy metals status. You can then know which supplements you should be taking to support your optimal healing.


3. Diet & nutrition

Eating the right diet is one of the most important contributors to optimal health and wellbeing for all of us, but especially so when we have been exposed to serious toxins. A nutrient-dense, clean, organic, non-GMO and whole foods diet is the most natural and effective way to kickstart your body's natural health and detox system. Make sure to include lots of raw and cooked leafy greens and vegetables from all colours of the rainbow, healthy fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds, and a little bit of lean, clean, grass-fed protein. Drinking adequate amounts of fresh, clean, filtered water every day to flush your system is also non-negotiable. I love adding ginger and lemon to my hot water which is very inflammatory.


It is not only about what you need to add in to your diet, but also what you need to remove from it - all gluten, dairy, sugar, simple carbohydrates, and processed foods which have an inflammatory effect and prevent you from healing will need to be cut out completely. Also keep in mind any toxins in your washing detergent, skin products and your general environment that you can minimise or eliminate. Your skin is your biggest organ so it is vital to be careful with what we expose it to, especially when we are healing!


4. Gut healing

Inflammation is the main cause of digestive issues and intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut. Inflammation from the breast implants as well as inflammatory and allergic foods will contribute to this, which is why a very clean, anti-inflammatory diet is so important when healing from BII. Avoiding triggering foods is one part to healing the gut, the second part is restoring the gut lining and creating a healthy microbiome through pre- and probiotics (read the blog post on this here), as well as supplements like L-glutamine, digestive enzymes, liquorice root and lion's mane. Bone broth and collagen are also great building blocks for your digestive tract as are fiber-rich and fermented foods. Diets that tend to help are the AIP, GAPS and the Whal's Protocol diets. Find what works and feels best for you as we are all different, and work with a health care professional when taking supplements.


If you feel that your gut is not healing, work with a functional medicine doctor to explore your gut health. There could be more serious issues such as parasites, candida, SIBO, IBS or IBD that needs a more tailored approach to heal.


5. Power juices

Green and vegetable juices are great to support your healing. They are packed with phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that will nourish every cell in your body. Especially zinc, potassium, and magnesium can be found in green juices, and these easily be topped up with your favourite collagen or protein powders. I personally love to add broccoli or kale sprouts to them for that extra boost of nutrition. It is also a good way to get raw vegetables into your diet every day, as getting a mix of both raw and cooked vegetables is preferable. I also add maca, ashwaganda & mushroom powders to my smoothies to make them extra nourishing for my adrenals & mindset.



6. Supplements

In order to make sure our bodies are flooded with enough of the right nutrients and antioxidants, supplements can be super beneficial here. They can aid the detox process, keep the inflammation down and support the immune system. You can use the results from your biomarkers to determine what and how much you should supplement, but in general the following supplements will be supportive of your healing journey: magnesium malate or cytrate, vitamins A, B, C, D & E, zinc, selenium, CoQ10, lecithin, turmeric, ginger, & milk thistle. Most of us are deficient in vitamins D & B12, both of which are key to cellular and brain health. Amino acids also support the detoxification process in the liver, so make sure you take in adequate protein - if you do not, it might be worth looking at supplementing these too.


7. Detox enhancers

Whilst our bodies are great natural detox machines if given the right diet and environment, sometimes some natural detoxification support is useful. When trying these, make sure you start low and slow, to see how your body reacts. You can over-detoxify, moving toxins around the body at a faster pace than the body is able to accommodate, which can be overwhelming to the body and in fact cause an increase in symptoms. Detox support includes magnesium, NAC, glutathione, iodine, chlorella, spirulina & activated charcoal. With heavy metal removers like chlorella & spirulina it can be useful to take binders like zeolite which help move these toxins out of the body. I add these two to my smoothies also.


8. Movement

Daily movement is key to a healthy mind and body. Take is easy the first six weeks after explant - go for strolls and walks outside and do so light stretching of the lower body. Getting outside in nature is also a powerful natural healer. Movement is also one of the few things that gets your lymphatic system moving. Your lymphatic system is responsible for two things. Firstly the removal of waste products. By pumping lymphatic fluids throughout the body, it absorbs toxins and waste, to then eliminate these from the body. If this system is not working properly, toxins would quickly accumulate and poison us. Secondly, the lymphatic system helps keep a nutrient balance in the body. It absorbs fat and important vitamins and minerals and spreads them throughout the body to where they are needed.


9. Infrared sauna & epsom salt baths

Whilst it is not wise to enter a sauna or epsom salt baths with your implants still inside the body, they are both great ways to detox your system once you have had your explant. The benefits of infrared sauna are numerous and adding this regularly to your routine will help move the toxins out of your body through increased blood flow and sweating, boost your immune system, contribute to heart health and ease any pain you may have. Epsom salt baths are great for magnesium replenishing and detoxification.


10. Lymphatic drainage & massage

As you now know, our lymphatic system is key to a healthy, toxin-free body. A lymphatic drainage will stimulate the functioning of this system, increase blood circulation, regulate fluid balance and support immune function. Lymphatic drainage can also be focused on the armpit and neck node areas, as these are frequently clogged by silicone and other toxins. Massages are also wonderful to get your blood flow and lymphatic fluid circulating, and they are also very relaxing and soothing. Make sure to drink plenty of clean, filtered water after each session to enhance the removal of toxins from your body.


At home you can also get the lymphatic system moving through dry-brushing. This is a technique using a coarse body brush, stroking the body in an upwards towards the heart motion in order to stimulate lymphatic flow. Always brush towards your armpits so that the toxins can leave your body. Only do this if and when your detox pathways have been cleared.


11. Mindfulness

Lastly, but certainly one of the most important aspects of healing, is mindfulness & self-love. Having an explant is a physically as well as emotionally challenging for many women, so being aware of our emotional and psychological wellbeing is as much part of the healing process as everything mentioned above. Meditation & breathing practices are great ways to tap into your parasympathetic nervous system to help you relax and tap into your deep inner self. Self-love is in itself healing, and connecting to who you are and embracing the new "old" you will enhance your healing. Negative thoughts and mental stress affect your emotions and feelings, which in turn make hormones and chemicals that negatively affect your physiology, leading to inflammation, a compromised immune system, intestinal permeability, and imbalanced hormones.



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