Surgery goes hand in hand with toxins. Toxins from the biological trauma and the recovery processes going on in the human body as well as from medicines and anesthesia.
Anesthetic drugs used to paralyze and relax muscles, numb body parts or induce unconsciousness can be an assault on the liver.
After the surgery, your liver works overtime to bring blood toxin levels back to normal.
How quickly you are able to shake off the after effects of the anesthetic depends from person to person. And whether you had local or general anesthesia. Some patients wake up more quickly and start moving again then others.
In most people the aftereffects will fade within a few hours but for some people it will take longer. They have to cope with a weak, woozy, dizzy, feverish feeling for several days.
Even if you don’t experience such after-effects it is wise to help your body rid of the toxins that are left by the anesthetic.
Certain herbs, tea, vitamins and minerals are known to help you flush out those toxins as quickly as possible.
Some nutrients have potent antioxidant properties that are essential in the body’s detox processes that are facilitated by the liver.
One of these detoxifiers, a herbal substance already known by the ancients and one of the most researched herbal remedies, is milk thistle.
Milk thistle helps your body detox by preventing a deficiency of an antioxidant called glutathione.
Anesthesia and other medications can greatly lower your glutathione levels making your liver more vulnerable. Studies indicate that milk thistle can increase your levels of this potent antioxidant by up to 35%.
An additional benefit, milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is clinically proven to boost immune response.
If you are going to order this extract, be aware that many supplement brands do not seem to deliver what they promise. A highly concentrated, effective extract of milk thistle (the only one out of ten brands that passed a Consumerlab test) is Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle
- Commonly recommended dose: start at least one week before surgery until two weaks after the operation, 70 mg three times a day.
- Caution: do not take milk thistle if you are allergic to plants in the ragweed family. Since milk thistle can affect hormone levels, avoid taking it if you have a history of hormone-related cancer, such as uterine, breast, or prostate cancer.
Some other herbs commonly used for detoxifying purposes are alfalfa, dandelion root, cascara, and sarsparilla.
Other detoxifying nutrients to reinforce your resilience
Vitamin C is a potent anesthetic detox. Vitamin C is so powerful as an anestethic detox that it should be avoided in large doses before surgery.
Commonly recommended dose: high doses of vitamin C (a.k.a. ascorbic acid) spread over one or two days will help you cleanse your body.
Also foods rich in vitamin C as well as high fiber content foods help purify the body. Many natural detox supplements contain fiber and vitamin C rich foods. Vitamin C also aids wound healing.
A MedLine search indicates that vitamin C is the most investigated antioxidant responsible for the elimination of free radicals (surgical stress may result in increased production of oxygen free radicals).
Garlic, the mother of all detox foods, it may be hard to stomach for some, especially after surgery and an upset stomach but if you can, do take garlic.
One of nature’s most well known powerfoods has antiviral, antiseptic and antibiotic properties.
Garlic is rich in sulfur making it a potent detoxifier. It helps you rid your body of pathogenic microbes can reduce endogenous (made by your body) toxins.
Beetroot is hard to beat as a natural detoxifier. Beets are very high in vitamins B3, B6, C and beta-carotene. They’re contain lots of of iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium which all play an essential role in detoxification mechanisms.
Beets also support good liver and gallbladder health. Both organs that are responsible for breaking down and removing toxins. Beetroot is also high in fiber improving digestion thus aiding the elimination of bodily waste.
Broccoli is part of the health-boosting brassica family of vegetables. Also known as cruciferous foods. Eating broccoli will release so called sulphorophanes which play a role in detoxification. Broccoli sprouts contain 20 times more sulfurophane.
Green tea is a well-known natural purifier. Neem, goldenseal, and dandelion are some of the best known detox herbal teas on the market today. Dandelion is a powerful antioxidant that supports liver function and cleansing of the digestive tract.
You can also make tea with turmeric (active ingredient, curcumin) powder, a well-known herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat liver and digestive disorders.
Multivitamin and mineral complex. Experts recommed a formula that provides at least 200 mg of vitamin C, 25,000 international units (IU) of beta-carotene, and 22.4 IU of vitamin E each day, for at least two weeks before and after undergoing anesthesia.
A high-potency multivitamin and mineral complex helps eliminate heavy metals and other toxic compounds still lingering in the body after the anesthetics.
B-complex. Especially the B vitamins and particularly thiamine, B-6, folate and B-12 as well as minerals such as zinc, magnesium and selenium help support liver function.
Inositol/choline (part of the B complex vitamins) are also recommended. Choline assists detoxification reactions in the liver. Choline is found in food sources such as nuts, soy, egg yolk, cauliflower, oats, lentils, and flax seeds. Inositol is found in peas, brown rice, beans, and raisins.
Taurine may have some benefits as a post-anesthesic detox agent. Taurine, the famous ingredient in the energy drink Red Bull was discovered in ox bile (Bos taurus) hence its name, after taurus, or bull.
Taurine is an amine that plays a role in several several metabolic processes of the body, particularly in the brain and heart. It also has functions in the gallbladder, eyes, and blood vessels, and may have some antioxidant and detoxifying properties.
Intravenous taurine administration before, during and after anesthesia resulted in higher MDA and glutathione levels than in patients who did not receive taurine. The taurine is thought to cause a protective cellular effect according the researchers.
Avoid These foods prior to your surgery
Also foods you eat several days before your surgery influence anesthesia and could significantly delay recovery.
Compounds present in nightshade foods such as potatoes, eggplants, and tomatoes delay the breaking down of anesthetic drugs.
Even in tiny amounts, the so called solanaceous glycoalkaloids (SGAs) slow the breakdown of many commonly used anesthetics and muscle relaxants. They do so by inhibiting two enzymes involved in breaking down anesthetic drugs
According to studies, more than 80 percent of the SGAs are still in the bloodstream twenty-four hours later.
“Our results bring us one step closer to understanding why patients vary so widely in their sensitivity to certain anesthetic drugs,” said Jonathan Moss, MD, PhD, professor of anesthesia and critical care at the University of Chicago.
Next to taking post-surgery supplements, drinking sufficient water and eating raw, high fiber foods can also help force toxins out of the body.
Exercises may not be useful for most people right after surgery but stretching will boost detox processes in your body. Oxygen rich blood transported through your body helps flush toxins out with it. Taking deep breaths is easier to apply for most patients and has a similar effect.
Do you have experiences with battling the anesthesia blues? Share them below.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.
Image: Dennis Hill.