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The following is an excerpt from the book The Ultimate New York Diet

by David Kirsch
Published by McGraw-Hill; October 2006;$24.95US/$29.95CAN; 0-07-147582-6
Copyright © 2006 David Kirsch

Cleansing Supplements

Over the years, you've been exposed to numerous toxins in the form of air pollution, pesticide residue on your foods, heavy metal contamination in fish and poultry, and much more. To detoxify your system, your body has stored away these toxins in your fat cells. One of the unfortunate side effects of weight loss is this: as your fat cells release their fat, they also release these toxins into your bloodstream. To enable your body to deal with these toxins, I suggest the following supplements. They will help detoxify your body in a number of ways.

  • Senna leaf extract. This small bark shrub grows in the upper Nile regions of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. First used more than 3,500 years ago by ancient Egyptian physicians, senna has now been proven to be an effective remedy for constipation. The extra fiber that you'll be consuming on the Ultimate New York Eating Plan will help to encourage regular bowel movements, which in turn help to whisk impurities out of your system in a timely manner. That said, you may need a little extra help in this department, which is where senna comes in. Take 150 milligrams of senna before bed with a large glass of water to promote a morning bowel movement.
  • Milk thistle. This herb has been used since Greco-Roman times to treat liver problems. Studies show that silymarin and other active substances in milk thistle protect the liver from damage caused by viruses, toxins, alcohol, and certain drugs. As an added bonus, one animal study found that silymarin worked as effectively as the cholesterol-lowering drug probucol, with the additional benefit of substantially increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. Take 200 milligrams a day.
  • Dandelion leaf extract. Like milk thistle, this herb also helps to detoxify the liver. It's also a mild laxative that helps settle the stomach and prevent indigestion. Take at least one milligram a day.

Look for a supplement that contains these herbs in a convenient mixture. I suggest all of my clients take one of my personally branded supplements called Flush and Cleanse. It contains senna, dandelion leaf, milk thistle, and other cleansing herbs and minerals. As an added bonus, it also contains green tea extract for metabolism boosting.

Overall Good Nutrition

I recommend that all of my clients take a multivitamin. No matter how healthful your diet, you just never know if something is slipping through the cracks. A daily multivitamin mineral supplement helps seal those cracks.

In particular, make sure your supplement supplies 100 percent of the daily value for the following:

  • Zinc. Deficiency in this mineral is actually very common, especially in highly active or highly stressed people. An important mineral for immunity, zinc helps prevent those colds that can derail your fitness efforts. Also, low zinc levels can lower your resting metabolic rate by interfering with thyroid hormone production. In one study, zinc supplements boosted resting metabolic rate in formerly zinc-deficient participants by 300 daily calories.
  • Magnesium. You need 320 milligrams a day, but only 32 percent of Americans consume that much from food alone. This mineral helps regulate blood pressure, strengthen bones, and fight fatigue.
  • Vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, and coenzyme Q10. These powerful antioxidants lend their electrons to free radicals in your body, making them more stable and preventing them from destroying other cells. In turn, this can prevent a host of problems from general aging to heart disease to cancer to arthritis. Your best defense against free radicals is multilevel, and that's why I suggest taking all of these rather than just one. You can get all of these antioxidants, plus a dose of other helpful vitamins and minerals, from a few commercially available multivitamin and mineral supplements sold in health food stores.
  • Calcium. For the first two weeks of this program you will be cutting dairy products out of your diet, which is one reason I suggest you supplement with calcium. A growing amount of research shows that this mineral may be integral to the process of fat burning. Take a supplement twice a day that contains about 500 milligrams of calcium, as your body can absorb only that much at once. This will give you the amount you need to maintain strong bones as well as boost your fat-burning furnace. Calcium supplements come in many forms and types, but I recommend coral calcium above the many others on the market. You can consume additional calcium in dark green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach.
  • Vitamin B12. You need this vitamin for energy production. Take a vitamin supplement that provides 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance in each pill.

In addition to that list of usual suspects, I've added spirulina and astragalus to my Vitamin/Mineral Super Juice. Spirulina is a micro algae that is rich in protein, beta-carotene, iron, vitamin B12, and a rare essential fatty acid. It's considered one of the world's top superfoods. Astragalus is a Chinese herb that builds energy in the body. In doing so, it may bolster immunity and overall health.

Personally, I also take some Chinese herbs, including reishi, maitake, shiitake, and cordyceps mushrooms. They help build up and promote the immune system and provide general overall health and vitality. I take them in liquid form and will just drop them in my tea several times a day.

Copyright © 2006 David Kirsch