Last week, I was leafing through a natural health publication and couldn’t help but notice that detox foot pads, hydrotherapy, cleansing greens, and detox elixirs filled the majority of the ad spaces.

It’s true that our bodies are exposed to more toxins now than ever. And we do need to be aware of this fact. But drastic, costly methods for detoxing aren’t necessary (or even proven).

Effective detoxification may be as close as your backyard.

Research published in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism showed that vitamin D can help increase intracellular levels of the master antioxidant and detoxifier glutathione. In fact, vitamin D is such a powerful detoxifier that the researchers found it even helped escort mercury out of the body. This is especially impressive because mercury is a dangerous heavy metal that’s notorious for being hard to remove.

Unfortunately, more than 50 percent of us are deficient in this essential “D”-toxifying nutrient. To kick up your natural cleansing system, aim for 15-30 minutes of sunlight, 3-5 days a week, or take 2,000-5,000 IU of vitamin D daily.

[Ed Note: Did you know that there’s a hidden ingredient in some carb-rich foods that reduces your body’s production of glutathione? Learn where it’s found and how to avoid it in Kelley Herring’s new book series Your Plate, Your Fate.]

Kelley Herring

Kelley Herring is the Founder & CEO of Healing Gourmet – a multimedia company that educates on how foods promote health and protect against disease. As a young adult, Kelley battled a debilitating health condition that went misdiagnosed by multiple doctors for more than a year. Finding no help from “modern medicine”, she turned to her own knowledge of biochemistry and her passion for health research. She soon learned that her symptoms were related to nutrition and within weeks, she charted a course back to health with nothing more than simple lifestyle changes and the power of the plate. The lessons she learned spawned the creation of Healing Gourmet. Kelley is a firm believer in vigorous exercise, moderate sun exposure and delicious, healthy, home-cooked meals. She is also the creator of Healing Gourmet’s Personalized Nutrition Software and Editor-in-Chief of the Healing Gourmet book series published by McGraw-Hill including Eat to Fight Cancer, Eat to Beat Diabetes, Eat to Lower Cholesterol and Eat to Boost Fertility.