We have some wonderful detox organs within our body – we are constantly detoxing. However, evidence is mounting that never before in history have our bodies been exposed to such a large number of toxic chemicals both endogenous (from within our bodies) and exogenous (outside of our bodies). These toxins accumulate in our environment, our drinking water, food and in the air we breathe – so it is now almost impossible to avoid exposure, especially if you live in a big city.
The body largely eliminates toxins by excreting them in the urine or faeces, and to a lesser degree through the skin, hair and lungs. Toxins the body cannot eliminate (due to overload or compromised detox organ function) will accumulate in tissues, typically body fat.
A well-functioning liver filters about 2 litres of blood every minute, and clears 99% of bacteria and other toxins from the blood before it re-enters circulation. Possibly these days with the amount of toxic exposure we experience, the liver could do with a little extra support.
Symptoms of toxicity
These can be as varied as the individual, but generally speaking they can manifest as:
- Muscle and/or joint aches and pains
- Brain fog
- Poor concentration
- Mood swings
- Allergies, stuffy nose, coughing
- Rashes, itching, hives, acne
- Digestive symptoms, constipation, IBS
- Sensitivities to chemicals, foods, drugs
Sources of Toxins within us
- Cortisol produced during stress
- Gut bacteria, especially when there is an imbalance producing endotoxins, which have been associated with depression, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel and atherosclerosis.
Note: Phase 1 liver detoxification can produce toxic substances (often more toxic than the original toxin), which then needs to be processed quickly by phase 2. If there is an imbalance or a delay between phase 1 and phase 2, free radical damage may result from these toxins.
Sources of Toxins outside the body
- Plastics, think BPA – drink bottles, take away cups, microwaving in plastic, till receipts
- Benzene from smelling petrol
- Formaldehyde – off gassing from some new furniture, new carpet, particle board
- Pesticides on foods
- Chemicals in skin care products and household cleaning products
Heavy Metals (some examples)
- Exposure to Mercury – even small amounts – may cause serious health problems, and is a threat to the development of the child in utero and early in life. Possible sources are from amalgum fillings, fish higher up in the food chain such as Tuna and breaking of eco lightbulbs.
- Lead – can be passed on to the foetus. Passed exposure from lead petrol, accumulates in tissues.
Note: Heavy metals and our own minerals compete with each other. So if your own mineral status is low, this gives these heavy metals a chance to bind to receptors within our body.
But It Is Not All Doom and Gloom!
There is so much we can do to assist our body and its detoxification processes.
First it is critically important to
- Reduce Toxic Load
Remember our toxic load goes up and up and up until you reach tolerance level and then you may begin to develop disease.
- Avoid as many as possible, by throwing out those plastic drink bottles, not cooking in plastic containers, use keep cups instead of plastic take away cups (this also helps save the environment), only handle till receipts if absolutely necessary.
- Stand upwind when filling up with petrol so that you are not inhaling any fumes.
- House cleaning products – be careful with chemicals, use eco friendly ones or you can even make your own with essential oils baking soda and white vinegar.
- Have a fibre rich diet. Dietary fibres help bind onto toxins and keep things moving through your bowels for elimination.
- Keep well hydrated, again this helps flush toxins out – start the day with two large glasses of water you may wish to add a little apple cider vinegar/lemon juice – as this may also help with regularity (brush teeth afterwards).
- Exercise – this helps flush out toxins, move bowels and stimulate the lymphatic system.
- Good bowel movements are essential – you don’t want things backing up and sitting there for long periods of time. The majority of toxins leave your body via the bowel.
- Finally, sweating is also a great way to eliminate waste and toxins, and is especially good for some metals and BPA. Infrared Saunas heat up the body much like the sun on a hot day. This dry heat is generally more easily tolerated and therefore may assist with a deeper more profuse sweating experience.