Our bodies are exposed to so many chemicals on a daily basis and we never really give it a second thought. So let’s take a look at how we may expose ourselves to various toxins on a daily basis. In the morning, we may take a long hot shower to wake ourselves up, but we are inhaling chlorine and chloramines found in our tap water. Most of our soaps, shampoos, conditioners, skin lotions, hair spray, antiperspirants, make- up, fragrances and colognes contain suspected toxic chemicals.
Having a cup of coffee or tea is fine, but often we add artificial sweeteners, artificial creamers, some of our foods contain a number of artificial colors/flavors and preservatives. Often, we also consume loads of foods high in refined flours and sugars. We get exposed by certain compounds found in plastic water bottles, plastic containers placed in the microwaves, plastic wrap, some leeching of compounds from canned foods. Many medications both over the counter and prescribed have potential toxic effects. Some vitamins especially more commercial types contain a lot of binders, fillers and artificial compounds. Excessive alcohol, tobacco usage, and recreational drugs also contribute to our toxic burden or toxic load that our bodies need to detoxify and eliminate. We also get exposed to a number of toxins in the air we breathe, the water we drink, pesticide residues, hormones in our foods, cleaning agents, and herbicides. Beginning to get the picture!
STATISTICS ON TOXINS
Since 1952 at least 70,000 new chemical compounds have been invented and dispersed into our environment and only a fraction of these have been tested for human toxicity, according to Herbert L. Needleham, M.D. and Phillip J. Lardrigan, M.D. authors of Raising Children Toxic Free. In 1901 cancer was rare, 1 out 8,000 people had cancer. Since, the Industrial Revolution the cancer rate has risen to 1 out 3 by the year 2002. Source: American Cancer Society. 150 chemicals found in human hair are connected to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological disorders. Source: Consumer Protection Agency. Just by reducing, not eliminating, environmental carcinogens alone, we would save at least 50,000 lives taken by cancer annually. Source: Devra LeeDavis, PhD, former senior adviser to the Secretary of Health.
SYMPTOMS OF TOXICITY
It should be noted that toxins both internal and external can have an influence on so many organ symptoms that the symptoms are widespread and diverse. Lets break the symptoms into two basic forms : acute and chronic. ACUTE: Flu-like symptoms, vomiting, increased urination, sore throat, fever, fatigue, upset stomach, skin rashes, and headaches. CHRONIC: Dark circles under eyes, bad breath, foul bowel gas, excessive body odor, acne, skin lesions, swollen joints, swollen lymph nodes, chronic sinusitis, dizziness, brain fog, constipation, muscle/joint pains, numbness in extremities, sleep disturbances, excessive menstrual bleeding, decreased bone and tooth enamel density, endometriosis, night vision loss, difficulty losing weight, inability to adjust to temperature changes, failure to adequately moisturize eyes, skin and several others symptoms.
THE ESSENTIALS OF DETOXIFICATION 101
The two main organ systems that eliminate most of our toxins are the kidneys, liver, gall bladder and intestines. It is crucial that regular urination occur s along with a minimum of one good bowel movement per day. It is not normal, but can be common, not to have regular daily bowel movements. This is why it is essential to drink plenty of good sources of water and have adequate fibers and foods that promote good intestinal health.
The next essential is to make sure that the liver can manufacture proper levels of bile and is capable of efficient detoxification. To summarize, the liver converts toxic fat soluble compounds into less toxic water soluble forms that are more easily eliminated in the bile. In order to accomplish this the liver may require vitamin B complex, vitamin C, choline, methionine, folic acid, B12, various minerals, sulphur containing compounds, proper proteins, and various herbals like milk thistle.
Another important essential is proper functioning of a part of the cell called mitochondria. Improper balance results in excessive free radical production. Free radicals can cause cellular damage, accelerate aging and lead to cancerous changes in the tissues. It is vitally important to make sure there are proper levels of glutathione, SOD, OPC, Vitamins A,C,E, fish oils, reservatrol, alpha lipoic acid, green tea extract and other antioxidants.
TOXINS IN AIR AND WATER
It is difficult to try to control outside pollutants, but we have more control over indoor pollutants. EPA studies have shown that indoor air pollutants are 3 to 70 times higher than the outdoors. Some of the most common pollutants are carbon monoxide, pet dander, dust mites, formaldehyde, radon ,volatile organics, and molds.
So some of things to reduce these compounds is to use a vacuum with HEPA filters, clean and mop floors with natural detergents, use HEPA filters, do not use aerosols, switch to environmental friendly cleaning agents, store other chemicals outside, use natural fragrances/essential oils, use plenty of live plants indoors and open your windows.
Many toxins and microorganisms are tested for in our tap water. However, there are many organic compounds not tested. Therefore, it is up to us to install a water treatment system. Preferably find a system that has multiple filtering components and maintains the mineral and more alkaline ph in the water.
TOXINS IN OUR FOOD – PESTICIDES AND MORE
Minimizing our exposure to various toxins should be your first goal. So first avoid highly processed foods as they contain loads of sugar, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. Whole grains , unprocessed and organic foods are better choices.
Choose milk ,dairy, and meat products that are antibiotic and hormone free. Antibiotic residues in these products imbalances our intestines and the most common hormone recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is suspect in causing human hormone and cancer changes, but still FDA approved.
Fruits and vegetables highest in pesticide residues are, nectarines, peaches, apples, pears, cherries, imported grapes, strawberries, bell peppers, celery, kale, lettuce, spinach, winter squash, and potatoes. To minimize exposure wash fruits and vegetables with an organic wash, peel outer skin and try to purchase organic especially those with high residues.
Avoid aspartame (Nutrasweet) and sucralose (Splenda). Aspartame breaks down into substances that are neurotoxic and sucralose may cause intestinal microflora imbalances. Instead use xylitol, stevia, real honey and raw sugar.
Minimize or avoid fish high in mercury such as: shark, swordfish, tilefish , albacore tuna and king mackerel.
TOXINS IN PLASTICS—PHTHALATES AND BPA
Phthalates and BPA are a class of compounds that are widely used in so many common plastic products such as: water bottles, PVC, containers, plastic wrap, solvents for perfumes, building materials, adhesives, glues, printing ink, paints, electronics, textiles, cosmetics, plastic toys and many other products.
The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that nearly 100% of the US population shows a significant phthalate toxic burden in their tissues! It is estimated the average intake of phthalates is 210 meg/day.
The problem with phthalates is that they mimic different hormones in the body especially thyroid hormones. They block the hormones from stimulating your cells and interfere with the normal biochemical pathways of these hormones. They are technically called environmental endocrine disruptors (EED).
This may explain why there has been a rapid increase in hypothyroid problems and why levothyroxine (Synthroid) is the fourth most prescribed medication in the US.
These compounds are loosely bound to plastics and easily detach. So avoid heating foods in plastic containers and avoid plastics marked 3,6,7 or with a “V” or “PVC” on the recycle emblem. Those marked with a 1,2,4, or 5 are acceptable, but do not heat or microwave.
TOXINS IN COSMETICS AND PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS
The US Federal Government does not currently require health studies or pre-market testing on personal care products, cosmetics, deodorants, mouth washes and etc. Two of the worst phthalates DBP and DEHP are found in a lot of cosmetics today so read the labels.
Avoid skin care and cosmetics that contain: mineral oil, paraffin, petrolatum, parabens, phenol carbolic acid, propylene glycol, acrylamide, toluene, BHT, benzoic acid, sodium laurel or lauryl sulfate. Many of these compounds are of questionable safety and some can be cancer causing or endocrine disruptors.
With personal care products we come in direct contact with these substances and on a repetitive basis. This exposes our bodies to a lot of potential chemicals and adds significantly to the bodies toxic burden. It is better to use more safe, organic products like Hylunia and others. Please read the book listed to the right for more information.