We Deal with Way Too Many
My daughter gets annoyed when she complains of being sick and I recommend her tea. The other day she blurted out, “I don’t know why you hate medicine!”. So today I decided to write about toxins. I want to explain not only to her but to all my readers that I don’t hate medicine. But, yes, I do have reasons to believe drugs should be used as a last resort. We already deal with too many toxins without them.
The World Is Highly Toxic
At no other time have we faced such a load of toxins as the one we face today. But to get started, what are toxins? Simply put, a toxin is something our body does not need and therefore needs to eliminate constantly. Scientifically speaking, toxins are molecules produced by the metabolic activity of cells and they can cause disease when accumulated. While toxins have a biological origin, other non-organic chemicals are also called toxins because they are toxic, regardless of their origin.
Our bodies were designed to eliminate toxins, I mean the metabolic waste from our cells, however, we are exposed to about 82,000 synthetic chemicals in our day-to-day lives. They are in the air, in water, in food, in house cleaning and personal care products, in cosmetics, and medicines. They are literally everywhere. More than 80,000 of these products are approved for use without ever having been tested for human safety. They are not technically toxins but, our bodies need to get rid of them as well.
Chemicals are Big Business
The chemical industry, of which the pharmaceutical industry is part, is the second largest industry in the world, with over $4.7 trillion US dollars in total revenue in 2021. Unfortunately, this means toxic chemical laws are more about protecting the chemical industry than they are about protecting public health. U.S. lawmakers first created regulations for toxic chemicals back in 1976 with the Toxic Substances Control Act. Although one new additive is developed every day no significant changes have been made to TSCA since.
The Modernization of Industry
The food industry has been growing steadily. A greater number of ingredients have been added to processed foods. Sweeteners, thickeners, preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors. All this is to increase the shelf life and make the products tastier and more appealing to consumers. However, our good old human body has not undergone any upgrades. We still have the same liver as our ancestors. Which means our detoxification capacity remains the same. Therefore, we are increasingly overloading our bodies.
Spike in Childhood Disease
The consequence of this is the exponential increase in number of cases of childhood diseases. Cancer is still the second leading cause of death (following accidents) among children under the age of 15 in the United States. In 1970, one in 10,000 children was diagnosed with autism. By 2020 that number had risen to one in 36 children. In the last 20 years, there has been an increase of 300% in the number of allergies and asthma. In the same period, the number of diagnoses of ADHD – Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder – increased by 400%. Not to mention childhood obesity and diabetes. It is hard to believe that the increased load of toxins does not influence this scenario.
How the Body Rids Toxins
The liver is our main detoxification organ and its job is quite complex. For toxins to be eliminated, they need to be water-soluble. Then, in the detoxification process, fat-soluble compounds are transformed into water-soluble, basically in the liver. In the first phase, liver enzymes break down toxins. In the second phase, a molecule is added to each by-product of the first phase to increase its solubility in water. Then in the third phase, these compounds are transported to the kidneys or the small intestines for elimination.
What It Takes to Detoxify
All phases of the detoxification process are chemical reactions that require amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Those nutrients are either part of the reaction or act as catalysts. The key players are vitamins C and B complex (especially B12 and B9), amino acids such as cysteine, methionine, and choline, and antioxidants such as glutathione and resveratrol. In addition, plenty of fiber and water are needed to help the elimination by both urine and stool.
Love your Liver
The detoxification process is complex, but the way we can help it is quite simple – healthy eating and living. Nutrient-dense foods provide all it takes for an optimum detox process. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, healthy fats like nuts and olive oil, seeds, herbs, spices, and whole grains are on the list. Whenever possible, opt for organic products to avoid pesticide residue.
What to Avoid
Just as important as what you eat is what you don’t eat. The worst enemies of detoxification are hydrogenated (or trans) fats, vegetable oils, high fructose corn syrup, white sugar, alcoholic beverages, processed meats, breakfast cereals, and other industrialized and fried foods. That’s because they’re all highly processed with various chemicals used to sweeten, extract, dissolve, bleach, and eliminate odors. Processes that leave toxic residues in addition to a beautiful appearance, pleasant smell, and awesome taste.
What about Medicines?
Medications are nothing more than synthesized chemicals to quickly alleviate the symptoms of certain diseases. They do not provide any nutrients nor do they eliminate the root cause of any ailment. Quite the opposite, they contribute to detox system overload. They might be causing an accumulation of toxins in the colon, liver, kidneys, blood, lymph nodes, muscles, or tissues. The only thing one can expect from a drug is the anti-inflammatory effect. This can also be achieved through food, without any side effects. The body only needs nutrients and rest to heal itself.
Another Port of Entry
Another access route for toxins is the skin – the largest organ in the human body. Everything that comes in contact with the skin is absorbed and ends up in the bloodstream. That is why it is important to choose products that do not contain toxic ingredients. This is true for personal care products, makeup, cosmetics, and house cleaning in general. The EWG – Environmental Working Group is a good source for research. They provide an evaluation of a wide range of products by category. Those granted the EWG seal are considered clean and safe.
Several holistic practices can also be used to support the detox system. Tong scraping, oil pulling, dry brushing, gua-sha, contrast showers, salt baths, essential oils, crystals, breathwork and movement such as jumping, walking, and yoga. All of these are scientifically proven practices known to aid detoxification. Also, just as important as taking care of the toxins that go in through food and skin is to take care of what enters the heart. Thoughts and relationships can be equally toxic.
The greatest integrative and functional physicians of all times like Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Tom O’Bryan and, Dr. Mark Hyman emphasize that the foundation of health is nutrition. Hippocrates, the greek physician known as the father of modern medicine, said it in 440 BC. What you eat, the quality of the ingredients, and the water you use can make you healthy or sick. For a better quality of life make good choices always!
Remember: Good is what makes you feel well!
Read more about the body’s healing potential in Migthy Body