The word toxins has become fairly common in today’s society when discussing the harmful substances we’re all exposed to on a daily basis, but what exactly are toxins, and what can you do to protect yourself from them? I’ll try to shed some light on these questions in today’s post, and I also encourage you to consider registering for our Women’s “Healthier You” Event coming up on June 1st, where metabolic detoxification will be one of the topics.
Environmental toxins are defined as poisonous substances that originate outside the body. We can usually group them into either chemicals or metals. With the increased exposure all of us are subjected to, it’s really no longer a question of whether we’re toxic but rather how toxic are we?
Toxins come from a wide variety of sources, and studies have shown that exposure can begin while a baby is still in the womb. A 2005 study by the Environmental Working Group found 287 chemicals detected in the umbilical cord blood of newborns. 180 of these chemicals are known carcinogens and 217 are known to be toxic to the brain and nervous system!
Unfortunately we are in almost constant contact with a variety of toxins every day of our lives. The CDC tested 212 known chemicals and found all 212 to be in the blood and urine of most Americans. Six chemicals in particular were found to be in virtually every person and were identified as probable health hazards: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PDE’s), Bisphenol A (BPA),Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Acrylamide, Mercury, and Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE).
Typical symptoms you may experience if you have a heavy toxic burden are fatigue, depression, headaches, brain fog, memory problems, balance problems, and possibly tremors. Some common conditions and disease states associated with excessive toxic burden include allergies, diabetes, obesity, fibromyalgia, chronic infections, and auto immune diseases. Sadly, in recent years we’ve seen increases in childhood diseases such as autism, childhood asthma, leukemia, and brain cancer.
So what can you do? The answer is twofold – reduce your exposure and detoxify your body.
A great first step is to do some research and remove chemicals from your home. Use chemical free products (soap, detergent, dryer sheets, insect and weed killer), and remove your shoes before entering your home to prevent toxins from being tracked in.
Remember also that the majority of toxin exposure comes from the food that we eat. 35% of all supermarket foods contain measurable pesticide residues that make their way into our bodies. This is why it’s so important to eat as much organic food as you can. It’s especially important to choose organic substitutes for foods on the Dirty Dozen list (check our Facebook page for a list).
Conventionally raised meat and dairy products have consistently been found to have the highest level of hormone disrupting chemicals in them, so try to choose free range, hormone and antibiotic free dairy, meat and eggs when possible. Also try to eat fresh, cold water fish in place of farm raised.
Detoxification simply means normalizing the body’s ability to process and excrete toxins while temporarily reducing the amount of incoming toxins. When our bodies are exposed to toxins over time, they build up in the body and lead to toxic burden, causing the symptoms I described earlier.
A detoxification program like the one we use in our pharmacy utilizes diet, nutrients, vitamins, and herbs to balance and support the body’s natural detoxification pathways – specifically the liver. By eliminating certain foods over a 10 or 28 day period and supporting your body nutritionally, you can improve your body’s ability to excrete the toxins that have built up.
You can’t completely eliminate your exposure to environmental toxins, but you can take steps to minimize your exposure and provide your body with the opportunity to cleanse itself through natural detoxification. Transitioning over to a healthy lifestyle can help reduce fatigue and increase vitality. So if you’re looking for a way to do some “Spring Cleaning” for your body, consider metabolic detoxification.
p.s. For more information on our exciting Women’s “Healthier You” Event on Saturday June 1st, where we’ll be featuring six speakers on a range of health topics including metabolic detoxification, click here!
Michael Lenz RPh, is a partner in Fallon Wellness Pharmacy of Saratoga. He has over 10 years experience in custom compounding. Michael has received extensive training in Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) and Adrenal Fatigue. He is an advocate for healthy eating and proper nutritional supplementation, and speaks frequently on the subjects of hormone health, nutrition and wellness. Michael is currently enrolled in the Institute For Functional Medicine’s Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner Program. He lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with his wife and 4 children.