You may be asking yourself, “is toxin exposure something I should be worried about?” The answer is simple, you are undoubtably being exposed to toxins daily that may cause health problems. We can find these toxins in our food, our personal care and beauty products, environment, and even our water-WHAT? Eliminating these toxins from the body can help to reduce your risk to chronic illness and improve your day-to-day quality of life. By simply being more conscious and reducing your exposures, reducing the toxic load in your body and eating a healthy organic diet, you can improve your overall health.
What about these toxins?
We are designed with many pathways to remove toxins on our own. Toxins are removed via the lymphatic system, liver, kidneys, skin, lungs, blood and the colon. Our bodies are miraculous on thier ability to remove and repair itself. Our bodies can become overwhelmed with the amount of toxins we are exposed to daily. As the body is overwhelmed with riding itself of these toxins, often times not recognizing its use, it starts storing these toxins in our fat cells. The storage of the toxins and eventual build up can cause illness.
We don’t even realize we are being exposed to carcinogenic and reproductive toxins every day. A survey done by the Environmental Working Group shows some astonishing numbers on our environmental exposures.
- 1 of every 13 women and 1 of every 23 men – are exposed to ingredients that are known or probable human carcinogens every day through their use of personal care products.
- 1 of every 24 women, 4.3 million women altogether, are exposed daily to personal care product ingredients that are known or probable reproductive and developmental toxins, linked to impaired fertility or developmental harm for a baby in the womb or a child. These statistics do not account for exposures to phthalates that testing shows appear in an estimated three-quarters of all personal care products but that, as components of fragrance, are not listed on product ingredient labels (EWG et al. 2002).
- 1 of every 5 adults are potentially exposed every day to all of the top seven carcinogenic impurities common to personal care product ingredients — hydroquinone, ethylene dioxide, 1,4-dioxane, formaldehyde, nitrosamines, PAHs, and acrylamide. The top most common impurity ranked by number of people exposed is hydroquinone, which is a potential contaminant in products used daily by 94 percent of all women and 69 percent of all men.
- Women use more products than men, and are exposed to more unique ingredients daily, but men use a surprisingly high number of products as well. The average woman uses 12 products containing 168 unique ingredients every day. Men, on the other hand, use 6 products daily with 85 unique ingredients, on average.
By being aware of the amounts of toxins we are using on our skin, the chemicals we are exposed to in our jobs, in our homes and in the foods we are eating can give us the knowledge we need to make a choice to reduce our exposures and improve our health.
Eliminating foods that cause disease
So we talked about why to eliminate and reduce toxins in our bodies. Learning to eat with foods that reduce inflammation and help our bodies heal and function optimally is just as important. I am sure you have heard people saying how important it is to eat your vegetables and have a balanced diet but do you really realize how important this is? Did you know everything that you put into your mouth runs your body either good or bad. Putting foods in your body with preservatives, dyes and additives can worsen your toxic load and impede how your body functions.
An article on www.healthline.com states that according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Red 40 and other artificial food colorings can cause allergic reactions in some people. Research shows they can also cause hyperactivity in children and also immune system tumors in mice. Red 40 contains p-Cresidine, which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says is “reasonably anticipated” to be a human carcinogen.
One study found that Red 40 lowers reproductive success in rats. It also reduced parenatal and offspring weight, decreased brain weight, and lowered chances for survival in newborn rats. The authors said the colorant showed evidence of physical and behavioral toxicity in developing rats that consumed Red 40 as 10 percent of their diet.
I can tell you first hand that food dyes are a huge problem. We have seen major behavior issues in one of our children due to this additive including sleeplessness, impulsivity and difficulty writing when he eats a food with any colorant. Cutting this out of his diet resolved these issues. Unfortunately our FDA allows this food additive in everything, just to make our foods “look” more appealing, You won’t believe what how much food coloring is added to what we consume, including medications and even something as simple as a marshmallow….Yep a marshmallow, so ridiculous!
Preservatives are another cause for concern. MSG, BHA/BHT, Sodium Nitrate and Nitirite can cause their own problems such as affecting sleep, increasing appetite without the body needing food/energy, and, long-term, can cvause liver and kidney damage, baldness, behavioral problems, cancer, fetal abnormalities, and growth retardation. YUK!
Check out this article on The American Cancer Societies view on food additives, safety and organic foods. They are literally telling us by eliminating food dyes and preservatives and eating organinc you decrease your risk of cancer.
What does toxic overload look like?
Automimmune problems I like to elaborate more on this topic because so many of us suffer from this problem. If you are suffering with autoimmune issues it could be worsened or initiated by your toxic load in your body. Dr Mark Hyman, a functional medicine Doctor explains in this article the causes of autoimmune disease, recognizing that toxic load can increase inflammation initiating or exacerbating the problem. Reducing the exposure and toxins we are holding onto in our bodies may imporve our autoimmune system. Autoimmune problems include but are not limited to Asthma, IBS, Eczema, Arthritis, fibromyalgia, endometriosis and many more. For myself, I saw a huge improvement in my autoimmune problems after I detoxed and improved my diet.
Other problems you may be suffering from if you have toxic overload:
- Mental clarity
- Hormone Imbalances
- Inability to lose weight
- Immune system
- Joint Pain
- Dark Circles under eyes
- Increase in sugar cravings
Just because you are not suffering from these issues does not mean you do not have toxic exposure. We are all exposed, detoxing at least annually can help to prevent chronic illness from occurring. Many of these toxins we are exposed to can cause hormone disruption and are even carcinogenic. Research suggests that only five percent of cancers are hereditary. That means the non-inherited causes of cancer — the lifestyle choices we make, the foods we eat, and our physical activity levels — have a direct impact on our overall cancer risk.
What should I do about the toxins in my body?
Eliminating these toxins can improve symptoms. I recommend detoxing your body at 1-2 times a year. This type of detox is not something where you are juicing 24 hours a day and fasting, nor is it a colonics detox where you are on the toilet all day. Doing a slow detox giving your body time to adjust and remove toxins is very effective. You should be eating clean and helping the process through herbs and supplements. Here is how I like to lead a detox:
Detoxing with a healthy food plan
If you plan to detox your body do this for 30 days. A slow detox process will give the body time to slowly eliminate the toxins making the process easier on the body. During this 30 days you should be getting comfortable with the idea of learning what foods run your body well. I recommend doing this with anti-inflamatory diet if you have inflammation problems. Using the book The Whole30 is a great way to start. This plan allows you to recognize the foods that may not agree with you or that are causing inflammation. 30 days of eating clean will get you in the habit of good food and out of the habit of bad food. This plan also eliminates all that cancer and disease-causing additives listed above. You will finish your 30 days looking at food in a whole new way. Drinking water is huge during this process. We drink half our body weight in ounces every day to hydrate the body and help with the elimination process.
Detoxing with supplements
When I lead my groups on a detox we use supplements to help eliminate the toxins in the body. These supplements consist of herbs and essential oils. We take the supplements in a systematic way cleansing each of the organ systems, opening up the pathways to remove the stored toxins in the fat cells. Probiotics, digestive enzymes and some whole food nutrient vitamins are also in the plan.
To learn when our next detox group is being led, Contact me.
Consult your physician before any detox or use of supplements.
Refer to my Disclaimer on my recommendations.