What if you eat the “perfect diet,” exercise regularly and yet struggle with fatigue and losing weight? Brain fog, despite practicing good habits? Slow elimination, body odor, unhealthy skin color, etc.? Truth is, you are not alone. You are among a growing number of people suffering from a metabolic condition referred to as weight-loss resistance and toxic overload. And, it may be time to detoxify yourself.
Driven by an accumulation of enviro-toxins, these toxins affect our brain, hormones and quality of life. The majority of chronic illnesses are caused by an overwhelming burden of toxins and pathogens that the body can no longer handle on its own. No matter how clean of a lifestyle we lead, toxins come to us from all angles. Including air, water, foods, health and beauty/body care products, our gut, clothing and even store receipts! Sometimes, we consume toxins such as alcoholic beverages and over-the-counter and prescribed medications.
Never in the history of the world have we received exposure to so many toxins.
Think of your body as a bucket. With each toxic exposure, drop-by-drop, the bucket becomes more full. Since World War 2, 83,000 new chemicals have been added to the EPA inventory, with 1,500 new chemicals each year. And testing is insufficient at best. 10 will be tested for their neurotoxic effect and NONE will be tested to see how they react with other chemicals (the synergistic effect). With the increase of chemicals in our food supply, lack of exercise and not getting enough sunshine, it should be no mystery about why so many people are struggling with their health.
There are many misconceptions about how to detoxify yourself. Colon cleanses, juicing, foot baths, detox diets. Many of these are great tools for supporting detoxification. Detox is the body's means of grabbing onto harmful substances like chemicals/toxins and pulling them out of the body. Each person must determine what is best for their system. But, many individuals are purchasing detox kits that are actually little more than laxatives disguised as healthy ingredients.
Detox and Drainage Pathways
When we do a “detox diet,” we want to cleanse ourselves from possible overload of processed foods and chemical exposures. This gives our body a reset or better support using a paleo, keto or juice diet approach.
These are amazing modalities that can deliver a great amount of nutrients to the body that may have been depleted and bring rest to the digestive system. Here are a few of the natural drainage pathways that we want to support before we detoxify ourselves. Toxins will be excreted within these pathways of your body.
- The colon (bowel movements)
- The liver and bile ducts
- The lymphatic system
- The brain to the lymphatic system called the glymphatic system
- Kidneys (urine excretion)
- Skin (sweating)
- Breath work (deep breathing exercises)
These are many of the natural drainage pathways we want to support so detoxification can occur most efficiently. Detoxification is more complex than I would like to go into in this article. But know that defense mechanisms are built into every cell within the body to help protect from free radicals and oxidative stress, that is cellular rusting. Very much like emissions of a vehicle are the by-products of the engine combustion so it is with cellular metabolism that creates “emissions” or cellular waste/debris that must be cleared. This occurs every millisecond throughout the day at levels we are unaware. Meaning this occurs involuntarily. But as we age these detox pathways become sluggish and that is when damage occurs to our health.
Symptoms of Sluggish Detox
Remember your body as a “bucket” analogy? If we do nothing to support our body with lifestyle modifications such as optimizing our diet, enhancing our sleep, getting some form of movement, learning how to overcome stress and using a targeted supplementation program then our bodies bog down, quickly. Is your bucket overflowing?
When life gets in the way, things like trauma, infection and/or toxins accumulate. Here are some signs that your detox is hindered and the drainage pathways are jammed.
- Chronic inflammation
- High or low blood pressure
- Digestive problems
- Weight loss resistance
- Inability to handle stress
- Exertional malaise
- Dizziness upon standing
- Brain fog
- Temperature dysregulation
- Muscle/joint pain
- Mood changes
- Trouble sleeping
- Hormone imbalances
- Lack of energy or fatigue
- Body Odor
I am confident that you know someone who struggles with at least three of these. A drop of toxicity here or there isn’t a big deal because our immune system was designed to handle a degree of toxins. But, the constant exposure to an onslaught of chemical, physical and emotional stressors fills up your bucket each day and at some point the bottom falls out and our total toxic burden reaches its threshold. It may take a few decades before the bucket spills over, but once it does, cellular inflammation is triggered, symptoms manifest and disease lurks right around the corner. Conditions driven by toxins (3,4,5):
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Type 2 diabetes
- Autoimmunity (lupus, hashimoto’s, MS, etc.)
- NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease)
- Cardiovascular disease
Detoxify Your Enviro-Toxins
We are inundated with toxins in our air, food and water. On top of that, we have toxins in our household cleaners, beauty products and our homes are becoming more toxic with the way they are constructed. How can we live a healthy, thriving lifestyle amidst a toxic world? Becoming educated and learning what to do to give our bodies the greatest chance for optimal living. Here are some of the top environmental toxins that contribute to poor health outcomes.
- Heavy metals - lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury and aluminium
- Glyphosate - herbicide/pesticide RoundUp
- Plastic compounds - BPA, phthalates
- Mold - while mold is apart of our ecosystem, this organism becomes lethal when it grows indoors as it produces mycotoxins and mVOC
These are but a few of the hundreds of thousands of chemicals that we come into contact with daily. According to research published in iScience, environmental toxins may weaken your immune system against infections. Findings published in the book Biological Markers in Immunotoxicology say that toxic agents may lead to a compromised immune system and immunosuppression. Lastly, according to a 2005 study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, bacterial toxins may disrupt an adaptive immune system (6,7,8).
Most people that I run diagnostic testing on come back with a report of findings that show nutritional deficiencies, pathogenic microbes in the gut and accumulation of environmental toxins. I have reduced it down to mold, metals and microbes which inherently disrupt both methylation and detoxification processes in the body. This is why we need to detoxify ourselves!
Process of Detoxification
When dealing with a high toxic burden the first step is to do our best to avoid the main sources of exposure that weaken our immune system. This is how we stop the filling of the bucket of toxins. Once we have done that, we want to focus on opening up our drainage and detoxification pathways.
Our primary drainage pathways, if you recall, are from our lungs, skin, kidneys and colon. Toxins enter through the lungs, skin and gut, processed by the liver (our primary detoxification organ). When we have an excess of toxins they are stored in:
- Fat cells (weight loss resistance/hormone dysfunction)
- Bone marrow (lead storage; women lose bone density during pregnancy and going through menopause)
- Liver (mold, metals and parasites can bog down the liver’s ability to properly clear toxins causing excess)
- Central nervous system/brain, joints, blood, tissues, muscles (Lyme, mold, metals like mercury and aluminum disrupt these areas, glyphosate can break down collagen, hormone dysfunction)
The liver is the body’s ultimate filter and protector. It may be the most important organ for supporting physical health. It is the largest organ in the body while our skin is the largest external organ. The liver:
- Cleanses the bloodstream
- Regulates immunity and energy production
- Transforms ammonia, metabolic waste, drugs & chemicals
- Produces/stimulates bile which functions to break down fats and help excrete toxins
- Stores glucose in the form of glycogen, metabolizing carbs, proteins, fats, activating enzymes
- Has over 500 vital functions (9)!
Read on to see how you can detoxify yourself.
How You Can Support Detoxification in Your Body - Detoxify Yourself!
Good nutrition allows the liver to filter the blood, identifying the things that are good for the body (nutrients) and the bad things (toxins and harmful substances). The goal of the liver is to transform the toxins into water soluble properties to be excreted from the body. This is a process that goes through 3 phases of detoxification.
Phase 1 acts as the activation stage, phase 2 is conjugation (mobilization) and phase 3 is the transportation or elimination of toxins. Over the last decade, developments in research show that the phases of detoxification need balancing and functioning properly for successful toxin removal.
Detoxification, mitochondrial support, and increased cellular energy are more important than ever for optimal health and well-being. Eating foods rich in polyphenolic compounds: dark leafy greens, grass-fed meats, pasture raised animals and eggs, opting for an all organic diet that is nutrient dense and avoiding of anti-nutrients found in grains, pasteurized dairy products, GMOs, sugar and soy is a must.
The following nutrients will help you upregulate your ability to process and detoxify yourself.
- Complex B vitamins
- Fat soluble vitamins A,D,E,K
- Antioxidant compounds (quercetin, resveratrol, etc.)
- Vitamin C
- Milk thistle
- Glutathione (which is made from NAC)
- Sulfuric compounds
Because of our toxic environment we have a breakdown of the defense system leaving us weakened and vulnerable. So many have glutathione deficiencies (whether genetic or environmentally caused) which leads to Phase 2 problems. And because so many people suffer with constipation, Phase 3 can become blocked which down regulates mechanisms in Phase 2!
Simply put, it would be like someone sticking potatoes and apples far up your car’s exhaust pipe blocking emissions. You can still drive around. But after a few weeks, problems within the motor itself jam up due to a blocked tailpipe. If no one looks for the apples and potatoes then you’re not solving the problem, which is what conventional medicine typically does. The biggest reason for Phase 3, or elimination dysfunction, is inflammation. Especially inflammation in the gut!
I encourage everyone to lessen their intake of toxins within foods, water and products applied to the skin. And, add to your daily regimen the nutrients and detox support items that will allow achievement of optimal health. Detoxify yourself!
Please check with a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner before beginning any detox program. And to find out more about natural detox options, check out this article.
- Nature Reviews Endocrinology May 2010
- National Academic Press (US) Oct. 2014
- Pharm Research Sept. 2008
- Autoimmune Diseases Dec. 2014
- Cardiology Clinics Feb. 2017
- Science Daily Oct. 2019
- Biologic Markers in Immunotoxicology
- Journal of Experimental Med. Feb. 2005
- Johns Hopkins Medicine