By Tina Paymaster, PHASE IV Functional Nutrition & Health Specialist
Last week we discussed the 14 Symptoms of Toxic Buildup in The Body. If you have one or more of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to continue exploring our Detox 101 series.
Even if you maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine, chances are, you will have some level of toxic buildup in the body. This is because toxins enter our body from a variety of sources, many of them not within our control.
These toxins attack the gut microbiome, congest the liver and attack the immune system leading to myriads of diseases including autoimmune conditions, joint pain, cognitive decline, poor sleep, diabetes and even cancer.
This week we are going to talk about the 10 main sources of toxins that can compromise your health.
1. Air Pollution
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) worldwide ambient air pollution accounts for:
- 25% of all deaths and disease from lung cancer
- 17% of all deaths and disease from acute lower respiratory infection
- 16% of all deaths from stroke
- 15% of all deaths and disease from ischaemic heart disease
- 8% of all deaths and disease from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Recent studies have also found a link between air pollution and deep vein thrombosis.
Countless studies have linked pesticides to Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, allergies, birth defects, cancer, diabetes, learning disabilities, Parkinson’s, reproductive issues, hormonal imbalances and more. Most conventional fruits and vegetables are sprayed so heavily with these toxic chemicals that farmers have to wear protective gear to not breathe in the chemicals.
Any time you ingest toxins – which is what alcohol and drugs are – the liver has to work overtime to get them out of your system. Because of this, it will put fat metabolism on the back burner and even leave other toxins to wreak havoc on your system. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the occasional glass of wine. A glass of day may be safe for most people, but don’t over do it.
4. Poor diet
The Standard American Diet, appropriately also called the SAD diet is low in fruits and vegetables and very high in processed foods, sugar and red meat. In other words it is very low in anti-inflammatory foods and high in pro-inflammatory foods. Numerous scientific studies have linked pesticides to chronic inflammation, respiratory issues, hormone imbalance, reproductive issues and even cancer.
5. Toxic food ingredients
Turn the box of any packaged food around and you will see the nutrition label listing all of the ingredients in the product. These days, most packaged foods contain very little “real food.” They are filled with toxic food ingredients like partially hydrogenated oil, palm oil, refined white flour, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, sodium benzoate, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), sodium nitrates, artificial food coloring and MSG. Just like pesticides, these toxic chemicals can clog up our detoxification pathways with continuous exposure and can trigger a multitude of health issues.
6. Household and personal care products
Ingesting toxins is one thing, but did you know that toxins in household cleaning products and personal care products like shampoo, makeup and hairspray can impact your health as well? Whatever you put on your skin gets absorbed right into your blood stream. According to the American Lung Association, “Many cleaning supplies or household products can irritate the eyes or throat, or cause headaches and other health problems, including cancer. Some products release dangerous chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Other harmful ingredients include ammonia and bleach. Even natural fragrances such as citrus can react to produce dangerous pollutants indoors…VOCs and other chemicals released when using cleaning supplies contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions and headaches.”
When your body is in a state of stress, cortisol and adrenaline are released and digestion is shut down so all the focus can be on survival. While short bouts of stress are normal and even beneficial in instances such as exercise or avoiding an oncoming car, repeated exposure to stress can have disastrous affects on your health. If the body is relatively healthy, during short stressful periods, stress hormones are released to do their job and then flushed out to maintain homeostasis once again. However, with prolonged stress and hormone secretion, these “chemicals” elevate to toxic levels which can throw the whole balance of the body off.
8. Prescription medications
There is a time and place for prescription medication. However, today, way too many doctors are prescribing these drugs too often. With repeated exposure to these foreign chemicals in the body, the liver can eventually get congested trying to metabolize them. In addition, many prescription drugs including antibiotics can alter the gut flora in the body, impacting immune health and leading to numerous diseases. In fact, scientists are now saying that over 90% of all diseases link back to imbalances in the gut.
9. Red meat, processed meat, seafood
Red meat and processed meat have been linked to colon cancer and prostate cancer through several scientific studies, including an evaluation of over 800 studies by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency of the World Health Organization. The IARC classified processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen – the same as smoking and alcohol – and stated that for ever 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily, the fish of colorectal cancer increase by 18 percent. The nitrates in many of these meats are some of the chemicals in question. A study published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution, revealed the possible link between red meat and cancer – a certain gene called CMAH that causes sugar to form in the animals that triggers an inflammatory response when ingested by humans. This inflammation then increases the risk of tumors and cardiovascular disease. Many types of seafood contain high levels of mercury and seafood and meat can contain high levels of PCBs, another chemical linked to various cancers.
Plastic is loaded with harmful chemicals such as phthalates, BPA and PVC, all of which can disrupt the endocrine system and cause health issues such as asthma, allergies and various other developmental disorders.
The above examples of toxins in our food supply and environment are reasons that it is important more than ever to support the optimal functioning of the liver, gallbladder and detoxification pathways of the body.
Next week we will go over various ways you can minimize the impacts of these toxins, support your body in detoxification and protect your health and the health of your loved ones.