Do smells bother you? Is that guy wearing too much cologne that’s still lingering outside on the stairway causing you a slew of symptoms? Do laundry detergents, cleaning supplies, cigarette smoke and other chemical toxins give you headaches or respiratory distress? Even joint pain? You’re not alone. It is estimated that 13% of Americans have been diagnosed with MCS, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.
It can cause a variety of symptoms and is the result of exposure to even the smallest amounts of perfumes, cleaning products, mold and other contaminants. Those who suffer from MCS may also have additional sensitivities to food, medications and electromagnetic fields.
What’s causing this? It is believed that a heightened immune response coupled with the inability of the body to properly detoxify. These symptoms usually develop slowly over time as a result of chronic illness or long-term exposure to toxins, leading to toxic overload. This creates a heightened response to even traces of chemicals that most would not perceive as harmful.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome is not commonly recognized by Western Medicine, although it is linked to such chronic illnesses as fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Gulf War Syndrome. In fact, it is estimated that up to 55% of patients with fibromyalgia also have MCS. Some healthcare providers question whether it exists. Others label it as more of a psychiatric issue.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome plagues over 36.5 million people in the United States, and the number continues to rise. Currently, there are no clinical guidelines for treating patients with MCS through a traditional Western Medicine protocol.
Symptoms of MCS include respiratory issues, fatigue, rashes and skin eruptions, such as acne and psoriasis, muscle pain and weakness, nausea, headaches, confusion and brain fog shortly after exposure. Severity of symptoms vary and are dependent on exposure and body systems impacted by the chemicals.
Some with MCS are impacted on multiple levels, including psychologically. Being that we live in such a toxic world, those with severe MCS may become homebound, unable to leave their houses due to potential exposure to the variety of chemicals we are exposed to daily. Some are not able to enjoy the luxuries of wifi, since EMF frequency exposure causes them such intense symptoms. They can’t own a cell phone, Smart TV or Bluetooth radio, which limits their quality of life and ability to communicate with others.
Do you have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome? Here are some steps to help you feel better soon:
Clean Your Terrain:
This means scrutinizing your environment for potential toxins—your diet, water, household cleaners, cosmetics, perfumes, laundry detergent, air fresheners and plug-ins, etc. Use all-natural cleaning products, such as baking soda, vinegar, vodka (yes, vodka!) and essential oils. Stop spraying chemicals! Buy organic only, and be sure to wash your fruits and vegetables well to remove pesticide residue. Switch to all-natural cosmetics, perfumes and detergents.
Focus on Gut Health:
Addressing Leaky Gut and candida overgrowth as well as parasites, which are all commonly linked to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, is important to stopping the inflammatory and hyper-immune response. An elimination diet may be necessary to address the damaged gut mucosal lining and help promote repair. This includes avoiding sugar, dairy and gluten as well as eliminating processed meats and packaged foods. Focusing on a mostly plant-based diet heavy on organic vegetables and low-glycemic fruits can help the body to detoxify.
Gut health is not only about what you put into your system, but what is coming out. Be sure that you are eliminating toxins with regular bowel movements. Taking a probiotic daily can help support immune function and optimal detoxification.
Open Detox Pathways:
Keep in mind that Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome likely means you’ve reached toxic overload. This means that your body is not removing toxins effectively and so they accumulate in your system. This can set the stage for intense detox symptoms as you begin the detoxification process.
Some people genetically have issues with effectively removing toxins from their systems, which can be detected through DNA testing. The genetic mutation, MTHFR, is also associated with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome.
Supplements that help support the liver as well as open detox pathways are important in helping the body eliminate toxins.
Address Nutrient Deficiencies:
Most people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome have nutrient deficiencies. Common deficiencies include B vitamins (Folate, B6 and B12), magnesium, vitamin D3 and zinc. These vitamins are important to proper cellular methylation and detoxification.
Go Low and Slow:
People with MCS may actually feel worse before feeling better when they begin the healing process. This is because detox pathways are blocked, which may cause toxins to recirculate, resulting in an exacerbation of detox symptoms, such as skin issues, flu-like symptoms, headaches, joint pain, digestive disturbances, fatigue, etc. Gently reducing toxic load and opening detox pathways while providing liver support can help reduce these detox symptoms.
Always start a new supplement regimen “low and slow” and one supplement at a time to help ease your body gently through the detoxification process. It likely took years for your body to get to this point, so you can’t expect it to correct itself in a day, week or even a couple months. The detoxification process takes time, and it’s not linear. You may feel as if you’re on a roller coaster for quite some time. This is perfectly normal and a sign you are healing.
Healing from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity System is complex. It involves multiple bodily systems, so it's important to be both patient and strategic. Be sure to also get outside in nature as much as possible and incorporate restorative, joyful exercise into your daily routine. in addition, surround yourself with positive people who can help support your healing journey.