A toxin is any synthetic or biohazardous substance that has harmful effects on the body. It can be man-made as in polluted air and cleaning products or a naturally-occurring organism, such as mold and bacteria.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), people are exposed to over 100 toxic chemicals a day—something that did not occur to this extent 50 years ago.
Today, collectively, we are burdened with six million pounds of heavy metals and 2.5 billion pounds of other toxic chemicals each year! That’s a lot of power-lifting our bodies must endure.
Women have greater exposure than men due to beauty products, such as makeup, hair color, perfumes/lotions, and nail polish. The average woman uses 12 products daily and exposes herself to up to 150 toxic chemicals each day.
Some of these toxins are known carcinogens; others are endocrine disruptors that wreak havoc on hormone balance and the immune system. Sadly, there are no laws governing mandated warnings regarding the harmful effects of these ingredients or even requiring manufacturers to disclose all ingredients on their labels.
Here are some other startling toxic facts from the National Institute of Health:
- 100 toxins, including pesticides, herbicides, PCBs, and medications have been found in our water supply
- 80,000 metric tons of carcinogens are released into the air annually in North America
- Over 80% of food have genetically modified ingredients
- The EPA estimates the average US citizen has residues from over 400 toxic compounds in their body
- 82,000 chemicals are in use today in the US, but only a fourth have ever been tested for toxicity
It is believed that nearly every chronic illness is linked to toxins. Think of the big hitters—Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, kidney failure—they are all linked to toxic overload.
In the last few decades, in fact, multiple studies on toxic chemicals and pollutants have led scientists to the conclusion that toxicity is correlated to diseases and death. Some toxins, they discovered, don’t have upper limits—even the lowest dose and level of exposure can impact health and lead to chronic illness.
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, founder of Bastyr University and author of the book, The Toxin Solution: How Hidden Poisons in the Air, Water, Food, and Products We Use are Destroying Our Health and What We Can Do to Fix It, states that toxins destroy nearly every system in the body from damaging enzymes necessary for a multitude of bodily functions to destroying organ tissue in all systems, damaging DNA, disrupting hormone balance, and affecting cerebral function.
Toxic overload occurs when poisons reach your body’s limit and ability to remove them. Even in a healthy person with working detox pathways, these chemicals can accumulate over time and exceed a person’s detox capacity.
Initial symptoms of toxic overload may include:
*joint and muscle aches
*brain fog and memory issues
*blood sugar fluctuations
*depression and anxiety/mood swings
* chronic fatigue
*chemical sensitivities/food allergies
Eventually, the body can no longer withstand the toxicity and presents with serious dis-ease. This is truly what it is—the body not at ease when it reaches maximum toxicity levels. It can no longer maintain homeostasis and systems begin to shut down due to the damage.
Western physicians don’t recognize “toxic overload” as a diagnosis. Instead, they may “treat” with symptom management pharmaceuticals. For example, complain about chronic migraines and heartburn and you might leave with a script for Imitrex and Nexium. These drugs only mask the symptoms and contribute to your toxic overload.
"As doctors, we see a lot of patients who come in with a general 'I don’t feel well' complaint, or maybe they’re confused and dehydrated, and we attribute it to a viral illness, when it’s caused at least in part by the medication they’re taking," says medical toxicologist Kennon Heard, M.D., an associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver.
According to the Center of Disease Control, 6 in 10 Americans today have at least one chronic illness; 4 in 10 have two chronic illness or more. The leading causes of death include heart disease/stroke, cancer, lung disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
As Hippocrates once said, “Everything in excess is opposed to nature.”
Although we can’t control all the toxins in our world, we can do what is in our power to reduce them. The first step is awareness.
Gut healing is key to achieving optimal health, and as Hippocrates also pointed out, we have two brains--one being our gut. A key step to reducing your toxic load is addressing gut issues.
Our Leaky Gut Defense includes specialized ingredients for improved gastrointestinal support. Glutamine helps protect against pathogens such as Helicobacter pylori and supports beneficial intestinal microorganisms. Aloe and Licorice calm and support. Research shows that Arabinogalactan may assist role in the creation of gut microflora and may increase valuable short-chain fatty acid production.
(Read Part 2 to learn WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR TOXIC LOAD)