As more people become aware of the increasing amount of environmental toxins in our lives the need for detoxification becomes more apparent. We are bombarded by toxins from many sources, including water, air, food, medicines, cosmetics and cleaning supplies
Our bodies also naturally produce metabolic waste which, if not broken down and eliminated, lingers in the body. Our bodies are capable of handling much of this but we can reach a point that puts us over the edge, depending on individual exposure, genetics, and general state of health. The channels of elimination include the liver, lymphatics, bowels, lungs and skin.
Symptoms of Toxic Overload
Some of the common symptoms of toxins not being eliminated properly are headaches, skin rashes, fatigue, digestive disorders, weight gain, brain fog, difficulty sleeping, sinus congestion, food cravings, achy joints, and reduced libido. Often, environmental toxins can be someone’s primary barrier to healing and resolving their health challenges.
A 2004 study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found an average of 287 toxins in blood samples of newborns. The babies acquired the toxins from the mother during pregnancy. The study has since been updated in 2009 to reveal an increase toxic load.
The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2008 “Teen Body Burden Study” found an average of thirteen cosmetic chemicals in the bodies of teenage girls, some of which are known hormone disruptors. The same hormone disruptors have been found in the umbilical blood of newborns. A 2008 report in the journal “Pediatrics” reported a study which for the first time revealed infants are exposed to potent reproductive toxins called phalates from everyday baby products, including shampoo, lotion and powder. EWG states that cosmetic companies aren’t required to test their products for safety before they are sold, and that because federal laws contain no safety standards for cosmetics, it is legal for companies to sue ingredients that are reproductive toxins, like phthalates, carcinogens and other potentially harmful substances.
Toxins Overwhelm Our Bodies
The onslaught of toxins in our environment and food supply can completely overwhelm and exhaust our bodies. Fat soluble toxins typically will integrate into the fatty tissues including the myelin sheath (a protective fatty layer surrounding nerves) causing interference with normal nerve impulses. Toxins also bind to any fatty tissue surrounding organs, interrupting cellular function and leading to inflammation, which leads to disease.
Some Detox Programs are Inadequate
The need for detoxification is obvious. However, a detoxification program must be safe as well as purifying and should nourish the body. Whole-food supplements and specific herbs support the natural process of detoxification. They eliminate the gap between the nutrition the body demands and the nutrition we can supply from available food sources. This is where many cleanses may fall short as they fail to deliver the whole-food nutrition which is needed to safely remove toxins from the body.
The lack of whole-food nutrition means that these cleanses typically support phase one of liver detoxification and fail to support the liver through the crucial second phase of the detoxification. During phase one of liver detox, toxins are essentially packaged up and redistributed to various parts of the body; it is in phase two that they are eliminated from the body.
A detoxification program should not be based on deprivation and starvation. In fact you should be able to eat real food and plenty of it. Detoxification can occur in as little as three weeks while some programs may take about two months. Due to the increase in environmental toxins in our daily lives and the lack of nutrition in many of our food sources, a yearly detoxification program is something we all need to do to achieve great health and vitality.
Dr. Donald L. Piccoli is a chiropractic physician and certified in advanced Nutrition Response Testing and is the director of Holistic Solutions health center in Kensington, CT.