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What you need to know.
Have you ever thought about all the toxins you are exposed to on a daily basis? The ones in your food, home, air? The ones that you use when you shower or apply to your skin?
If you are anything like me, you probably have given this a little thought, but then dismissed thinking it couldn’t be all that bad. Right?
The more digging I did, the more concerned I became!
We are bombarded with thousands of toxins on a daily basis. I am not only talking toxic stuff in the water and air but in the foods, we eat and are considered a safe part of our standard diet. The food we give our children every day!
Even a little goes a long way!
We may not be able to eliminate ALL of these bad substances, but we CAN limit our exposure and we CAN clean up our diet so that our body can do its job getting rid of them. We get into trouble because not only are toxic chemicals everywhere, but our diets have hampered the ability of the body to effectively get rid of them.
The scary part is that we do now know exactly how these substances affect our bodies in the long run.
Furthermore, the effects of these chemicals are VERY hard to determine. We do know, that harmful substances are often deemed “safe” by the people testing them. These testing agencies are often the same companies benefiting from the substances being used.
Some of these chemicals are used are deemed “safe” only because no harmful side effects have been detected. And other times, they are known to cause problems but have not been significant enough to ban here in the US.
What has changed?
Our incredible body is able to react to invading toxins quite effectively. From molds, parasites, viruses to chemicals, we have a built-in system that tried to rid our body of invading substances. The stuff that should not be there. The problem is, that we now have 30-50 thousand more chemicals in our bodies than our grandparents did.
These toxins are in the air, water, refined foods (especially in bad fats and GMO foods), prescription drugs, and everyday products. We now have endocrine disruptors, and heavy metals (Aluminum, lead, copper, mercury), in addition to biotoxins, such as parasites and mold.
Last but not least, glyphosate, a chemical herbicide sprayed onto most GMO foods. This has not only contaminated much of our water supply, but also the food chain.
Cannot eliminate exposure, but we can minimize the toxic load!
The first step in reducing our toxic load is by knowing what we need to avoid. Let me start by describing a little about some of these offenders, to help shed light onto this problem.
One class of toxins that have become ubiquitous in our environments are called obesogens. These substances act a lot like estrogen and can lead to unwanted weight gain. It is actually harder today to maintain a healthy weight than it was 20-30 years ago! These chemicals can affect insulin sensitivity, leptin signaling (appetite), increase fat storage, cognitive function, fertility, and energy output. Obesogens are present in tap water, food, prescription medicines, plastics, clothing, and other packaging material.
Toxic chemicals are everywhere.
They are found in flame retardant clothing, plastic water bottles, to-go coffee cups, household detergents, cosmetics. In fact, a 2005 study found 200 industrial chemicals in the umbilical cords of American infants!
Our water supply is in serious trouble!
These chemicals have made their way into our water system. Prescription drugs have been found in our water supply. You may actually be getting birth control and hormone replacement medicine via tap water supply. A 1999-2000 study found measurable amounts of medicines in 80% of samples taken from streams in 30 states. Another study has found 40% of our waters to be contaminated and unsafe for swimming and drinking.
Did you know that 80% of the apples grown in the US are sprayed with diphenylamine, a neurotoxin linked to the development of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s?
The following is a list of what are considered the “Dirty Dozen” endocrine disruptors
- BPA – found in plastics and canned foods
- Dioxin – processed foods especially animal products
- Atrazine – herbicide found in tap water
- Phthalates – plastics, PVC, fragrances, personal care products
- Perchlorate – rocket fuel in tap water
- Fire retardants – clothing, bedding, carpet, upholstery
- Lead – Houses built prior to 1978 may still have lead paint. SMall amounts in cosmetics, toys, pottery, lead crystal, soil, bone broth.
- Mercury – Can cause mild to moderate toxicity can cause ADHD, mental retardation. Found in some dental fillings, cosmetics, fungicides, vaccines, large fatty fish, medicines, pesticides.
- Perfluorinated chemicals – (PFC) non-stick cookware, stain, and water resistant coatings on clothing, furniture, and carpets.
- Organophosphates – non-organic food
- Glycol ethers – cleaning products
The scoop on GMO.
Glyphosate which is the weedkiller found in “Roundup” is classified as a possible carcinogen. It is sprayed onto crops, GMO grown foods, to control weeds. We either consume these foods or they are fed to the livestock we then consume.
Fact – 93% of Americans test positive for glyphosate in urine. Glyphosate kills off good bacteria in the gut, and is mistaken as an amino acid, getting transported to muscles and organs. It is an endocrine disruptor and binds to heavy metals, such as aluminum.
To make matters worse, it blocks the detox of other chemicals in your body by disrupting certain enzymes. Glyphosate is linked to hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue, colitis, inflammation, Parkinson’s, gluten intolerance, celiac, MS, liver disease and miscarriage.
More substances to be aware of…
Cadmium – This substance suppresses immune function, can interfere with kidney function and is associated with high blood pressure and cancer. It is found in e-cigarettes, traditional cigarettes, old water pipes, white bread, and white rice.
Aluminum is another potential heavy metal hazard. It is present in many cooking items, pots and pans, baking sheets and can accumulate in our bodies.
Mold is everywhere and in some cases, mold can cause illness, allergies and in extreme cases, death. Mold can cause infections, such as ear infections that do not seem to go away despite using antibiotics. It can live anywhere in your house – under carpets, in walls, ventilation shafts. It can be very toxic in places like indoor pools, aquariums, and fitness centers.
Food spoilage is another place mold can be found. Fruits, wheat, peanuts, and corn are notorious for. Small exposures are ok since your body is equipped to handle this.
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant which boosts your immune system. Glutathione levels can be checked with a urine or blood test. Some people are genetically predisposed to have difficulty using glutathione, so supplementation may not be helpful.
A Frightening Rise in Autoimmune Disorders
Even from in utero, toxins have been accumulating in our bodies. Over the past 30 years, there has in fact been a rise in autoimmune disease, possibly linked to the rise in the toxic load we carry. Another frightening statistic is the decline in male sperm counts by 59% from, 1973 to 2011 which is an overall indication of morbidity and mortality.
To put this into perspective, the environmental toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis is equal to 250 lbs per person/day.
What happens when we are exposed to a toxin?
Our immune system reacts to foreign substances by creating antibodies, inflammation (healing response) which in turn creates damage. Excess antibodies, inflammation, and damage leads to autoimmune symptoms. This can happen in-utero – once we cross that line of being too much, even minor toxins (virus, wheat, mold) become major responses.
We are exposed to toxins on a daily basis and our bodies are designed to react to them effectively. The problem lies in the over-burden of toxins we are exposed to. When this happens, the body is in a constant state of responding, overwhelmed and unable to filter out the enormous amount of toxins entering the body. This can be worsened by a body that is ineffective at responding as a result of poor eating and health habits.
When our natural ability to detox our body is overwhelmed, you are unable to eliminate them, the toxins get stored mainly in fat cells. The heavy metals get stored in bone.
Could this be a factor behind a rise in autism? Food allergies? Rising obesity and metabolic disorder rates?
Toxicity and your thyroid – A weight Issue
A common household substance, fluoride, found in most tap water is known to block iodine receptors on cells which in turn leads to weight gain, fatigue, depression and hair loss without ever being detected. Fluoride has also been shown to be neurotoxic and linked to diabetes, cancer, digestive problems, and dental and skeletal fluorosis. One way to reduce exposure to this is by using a water filter with reverse osmosis. Another way to protect you from Fluoride is from Iodine.
Another common chemical found in tap water, chlorine, also affects the thyroid by blocking reception sites for thyroid hormone. This stops the hormones from getting into the cell to do their job. The blood circulating hormone looks normal on a blood test, but the hormone is ineffective if it cannot enter the cell and do its job. This is critical for normal metabolism.
BPA is a chemical found in molded plastics and canned goods. When heated it leaches into food and is as strong as estrogen, binding to the estrogen receptors in the body. Elevated BPA creates elevated inflammation as a by-product of your immune response, creating cell damage in the brain or anywhere it is found. Is implicated in the development of Hashimoto’s. Elevated BPA in utero may lead to problems later in life and has been linked to ADHD, anxiety, depression, and hyperactivity.
Your best bet is to find bottles and cans that are BPA free. Carbonated drinks are worse as the acidity leeches BPA into the liquid. Using a SodaStream is a good alternative.
For coffee, drink coffee from stainless steel mug. Instead of plastic wrap, use glass containers, wax or parchment paper, secure with rubber bands. Try mason jars!
Detox occurs at a cellular level.
A 2 prong approach is necessary. This will help your body get rid of the toxic stuff AND minimize exposure.
Every small exposure you reduce helps!
Each of us has a unique genetic makeup. Each with an equation of what and how much will cause an effect. Unfortunately, we have no real way to determine this yet. It may be a combination of different things from our make-up to the environment, a very intricate web of possibilities.
This means we need to lower the burden our bodies are taking as much as possible. We cannot eliminate it. That is very unrealistic as of now. We can, however, reduce exposure as much as possible.
Phase 1: Reduce the exposures
Become very aware of the environmental and food sources that we can eliminate or reduce. For example, drinking filtered water, having a HEPA air filter and reducing your exposure to household cleaning solutions that contain dangerous chemicals is a start.
Limiting processed foods, especially hydrogenated oils, and GMO and eating more organic can make a big impact in reducing your toxic exposure.
Opening your windows in your home once a day for ten minutes can help to reduce air quality issues created by flame retardants, mold and other allergens. Avoiding raw fish that contain parasites and taking care to wash foods thoroughly.
To avoid some common environmental chemicals found in sheets, get pure cotton.
Reduce exposure to chemicals in personal and household care items with these options:
Sunscreen – best choices have titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
Avoid certain soaps, nail polishes, hairspray and dryer sheets as these can contain phthalate plasticizers (BPA). Check our non-toxic personal care items here: Live Clean Personal Care
Be aware of the gluten in cosmetics as this is problematic for people with Celiac Disease.
Household cleaning products – May trigger intestinal permeability and inflammation. For example, dish detergents may contain gluten grains, disinfectants may have alcohol from a gluten-containing grain.
If you are looking for clean living options check out these options. There are a variety of household and personal care items, in addition to vitamins and supplements. Live Clean Options
Recap and tips to reduce exposure.
Your ability to detox your body relies on good mitochondrial health and cell membrane health that creates adequate energy.
- Fix leaky gut, as this will increase the ability of your body to handle the toxic exposure in the body. Requires liver, bile, colon, kidney and lymphatic systems to work together to rid the body of the toxins.
- Bowel regularity is important – way to remove toxins quickly to avoid being reabsorbed.
- Sweat – exercise or infrared sauna. Support the body’s detox effort.
- Drink water – Filtered is best. Drink half your body weight in ounces per day.
- Limit fish consumption to smaller fish (anchovies and sardines), fresh water caught. Eat 1-2 times a week.
- Air purifier – can help eliminate bacteria, mold, viruses and other household toxins.
- Fresh air. Open house windows 10 minutes a day.
- No artificial fragrances or fresheners.
- House plants help to purify the air.
- Choose clean home living and personal care products.
- Wash hands with soap and water. Avoid triclosan in some hand sanitizers.
- Buy clean, organic and whole foods. Limit processed foods and conventionally raised meat and dairy.
Phase 2: Help your body do its job.
Detox your body with foods that support these mechanisms. It all starts at a cellular level and the liver’s ability to take out the toxins we take in. While there are foods that boost our ability to detox, we need to reduce foods that create an inflammatory response, as the immune response creates a loop of inflammation and damage which leads to disease.
Food – One daily serving of cruciferous vegetables will help your body break down and flush the toxins out. Foods such as Arugula, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Watercress, Turnips, Mustard leaves/seeds, Rutabaga are great ways to boost our ability to clean the body from toxins.
Foods that help to support mold detox
Asparagus, Avocado, Beets, Black-Eyed Peas, Broccoli, Cruciferous Vegetables, Garbanzo Beans, Garlic, Lentils, Liver, Onions, Pinto beans, Spinach
Dealing with nitrates.
Boost your vitamin C intake – Nitrates turn into dangerous cancer causing toxins when ingested without vitamin C. When eating a hot dog, cold cut meats, cured meats/bacon – take some vitamin C beforehand. Also, eating turmeric, garlic, purple sweet potatoes, cruciferous vegetables, and berries will help reduce the effects on our body.
Glyphosate: Help to detox from this chemical by buying organic produce and non-GMO foods. Sulfur rich foods help to eliminate it from your body: cruciferous vegetables, onions, garlic, leeks, pasture raised meat and eggs, sunlight, and supplements (glutathione, ASEA, MSM).
Detox foods and supplements
- Brazil nuts
- Dandelion root
- Irish Moss
- Modifilan Brown Seaweed Extract
Another interesting tactic to increase the body’s ability to rid itself of toxins is to try intermittent fasting….More on that later!
“You Can Fix Your Brain” Dr. Tom O’Bryan 2018
“Radical Metabolism. A Powerful New Plan To Blast Fat And Reignite Your Energy In Just 21 Days” Ann Louise Gittelman, Ph.D., CNS
This site contains affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.