We’ve heard it before, “You don’t need to detox.”
In a perfect world, this would be true. Our body has the amazing capacity to clear metabolic waste and harmful substances on its own. The skin, liver, intestines, kidneys, lymphatics and lungs all play a role in eliminating toxins all day, everyday. Because of this, many argue that detoxing is a waste of your efforts.
Over exposure to toxins overwhelms our body’s natural abilities to detox and over exposure is almost impossible to avoid.
Toxins are all around us: Pollution, car exhaust, heavy metals in cosmetics, solvents in nail polish, parabens in shampoos and lotions, antibiotics, hormones in food, alcohol, cigarette smoke, bacteria, viruses, parasites, chemicals in cleaning products, pesticides on our foods, prescription drugs, chemicals from food packaging, food additives, and artificial colors. Even our water contains harmful toxins. A recent analysis from the Environmental Working Group found unsafe levels of the cancer-causing chemical Chromium-6 in the municipal tap water of 218 million Americans in the U.S.1
Over exposure causes toxins to be stored, not released.
The problem is, because of daily exposure, the body becomes overloaded and cannot properly clear these toxins. As a result, these chemicals accumulate, getting stored in the tissues, particularly the fat cells. Once these chemicals are stored in the fat, they generally stay there unless certain nutrients, known as chelators, are used to remove them.
The cumulative load of all of this exposure, called the “total body burden,” leads to illness and has been linked to hormonal imbalance, cancer, impaired immune function, nutritional deficiency, chronic diseases, and an inefficient metabolism.
Continual over exposure to toxins eventually causes our immune system to stop working properly, which invites disease.
Here’s what happens: When we are exposed to a toxic substance, white blood cells surround it, creating inflammation to protect the rest of the body. In this sense, creating inflammation is beneficial, and shows that our immune system is doing its job. However, when we are constantly exposed to harmful substances, our immune system is constantly creating inflammation in an attempt to protect the body. Over time, this constant production of inflammation causes our immune system to weaken and become overloaded. It loses its ability to function properly.
When our bodies stop functioning properly, this creates a disease process. If allowed to continue, this dis-ease process eventually leads to symptoms. Symptoms are the last thing to appear. Once you have symptoms, you already have an underlying disease process and a metabolic loss of function. It’s your body’s way of getting your attention.
You can stop the effects of over exposure to toxins today, on your own.
But don’t give up hope! There are things you can begin to do at home that can reduce your toxicity and improve your health. In fact, people who begin to eliminate toxins from their diet show improved physical, mental and emotional health after the first week! According to a 2012 study, “a significant reduction of overall symptomology …was found with only 7 days of treatment.”2
Step 1: Find Out How Toxic You Are
Here’s a quiz that will help you gauge your level of toxicity. It’s quick to take and free to download.
Step 2: Take the 24-Hour Toxic Challenge
For one day, write down all the chemicals that you are exposed to (you know, all those ingredients you can’t pronounce). This means reading the labels of everything that has a label:
- The foods you eat
- The beverages you drink
- All the products you use on your skin or hair
- Your perfumes and cologne
- Your air fresheners
- Your soaps and detergents
- Your cleaning products you use in your home
Step 3: After Taking the 24-Hour Toxic Challenge, Make a 10% Change
Now that you have monitored yourself for 24 hours, do this:
- Review your list of toxic exposure.
- Small changes add up to big results over time and also produce longer-lasting results, so choose to eliminate 10% of the toxins you exposed yourself to in the last 24 hours.
- Replace the toxic items with organic or natural substitutions.
- Be patient with yourself in finding these substitutions and implementing them.
- Give yourself 30 days to change by 10%.
Step 4: Organic Really Matters
An immediate difference in toxic load can be made just by eating organic food. Results from a small pilot study done by a Swedish grocery chain, Coop, and the Swedish Environmental Research Institute using urine sample to measure pesticide levels, showed, “…pesticide loads in the (participant’s) bodies dropped in ways that were observable after a single day, according to the report. And by the end of the two weeks, there was very little evidence of the pesticides and other compounds in their follow up urine samples.”3
1EWG, September 20, 2016
2The Effects of A Short Program Of Detoxification in Disease-Free Individuals– Anna MacIntosh, PhD, ND, and Karen Ball, ND – November 20, 2012.
3Human exposure to pesticides from food, A pilot study, © IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute 2015.