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Is toxicity robbing you of your health?

Out with the bad; In with the good


We all hear about the various progressing levels of pollution within our environment and most of us think “it isn’t going to affect me.” But the truth is that we can’t avoid it, no matter how hard we try. Did you know that more than 4 billion pounds of toxic chemicals are released into the environment each year? We are all exposed to environmental Toxins through the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. Moreover, there is a growing Body of literature connecting toxic build-up within our bodies to various chronic diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, atherosclerosis and various inflammatory diseases.

Over time, the build-up of toxins within our body from our environment and Diet can affect the way our bodies work and directly affect our health.  Even though your body has natural mechanisms to detoxify itself, it can become overloaded from years, maybe even a lifetime, worth of exposure.  So how do we rid ourselves of these dangerous toxins?  Let’s first discuss what toxins are, what some of the symptoms or signs to look for are to help identify if your toxin levels are high and finally what exactly Detoxification is.

What are toxins and where are they stored?

Some of the most obvious sources of toxicity within the body are various chemicals, petrochemicals, heavy metals (lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium), xenobiotics (medications/steroids), PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls), pesticides, insecticides, herbicides (800 different chemicals in this class), and phthalates (found in plastics). Additionally, we forget that certain types of food we eat contain various food additives, preservatives and hormones.  Many toxins are also fat-soluble, so they can accumulate and remain in body tissues for years, thereby increasing our exposure to higher doses over a longer period of time.

How can you tell if your toxin level is too high?

Toxic accumulation within our body can occur at the tissue and organ level. For example, toxicity in the brain can lead to a sense of fogginess, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, or poor short-term memory. High levels of toxicity can make you feel old and sap your strength, leaving you feeling tired, sluggish and lethargic. In the gastro-intestinal tract, it can lead to poor digestion and recurrent yeast infections.

Toxins cause your body to be unable to work the way it is supposed to.  Instead of clearing out the inevitable toxins that enter our body, the body gets overloaded and the main cleansing organs (liver and gut) become inefficient and burdened.

If you suffer from these other warning signs, you may be suffering from a toxic load:

* Acne or dark spots on your pale skin
* Irregular bowel movements and/or diarrhea
* Inability to lose weight
* Body odor or bad breath, despite good personal hygiene
* Frequent illness
* Trouble sleeping
* Allergies and/or food sensitivity

What is Detoxification?

Detoxification is a cleansing process at the cellular and organ level. The body has a very complex system designed to convert fat-soluble toxins to water-soluble molecules so that they may be excreted either through urine or feces. This process is the body’s natural detoxification process and includes two major steps which occur within the gut and liver called Phase I and Phase II. These are very complex processes and involve various types of enzymes. The cytochrome P450 family of enzymes is one of the most well-studied. During this process, there are various nutrients and phytonutrients that are required to facilitate and complete this process.  Remember, when the system is compromised or burdened, every cell in your body can be adversely affected.

Where do you begin the cleansing process?

A Detox Diet, typically lasting anywhere from 1 – 3 weeks is a good start to helping your body clear out the excess toxins. But before you start, there are a couple things you can do to help yourself. First of all, lighten up your toxic load. Eliminate refined sugars, saturated fats (red meats), cigarettes, coffee and alcohol.  Make it easier and not harder for the body to heal itself.

Secondly, try to lower your amount of stress. Getting rid of stress and maintaining a positive state of mind really is important, since stress releases certain hormones into your body. While these hormones can give you that extra little “push” or “adrenaline rush” when you need to complete an important task, too much of these stress hormones lead to the creation of toxins and can impede detoxification enzymes in your liver. Try yoga, meditation or even just some simple breathing exercises to reset your body’s reaction to the inevitable stress of life.

Here are a couple ideas for a simple, beginner detox diets that you can introduce yourself to the concept of detoxification with:

The Simple Fruit & Veggie Detox Diet

One of the easiest detox diets to follow for beginning detoxification is the simple fruit and veggie diet. This is a quick cleanse routine, meaning you only do it for 2-3 days. The idea is to give your body a break for a few days from processed foods and animal products such as meat and dairy by eating solely fruits and vegetables for a short time.

Processed foods, which make up a far-too-big of portion of the typical American diet, are usually full of unwanted ingredients. By eating strictly fruits and vegetables for a few days, you can see how your body feels after avoiding those toxic elements for a small period of time. Although animal products have essential nutrients like protein and fat, they are harder on your digestive tract, which means you will probably feel great giving your body a rest for a few days from all the hard work it does! You can eat your fruits and vegetables cooked or raw, but be sure you don’t cancel out the natural detoxification effects by adding things like butter or sugar.

The Sugar Detox Diet

Another detox diet that is fairly straightforward, simple and easy to follow is the Sugar Detox Diet. This is a great one for all of us with a sweet-tooth that want to break that addiction to sugary treats. This diet can last just several days or even longer, depending on how you feel and how detoxified you would like to become. The goal with the sugar detox diet is to give yourself a set amount of time in which you will avoid all white sugar, baked goods and candy.

Although we all love the short-term satisfaction that comes with eating sugary foods, we also have all experienced that a crash that comes later. After detoxifying your body of excess sugar, you’ll find that you crave it much less, meaning you consume much less of it. Less sugar leads to more energy throughout the day and the ability to lose weight more easily.

One helpful tip: Watch out for hidden sugar! Common foods like ketchup, soups and salad dressings can be loaded with sugar. Whenever possible, choose fruits, nuts, beans, whole grains, vegetables and lean proteins. Whether you stay away from sugar for days, months or years, you are sure to feel better and stronger!

The benefits of detoxification

Going through a detoxification regimen is one of the best things you can do for your body. Think about all the times you have consumed or been exposed to things you shouldn’t have and thought, “it’s okay, I’m young” or “it’s alright, I’m pretty healthy otherwise.” Even if those statements were true, all that toxicity still adds up over a lifetime! Detoxification can add years to your life by improving your immune function, fighting the growth of cancer cells and helping with the generation of healthy ones, purifying your blood, and reducing mucus and inflammation in your digestive tract.

And, of course, knowledge is always great to take away from an experience, and participating in a detox diet educates you about avoiding the intake of, and exposure to, harmful toxins that you may otherwise not have thought twice about. With this knowledge of toxins, you will most likely desire a lifestyle with more physical activity and less junk food, alcohol, nicotine and other vices.

What else can you do to detoxify yourself?

While staying away from toxins and going through a detoxification diet can go a long way, supplementation can be a big part of supporting your body to cleanse itself as well.   Here are just a few of the many quality products that help in the battle to keep toxins at bay and provide essential support during the detoxification process.

Metagenics: UltraClear RENEW

UltraClear RENEW is designed for those who may benefit from additional nutritional support for detoxification. It features a proprietary spent-hops powder and extracts of prune, pomegranate and watercress that can aid in removing certain hard-to-remove toxins from the body.

Metagenics: AdvaClear

AdvaClear provides unique support for balanced activity of the body’s detoxification processes. It promotes feelings of renewed vitality, energy and well-being by supporting bi-functional detoxification. Its special mix of vitamins boosts liver health and protects from free radicals that can be released in the early stages of detox.

Pure Encapsulations: Liver G.I. Detox

Pure Encapsulations’ Liver G.I. Detox supports hepatic and gastrointestinal detoxification by providing nutrients and botanical extracts that enhance toxin elimination, digestion, intestinal motility, gut integrity and cell function. Its key ingredients (ALA & NAC) bind to heavy metals like mercury, making them easier to remove during the detoxification process.

Yours in health,

Dr. Gregg Gittins

Originally posted at Dr’s Corner – Is toxicity robbing you of your health?

*Wilson, James L., Douglas Laboratories: NutriNews; Detoxification: A General Overview 2002
*Liska, DeAnn J., Applied Nutritional Science Reports; The Role of Detoxification in the Prevention of Chronic Degenerative Diseases 2002
* Evans, Kim,; Liver Cleansing Brings Health and Detoxification 2009
* Smith, Deborahann, Gaiam Life; 10 Ways to Detoxify Your Life 2007

This post first appeared on Eugene Chiropractor: Back2Strength Chiropractic | Eugene, OR, please read the originial post: here

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Is toxicity robbing you of your health?


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