It is no secret that we live in a world full of toxins. Never before in human history have we been exposed to such high levels of toxins. The air we breathe, the chemicals in our foods and the release of chemicals in our homes and workplaces all add to our toxic load. Therefore, on a daily basis, it is important for our bodies to break down these toxins and clear them out. Our detoxification organs, such as the kidneys, liver, lungs and skin have a lot of work to do every day.
To do this, they need a variety of nutrients to support the detoxification process. If these nutrients are not available, the body will have a difficult time detoxifying. If the detoxification process is slowed down, the toxins are not effectively eliminated. As time goes on, the toxins accumulate and eventually the cells are not as able to receive nutrients and the energy factory of the cells, the mitochondria, become impaired. Symptoms of toxicity appear along with identifiable health issues.
Toxicity may present with unexplained symptoms, such as:
- headaches or migraines
- bitter, metallic taste
- brain fog
- circles under the eyes
- digestive discomfort
- excessive mucus
- gas, bloating
- joint and muscle aches
- nausea or vomiting
- poor concentration
- ringing in the ears
- skin rashes
- strong body odor or bad breath
- weight gain
Health issues related to toxicity:
- chronic fatigue
- leaky gut
- multiple chemical sensitivity
Symptoms may result from conditions other than toxic exposure, which may require appropriate conventional medical management and drug administration by a physician. Where symptoms are more frequent or severe, seek appropriate medical management.
How the Body Detoxifies
Detoxification is primarily performed by the liver, which has the job, along with the immune system, of identifying these foreign substances and transforming them into something harmless and preparing them for elimination. The liver accomplishes this by turning these harmful toxins into water-soluble intermediate chemicals. Then, through different metabolic pathways according to the type of toxin, amino acids, sulfur and other natural substances bind (conjugate) to the toxins so that they can be eliminated. If the nutrients needed to conjugate the toxins are in low supply, the toxins may recirculate as new toxins that are sometimes more toxic than the original substance.
It is not only toxins that are broken down, but also hormones, natural waste products, medications and fat-soluble vitamins. Some of the nutrients needed for better detoxification are sulfur (cruciferous vegetables, onions, garlic, eggs), vitamin B6 (avocado), zinc (shellfish) and protein (fish* and poultry).
As the toxins are being eliminated, free radicals are produced, which must be cleared as well. Antioxidants disarm these harmful oxidants. Thus, it is important to eat a variety of colored fruits and vegetables that contain compounds involved in antioxidant processes on a daily bases, especially when detoxifying.
Effective elimination is another factor in detoxification. It is through our urine and bowel movements that harmful substances are eliminated. Eating a good amount of fiber and hydrating with purified water every day will assist in this elimination process. Fiber is found in such foods as vegetables and fruits. Consuming at least 25 grams of fiber every day will greatly improve your detoxification capacity. Filtering out chlorine and the typical chemicals found in the water supply before you drink the water will lower your toxic load.
*When using fish, use species from locations that are less prone to toxic exposure.
from Detox 360 Handbook, by Linda Clark, MA, CNC