Supporting your body’s innate ability to break down toxic particles from both the external and the internal environments has become a necessity in our current highly polluted world. Unfortunately, environmental toxicity affects us all today. Toxic compounds are ubiquitous and harm our health if we're exposed to them daily. These toxins are now found in the air we breathe; in the water we drink ; in the non-organic fruits & vegetables we eat ; in all plastics used for packaging ; in the teflon of our pans; in the additives and preservatives in processed foods; in inappropriate cooking methods and food storage; in toileteries and beauty products; in paints, carpets, nail polish, sahmpoos, etc.
What are toxins?
A toxin is defined as any compound that has an adverse and injurious effect on
cell function or cell structure.
It has been estimated that there are over 80,000 different toxic chemicals currently used in the United States that people are exposed to on a daily basis. The development of chemicals production in Europe since 2004, calculated as indices of the total production of industrial chemicals, of environmentally harmful chemicals, and of substances that harm human health, peaks at 371 million tonnes in 2007 alone.1
These toxins, ranging from heavy metals to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) can have terribly negative effects on our health. Animal and human studies have linked exposure to toxins to:
Health disorders & diseases caused by environmental toxicity
Neurotoxins and brain function
Did you know that heavy metal toxicity has been linked to several diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and severe neurological disorders?
These diseases are not due to old age but to how your brain cells have been treated by your lifestyle choices and what they have been exposed to throughout your life.
Toxicity produced by the body itself
Did you know that our toxic load can also be increased by "endogenous" waste products of our own metabolic processes when the natural detoxification pathways of our bodies are blocked or underworking?
Some example of this are:
The human body is intelligent and knows exactly what to do in order to "bio-transform" these larger molecules: it first breaks them down into smaller particles and then mix them with water so that they can be safely excreted out of the body through the urine, the feces, the sweat.
However, in order for this natural detoxification process to be successful, the body's organs of excretion must be functioning optimally at all times, which is not always the case. Organs like the stomach, the liver, the gallbladder, the colon, the lungs, and the skin, must all be healthy as they perform key detoxification tasks for us on a daily basis. If they're failing for one reason or the other, the functional medicine practitioner will need to focus on brining organ function back to normal first, or find an intelligent alternative solution when there has been injury, trauma, or surgical removal of the specific organ.
Symptoms of impaired detoxification
I recommend everybody to have two yearly detoxification programs (one at the beginning of Spring and one at the beginning of Autumn), whether they are healthy or have been diagnosed with any illness, and especially to those who:
My functional medicine program for detoxification
If during our first consultation I suspect compromised detoxification in a client, I will suggest we follow the following approach:
"Meta-analyses showed that flavonoids have a promising role in improving visual function in patients with glaucoma and ocular hypertension (OHT), and appear to play a part in both improving and slowing the progression of visual field loss".
-Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2015 Sep 4. Epub 2015 Sep 4. PMID: 26340868
"Animal studies show that holy basil helps the body maintain homeostasis of the stress hormone cortisol.1 It rebalances mood-associated neurotransmitters in the brain—specifically ones that can produce feelings of hopelessness, which is a key component of stress-induced depression."2
1- Phytother Res. 2016;30(5):805-14
2-Indian J Med Res. 2012;135(4):548-54
"Lycopene, the predominant carotenoid in tomatoes and tomato-based foods, is reported to protect against various cancers, especially prostate cancer.
Cell growth was inhibited 20% at 0.2 microM lycopene and 40% at 50 microM lycopene after a 24-hr incubation. In the Comet assay, lycopene-treated cells showed less DNA damage than did placebo-treated cells. The inhibition of Hep3B cell growth in this study demonstrates the antitumor properties of lycopene."
- Biofactors. 2005 ;23(3):129-39. PMID: 16410635
"Accumulating evidence indicates that abdominal adiposity is positively related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and some other diseases independently of overall adiposity. However, the association of premature death resulting from these diseases with abdominal adiposity has not been widely studied, and findings are inconsistent. In a prospective cohort study of 44,636 women in the Nurses' Health Study, associations of abdominal adiposity with all-cause and cause-specific mortality were examined. During 16 years of follow-up, 3507 deaths were identified, including 751 cardiovascular deaths and 1748 cancer deaths. After adjustment for body mass index and potential confounders, the relative risks across the lowest to the highest waist circumference quintiles were 1.00, 1.11, 1.17, 1.31, and 1.79 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.47 to 1.98) for all-cause mortality; 1.00, 1.04, 1.04, 1.28, and 1.99 (95% CI, 1.44 to 2.73) for CVD mortality; and 1.00, 1.18, 1.20, 1.34, and 1.63 (95% CI, 1.32 to 2.01) for cancer mortality (all P<0.001 for trend). Among normal-weight women (body mass index, 18.5 to<25 kg/m(2)), abdominal obesity was significantly associated with elevated CVD mortality: Relative risk associated with waist circumference>or = 88 cm was 3.02 (95% CI, 1.31 to 6.99) and for waist-to-hip ratio>0.88 was 3.45 (95% CI, 2.02 to 6.92). After adjustment for waist circumference, hip circumference was significantly and inversely associated with CVD mortality."
-Circulation. 2008 Apr 1;117(13):1658-67. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.739714. Epub 2008 Mar 24.
"Major changes in self-reported eating behaviors included eating only when experiencing true physiological hunger and stopping when sensing a feeling of fullness. Self-efficacy for these behaviors was reported to be enhanced by observing weight loss for themselves or others. Support from other group members, the simplicity of the program, and spiritual benefits through prayer and scripture reading were also reported to enhance confidence. Women indicated that they relied on an internal locus of control based on a sense of self-discipline.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:
Traditional means to enhance self-efficacy were important for all women; however, for some women, spirituality was also an important aspect of adhering to program principles."
- J Nutr Educ Behav. 2004 Jan-Feb;36(1):13-5.