Spring is a time of renewal, rejuvenation and transformation. Why not make some positive changes in your life with a little spring-cleaning of the body and mind? A great place to start is by assisting your body in getting rid of toxins. “Detoxification” has become quite a fad in the health product industry. In reality, detoxification is more than swallowing a concoction. Before I explain what I mean by that, let me explain why detoxification is important. The big picture: every man-made item we are exposed to is made of unregulated, potentially toxic chemicals. Chemicals used to make toys and other children’s products, personal care and cleaning items, electronics, food and beverage containers, fabrics, furniture, car interiors, and building materials are not well regulated. Because of loopholes in the law, 62,000 untested chemicals were allowed to remain on the market when the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was passed in 1976. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has required testing for about 200 of those chemicals and partially regulated only five of them. Subsequently, 22,000 new chemicals have been introduced and manufacturers have provided little or no information to the EPA regarding their potential environmental or health effects. This is incredulous since scientific evidence has undoubtedly proven that even low dose exposure to certain chemicals disrupts our hormonal, reproductive, and immune systems, especially in developing fetuses and young children. To put it another way, if you poop in your nest, it won’t be long before your nesting in your poop! Even our food supply is laden with herbicides, pesticides, hormones, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors, heavy metal contaminants, antibiotics, antibiotic resistant bacteria, nanoparticle flavor enhancers and emulsifiers and GMOs. Let’s not forget inhalation of toxic fumes, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) from automobiles, airplanes, manufacturing facilities, etc. Are you convinced as to how important detoxification is? A good detoxification program supports the organs that are responsible for getting rid of the toxins and chemicals our bodies are exposed to. The superstar in this amazing feat is the liver, which chemically changes toxins so they can be excreted via the kidneys or in feces and sweat. Other powerful detox organs are your lungs and kidneys. Your lungs remove the carbon dioxide from the blood to maintain the acid/base balance. They do this in concert with the kidneys, which regulate the removal of waste products and fluids by filtering 200 quarts of blood every 24 hours. This is amazing since your kidneys are about the size of your fist! If you get headaches from walking in the laundry detergent aisle at the grocery store or from smelling perfume, you may want to be evaluated for your environmental toxin burden. Combinations of herbs and supplements can enhance the effectiveness of the detoxification organs. Previous exposer to heavy metal contaminants may require chelation therapy to lower your total body burden. Other ways to support detoxification include:
- Avoiding toxin exposure whenever possible. Everything we expose our bodies to impacts the health of future children – this is true for both men and women!
- Seek out toxin-free personal care and cleaning products.
- Support your body’s natural elimination efforts by drinking plenty of filtered water and eating nutrient dense high fiber foods, such as vegetables. Asparagus, mustard greens, artichokes and radishes contain bitters that stimulate the production of bile from the liver. Foods that contain sulphur (onions, garlic, leeks, chives), as well as the B vitamin, betaine (beets, spinach), are also beneficial to the liver. Consume organic, unprocessed, non-GMO foods.
- Avoid recreational drugs, excessive alcohol and over-the-counter and pharmaceutical drug use – your liver has to process all of these chemicals.
- If you smoke, quit and avoid second hand smoke.
- Finally, exercise increases circulation of the blood and lymphatic system and promotes sweating, so get that body moving!
By detoxifying your body, you mental outlook will improve, since neurotransmitter and hormone production are impaired by the presence of toxins. Stay tuned for next months discussion on detoxification of the mind. The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as medical advice or as a substitution for medical care provided by a licensed medical doctor.