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Posts Tagged ‘toxins’

It’s nice to think eating organic food and using “green” household and body products keeps us toxin-free. While those measures certainly help, the sad truth is we are nevertheless inundated with unprecedented levels of toxins in our air, water, food, and everyday environment.

Numerous studies link toxins with myriad health disorders, including autoimmunity, cancer, brain disorders, obesity, hormonal imbalances, and more.

Studies show humans carry hundreds of toxins in their bodies. The only reason it isn’t more is because of limits as to how many are tested. Children contain a higher body burden of toxins and toxins are found in umbilical cord blood and breast milk.

Though this is depressing, understanding the situation can help you better protect your body from the tens of thousands of synthetic chemicals in our environment.

Be aware of chemical sensitivity

Of course, we’d like our toxin levels to be as low as possible. However, it’s even more important that you do not react to toxins. People develop sensitivities to toxins the same way they do to gluten, dairy, or other foods.

A sensitivity to a chemical or heavy metal contributes to autoimmune disease, food sensitivities, and and an overall decline in health. Plus, since it’s difficult to impossible to avoid toxins, a sensitivity to them will leave you with an ongoing immune battle.

Weathering a toxic environment

Studies have turned up ample disturbing evidence on the effects of toxins on human health, and tens of thousands have not yet been studied. Nor do we understand how these toxins may work in combination.

Although there is no way to completely escape (the deepest parts of the ocean contain high levels of toxins), there are ways you can protect your body from toxins and prevent chemical sensitivities.

How to protect yourself as best you can from toxins

Start with your diet. Foods and beverages, even organic ones, contain toxins because of how prevalent they are in the environment. So avoid the obvious offenders of artificial additives and foods that contain pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.

Beyond that, the goal is a balanced immune system. This requires eating a diet that stabilizes blood sugar (no sugars or sweeteners, not too high on carbohydrates, and avoid skipping meals, over eating, or under eating.)

It also requires avoiding foods that trigger an immune response. This is different for everyone although gluten and dairy are common offenders.

Resveratrol and curcumin

Toxins trigger inflammation and damage cells. Studies show high doses of resveratrol and curcumin can help buffer the body from the damage of toxins, especially if you take them together in a liposomal form.

Glutathione

Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant that protects the cells from damage. Low glutathione raises your risk of chemical sensitivities and suffering damage from toxins. Nutrients that boost glutathione levels include n-acetyl-cysteine, cordyceps, Gotu Kola, milk thistle, L-glutamine, and alpha lipoic acid. Straight oral glutathione doesn’t work well, but liposomal, reduced, and s-acetyl glutathione are absorbed. Glutathione can also be delivered via IV, suppositories, or a nebulizer.

Boost detoxification

Another strategy against toxins is to improve your body’s detoxification. This can mean supporting the liver, lymph glands, kidneys, and bowel motility (so you’re not constipated). An inability to excrete toxins makes you more inflamed and raises your overall body burden.

Nutrients that support the liver pathways include methyl B12, selenium, molybdenum, dandelion root, milk thistle, trimethylglycine, Panax ginseng, and MSM.

Ask my office about how best to protect yourself from environmental toxins.

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Question

What is all the fuss about hydrogenated oils, or trans fats? Aren’t they OK to eat in moderation?

Answer

The hydrogenated fat you eat becomes part of your brain and nervous tissue. Because of its unnatural structure, cells and neurons composed partly of hydrogenated fat do not function properly.

The brain is made up of the fat you eat

If someone calls you a fat head they are not off the mark. The brain is made up mostly of fat, including the fat you eat. While hydrogenated fats are best known for contributing to cardiovascular disease, lesser known is their impact on brain health. Hydrogenated oils have been molecularly restructured for a long shelf life and are found in many processed foods. Heating oils too high while cooking also causes trans fats.

Cell membranes communicate with other cells and determine what is allowed to enter and exit the cell. These membranes incorporate hydrogenated oils into their structure, making them more rigid and less able to function properly. The nerve sheaths that insulate and protect neurons also incorporate trans fats.

Trans fats disrupt brain function

When trans fats become part of the cells and the nerve sheaths they replace vital brain fats, such as DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid. As a result cellular communication suffers, the cells degenerate, and the person can experience a wide range of consequences, including diminished mental performance, mood disorders, memory loss, or health problems.

Trans fats slow brain circulation

Trans fats are best known for their contribution to cardiovascular disease by thickening the blood, slowing circulation, and clogging arteries. The brain, too, has a vascular system that delivers nutrients and oxygen and removes toxins throughout the brain. When this vascular system becomes clogged with trans fats, this also impacts brain health and function.

One food that is not ok in moderation

Although conventional wisdom says all things are OK in moderation, hydrogenated fats are a man-made substance closer to plastic than food. When eaten they become a part of your cells and your brain for some time. Therefore it is best to avoid them completely.

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Question

My practitioner diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s and celiac disease, two autoimmune diseases. It seems many of my friends have an autoimmune disease too, including eczema, arthritis, Type I diabetes, and even multiple sclerosis. Why is it so common now?

Answer

Incidences of autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue, have skyrocketed and continue to climb, affecting as many as one in nine Americans.

Hygiene hypothesis incomplete

The media darling for an explanation is the hygiene hypothesis—that lack of early childhood exposure to sufficient filth improperly prepares the immune system for later battles.

While likely valid, it too neatly dismisses more significant factors linked with triggering autoimmune disease:

Environmental pollutants

We live in a sea of more than 80,000 chemicals. The few that have been studied have been shown to play a role in triggering autoimmune reactions. People who work with toxic compounds, such as pesticides or solvents, are significantly more likely to die from autoimmune disease. One study also showed that infant fetal-cord blood contains 287 pollutants.

GM foods

Although the impact of genetically modified (GM) foods on humans has not been studied, multiple animal studies link them with immune dysregulation, inflammation, and an increase in allergies—factors that trigger autoimmune disease.

Poor diets

Many people today eat a diet that sets the stage for autoimmune disease. This includes foods full of artificial chemicals, sugar and starchy carbohydrates, and trans fats. Gluten in particular has been linked to autoimmune disease.

Leaky gut

In leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, the lining of the intestines becomes too porous, allowing undigested food and pathogens to slip into the bloodstream. This triggers inflammation and leads to immune dysregulation.

Chronic stress

Chronic stress from diet, poor health, lack of sleep, and excess sugar and caffeine also leads to inflammation and immune dysregulation, setting the stage for autoimmune disease.

What can you do?

The best medicine is prevention. To help your body cope with the burdens of modern life, eat an anti-inflammatory diet and work with a practitioner to address the health imbalances that make you more vulnerable to autoimmune disease.

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