Part 4: Eliminate and avoid toxins
This Part 4 of my 5-part series “5 Things You Must Do To Avoid An Early Death” is designed to enlighten you on all of the possible ways that your body may be downright toxic…and you might not even know it!
Although it’s not a pleasant thought, the truth is toxins are all around us and they are pretty hard to avoid. So virtually everyone is harboring toxins in their bodies to a degree and will eventually be paying the price one way or another with their health.
The effects of toxins might not be obvious right away, but they are subtly compromising your body’s functions and negatively impacting your health.
Especially vulnerable are your liver and kidneys which are your organs of detox and are responsible for filtering toxins out of you and eliminating them through the bowels and bladder.
Exposure to toxins can cause a variety of symptoms including headaches, fatigue, irritability, memory loss, mental confusion, flu-like symptoms, eye and skin inflammation, and muscle and joint pain.
They can even cause you to gain weight! Your body’s innate reaction to toxins is to hunt them down and protect you, and one of the ways it does this is by retaining water and fat to dilute them.
Let’s look at some of the sources of toxins, the issues they can cause, and how you can help give your body a fighting chance.
Surprising sources of toxins
When most people think of “toxins,” things like pesticides, chemicals and pollution usually come to mind. But those are just the tip of the toxic iceberg.
Here’s what I mean—here are five common and not-so-obvious sources of toxins and how you can counteract them and help preserve your health.
Below are some common drugs and how their toxicity affects your body:
- Antihistamines—inhibit your liver’s detoxification ability
- Benzodiazepines (Halcion, Librium, Valium)—these also inhibit your liver’s detoxification ability
- Birth control pills—can cause yeast overgrowth and an increased risk of gallstones
- Chemotherapy drugs—these poison your cells. Although the intent is to target malignant cells, they also destroy healthy cells and damage your organs and bone marrow.
- Laxatives—cause mineral depletion, can lead to leaky gut and a lazy bowel. Abuse can cause kidney failure.
- NSAIDs—cause ulcers, gastritis and liver and kidney damage.
- Steroids—can damage the liver and cause leaky gut.
How to help: Explore safer alternatives to drugs.
For example, fish oil capsules like VitalMega-3 have been shown in numerous studies to be effective against high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and arthritis!
Beefing up your microbiome with a potent probiotic supplement like Super Shield PLUS can support your immune system, which may lessen your need for antibiotics, as well as naturally ease your allergies.
And supplementing with vitamin D3 (found in our Optimum DK Formula) has been shown to be very helpful in combatting depression and mental fog.
2) Heavy metals
The three most common heavy metal offenders are:
Aluminum is destructive to the nervous system and can cause disturbed sleep, nervousness, emotional instability, memory loss, headaches, and impaired thinking and memory.
Aluminum is found in cookware, food and beer/soda cans, antacids, baking powder, anti-perspirants, margarine, buffered aspirin, bleached white flour and as an adjuvant in many vaccines.
Mercury exposure can cause mental dysfunction, fatigue, poor memory, depression, emotional problems, neurological damage and muscular disorders.
Dental amalgam fillings are a very common source of mercury. Contrary to what most people have been led to believe, “silver amalgam” fillings are 50 percent mercury!
Mercury is also found in fungicides and pesticides, cosmetics, tattoo dyes, laxatives, paper products, home thermometers, fish and as a preservative in vaccines (especially flu shots).
In children, too much lead in the body can cause lasting problems with growth and development. These can affect behavior, hearing, and learning.
Lead is found in pipes, paints and gasoline. It's also in glassware, roadways, cosmetics, hair dyes, newspaper print, and in the glazes used in ceramics.
How to help: Doing the avoid-dance is crucial here.
Ask your dentist to use composite material for fillings instead of amalgam. Avoid using aluminum cookware—use stainless steel or cast iron.
Also, avoid the most contaminated fish, which include the following species:
- Orange Roughy
Buy natural cleaning products or use cleaners like vinegar and baking soda.
Lastly, educate before you vaccinate. If you choose vaccination, request vaccines that are free of aluminum and Thimerosal (mercury), and read the package insert prior to injection.
3) Poor digestion
Poor digestion leads to inadequate elimination of wastes and toxins. Toxins that overstay their welcome in your intestinal tract can be absorbed into circulation (a process called autointoxication) and trigger a cycle of illness and well as stress your liver.
How to help: The more efficient your body is at eliminating wastes the less toxic you will be. So it’s crucial to pave the way for better digestion, and that starts with your diet…specifically how you construct your meals.
Keep your meals simpler and avoid pairing proteins and starches in the same meal, as that combination is very taxing to your system and frequently results in poor digestion.
Instead pair proteins OR starches with vegetables (other than potatoes and corn) and eat a tossed salad every day.
If you need more support and meal suggestions in this regard (and want a collection of yummy recipes), check out my Great Taste No Pain system.
4) Creepy crawlies aka microorganisms
Although the thought of it may be a bit disturbing, the truth is your body is home to untold numbers of microorganisms, and even though they are microscopic, the effect they can have on your health is enormous!
Your inner microorganisms (or as I like to call them, creepy crawlies) can stir up illness in two ways. First, just like you, microorganisms have waste products, and their “number one and number two” can make you sick!
In addition, your body can also have an allergic reaction to the proteins on the body of the microorganism itself.
Here are the most common creepy crawlies to watch out for:
- Bacteria: Bacteria contain and produce toxins that can damage your tissues, nerves, immunity and endocrine function (hormones).
- Parasites: Toxic substances released by parasites destroy your tissues and migrate throughout your body, burrowing themselves deep into your organs.
- Viruses: In addition to a variety of illnesses that viruses can cause themselves, they also trigger your body into producing toxic chemicals in response to their presence. They can also alter the way your cells function, which in turn can compromise your health in countless ways.
- Yeasts: Yeasts can cause infection and hypersensitivity reactions in the body. They also produce numerous toxins that cause both physical and mental symptoms and upset the balance in your gut microbiome, leading to gas, bloating and weakened immune function.
- Molds: Some molds produce mycotoxins that can cause bleeding and are potent liver toxins. They can also cause bruising, rashes, vertigo, convulsions, heart swelling, brain cell destruction and even death.
- Fungi: Fungi are very potent allergens and generate toxic substances as they are trying to convert your healthy tissues and cells into nourishment for them.
How to help: Start by getting enough vitamin C and zinc. A healthy diet of real foods is a must, concentrating on lots of fresh vegetables and leafy greens. Supplement with a complete multi-vitamin and mineral formula like Super Core to make sure all your nutritional bases are covered or if your diet is dicey.
Engage in regular exercise. This is yet another great reason to get off the couch and into action—exercise helps your body eliminate toxins! Even brisk walking can be extremely helpful. (Refer back to Blog number 3 of this series if you need more help in this regard.)
Sit in an infrared sauna. Infrared saunas can be very helpful with eliminating toxins. Many facilities such as fitness clubs, resorts and wellness centers provide infrared sauna services.
Avoid refined carbs and sugars. These foods feed the harmful organisms in your gut, especially yeasts.
Beef up your population of helpful organisms. Your beneficial gut bacteria fight back at dangerous microorganisms, but they can only do so when there is a strong enough “army” of them. A full-spectrum probiotic formula like Super Shield PLUS can help make sure your microbiome balance is where it needs to be to protect you against dangerous inhabitants and support strong immune function against viruses and bacteria.
Drink filtered water. Nothing is more helpful for your liver and kidneys (your main organs of detox) than to drink at least eight 8oz. glasses of filtered water a day. Avoid tap water, as it contains many harmful toxins including fluoride and chlorine.
5) Food toxins
Pesticides, fungicides and herbicides can cause a wide variety of damage to your liver and kidneys as well as harm your brain and nervous system.
There are two ways these can get into you—from direct exposure by breathing them in, and from eating the fruits and vegetables on which they are sprayed!
Plus processed foods are notorious for being loaded with chemicals. The food industry routinely uses over 2,000 different food additives in their processed creations.
These include emulsifiers, buffers, artificial flavorings and colorings, taste enhancers and thickeners (as well as enormous amounts of salt and sugar!).
Contrary to what you may think, chemicals in processed foods don’t just cruise innocently through your GI tract and sail on out with your bowel movements.
Far from it. Your body doesn't have a way to deal with these chemicals and it cannot metabolize them, so they actually have to be processed by your system like a poison—this stresses your liver immensely.
We’re starting to see this manifesting as a rise in NAFLD-non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Currently, NAFLD affects about one out of ten children and 30-40 percent of adults in the US. You can primarily thank the poison called high fructose corn syrup for that one.
The wrath of processed food chemicals also includes your intestinal tract.
Studies show that emulsifiers (which are added to processed foods to create texture and extend shelf life), can alter your gut microbiome and induce intestinal inflammation that can trigger inflammatory bowel disease (colitis and Crohn’s).
Two emulsifiers in particular--polysorbate-80 and carboxymethyl cellulose—can increase the secretion of pro-inflammatory messengers which can make your gut wall leaky. Leaky gut can lead to a slew of health problems including food sensitivities, autoimmune disease, skin problems, chronic fatigue, malnutrition, mood swings and more.
Polysorbate-80 is commonly used in these foods:
- Chewing gum
- Ice Cream
Carboxymethyl cellulose is found in foods such as ice cream, salad dressings, cheese, icing, toppings, gelatin, infant/baby formula, candy, cottage cheese and cream cheese spread.
How to help: The easiest way to avoid pesticides and chemicals in your food is to eat real (not processed) food and choose organic options whenever possible.
You can help to control the cost of organic food by participating in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, patronizing farmer’s markets and seeking out local sources of meat and eggs from pasture raised animals.
If you're on a tight budget, here are the produce items which have the largest amounts of pesticide residue:
- Bell Peppers
- Kale/Collard Greens
So, just how toxic are you?
After all of this discussion about toxins, you may be wondering about the level of toxicity in your body.
According to the Environmental Working Group, everyone in the US carries over 100 chemicals, pollutants, pesticides and toxic metals in their bodies!
Take this quiz to see how toxic you might be:
Yes: 1 No: 0
As you would expect, the closer your total score is to 25, the more toxic you are.
You can win the battle against toxins!
As daunting as it may seem, you can significantly decrease your body’s level of toxicity and help prevent toxins from taking a toll on your health.
It all starts with awareness.
And now that you are aware of many possible sources of toxins around you and how to avoid and eliminate them, you can support your body’s detoxification efforts and pave the way for better health!
To your health,