Toxins and your health: reducing the toxic load

Toxins are ubiquitous in the industrialised world. We are living in a world that becomes more toxic every year. And I don’t mean cigarettes and alcohol here. I mean toxins we may not be aware of.

Toxins have become the primary drivers of disease according to Dr Joseph Pizzorno who has been studying the connection between toxins and human health for the last 50 years. This is why we are observing this worldwide epidemic of obesity, diabetes in adult and children, kidney disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cancers.

His research went from having a correlation to a causation. He has studied the link between 26 toxins and toxin classes, and 24 chronic diseases and 18 cancers. The adverse effect of toxins on human health is real. And the more you know about this, the earlier you can do something about it, and the better you will be at an older age.

Depending on where you are living and working, toxins will come from different sources: the way food is grown (i.e. conventional vs organic), food packaging materials, house and garden chemicals, health and beauty products, but also water and air. It is everywhere. Everything is potentially toxic.

Pizzorno’s research ranked the five worst toxins for the human body: arsenic (found in water, chicken and rice), DDT (everywhere), phthalates (soft plastics, health and beauty products), PBDEs (flame retardant fabrics) and PAHs (smoking and charbroiling foods).

Toxins cause damage at many levels, from increasing the production of free radicals to poisoning the enzyme system, and damaging cell membranes and the DNA. These are only a few examples. The list is a lot longer.

Prevention is always the best: it is much easier to prevent toxins entering the body than removing them, as they can be stored anywhere including your brain or kidneys. You may feel nothing for years: toxins effects do get worse with age, and 65 years of age seems to be the age you may start feeling the effects of a toxic life. Eating organic and staying away from plastic is a very good start.

Another great step is to make sure that your organs of detoxification work as efficiently as possible. Eat bitter foods to help your liver, have at least one bowel movement a day (ideally 2-3), drink lots of still water. Skin also helps detoxify so make sure you exercise and sweat, go to the sauna or do skin brushing. All these actions together help improve your detox system.

If you find out about these toxins once the signs and symptoms are there, nutritional therapists are able to help you assess your toxic load by ordering specific functional tests – either blood, urine or traditional laboratory tests - and put together a personalised programme to effectively reduce specific toxins. Managing your toxic load may have a substantial impact on your health and well-being.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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