Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Do you need to detox?

The simple answer is yes.

With all of the chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis, it is a safe assumption that we are all carrying a toxic burden in our bodies. It is estimated that the average person has over 700 chemicals accumulated in the body.

Our toxic burden is made up of synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, solvents, plasticizers and heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic - among many others. These chemicals can remain in the body for decades and can be passed on during pregnancy and breastfeeding. While their impact on the body may not be recognizable today, they may predispose us to disease later in life and will affect our generations to come.

The body systems most affected by environmental toxins are: the immune system, the hormonal system and the nervous system. Common symptoms of toxic overload are: allergies, auto-immune disorders, frequent infections, cancers, chemical sensitivities, fatigue, headaches, depression, brain fog, tremors, Parkinson's, thyroid conditions, menstrual changes, temperature dysregulation and infertility.

Our liver is the primary organ responsible for the processing of these harmful chemicals. The liver prepares each of these toxics for elimination via the kidneys and digestive system.

The unfortunate truth is that with the amount of chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis, the liver becomes easily overwhelmed. In addition to this overwhelm, chemicals have the ability to decrease the function of the liver and hinder the detoxification process. This becomes a vicious cycle - the more chemicals we are exposed to, the less ability we have to process them which means a greater body burden that will further decreases our detoxification abilities.

The food we eat also plays a major role in the functioning of the liver. Foods such as green tea and vegetables in the broccoli family will enhance liver function while unhealthy fats and sugar will decrease liver function.

Another obstacle to the detoxification process are genetic polymorphisms. These are alterations in our liver enzyme systems that reduce our ability to detoxify. They may be inherited or a result of DNA damage (most likely caused by toxics). Some easily recognized genetic polymorphisms are found in those who are unable to drink caffeine in the afternoons, those who have ever had to reduce the dose of a medication or those unable to drink alcohol. Many other polymorphisms exist in the enzymes responsible for processing toxic chemicals.

The next problem lies in elimination via the kidneys and digestive system. There is a tremendous amount of re-absorption that occurs in these organs and without adequate intake of water or specific nutrients, or without regular bowel movements (at LEAST once/day) a large number of these toxic chemicals are taken back up into the body and unfortunately, stored.

A detoxification program will enhance your body's ability to process and eliminate these harmful toxins. With an enhanced ability to detox you may notice an improvement in your symptoms of ill health, increased energy, fewer headaches, hormonal balance, weight loss and a general sense of improved well-being.

Please beware of the mass marketed detox products or programs that exist and consult with a health professional before embarking on a cleanse.

No comments:

Post a Comment