The act of minimizing toxins is a crucial strategy when it comes to having optimal health. I know this personally, as toxins have been detrimental to my health.
Unfortunately, our bodies are bombarded by so many toxins today!
So what are toxins and how can they harm your health? Let’s take a deeper look.
What is a Toxin?
It’s important that we first define the term, “toxin” and then clarify the difference between a “toxin” and a “toxicant.”
Toxin: Technically speaking, a toxin is a poison produced naturally by a living organism (an animal or plant). It is capable of causing disease when introduced into the body tissues, even in low concentrations. Some examples are snake venom or poisonous mushrooms.
Toxicant: On the other hand, a toxicant is a synthetic substance made by humans. They present risks of disease, defect or even death. Think of toxicants as things such as chemicals and pesticides.
Since it’s easier to use one term, I prefer to classify all different toxins and toxicants under the term “Toxin” with the following meaning:
A poisonous substance, whether produced naturally or made by humans, which is capable of triggering disease or damaging tissue when entering the body.
Exogenous and Endogenous Toxins
Toxins can be classified as Exogenous and Endogenous.
Exogenous toxins are toxins that are present in the outside environment and can cause damage to your cells when they enter your body. Think of items such as chemicals, additives in food, smoke, or heavy metals.
Endogenous toxins are toxins which are produced inside your body as a result of inefficient metabolism, or a compromised digestion (an unhealthy gut). Digestion can be compromised by things such as poor eating habits or digestive enzyme deficiency. Candida is an example of an endogenous toxin.
Now that we know what toxins are, let’s take a look at how they can enter our body…
Toxins Enter Our Bodies in Many Different Ways
Toxins can come to us in the forms of chemicals, foods, liquids, and gases. Therefore, toxins can enter our bodies when they are:
- Inhaled (i.e. smoke)
- Swallowed (i.e. processed food)
- Absorbed (i.e. lotions)
- Injected (i.e. medications)
- Passed onto a baby by its mother – studies have found that newborns are born with and an average of 200-300 toxins in them!
Some toxins have odors, but many do not. Since that’s the case, in all reality, you might not realize you’re being affected by a toxin, or combination of toxins, until after continuous exposure which may ultimately damage your health.
Why Should You Minimize Toxins?
Toxins can negatively impact our health by taking a toll on the various systems in our body, compromising the function of the following systems:
In addition, toxins can erode the G.I. tract, enter our bloodstream, damage tissues and cells and weaken our organs.
When our cells are so taxed by an overabundance of toxins, it’s no wonder the number of people with chronic diseases continues to rise. This should be reason enough for one to minimize toxins!
The Consequences of Toxic Overload
Toxins can become particularly dangerous because many bioaccumulate – or become concentrated – in our bodies as we are continually exposed.
As toxins accumulate in our body, our organs become stressed. An accumulation of different toxins has been linked to many diseases and difficulties, such as:
- Heart disease
- Liver and kidney problems
- Endocrine dysfunction
- Altered immune function
- DNA damage
- Hormone disruption
- Digestion problems
- Reproductive difficulties
- Cell damage
- Mental and physical developmental problems in children
The Columbia University School of Public Health has estimated that 95 percent of cancer is caused by diet and environmental toxicity.
The U.S. Presidents Cancer Panel even admits that toxic chemicals have had an impact on the increase in cancer, stating that “the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated.”
Everyone should be minimizing toxins!
The Link between Toxins and Autoimmune Disease
Dr. Amy Myers, a renowned leader in Functional Medicine and New York Times Bestselling author of The Autoimmune Solution, states
a heavy toxic burden puts you at greater risk for developing an autoimmune disease. One thought is that certain toxins, especially heavy metals, physically damage your tissues. Your immune system no longer recognizes these damaged cells as part of your own body, and attacks them, thinking they’re foreign invaders. Another theory is that the damage inflicted by toxins elicits an inflammatory response from the immune system. The constant assault of chronic exposure puts the immune system on high alert. It begins attacking everything – including your own tissues.”
With statistics continuing to rise for many diseases and chronic illnesses, it should make you stop and pause. What is contributing to these increases?
Our Bodies are “Under Assault” by Toxins!
Perhaps best known for her television role as the ditzy blonde, Chrissy, on Three’s Company — or the spokeswoman for the Thighmaster in the 1990’s — Suzanne Somers has spent the better part of the last couple of decades advocating for naturopathic health options in our toxic world.
In her book, Tox-Sick, Suzanne Somers maintains that we are “under the greatest environmental assault in the history of humanity and our bodies have reached a tipping point.”
This is why minimizing toxins is so crucial!
By design, our bodies were made to rid themselves of toxic substances, but today we were inundated by toxins. Our “toxic buckets” are spilling over! I know this personally because my bucket spilled over resulting in many health challenges.
What Are Some Examples of Toxins
Many people [correctly] understand toxins within the context of the outdoor physical environment —
- lawn fertilizers
- industrial pollution
But you may be surprised to learn that an exorbitant amount of toxins are dangerously lurking in our homes.
Examples of Toxins in the Kitchen
In the kitchen alone, for example, we use many things that can leach chemicals:
We prepare and eat food that contains:
- artificial colors
- High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Examples of Toxins in the Home
In a living room, we are exposed to toxic furniture on a daily basis.
What we sleep on each night — our mattresses — likely emit harmful chemicals.
In the laundry room, we use toxic detergents, dryer sheets and fab, ic softeners — all of which may be very harmful.
This just names a few of the products that we are continuously exposed to on a daily basis.
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Is Minimizing Toxins Even Possible?
Toxins can be found all around us, so minimizing your exposure may seem like an uphill battle.
Of course, nobody wants to live in a toxic home environment.
The good news, however, is that the opportunity is there for you to better control your environment by removing and replacing toxic products.
So, although it may seem overwhelming, it is doable. I believe that we can not only survive in today’s toxic environment, but we can thrive if we know what to look for!
Living Natural Today Wants to Know:
- Are you minimizing toxins? In what ways?
- Do you know which toxic items you should avoid in your home?
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