The Reality of Our Toxic Modern Life: We are living in an unprecedented time in human history where we are constantly exposed to toxins in our air, water, food, homes, and workplaces. These environmental exposures contribute to our overall 'toxic load', increase chronic inflammation in our bodies, and impair our body's natural ability to fight infections. So what can we do about it? Read on for simple, practical tips for boosting detoxification pathways that anyone can start doing TODAY!
What is Toxic Load?
Toxins are either consumed from the environment (via the lungs, skin, gut) or produced internally (e.g., excess production or accumulation of hormones like estrogen).
On average, approximately 90 toxins are floating around in the bodies of the general population. Not only do we not yet know the synergistic effects of multiple chemicals in the body at once, there is now scientific evidence mounting that micro doses of toxic compounds are contributing to hormone disruption, cellular damage, and chronic illness, too.
So you may have low levels of dozens of different toxins regarded as “safe” in your body, but if they all affect the same cellular mechanisms, pathways, or tissues, the synergistic effects are a problem.
It is no longer a question of IF we are exposed, but how much and is our exposure causing symptoms of cellular damage or disruption?
Toxins circulate in our blood stream, some accumulate in our tissues (e.g., bone and fat), and depending on the compound - they may be very difficult to ever eliminate in our lifetime.
Persistent vs. Non-Persistent Toxins
What makes a toxin persistent?
highly fat soluble
bioaccumulation over time because half-lives are so long they are not quickly eliminated (half-life: the time required for the concentration of a substance in the body to decrease by half)
Persistent: heavy metals (mercury, lead), PCB’s (banned industrial chemical), Dioxins (byproducts of industrial manufacturing), DDT (banned insecticide), PFOAs (teflon, stain and water resistant treatments on fabrics), PBDEs (flame retardants)
Non-Persistent: herbicides, pesticides, solvents, plastics, phenols
Examples of half lives of common chemicals (in your blood):
PCBs: 10-15 years (farmed salmon & other farmed fish - from contaminated feed)
Methyl Mercury: 60-70 Days (tuna, swordfish, halibut, walleye, perch, bass)
Organophosphates Pesticides: 2-7 Days (inorganic fruits and vegetables - especially the dirty dozen)
Toxin exposure and toxic load is associated with:
chronic inflammation :(
cell/tissue damage and decreased function
allergic reactions and hypersensitivities: food and environmental
mitochondrial damage, oxidative stress, & fatigue (all environmental toxins are mitochondrial poisons)
neurological symptoms: brain fog, decreased cognitive function, diminished coordination
mood disturbances: anger, depression, anxie