Toxins 101: Understanding toxins, how they affect your health… and how to get rid of them!

Hopefully you’re already aware that we get exposed to thousands of toxins everyday just by going about our modern daily lives. Toxins have found their way in beauty products, toothpaste, deodorant, laundry detergent, cookware, food and tap water.  Some of these toxins, such as lead and mercury, naturally occur on earth but our exposure to them has increased due to human activities such as mining and manufacturing. Other toxins, such as BPA plastics and synthetic fragrances, are man-made. 

 

In the last 50 years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the production and use of these chemicals and toxins. In fact, today there are over 84,000 chemicals registered for use on the market, most of which have never been tested for safety. Concurrently, there has been an increase in the incidence of cancers, diabetes, mood disorders and obesity. 

 

The Effect of Toxins On Your Health

 

Over time, chronic and daily exposure to toxins add up, like tiny drops in a bucket, contributing to your body’s toxic load, eventually interfering with its ability to function optimally and leading to harmful effects on your health.

Research is now showing us that toxins play much more of a driving role in creating disease than we realize. According to the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences data, environmental factors cause between 80-90% of all cancers.

Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, one of the world’s leading authorities on science-based natural medicine calls “Toxicity is the primary driver of disease”. Tracey Woodruff, director of UCSFs Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, was quoted in an interview, saying the environmental toxins might be a missing factor in the cause and prevention of disease.

When your cumulative toxic burden is left unaddressed, it can lead to inexplicable symptoms, health challenges and disease. So if you’re struggling with your health, toxicity may be the hidden culprit and likely root cause.

Symptoms of toxicity:

  • Digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation
  • Mood issues, like anxiety or depression
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Brain fog or memory loss, attention disorders
  • Asthma or other respiratory issues
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain, or difficulty losing weight
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Skin problems
  • Hormone dysregulation
  • Unexplained pain and soreness
  • Thyroid problems
  • Low libido 

 

Common sources of exposure to toxins

While toxins are all around us, there are some common ways that we are exposed. Removing or minimizing these everyday exposures can give you a huge leg up on emptying your ‘toxic bucket’.

 

Your food and water

What you put directly into your body is incredibly important. Let’s start with tap water. Over 250 contaminants were found in the average American drinking water, 63 of which are linked to developmental harm in babies and children…meanwhile the EPA only regulates about 91 contaminants in water. Also, about 30% of U.S. drinking water also runs through lead plumbing, which leaches lead into drinking water.

You can check how your tap water rates by going to the Environmental Working Group Tap Water Database and entering your zip code. Berkey is a great option for home water filtration.

When it comes to food, if you aren’t reading your labels, you should be. Over the last few decades, the ingredients in our foods have changed dramatically, and not for the better! Our foods are full of chemical additives, flavoring, coloring and preservatives. 

Here are some ingredients you should avoid:

    1. Artificial food colors
    2. Nitrates and nitrites
    3. “Natural flavors”
    4. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
    5. Guar Gum
    6. High-Fructose Corn Syrup
    7. Artificial Sweeteners
    8. Sodium Benzoate 
    9. Xanthan Gum

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid packaged foods altogether and buy whole, natural foods. We love visiting our local Farmer’s Market to load up on locally sourced fruits, vegetables, sauerkraut and fresh baked breads. 

 

Your beauty products  

Many of us don’t think twice about the products we use on our body. Yet 60% of everything we put on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream, even more so on sensitive body parts like our armpits. Many beauty products contain endocrine disrupting chemicals that are linked to breast cancer, or that can cause depression and weight gain. Making the switch to non-toxic or less-toxic beauty products is an effective way to decrease your toxic load. 

First, it’s wise to assess the toxicity of the products you currently use. A great way to do this (since reading labels can be overwhelming!) is to check the EWG Skin Deep or Think Dirty App. You just scan your products or enter in the product name and the app will give you a toxicity score!  I suggest starting with your most frequently used products, such as shampoo/condition, deodorant, lotions, toothpaste, etc. 

Once you’ve determined which products are toxic, it’s time to replace them with safer alternatives. 

Some of my favorite non-toxic beauty brands are:

 

Your household products

Household products, like all-purpose sprays, dishwashing soaps, laundry detergents, and dryer sheets are notoriously toxic and have some of the WORST health ratings on the The Environmental Working Group website. In fact, EWG tested 21 commonly used cleaning products—like air fresheners and multipurpose cleaning sprays—and found that they emitted more than 450 chemicals into the air, including a number of compounds linked to asthma, developmental and reproductive harm, or cancer. 

Here’s what you can do: 

    • Check all your products on the EWG Skin Deep website or app.
    • Opt for cleaner brands like, Branch Basics. Also, natural cleaning products like baking soda and vinegar can work miracles! 
    • Avoid plastics that come in contact with your food and water, such as water bottles, straws, tupperware storage containers, cups, etc.  The toxic chemical BPA is commonly found in plastic and can be avoided by simply switching to glass, metal or ceramic. 
    • Avoid synthetic fragrances and air fresheners like candles, plug-ins and sprays. Up to 95% of fragrances are derived from petroleum and include benzene derivatives, toluene, and many other known toxic chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions. Opt instead for an essential oil diffuser and air-purifying plants like the Snake Plant of Peace Lily.
    • Avoid non-stick pans like Teflon. They contain chemicals, metal, cadmium, and lead that will leach to your foods. Xtrema is a great ceramic and non-toxic brand. 

If you know me, you know that I’m all about educating my community about how to achieve optimum health. Being aware of the toxins around you and the toxins you’re putting into your body, is an essential step in this journey. If you’re looking to fast track your healing with detoxing, join me in the 90-Day Toxin Reset where you’ll work with me in a small group setting to remove toxins from your body through diet, nutrition and supplementation.

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