Do you struggle with low energy? Do you feel sluggish? Has your thinking become foggy or muddled? Do you have regular issues with digestion or bowel discomfort? Have you noticed a change in your body odors when sweating/burping/passing gas? Do you struggle with morning breath that is more intense or lasts longer than it used to? Do you feel like you are irritated, anxious, or “on edge” more than you used to be? Do you struggle with feeling bloated more than you used to? Do you struggle with weight gain and hunger more than you used to? Do you struggle with muscle stiffness or achy joints more than you used to? Do you ever just feel yucky inside? All of these issues could be signs of a buildup of toxicity inside of you. As you read through this blog, you will see that toxicity can come from many different sources and affect you in many different ways.
Toxicity in Today's World
I’m sure there will be a wide variety of answers because, in the last few decades, toxicity has been applied to so many things in our society. I actually find it rather fascinating how words can develop and change over time and be used in a variety of different ways until they become prevalent in our modern-day society. The words “toxic” and “toxicity” were once exclusively used to refer to chemical substances that create harmful effects in the body. Now toxicity is not just examined in the chemical arena but ventures into psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual realms as well. There are toxic relationships, toxic work settings, toxic gamers, toxic attitudes, toxic beliefs, toxic energy, and the list goes on and on. With the rise of “toxic” and “toxicity,” there has also been a rise in the use of their counterparts of “detoxification,” “detoxify,” and “detox.” Whether you follow health experts or not, you have likely come across many products, advertisements, infomercials, podcasts, and more proclaiming the necessity of doing a detox program and how their products are the best option to meet your detox needs. It’s very encouraging to see that the focus on detoxifying the body has become more widespread, especially when approached from a natural wellness perspective. However, the unfortunate problem with having a wide variety of detox products/programs/perspectives available is that it can cause a lot of noise and confusion. This can make things very overwhelming to someone just beginning their detox journey. My goal is to cut through some of that noise and confusion by providing a concise but effective overview of what toxicity is and why detoxification is so important to us.
Although we can approach toxicity and detoxification from various avenues, our main focus in this blog is going to be regarding chemical toxicity because it is the broadest, most researched, and most understood form of toxicity. Chemical toxicity includes natural elements (such as lead and mercury), synthetic chemicals (such as pesticides or dioxin), and chemicals that are made or secreted by plants or animals (such as poison ivy/oak and venoms from snakes/wasps/spiders/mosquitos). Another source that we see often in the clinic is mold and parasites as they regularly release toxic substances as they feed, grow and reproduce. When these substances are present, they have a damaging effect on the body that can be anywhere from very mild to very hazardous. In simple terms, detoxification is the process of breaking down and eliminating these dangerous substances, also known as toxins, from the body. Some toxins occur naturally as organic poisons are produced through the normal metabolic processes of living cells and organisms, like with mold and parasites. Other toxins are manufactured and don’t occur naturally, and those are called artificial toxins.
Why is it Important to Understand Chemical Toxicity
You may not realize this, but we are exposed to a wide variety of toxins on a daily basis through the food we eat, the air we breathe, the bottles we drink out of, and so much more. Although what we experience in one particular day may not seem like much and may not show any signs of affecting us at all, daily exposure to toxins can build up over time unless we can fully process them and eliminate them from the body. These toxins can also build up in various different places within the body. The digestive pathways are typically the most involved, but toxins can also build up around other organs, such as the brain, heart, and lungs, and affect the various systems of the body in different ways. Since all these systems are affected by a high toxic load, it’s common to see a variety of symptoms such as chronic digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, mood disorders, weight gain, bloating, hormone imbalance, changes in body odor, nerve irritation and more when dealing with moderate to high levels of toxic load. There are many articles and studies that show the effects of toxicity both environmentally and biologically, but there are two studies I want to discuss that I believe highlight how much of a growing threat this really is for us.
The first study I want to discuss was published in Environmental Science & Technology in August 2022. This study tested rainwater from many locations around the world for pollution. The results showed that perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAs, were significantly above the safety guidelines. These PFAs are chemicals found in food wrappers, non-stick cookware, rain gear, and many other sources. The testing performed found that these PFAs appear in rainwater at levels that are not considered safe for drinking water in most countries. If you think about it, rainwater should be the purest water on the planet because water molecules have to evaporate and re-condense in the atmosphere before they can fall down on us again as rain. Since PFAs were found in rainwater, that means these chemicals are sticking with the water molecules as they go through that process. Based on these findings, the researchers theorized that rainwater across the globe could be affected and that nowhere could genuinely be regarded as safe anymore.
I think this second article is even more alarming as it highlights the dangers of daily toxic load. The second study was for the Environmental Working Group, where the umbilical cord blood of 10 newborn babies born in the U.S. between August and September 2004 was evaluated. The results showed an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants were found in the umbilical cord blood, and a total of 287 chemicals were identified. Of those chemicals identified, 180 are known to be cancer-forming in humans or animals, 217 have a toxic effect on the brain and nervous system, and 208 are known to cause congenital disabilities or abnormal development in animal testing. It was long believed that the placenta protected babies from infections and toxic substances, but this study shows that these babies were exposed to these dangerous chemicals before they were even born. These toxins could only have come from the mother and were a part of her own toxic load. Through these studies, we see that toxins are present all around us and within us. As frightening and alarming as that is, it isn’t the only part of the story. These toxins are only harmful if our bodies can’t break them down and eliminate them from the body. So, let’s take a look at how the body does this.
The Body’s Natural Detoxification Processes
The body’s most potent detoxifier is the liver. As blood passes through the liver, it draws the toxins out of the blood and goes through 3 phases to take care of them. The first phase is when the toxins are broken down into smaller parts. This is done mainly through the action of the P450 cytochrome enzymes. During this process, lipid-soluble toxins that require fatty acids to break down, are modified to become more water soluble so they can broken down by the body more readily. Some essential cofactors that help these enzymes function properly are B vitamins, glutathione, flavonoids, branched-chain fatty acids, and phospholipids. Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E, as well as zinc, selenium, and CoQ10, are also crucial during this phase as they will neutralize reactive oxygen intermediates that form as by-products of the breakdown. If not neutralized, those intermediates would cause secondary damage to the surrounding tissues. Once all that is finished, the next phase begins, which requires that the broken-down components bond with other molecules through many different processes like methylation, glucuronidation, and sulphation. Essentially, these processes will weaken the effects of the toxins and make them easier to transport safely to other parts of the body. The final phase is where the bonded molecules are predominately transported to the gall bladder before being released in the intestines and becoming part of the stools. A lot of toxins may also be transported to the lungs to be expelled through breathing out. Other toxins are also sent to the urinary bladder to be expelled through urine or to the skin to be expelled through sweat. This happens when the liver is overloaded and can’t handle the burden on its own. The kidneys act as the primary backup detoxifier, and the skin will also help as a secondary backup.
Another critical element of detoxification that is often overlooked is the function of mast cells. Mast cells are present throughout the body’s tissues and are part of the immune system. Mast cells are responsible for releasing histamine, heparin, cytokines, and more as part of the local immune response to various interactions. Mast cells are most commonly associated with allergic reactions as they release histamine. Still, they may also play an essential role in the immune response to bacteria, parasites, and other toxins. A study published in 2015 looked at how mast cells in mice responded when exposed to various venoms from snakes, wasps, scorpions, and more. It was noted that the mast cells had an innate function to fight against these toxins as their granule-associated proteases can degrade some toxic components of the venom. Moreover, they found that the mast cells could develop venom-specific antibodies that help break down and neutralize poisons beyond the innate capabilities. It will be interesting to see how research on mast cells develops in the future and whether or not they are able to respond in similar ways to other toxins.
Why Do We Still Suffer From Toxic Load?
In light of everything we discussed, I think we still have one very important question to address. If our body has such great detoxification systems, why do we still suffer from toxic load or burden? To answer this, I want to engage your imagination a little bit. Pretend that you and a friend are in a small boat out in the middle of a lake when you notice water seeping into the ship through a hole on the side. If you can scoop water out of the ship faster than it is coming into the boat, then you won’t sink. If your strength runs out before you get close enough to shore, then the ship will sink. Now it may seem silly to visualize this, but toxic load or build-up in the body is similar to that sinking boat. If our ability to process and remove toxins is greater than the inflow of toxins into the body, then there isn’t any issue. However, if toxins come in faster than the body can process, it becomes a problem. It may start as a small problem, but if it keeps going, it will eventually become a big problem. The other issue is that, while trying to keep up with the overflow of toxins, our detoxification systems may break down and allow toxins to build up faster and faster until severe problems occur.
One of the most common questions we get from patients regarding toxicity and detoxification is what detox product/program they should use. While this may seem like a simple question, there are actually a lot of factors that play into what will or won’t work for you specifically. The biggest problem is that we all want to find a one size fits all approach, but unfortunately, there isn’t one. This is why one person may get amazing results from a detox program, but when you try it you don’t see any difference. Other people may have dysfunctions in different parts of their detoxification pathways than you and therefore have different needs to facilitate and support their detoxification processes. Daily toxin exposure is an important factor as well because sometimes everything is functioning properly, but you just need to reduce or eliminate regular exposure to the toxins.
Creating a Customized Detox Program for You
Ultimately, the most effective detox program is going to be the one that is created specifically for you and your needs. One that specifically addresses the roadblocks that hinder the detoxification pathways and provides what your body needs to support those processes. That’s what we do on a daily basis here at Docere Life Center! Using Somatic Resonance Testing, we can identify where you are having trouble in your detoxification processes and help support them, so your body is better able to clean it out. Our testing also allows us to go beyond chemical detoxification and help people detoxify energetically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually as well.
We offer a complimentary initial detox foot bath that can help pull some of those toxins out. You might be amazed to see what comes out of you and how much better you feel afterward! If you haven’t tried it yet, call Docere Life Center at (316) 837-1273 or schedule a detox foot bath appointment today! You might be interested in scheduling a new patient consultation (20 minutes complimentary) as well to see if your toxicity issues may be stemming from a stealth infection like parasites or mold. Hope to see you soon! Blessings and good health!