Our bodies are constantly exposed to a variety of toxins. From the air we breathe to the foods we eat to the body care products we use, there are toxins in just about everything in our world. While we can’t get away from it all, we can consciously make choices that can reduce the toxic load on our bodies.
What is Toxic Load?
Toxic load refers to how the body accumulates, processes, and responds to all the toxins and chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis. The body has internal processes that are designed to deal with these chemicals by using what it needs and detoxing the rest. But when the body becomes burdened and overwhelmed with these chemicals it can wreak havoc on our health.
How the Body Detoxifies
The body continuously goes through a process called detoxification in order to remove toxic substances. The two main organs involved in this process are the liver and kidneys. However, the bowels, skin, and lungs also play important roles in this process.
Role of the Liver
The liver’s job is to filter toxins from the blood. In phase I detoxification, it takes harmful, fat-like substances and makes them more water-soluble. In phase II, it continues the process but converts these substances into a non-toxic form. Phase III is where these toxins get transported out of the body’s cells and tissues and back into the bloodstream.
Role of the Kidneys
The water-soluble toxins travel via the blood to the kidneys. It is here that the blood is filtered again and the waste products are excreted through the urinary tract and out of the body as urine. Lack of water intake can reduce the ability of this process to occur and thus cause further build-up of toxins in the body.
Role of the Bowels
The remaining fat-soluble toxins from phase I detoxification bind to bile in the liver and are carried away to the small intestines. Here the bowels further break down these substances and excrete them through feces.
Role of the Skin and Lungs
The skin in the largest of all the detoxification organs. It helps to eliminate toxins via sweat and, believe it or not, skin rashes.
As far as the lungs are concerned, the better we breathe, the more we eliminate toxins. The lungs get rid of carbon dioxide when we exhale. And when we are sick or have lots of mucus in our lungs, we cough forcefully to expel phlegm.
Most Common Toxins
Here are a few of the most common toxins that you are likely to find in your immediate environment that can affect your health in a negative way.
Insecticides and herbicides are widely used to kill off pests. They are sprayed around our homes and on our foods. Residue from these pesticides have been found in our food and water supply. While typically found in small amounts, over time the burden to the body may be too much to handle.
According to the EPA, pesticides can affect the nervous system, irritate the skin or eyes, can lead to cancer, and may affect hormones and the endocrine system.
Phthalates are chemicals added to plastics to make them more flexible and also as solvents for other materials. They are used in the plastic containers our foods come in. They are used in cosmetics. And they are even released into the environment around us.
Phthalates have been associated with asthma, can lead to cancer and diabetes, and can cause issues with fertility and development.
Most people know that heavy metals such as mercury and lead can cause severe health problems. Others such as arsenic, aluminum, and cadmium can also be very toxic to the body. These heavy metals can be found in things like vaccines, drinking water, antiperspirants, fish, and more.
Heavy metal toxicity can lead to problems such as neurological disorders, circulatory issues, hormonal imbalances, and DNA damage.
Bisphenol A (BPA)
Similarly to phthalates, Bisphenol A is a chemical used in many plastics. It’s also used to line the containers our foods are stored in and on receipts we handle each time we go shopping. It acts like estrogen in the body and wreaks havoc on the body’s hormonal processes.
BPAs not only affect hormones, but it can cause cancer, infertility, nervous system and cardiovascular abnormalities, bowel issues, diabetes, obesity, and other serious disorders.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs are chemicals that dissolve in water and also become vapor in the air. Sometimes they can react with other gases and become air pollutants. They can be found in products like cigarettes, craft supplies, household cleaners, building materials, paints, and more.
VOCs have been associated with cancer, irritation to the lungs and eyes, neurological problems, and liver and kidneys damage.
Ways to Reduce Toxic Load
Besides avoiding the most common toxins listed above, here are just a few easy ways to reduce the toxic load in your body.
- Eat organic
- Minimize EMFs
- Use an air purifier
- Change or eliminate skincare
- Change cleaning products
- Use non-toxic healthcare options
- Purify your water
- Remove shoes at your front door
- Avoid the dry cleaner
- Choose safer cookware
- Avoid alcohol and soda
- Use wood flooring
- Fix your gut
As with any process, reducing your toxic load will take time. Focus on changing one area at a time and making it a regular part of your life before moving onto the next.
If you’d like more information about reducing your toxic load, click here to become a member of my Holistic Health Network.
If you want one-on-one help, set up a health consult with me. We can take a look at many aspects of your lifestyle and determine some additional courses of action to take.