When I began this post, I intended it to only be one blog post. However, the more I wrote and the more research I did, the more I realized this isn't even a 2-parter... it's an entire series!!
This post is specifically about sources of toxins that have the potential to damage our health and lead us further towards disease, not towards vitality. In Part 2, I'll share how to protect yourself from these sources. A third addition to this series will be more specific on how these contaminates contribute towards disease. As this series continues, it will get more and more specific. I'm excited to keep writing about it!
Let's dig in.
Do you experience...?
Do you get headaches, migraines, or maybe random nausea? Do you ever get lethargic or tired even after a good night sleep? Frequent allergic reactions, or frequent infections, or bad breath? Difficulty losing weight, chronic water retention, joint pain? Source. Any of these symptoms can indicate many things, including toxic body burden. (Always be sure to check with your doctor).
What is Toxic Body Burden?
Defined by Marriam-Webster, a toxin is "a poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism and is usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into the tissues, and typically capable of inducing antibody formation."
This definition of a toxin covers venom and poison created in all living things. Another item included here is the metabolic waste our bodies make on a daily basis. On it's own, our bodies can excrete these with no problem.
However, post industrial revolution, take into account the amount of environmental toxins (chemicals, pollutants, heavy metals, etc.) we take in daily. This is an overwhelming amount. These toxins often accumulate faster than the body can process and excrete. Over time, the liver, kidneys, and lymph system that works to metabolize and excrete all waste from our bodies, become overburdened and this toxic waste builds up and is stored in our adipose tissue, joints... anywhere the body deems safe enough.
The level at which our body is experiencing this toxicity and the extent it's affecting normal functioning is toxic body burden, or simply body burden, or toxic load.
Therefore, it's instrumental to know WHERE contaminates are coming from so you can protect yourself and your family.
Things you put in your mouth
Pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are not meant to be eaten yet they're all over our food and water supply (from run off and the hydrologic cycle). Hormones, antibiotics, GMO's, heavy metals from fish, and the thousands of additives in our food that many aren't required to even be labeled- our food supply is tainted- to put it nicely.
Things you put on your skin, hair, and nails
Beauty and personal hygiene can be major sources of toxicity unless you take specific steps to protect yourself. From the aluminum in conventional antiperspirant/deodorant to parabens and plastics in lotions; fragrance in hair care and body care; butane, ether, & polymers in hair spray; formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, and toluene in nail polish; and the many chemicals in hair dye that has been deemed “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens.” by the NPT (National Toxicology Program).
This includes drinking water, water we cook with, and the water we bathe in. Water is the universal solvent; it collects and hold everything it touches. When water is treated, most nasty things we don't want do- thankfully- get purified out.
However, with the use of chlorine to sanitize it (which also kills our gut flora), the addition of fluoride, and the many things that are NOT filtered out- such as drugs our neighbors take. You yourself may not be taking these drugs, but you are when you don't filter or purify your water. Medications such as birth control and other hormones, antibiotics, statins, NSAIDS, and even chemotherapy drugs- among many other types of contaminates- are lurking in our water supply.
The off-gassing from carpeting, flame retardants on our furniture, and foam in furniture pollute our indoor air. Our laundry (if you're using conventional chemical filled stuff and not natural detergent) and our kitchen cooking tools such as aluminum, non-stick coated cookware and anything plastic (even when it's BPA free). BPA has been found to prevent chromosomes from aligning, repairing, and separating properly- permanent damage to DNA!
Anything scented with fragrance are unnecessary chemicals adding to polluted indoor air; also insecticide spray, either in the home or in lawn care. Lastly, possible mold contamination from leaking water or damp areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements.
What We Breathe
We can choose what we eat, drink, put on our bodies and in our homes, but we have far less control over what we're breathing. Outdoor air is contaminated, the severity depending proximity to busy roads, urban vs suburban areas, and even near farmland that sprays. Motor vehicle emissions alone contribute nitric acid, VOC'c, carbon monoxide, hazardous air pollutants like benzene (which damages bone marrow and depresses the immune system), and particulate matter (contributes to asthma and lung cancer). Source
What can be done
You may say that the aluminum in deodorant isn't so bad... or a little mercury in fish won't hurt me... the fragrance in my shampoo can't be that harmful... but you can go on and on defending how this or that isn't so bad. And you would be right if that was the only toxic element you were exposed to even just once a week.
However, as the above demonstrates, there are innumerable toxins we consume and surround ourselves with every single day. This adds up and contributes to toxic body burden.
There are many steps you can take to protect you, your family, and your home from contributing to toxic body burden. Read on to find out!
Part II: Managing Toxic Body Burden: How to Protect Yourself (article will be linked once it's published).
To your health and healing,