When you're suffering from digestive issues, chronic fatigue or another ongoing "mystery" condition it's easy to be overwhelmed. Especially when there is no solid explanation for how you became sick and what you can do to get well. The truth is, however, you're not alone.
In fact, there are over 50 million Americans diagnosed with unexplainable diseases today and unfortunately, those numbers are rising. So why, as we continue to make medical advances, are we getting more sick? The reason is the increase of toxins in our modern environment. Understanding toxins and how to detox your body from them can help you to get well again.
In our increasingly industrialized world, toxic chemicals are everywhere. We have relied upon these chemicals to help us grow our food, provide our water supply, build our homes, clean and beautify our bodies, cure our diseases, and create the electronics that make our lives easier.
In many ways, these chemicals have been crucial to our development and growth in modern society. But many scientists, doctors, and researchers have also recognized that these chemicals can cause serious health problems in those who are exposed to them over time, especially because our body is not built to handle today's toxic load.
In fact, there's a very good chance that the chronic symptoms or even the chronic diseases that you suffer from are rooted in an over-exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment. Many people are suffering from a mystery illness caused by toxic overload in the body. Since these chemicals and heavy metals are present in almost every environment, it's practically impossible to avoid them.
However, there are basic steps you can take to understand which chemicals or toxicities you might be suffering from. We will outline some of the biggest culprits of toxicity and how you can acquire the information you need to finally feel balanced and well.
When many are first introduced to the idea of toxicity as a health issue, they often wonder why their body can't process the chemicals they encounter. After all, if we are all being exposed to the same chemicals, why isn't everyone sick? Doesn't our body filter out toxins?
The short answer is yes. In fact, keeping toxins out of the blood is one of the primary roles your kidneys and liver play in your body. Detoxifying the body is an essential function, and when you are properly nourished, well-rested, and have access vitality in your cells, your body can keep out the chemicals and other toxins that make it difficult for it to function properly.
This is wonderful news because once you bring your body back into balance, you can maintain health and wellness even if there is still some toxic exposure in your life (which, in the modern world, is almost impossible to prevent).
The primary issue is over-exposure to toxicity. In Dr.Cabral's best-selling book, The Rain Barrel Effect, he explains how this works using the metaphor of a rain barrel.
Basically, your body flushes out toxins on a daily basis in the same way that a rain barrel collects water from a gutter to prevent flooding in your yard.
When the rain is so heavy that it fills the rain barrel to the top, it eventually spills over. In your yard, that could mean flooding your flower garden or damaging your patio furniture.
But in your body, this means that toxins begin "spilling" out of your rain barrel, poisoning all the systems of your body and causing all kinds of seemingly unconnected symptoms.
So what can you do? The first step is to understand the top areas in your life where you may be encountering toxins that are filling up your "rain barrel".
Below are some of the top sources of toxins that may be contributing to your symptoms and diseases of the body as you read this.
1. Heavy Metals
Heavy metals are an often overlooked source of toxicity, especially because some amount of these metals are present in everyone's body -- though toxicity is a matter of the body becoming overloaded by heavy metals. The biggest culprits are lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, bromides, and aluminum.
While regulators have caught on to the dangers of many of these heavy metals and have taken some steps to reduce our exposure, all of these compounds were used for decades in everything from lead pipes carrying our drinking water and mercury fillings inside of our teeth.
If you've been searching for answers with your symptoms, determining the levels of heavy metals in your blood is an essential step
2. Synthetic Foods
The foods we eat on a daily basis are another huge source of damaging toxins and poisons. Genetically modified organisms (or GMOs) are one problem area as these are foods developed in a lab to be tolerant of pesticide use. These foods are most prominently used in the production of staple crops like soy and corn and ultimately find their way into almost all of the processed foods that we eat.
Other toxins in our foods include hormones, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners. In general, if you are ingesting a diet high in processed foods, fast foods, and industrially raised meat or dairy products, there's a good chance that the food you're eating is making you sick.
Did you ever wonder how they give cancer to the rats they are using for scientific research on cancer? The answer may shock you—they actually expose them to high levels of pesticides!
Pesticides such as Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) are found on the food we eat as well as in the air we breathe and the water we drink. Educating yourself about the source of your water and food (even if you are eating fruits and vegetables primarily) is essential to avoiding this toxic exposure.
4. Tap Water
Toxic runoff from industrial agriculture and meat production has been polluting our water systems for some time now. Waste management and sewer treatment plants have also contributed to creating a water supply that is polluted with harmful bacteria.
Municipal authorities have decided to solve this issue by flooding our water supply with chemicals like chlorine to kill bacteria. The issue is, it also kills the good bacteria inside of our bodies, which can lead to gut and digestion issues.
We understand that reading this article itself could be creating some stress—it can be overwhelming to consider how toxic the environment has become.
But that stress probably doesn't compare with the internal stress your body experiences through this constant exposure. When our bodies have to work overtime in order to detoxify, we end up in a constant state of fight or flight.
And what does this constant stress cause? Increased inflammation and toxicity in our bodies. In fact, internal or emotional stresses can be one of the biggest factors in increasing your overall toxic load.
6. Pharmaceutical Drugs
This can be a controversial toxin source to consider, but remember that from a functional medicine perspective, we are capable of achieving a level of balance and health that should help prevent chronic diseases and fight off most infections using our body's natural processes alone.
For the past half-century or more, we have been prescribed pharmaceutical drugs that employ heavy chemicals in order to treat or manage our symptoms. But many of these drugs have been found to have serious side effects that can greatly increase our toxicity levels over time.
7. In-Home Sickness
Another big source of toxic exposure is right in our home environment, from the synthetic carpets we walk on to the metal fixtures in our showers and even the dryer sheets that we toss in with our laundry.
We construct buildings and homes from materials laced with dangerous chemicals and toxins and then trap them in the air we breathe on a daily basis. Compounded with the fact that we spend the majority of our time indoors, the result is increased exposure to toxins.
8. Electrosmog (EMFs)
The level of exposure to electromagnetic frequencies in our world today—from computers to cell phones to television sets is unprecedented in the history of humanity. Researchers are just beginning to understand how this exposure can cause increased toxicity in the body, but it is definitely an area to consider if you're trying to get a handle on your own toxicity.
All of this toxic exposure can cause ongoing damage inside of your gut, which is also inextricably linked to your immune system. Over 80% of the cells in your immune system are inside your gut.
When your rain barrel overflows with toxins, your immune system unsuccessfully tries to manage the onslaught. Ultimately, this can lead to an overgrowth of the bacteria and fungi that naturally populate your gut and aid digestion.
Eventually, your body must deal with two levels of 'invasion'—first, clearing toxins from external sources, and second managing the overgrowth of bacteria or candida in your gut.
Ultimately, your digestive system can stop functioning properly and you end up not getting the nutrients you need to properly energize your cells—making it even more difficult for your body to maintain a healthy balance.
That's why it's so often the case that issues of the gut are at the core of autoimmune disorders—and also why you may never experience wellness until you have a full understanding of the toxins your body is currently trying to manage.
When people come to us having already received a chronic disease diagnosis and have not been able to see any progress with their symptoms from the traditional treatment options—we encourage them to closely examine toxicity in their life.
If you do find that you are suffering from toxic overload, your next step would be to perform a Functional Medicine detox to reduce the body's toxic load by lessening the exposure to harmful chemicals (by eating a meticulously clean diet) while simultaneously increasing the elimination of toxins that are already stored up inside the body (by ramping up the body's detoxification processes).
By the way, it's really not a question of "Do you need to detox?"—everyone can benefit. With close to 100,000 man-made, synthetic chemicals in the environment, escaping toxins in our modern world is impossible. Therefore, it's imperative that we understand how our body eliminates these chemicals and what it needs to support this process.
A Functional Medicine detox decreases inflammation and toxins in your body. It does so by temporarily removing problematic foods while simultaneously improving the detoxifying power of your liver, which filters all of the blood in your body every three minutes.
Your body has its own natural ways of detoxifying. However, a functional medicine detox provides it with the support it needs to face today's toxic burden. It does this by giving it a temporary boost through scientifically researched foods and nutritional supplements that have been proven to assist the liver in its job of clearing toxins out of the blood.
Casey was a 45-year-old accountant that came to us on crutches, barely able to eat solid food, and no answers in terms of what could be making him sick. Truly at the end of his rope, he felt like his body was failing, but couldn't even find a diagnosis.
Right away when he completed an at-home toxicity test, though, it became clear that toxic exposure was wreaking havoc on his body. We found out through conversation that he had spent a few decades in his youth working as a firefighter.
The amount of exposure firefighters experience can be extremely high, especially since when homes burn, a wide variety of toxic chemicals are released and the firefighters are often there breathing them in.
Casey was given a personalized protocol to help him rid his body of these chemicals and fortify it with the missing minerals and vitamins he needed to rebuild. In a few months, he was back on his feet and feeling better than he had in years.
At EquiLife, we know how daunting it can be to be facing a diagnosis of chronic illness that is already wreaking havoc on your life—and have no treatment answers or ideas of how you could move forward.
But through our understanding of toxicity in our environment and how toxic exposure happens, we can mitigate and manage how much toxicity we subject our bodies to and find ways to detoxify and finally feel well.