Detoxification: Answering Your Questions
Are We All Toxic?
The short answer to this question is yes: we are all toxic. Each of us has chemicals, such as pollutants, in our bodies that negatively affect our health. Table 1 shows four types of pollutants released into our environment annually by Canadian industry.
In 2006, Environmental Defense Canada conducted a national study on the levels of pollution in Canadians. The study detected a cocktail of toxic chemicals in every person tested; with the average person burdened by 50 chemicals linked to cancer. Regardless of where we live, how old we are, or what we do for a living, we are all contaminated with measurable levels of chemicals that can cause health problems.
How Do Toxins Affect Us?
Toxins have various negative effects on our bodies. You may experience symptoms such as fatigue, depression, poor memory, headaches, balance problems, and neurological issues.
Several health issues are correlated with the build up of toxins in our bodies:
- Respiratory illnesses: asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, lung cancer
- Chronic infections
- Autoimmune problems: rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, thyroid disease
- Several forms of cancer
- Reproductive disorders: endometriosis, infertility, birth defects, testicular dysgenesis syndrome (testicular cancer, low sperm count and motility, undescended testes, and hypospadias)
A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives included research from a UCLA and USC study that linked air particles to cell damage. This was the first study to show that very tiny particles travel beyond the lungs and bloodstream to penetrate deep inside cells. Pollutants accumulate within a critical cellular component called the mitochondria that powers the cell and maintains its function. Damage to that cellular component is known to lead to an assortment of diseases. Mitonchondira combine sugar and oxygen to produce the fuel that keeps cells running. The UCLA and USC study shows that pollution damaged the shape of mitochondria, causing them to stop producing the cellular fuel and start producing other chemicals, which lead to more inflammation and cell damage.
What Can We Do to Detoxify?
In her book, Detoxify or Die, Dr. Sherry Rogers offers a clear answer: air and water filtration. Her book summarizes several studies that show that environmental toxins are everywhere and then offers the following steps for reducing our exposure.
1. Reduce and avoid exposure to known sources of toxins in:
- Indoor air
- Water (drinking, cooking, bathing)
- Personal care products
2. Enhance the function of our detoxification organs with:
(Dr. Sherry Rogers states that healthy detox membranes are needed to help the body eliminate toxins. In other words, to detoxify effectively, it is essential to take in water and air without toxins.)
3. Assess our toxic burden with laboratory evaluations:
- Urine Toxic Metals (www.doctorsdata.com)
- Environmental Pollutant Profile: volatile solvents, phthalates, parabens (www.rmalab.com)
- Toxic Effects Profiles: porphyrins, phthalates and parabens, chlorinated pesticides, PCBs, volatile solvents, organophophates, bisphenol A (www.metametrix.com)
This article is written by Mario Di Franco (Purahome President, HBsc, MScEd CWSI) and Elly Jenkyns, a Naturopathic Doctor certified in Environmental Medicine. She has a special interest in using accredited medical labs to help her patients assess their toxicity, and initiate medical detoxification protocols including custom compounded supplement formulas to help reduce toxicity. Contact Elly Jenkyns at 905-684-1500 or visit www.ellyjenkyns-nd.ca for more information.