Why Detox?

Detox Grass Green

Toxins are substances that cause disease when present at low concentration in the body. We are all exposed to toxins on a daily basis in the form of pollutants in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the foods we eat. We come into contact with toxins when we fill up our cars at gas stations, enter closed buildings, inhale cigarette smoke and even handle flea collars for our pets.

Here are some facts about the prevalence of toxins in our environment.

• In 1982 the Environmental Protection Agency tested for 54 chemicals and found 5 of them in 100% of the fat biopsies they sampled, and 9 more in 91% of the samples

• In 2003, the Environmental Working Group found 167different toxic compounds in blood samples. The average number per person was 91.

• The pesticide DDT was banned in the United States in 1972 and worldwide in 2001, yet its metabolite was found in 74% of 300 foods sampled in Dallas supermarkets in 2009. High fat foods including salmon, peanut butter, ice cream, cheese and butter contained the most contaminants. 100% of raisins, spinach and beef samples were contaminated.

The good news is that the human body has numerous ways to rid itself of toxins. Heavy metals such as lead can be sweated out through the skin. The intestines excrete fat-soluble and food-borne toxins with each bowel movement. The kidneys release water-soluble toxins such as drugs in the urine.

When the toxic burden is too high for the normal functioning of body systems, toxic overload can occur. Symptoms may include skin rashes, thyroid dysfunction, gas, bloating, weight gain, shortness of breath, urinary tract infections, asthma, joint and muscle pain, cardiac arrhythmia, infertility and miscarriages.

To prevent the many and varied symptoms of excessive toxins, everyone should engage in detoxification on an ongoing basis. Detoxification consists of limiting exposure to toxins while supporting overworked organ systems in removing chemicals and their byproducts from the body.

There are many methods to decrease toxic exposure, such as eating organic food, avoiding dry cleaning your clothes, and using an ozone generator, water purifier, and air filter.

Supportive measures include adding more fiber to your diet, engaging in moderate exercise, using the sauna, protecting your liver with supplements like milk thistle and stimulating your lymphatic system by stroking your skin with a natural bristle brush.

Since toxin exposure is unavoidable, detoxification should be a regular part of your healthcare regimen. A detox protocol optimized for any one individual can only be formulated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Jessica Needle, ND practices at Optimal Health Center

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