Natural and Organic Skin Care

Oh you nasty toxins! Let’s detox you guys out of our body!

Regardless of who you are and where you live, whether you’d like to be or not, you are exposed to countless toxins every single day. Every single person and animal on our Earth has within their tissues residues of toxic chemicals or heavy metals. Since the turn of the century over 80,000 chemicals have been introduced into this world, the significant portion of which have never been tested for safety, let alone for their synergistic actions with one another. It’s frustrating to say the least, often overwhelming when you begin to really grasp the topic and its far-reaching implications.

At this point in time, there really is no denying the negative effects these chemicals are having on us, on animals, and on our Earth in general. The chemical industry makes the argument that we are exposed to these toxins in such minute amounts that it’s really nothing to worry about. However, what they don’t take into account is how these toxins bioaccumulate in our body and the effect that they have, even in miniscule amounts, and especially when present with one another, on our various bodily systems and on our overall ability to detoxify them. In 1972 the Environmental Protection Agency began the National Human Adipose Tissue Survey, the goal of which has been to monitor human exposure to environmental chemicals. This study evaluates the levels of various toxins in the fat tissue from cadavers and elective surgeries.  Five of what are known to be the most toxic chemicals were found in 100% of all samples (OCDD or octachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, styrene, 1,4- dichlorobenzene, xylene, and ethylphenol—toxic chemicals from industrial pollution that damage the liver, heart, lungs, and nervous system). Nine more chemicals were found in 91-98% of samples: benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, DDE (a breakdown product of DDT, the pesticide banned in the US since 1972), three dioxins, and one furan. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were found in 83% of the population. A Michigan study found DDT in over 70% of 4 years olds, probably received through breast milk.

So Where Do The Toxins Come From?

There are two mains sources for exposure to toxins – external and internal. While there are certainly more external toxins than internal ones, both have the ability to overload our bodies’ detoxification mechanisms, allowing accumulation to occur.

External Toxins: The Dangers from Without

External toxins include chemicals and heavy metals. The heavy metals with the most adverse effects on human include

  • Lead – found in some pottery, toys, old paint, traditional cosmetics, household dust, and more
  • Mercury – found in vaccines, amalgam dental fillings, and some fish
  • Cadmium – cigarette smoke, fossil fuel emissions, certain foods such as shellfish, liver, and kidney meats
  • Arsenic – cigarettes, contaminated ground water which then leads to Drinking-water, crops irrigated with contaminated water and food prepared with contaminated water becoming sources of exposure as well
  • Nickel – in the air due to fossil fuel emissions, in small amounts in food, water and soil, smoking, everyday contact with nickel containing jewelry and stainless steel cookware
  • Aluminum – aluminum pots and pans, beverages in aluminum cans (the phosphoric acid in soda leaches aluminum from the walls of the cans), baking powder and soda, deodorant, white flour (used as a bleaching agent), cake mixes, commercial teas, toothpaste, sunscreen, lotions, cosmetics, infant formula (soy contains 10 times more so than milk based), cigarette filters, anti-acids, buffered aspirin, vaccines

Chemical toxins include

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – carpets and adhesives, composite wood products, paints, sealing caulks, solvents, upholstery fabrics, varnishes, vinyl floors, air fresheners, air cleaners that produce ozone, cleaning and disinfecting chemicals, cosmetics, fuel oil, gasoline, moth balls, vehicle exhaust running a car in an attached garage
  • Solvents (cleaning materials, formaldehyde, toluene, benzene), medications
  • Alcohol
  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Food additives
  • Certain infections, such as the hepatitis C virus
  • Mold toxins

Our modern refined diet is another significant source of toxins, but one that we can exert a lot more control over. The standard American diet consists of significant amounts of sugar, processed foods, high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, aspartame and foods made with genetically modified organisms, as well as hormones and antibiotics found in all non-organic meats and dairy, not to mention the various plastics our food is packaged in.

Internal Toxins: Danger from Within

Internally, toxins include microbial compounds from bacteria, yeast, or other organisms, as well as the breakdown products of normal protein metabolism. Our gut is home to a plethora of bacteria and yeast that outnumber the total number of all of the cells in our entire body by 3 to 1! While these organisms are extremely important to our overall health, they do create waste, metabolic by-products and cellular debris that can interfere with many body functions and lead to increased inflammation and oxidative stress if not excreted appropriately.

So what can we do to lessen our exposure to all of these toxins?

The first is to simply try to avoid as many as possible.

  • Switch out your cleaning supplies to ones that don’t use harsh chemicals
  • Ditch your traditional deodorant and cosmetics
  • Buy organic food whenever possible
  • Drink filtered water (reverse osmosis or carbon filter).
  • Installing HEPA/ULPA filters and ionizers in your home can be helpful in reducing dust, molds, volatile organic compounds, and other sources of indoor air pollution.
  • Clean and monitor the heating system in your home for release of carbon monoxide, the most common cause of death by poisoning in America.
  • Have houseplants that help filter the air.
  • Air out your dry cleaning before wearing it.
  • Avoid excess exposure to environmental petrochemicals (garden chemicals, dry cleaning, car exhaust, second-hand smoke).
  • Dust regularly
  • Minimize electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from radios, TVs, and microwave ovens (better yet, ditch the microwave altogether!).
  • Reduce ionizing radiation (from sun exposure or medical tests such as X-rays).
  • Reduce heavy metal exposure (predatory and river fish, water, lead paint, thimerosal-containing products, etc.).

Then we want to to help improve our bodies’ elimination of toxins. We can do that by:

  • Have 1-2 bowel movements a day.
  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water or detoxifying tea a day – detoxifying herbs that you can use for tea/infusions include:
    • Burdock
    • Dandelion root
    • Ginger root
    • Licorice root
    • Sarsaparilla root
    • Cardamom seed
    • Cinnamon Bark.
  • Sweat regularly – exercise, yoga, or lymphatic massage can improve lymph flow and help flush toxins out of your tissues into your circulation so they can be detoxified.
    • Exercise 30 min/day or more and make sure to sweat!
    • Use steam baths or saunas – infrared saunas may be even more beneficial
  • Increase Fiber Intake
    • Eat more beans, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
  • Feed Your Gut with Healthy Bacteria
    • Taking probiotics such as lactobacillus and bifidobacteria species helps normalize gut flora and reduce endotoxins (toxins produced by imbalances in gut bacteria).
    • Eat traditional fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt with live active cultures, sauerkraut, kim chee, or miso
  • Eat Foods and Phytochemicals that Boost Detoxification
    • Eat at least one cup of cruciferous vegetables daily
    • Eat a few cloves of garlic everyday or take a garlic supplement.
    • Decaffeinated green tea in the morning.
    • Fresh vegetable juices including carrots, celery, cilantro, beets, parsley, and ginger.
    • Eat high-quality, sulfur-containing proteins – eggs, whey protein, garlic, and onions.
    • Consume citrus peels, caraway, and dill oil (they contain limonene).
    • Consume bioflavonoids in grapes, berries, and citrus fruits.
    • Eat cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, collards, kale, Brussels sprouts).
    • Consume dandelion greens to help liver detoxification, improve the flow of bile, and increase urine flow.
    • Eat celery to increase the flow of urine and aid in detoxification.
    • Consume cilantro, which may help remove heavy metals.
    • Consume rosemary, which has carnosol, a potent booster of detoxification enzymes.
    • Consume curcuminoids (turmeric and curry) for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action.
    • Consume chlorophyll in dark green leafy vegetables and in wheat grass.
  • Consider Supplements for Detoxification
    • Take a high potency multi-vitamin and mineral formula.
    • Take extra-buffered vitamin C 1000-4000 mg a day with mineral ascorbates in powder, capsule, or tablets during periods of increased detoxification. (This can cause loose stools. If it does, just reduce the dose or stop.)
    • Take milk thistle (silymarin) 70t o 210 mg a day.
    • Supplement with essential fatty acids (omega-3fattyacids), 1000-2000 mg a day.
    • Take pycnogenol (found in grape seeds) in supplement form or support of detoxification and circulation

* Credit for many of the helpful suggestions goes to Dr. Mark Hyman!

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