What are Toxins?
Toxins are anything that interferes with normal physiology and impacts bodily functions in a negative way. It comes from the food we consume, the water we drink, the products we use and even in the water we drink. It’s all around us!
Endotoxins vs. Exotoxins:
Endotoxins are toxic substances bound to our bacterial cell wall and are released when the bacterium ruptures. Ammonia, uric acid, lactic acid and homocysteine are a part of the endotoxin category. These substances are waste products from our cell’s normal activities. The build up of these toxins cause diseases. Gout, for example is caused by uric acid lingering in our bodies.
Exotoxins are toxins secreted by a bacteria. They can cause major damage by destroying cells or disrupting normal cellular metabolism in the host that carries them. These substances are human-made toxins or chemicals that we are exposed to unknowingly or we expose ourselves to willingly. They are found in processed foods, food packaging, prescription drugs, synthetic clothes, carpets (especially synthetic wall-to-wall carpet), building materials, house paint, mattresses, vinyl shower curtains, air fresheners, household cleaning products, cosmetic and skin-care products, perfumes, consumer products (even children’s toys!), emissions from cars and trucks, car interiors and tap water.
How Toxins Affect Our Health
The numerous amounts of toxins that we are exposed to everyday manifests in different health problems for each of us. Some symptoms related to toxicity are allergies, headaches, low energy, depression, bowel irregularities such as constipation and diarrhea, digestive problems and skin issues.
Toxins can affect our health in many ways. Some can kill the friendly bacteria in our guts, block oxygen from binding to red blood cells, interfere with DNA synthesis, block enzymes the body needs for normal functions or block absorption of vitamins and minerals. When toxins in our tissues and cells build up faster than they can be eliminated, bioaccumulation occurs. The toxins that remain circulating in our bodies can cause irritation and damage. When toxins are accompanied by other toxins in the same environment, they can cause further damage.
The body is designed to get rid of toxicity through our liver, kidneys and intestines. When these three main pathways aren’t functioning properly, toxins exits through our skin and lungs. Acne, skin rashes and chronic fatigue are just a few signs that our bodies are backed up with toxins. Since toxins are everywhere, it’s nearly impossible to eliminate all toxicity from our lives. However, it is possible to reduce our exposure to toxins.
5 Ways to Reduce Your Toxic Load
By Dr. Alejandro Junger
1. Eat Whole foods
The major source of chemicals and toxins comes from our food. So we’ll repeat this until the cows come home: Look for whole foods free of preservatives, conservatives, and coloring agents. If available, choose chemical-free and organic varieties.
2. Find your toxic triggers
Toxicity is not a new problem. Long before we added the burden of human-made chemicals to our bodies, toxic buildup could occur from eating too many of the foods that don’t work for you.
3. Use chemical-free cosmetics, body care, and cleaning products
Over the last few years, this topic has been written about extensively. We now have lots of companies that are creating chemical-free products. A single toxin is often not the problem, it’s the symphony of them interacting together.
4. Filter your water
Water is a major source of toxins today. A recent study showed that 41 million Americans drink water contaminated with antidepressants, hormones, heart medications, and other prescription and over-the-counter medications that have made it through the water-treatment system. Add to that the chlorine, carcinogens from industrial and agricultural waste, and you’ve got some real messy stuff.
5. Do a seasonal Cleanse.
Cleansing is not an afterthought for health, it’s essential in today’s chemical-laden society.
Every little step we take to reduce our exposure to toxins can enhance our everyday lives through better moods, good health and overall vitality.