We live in a world full of toxins and it’s hard for the body to function optimally if it has to clear out the toxins on a regular basis. A Toxic load refers to the accumulation of toxins and chemicals in our bodies that we ingest from a variety of sources such as food, beauty products, and the environment.
What Is A Toxic Load? Does Everyone Struggle With Toxins?
The body is designed to have certain barriers that are meant to protect and allow nutrients, blood flow, and oxygen into our cells and brain. These systems are known as our skin, lungs, gut, and brain. In a perfect world, these systems are designed to work synergistically to keep the body healthy. Toxins are a big problem for everyone, however, they can present different challenges for different people. What may be considered a toxin for one person may not affect another person in the same way. What are some toxins that disrupt our system barriers? Let’s take a look at what Dr. John Thomas says about some possible toxic contributors to people’s health.
What is a food allergy? A food allergy can cause tingling in the mouth, swelling of the lips, tongue, face or throat, hives, and anaphylaxis. Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, bee venom, pet dander, or a food that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people. Allergy symptoms, which depend on the substance involved, can affect your airways, sinuses and nasal passages, skin, and digestive system. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe and in some severe cases, allergies can trigger a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
What is an intestinal pathogen? A Gastrointestinal infection is any infection caused by a virus, bacteria, or parasite that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (GI). Some characteristic symptoms of intestinal pathogens are excessive, watery diarrhea, and stomach pain. The diagnosis of the responsible intestinal pathogen requires the detection of the organism in the feces, duodenal fluid, or small intestine using biopsy specimens.
Mold is a type of fungus that grows in moisture, either indoors or outdoors. While the mold spores are constantly floating in the air and can trigger reactions, the problem worsens when these spores attach to a wet surface, and mold begins to grow. What is mold? The primary allergen in a mold is the mold spore. Because these spores can eventually make their way into the air, they can also make their way into your nose. This triggers an allergic reaction. This mold has been linked to allergies and asthma and can cause detrimental effects to those individuals that are sensitive to this fungus.
Toxic stress affects people across all stages of life. Toxic stress isn’t so much about the cause of the stress, but about the chronic and ongoing nature of stress. The long-term effects will differ depending on the age of the person and the stage of brain development when they are exposed to the stress. In a chronically stressful environment, the body’s stress response is always on. There is very little relief from the surge of chemicals and the increase in heart rate and blood pressure. When this happens, stress becomes toxic and can cause dramatic changes in the brain and body. When the brain is constantly exposed to a toxic environment, it will shut down to protect itself from that environment. The brain continues working, but its rate of growth slows right down, creating a vulnerability to anxiety, depression, and less resilience to stress.
The effects of stress can cause nutritional deficiencies in our eating habits and digestion can be impaired. This can lead to appetite fluctuations and digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders. This happens due to the activated fight or flight response in the central nervous system which immediately shuts down digestion. This will cause the restriction of blood flow and slow down the contractions of the digestive muscles while decreasing secretions needed for digestion.
Leaky gut or increased intestinal permeability (IP), is a condition that creates gaps in the lining of the intestinal walls. These gaps allow food particles, bacteria, and waste products to seep directly into the bloodstream. In leaky gut syndrome, inflammation, and bacterial imbalances in the gut can cause these gaps to expand. This allows harmful substances to leak into the bloodstream and travel throughout the body causing damage.
Drug toxicity or drug interactions are common and significant health problems, yet many times it often goes undetected by both patients and doctors. Drug interactions can cause symptoms such as mental disorientation, dizziness, blurred vision, memory loss, fainting, and falls. Although drug toxicity may result when a medication dose is too high, it can also happen because of a person’s ability to metabolize a drug changes over time and may go undetected until it’s too late.
Environmental toxicity can be in the form of manmade and natural chemicals that can have a tremendous impact on our health and the environment. Environmental toxicologists aim to understand the effects of chemicals and physical agents such as dust, mold, cigarette smoke, vehicle exhaust, pesticides, radiation, and heavy metals on both human health and ecosystems. There is still much to learn about the effects of the environment on our health and well being. For now, we are learning that poor air quality and pesticides can have an impact on our health.
Hormones imbalances can create a toxic load for the body due to the stress it places on the body’s systems. Many women turn to hormone replacement therapy or birth control for relief only to find that the side effects are often worse than the symptoms. Some of the side effects might include constipation, diarrhea, and menopausal symptoms, even if you’ve already been in menopause. For example, you may experience vaginal dryness, hot flushes, sweating, and a lowered sex drive. Some hormone therapies can cause hair thinning and you might develop pains in your joints or experience weight gain, depression, and blood clots.
Compromised Detox Pathways
When you have system barriers that have been compromised it makes the body susceptible to a greater toxic burden. Both Western and Integrative medicine experts agree that the more compromised these barriers become the more impaired the liver’s ability to break down and bind the circulating toxins. When the liver becomes overburdened with processed foods, pathogens, drugs, metals, pesticides, herbicides, and petrochemicals from our air, food, and water the more compromised the immune system becomes. You don’t need to have elevated liver enzymes to show up on your blood work to have compromised liver detoxification pathways, many times the symptoms speak for themselves.
How do You determine your Toxic Load
In order to find out if you have a toxic load in your body and what detox works best for you, Dr. John Thomas recommends finding a knowledgeable doctor who understands the correct testing for toxic burdens. Many times people can experience difficulties during heavy metal detoxification, so having a doctor who can help you navigate the symptoms and get to the root cause of toxic burden can make a huge difference with results. When you work to detoxify and clear the toxic load and open the detox pathways, the body can now heal and regenerate to a healthy state, as it was intended to function.
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