What does it take to be healthy in a modern, toxic world?
We are lucky to be living in a fast paced modern world that has brought us so many amazing benefits.
But, at the same time, we see unintended problems like chemicals in household and personal care products, energetic pollution (WIFI, cell phone, anyone?) and malnutrition from eating “convenient” processed food, all of which are contributing to toxicity-related health problems. Many chronic psychiatric and medical problems may be caused by toxins derived from chronic infections, environmental exposures from the air, food and water, psychotropic drugs, medications, genetic vulnerabilities and gastrointestinal imbalances. Efforts to help patients detoxify can take up the lion’s share of your time with a medical provider, but you can make some lifestyle and dietary changes today that will assist natural detoxification and begin to improve your health status.
Here are 3 ways to detoxify to help your body rid itself of health-stealing toxins.
Step 1: Avoid or minimize exposure to toxins.
Step 2: Enhance the detoxification of toxins already stored in the body.
Step 3: Make detoxification a way of life.
Step #1 Avoid or Minimize Exposure to Toxins
Limiting exposure to toxins can be relatively simple. For example, adopt a routine lifestyle habit that includes consumption of organic food and filtered clean water, and avoidance of air pollution wherever possible. Minimize contact with Wi-Fi, microwaves and high power lines, and wear devices which decrease their biological harm to offer some protection. If you are a health care provider or healer, since toxicity is the cause of so much disability, make it a routine activity in the care you provide to design a program to mitigate this exposure side of the equation.
Step #2 Enhance the Detoxification of Toxins Stored in the Body
A far more challenging problem is what to do about toxins which are already stored in the body, especially if they may be contributing to psychiatric and medical problems. Firstly, this entails some understanding of what our body does to rid itself of toxins, and then we can make some intelligent choices about helping it out.
Detoxification is a two-step process of oxidation and conjugation. This is analogous to a two-step process that many people use to get rid of trash in their backyards, by first burning it (oxidation) and then carting it away (conjugation). In the body, toxins are first oxidized to make them reactive, and then conjugated to (connected to) certain molecules, which generally make the toxins more soluble in water and easier to excrete.
The ability to detoxify is individual – we all detox differently
What researchers are also now learning is that each individual body is different in its ability to perform these functions. Genetic factors play a role in how we age, how we get rid of the bad stuff in our body, and how vulnerable we are to medical or psychological symptoms.
Toxins can even get lodged in the body and stored in places like fat cells. In addition to everyday environmental toxins from food, pollution, etc. we can be storing toxins from germs like Lyme Disease or other chronic infections, and Candida (mycotoxins). The health of the gastrointestinal tract, where the majority of the immune system resides, is a key factor in clearing toxins from the body.
Step #3 Make Detoxification a Way of Life
Simple ways you can help your body rid itself of toxins:
Sweat more—while exercising, using an infrared sauna, or in the bathtub. Many toxins are removed through sweat. For baths, add a few cups of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate, which assists in the conjugation process) to hot bathwater and soak 30 minutes daily.
Eat more detoxifying foods, such as garlic, onions, broccoli and parsley, which are high in sulfur, a toxin conjugator
Take probiotics to improve gut health.
Drink lots of purified water—three to four quarts a day.
Eat plenty of fiber.
Get genetically tested to determine if you are especially vulnerable to living in the modern age.
See a biological or holistic dentist to get your mouth cleared up from toxic metals & infections.
Incorporating some natural detoxification methods to your health routine may add years to your life, and create an environment for healthier living and strengthening the immune system.
Chas Gant MD, PhD, has practiced Integrative and Functional Medicine for over three decades. He specializes in molecular health and healing, especially as it supports growth and mental health recovery from problems such as ADHD, autism, mood problems, addictions, nicotine dependence, chronic diseases, metabolic and immune disorders, infectious disease, and more. He is an expert in interpretation of functional medicine testing to diagnose precisely what is deficient in each patient, and then replenish those missing, essential items.