Updated: Aug 16, 2022
Toxicity – exogenous and endogenous - is now the primary causes of most chronic disease in industrialized countries (Pizzorno, 2015). Human-made chemicals are produced in large scale and are in use all around us. Between 1930 and 2000 global production of synthetic chemicals increased from 1 million to 400 million tonnes each year (WWF, 2019). We live in a toxic world, which gives us at risk for carrying a body burden of synthetic chemicals. Up to 300 man-made synthetics have been found in humans, including dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), bisphenol A (BPA), air pollutants, pesticides, dioxins and phthalates. Unfortunately, the role of toxins and detoxification in maintaining health is very often overlooked by us. We do not realize how often the disease develops due to excess toxins accumulated in our body. Nearly a quarter of global disease burden could be prevented by reducing toxins exposure (Prüss-Ustün et al., 2017).
Toxins can be divided into:
(1) external (exogenous) toxins:
• heavy metals, petrochemicals, pesticides and fertilizers, cleaning products, etc.
• food allergens
• preservatives, trans isomers, oxidized fats, sugars
• environmental allergens, e g. moulds and toxins from moulds
• exoparasites (parasites that live on the outer surface of its host).
(2) internal (endogenous) toxins:
• bacterial, fungal and yeast hypertrophy
• lingering viral infection
• endoparasites (parasites that live in the tissues and organs of their hosts, e.g. tapeworms, flukes, and protozoans)
• hormonal imbalance, metabolites, xenobiotics
• chronic stress.
Quite often people feel unwell or have abnormal blood results, but doctors can’t find the cause of the problem(s). Or the cause has been found but the symptom/disease is hard to treat. Many of us probably have symptoms of chronic toxicity, but do not associate them with toxic load. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may possibly have a problem with toxicity:
• I have one or more of the following symptoms: fatigue, headache, joint and muscle pain, problems with concentration and memory, mood swings.
• I have chronic constipation. Irregular bowel movements cause the toxins contained in the stool to return to the body, causing its dysfunction.
• I have dark colour urine with an intense smell. This may indicate a high concentration of metabolites.
• I have an autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or multiple chemical sensitivity.
• I work or live in a "cramped" building with poor ventilation system.
• I live in a large urban or industrial area.
• I have more than 1-2 amalgam fillings in my teeth.
• I often eat processed or canned food.
• I am sensitive to the smell of perfumes, textiles, chemicals, hair spray, soaps, detergents, tobacco smoke, chlorinated water, printer ink, etc.
• I have joint and muscle pain or symptoms of hypoglycaemia (anxiety, palpitations, sweating, dizziness) when drinking coffee or substances containing caffeine.
• I have food allergies, hypersensitivity or intolerance including a negative reaction to the foods containing glutamate, sulphites, histamine (preservatives, dried fruit, smoked fish or meat, red wine, cheese, chocolate, even a small amount of alcohol).
• I take a lot of drugs like antibiotics, painkillers, antihistamines, proton pump inhibitors, etc.
• I am in constant stress and agitation. I feel anxious and depressed.
We have appropriate mechanisms responsible for maintaining cleanliness in our body. Those include liver, kidneys, intestine, respiratory tract, lymph system and skin. Toxins in our body usually accumulate slowly and in different body parts, leading to disruption of detoxification processes. It is like the process of filling a glass, drop by drop. If we don't do anything about it, the glass will certainly fill, which will cause overflow of water. When our detoxification system is overloaded, we begin to feel symptoms and get sick, but it may take years before this happens. Symptoms that may indicate a problem with excessive accumulation of toxins in the body due to toxins exposure or failure in body’s natural detoxification mechanisms include:
• fatigue (Brever et al., 2013; Racciatti et al., 2001)
• headaches (Martin and Becker, 1993)
• difficulty concentrating (Liu and Lewis, 2014)
• sleep problems (Shiue, 2017; Kafle et al., 2020)
• muscles and joints pain (Lundberg et al., 1994; Olsson et al., 2004)
• sinus congestion, postnasal drip, excessive sinus problems (Bener et al., 2008; Collins et al., 2002; Hox et al., 2012; Thilsing et al., 2012)
• bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhoea, foul-smelling stools (Marynowski et al., 2015; Abegunde et al., 2016)
• trouble losing weight (Kelishadi et al., 2013; Egusquiza and Blumberg, 2020)
• rashes, eczema, psoriasis, canker sores, acne (Kim, 2015; Araviiskaia et al., 2019)
• premenstrual syndrome and other menstrual disorders (Piazza et al., 2019).
Not only the symptoms but also changes in the blood test results correlate with toxic load and include:
· decreased white blood cell count (Serdar et al., 2014)
· increased level of C-reactive protein (CRP) – a marker of inflammation (Kim et al., 2012)
· elevated fasting glucose and HbA1c (Suarez-Lopez et al., 2015)
· change in total serum cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol level (Goncharov et al., 2008; Penell et al., 2014)
· reduced thyroid hormones T3 and T4 (Kim et al., 2013)
· elevated liver enzymes including aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and GGTP (Serdar et al., 2014)
· increased uric acid level (Steenland et al., 2010) - linked with the gout, hypertension, atherosclerosis, insulin resistance and diabetes.
Accumulation of toxins and malfunction of the organs responsible for detoxification contribute to the formation of inflammation giving rise to the disease. Diseases that may begin with toxicity include:
· asthma, allergies and intolerances (Yang et al., 2014)
· autoimmune diseases e.g. arthritis, Hashimoto, lupus, Multiple Sclerosis (Lundberg et al., 1994; D'Cruz, 2000; Olsson et al., 2004; Pearce and Braverman, 2009; Boas et al.,, 2012; Mak and Tay, 2014; Hachim et al., 2019; Khan and Wang, 2020)
· cancer (Pogribny and Rusyn, 2013; Langie et al., 2015)
· cardiovascular diseases (O'Toole et al., 2008; Burroughs Peña and Rollins, 2017; Chowdhury et al., 2018)
· digestive system diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases (Marynowski et al., 2015; Abegunde et al., 2016)
· fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity (Racciatti et al., 2001; Fernández-Solà et al., 2005; Hyvönen et al., 2020)
· menstrual problems such as heavy bleeding, cramps, premenstrual syndrome, menopausal symptoms, mood changes and hot flashes, polycystic ovary syndrome (Piazza et al., 2019)
· neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases (Chin et al., 2015).
Why aren't we all sick considering the same exposure to toxic loads and the fact that we all live in the same world? Because each of us is genetically and biochemically different. Some of us have a much more efficient detoxification system and are easier to get rid of toxins and waste than others. Some have mutations in the genes responsible for toxins removal. The key to success is finding out how to increase our body's ability to detoxify and get rid of waste, while minimizing exposure to toxins.
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