Article By: Dr. Nadia Kumentas ND
Although you may be familiar with the term “detoxification” do you really know what it entails? Most people link doing a detox with weight loss and while this isn’t necessarily false, there is a lot more to consider when we want to partake in a full body detox.To start off, is doing a “detox” even necessary? The short answer is YES. In today’s world we encounter around 2.5 billion pounds of toxic chemicals (including 6 million pounds of mercury alone) each year. Did you know that the average newborn baby has 287 known toxins in his or her umbilical cord blood? You can only imagine how many toxins you have been exposed to by this point in your life if we started with that level of toxic load!
Here are some, but not all, of the factors that can contribute to your total toxic load (i.e. total amount of accumulated toxins in the body):
- Heavy metal exposure ex. Mercury, lead, petrochemicals, residues, pesticides, and fertilizers
- Allergies ex. Food allergies, environmental allergies, molds
- Poor diet ex. Eating a standard American diet that includes processed, high fat, high sugar, high salt foods
- Medications ex. Remember what goes into the body has to get processed; most pharmaceuticals have a toxic load on the body
- Internal toxins ex. bacteria, fungus, and yeast inside our own systems and intestines as well as hormonal and metabolic toxins that we need to eliminate
- Mental, emotional, and spiritual toxins ex. stress, anger, loneliness, irritability, hostility, etc. all have a profound effect on our body chemistry and all of which translate into toxins in our system
A little scary right? The good news is our bodies are well equipped to eliminate toxins on a day-to-day basis by urinating, defecating, breathing, and sweating! Issues arise if any one of those processes are not functioning optimally or if our system has become too overburdened with toxins and can’t keep up with elimination. This leads to an overall decreased amount of waste leaving the body, which can leave you feeling “toxic” over time.
How do you know if you are potentially dealing with toxin overload?
Symptoms may include:
• Poor memory and/or concentration
• Muscle aches/ joint pain
• Sinus congestion or excessive sinus problems
• Gas and Bloating
• Constipation and/or Diarrhea
• Foul-smelling stools (oh yes…it’s not always normal!)
• Bad breath
• Sleep problems
• Food cravings
• Trouble losing weight
• Water retention
• Skin problems (eczema, psoriasis, acne, rashes)
• Canker sores
• Puffy, dark circles under the eyes (don’t you hate those?!)
• Other menstrual disorders
I’d bet that it’s safe to say you have experienced one or more of these symptoms before – and don’t worry you are not alone. Most people have overloaded systems, especially after years of accumulated stress and toxin buildup. Some people are chronically toxic and don’t even realize it until they seek help from a professional! The bottom line is: detoxification is one of the core physiological systems in the body that must be working well for you to be in optimal health.
There are lots of different ways to support your body’s detoxification pathways; one of the easiest is starting your day with a big glass of lemon water and staying well hydrated throughout the day.
Stay tuned for part 2 of Detox Demystified to learn the do’s and don’ts of a good detox program.