Do I need to worry about toxins in my body?

By: Dr. Stacy Cantlin, PhD Clinical Nutrition

We hear a lot of people talking about ‘toxins’ these days. Its a term that is thrown around by a variety of people, from bloggers, to physicians to activists, making us believe that nearly everything we eat or touch has a dangerous toxicity level. We could also talk about the debate about Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs… but we will save that for another time.

In America now, our food is the safest it’s ever been, and is the safest in the world under the stringent regulations of the Food Quality Protection Act, but pesticides are widely used in producing food to control pests such as insects, rodents, weeds, bacteria, mold and fungus. Washing fruits and vegetables well before eating is not foolproof. Fish produce mercury naturally, which is highly toxic to humans. We are still exposed to toxins.

Aside from what we eat, we are exposed to external toxins on a daily basis. These include pollutants and chemicals, cigarette smoke, and certain household and beauty products. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),there are approximately 80,000 chemicals registered for use in the U.S. reports show that hundreds of these chemicals are present in our bodies. Some research shows that certain chemicals may affect our immune, endocrine, nervous and reproductive systems.

As if this were not enough, internally our bodies produce waste byproducts as a result of normal metabolic function. Although your body is designed to rid itself of these toxins naturally, it can become overburdened. Your body stores the internal toxins it can’t eliminate anywhere away from your organs, often in fat cells and joints (perceived as inflammation).

Toxins can contribute to a wide range of physical and mental conditions:

  • Stuffy head

  • Fatigue or difficulty sleeping

  • Indigestion and other temporary gastrointestinal upset

  • Food cravings and weight gain

  • Reduced mental clarity

  • Low libido

  • Skin that’s not looking its best

  • Joint discomfort

What can you do?

We will never be able to avoid toxins completely. But every little bit can help.

  • Avoid drinking out of plastic bottles

  • Avoid artificially fragranced products.

  • Choose fresh foods over canned foods.

  • Opt for organic food products when possible.

  • Filter your tap water.

  • Buy or make natural cleaning products.

  • How can you help your body rid itself of toxins easier:

  • Eat a nutrient-rich diet

  • Drink lots of water

  • Exercise regularly

Liz Sobek