All of us are constantly in contact with toxins. They are in our soil, our water, our food, the air, and the products we use. These toxins can accumulate in our bodies and, eventually, make us sick. So, whether you feel terrific or have been struggling with health challenges for years, it is essential to know your toxic burden and take the appropriate steps to reduce your exposure.
Our bodies are constantly detoxing. We excrete toxins through breath, urine, stool, and sweat. We are often exposed at a higher rate than we can eliminate. This increases our body burden, the total accumulation of toxins in the body. Toxins have a cumulative effect on the body. Substances such as heavy metals, mycotoxins and molds, environmental toxins, and even infections can contribute to body burden.
We all have a unique toxic tipping point – at which our body burdens trigger illness.
Staying below the tipping point is crucial, and it is where we have the power to make a change. Someone with minimal toxin levels may be chronically ill from toxicity, and someone with high levels of toxins may feel healthy (at least for the time being).
Since toxins may play a role behind the scenes, the best way to know your levels is to test using a total toxin panel, which is a urine test.
The body is masterful at sequestering toxins in our fat cells. This is the body’s attempt at keeping you safe. Therefore, even if you have high toxin levels, you might not have high levels circulating in your blood at any given time.
Toxins contribute to all kinds of chronic illnesses, including autoimmunity, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. It is common for those who struggle with weight loss to have a high toxic burden. Once they reduce their toxins, the weight falls off.
We don’t need to live in a bubble! By taking action to reduce our toxin exposure where we can, we reduce our body burden and create resilience.
The majority of our toxin exposures occur in our homes.
This is the best place to start to create lifestyle changes to reduce exposure. We can take impactful steps by increasing awareness about what we put on, in, and around our bodies. Cleaning up your home is a process and can take quite a while. But each step you take makes a difference in your future health.
Did you know that the air in your home is more toxic than outdoors?
Molds and mycotoxins have become a growing contributor to illness. Most exposure occurs at home. Many newer homes are practically airtight, so chemicals that off-gas from construction materials and furniture are constantly recirculating. A high-quality air filter can be a significant investment.
Water filters are hugely impactful. Tap water is filled with toxins, including chlorine and fluoride. A whole house water filter system is ideal. At the very least, a filter in the kitchen for drinking water is recommended. They also sell shower head filters which can be impactful for protecting thyroid health (since our skin is our biggest organ and absorbs what we put on it).
Cleaning up the personal care products in the bathroom is a project that is well-advised. Do you know what is in your toothpaste and deodorant? It is time to read labels and clean up your products, from hand soap to shampoo. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), men put an average of 85 chemicals on their bodies daily, and the average for women is 168.
Beware of products marked “natural” or “clean,” as they are typically marketed as green but are not in reality. Lead is natural, but I don’t want it in my makeup! The United States has only banned 11 chemicals in personal care products, while Europe banned over 1,300 chemicals. It is up to us to protect ourselves!
Another room that needs your attention and can make a significant impact on your toxic burden is the kitchen. It is essential to pay attention to the quality of your food. Eating unprocessed foods, pastured or wild-caught protein, and organic, non-GMO produce will significantly reduce your toxin levels. While it may not be affordable to eat 100% organic, using the EWG’s Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen as a resource can be helpful.
Plastics are often abundant in the kitchen. Creating swaps for plastic containers, water bottles, and cooking utensils will greatly impact your exposure. Nonstick cookware is often loaded with toxins that get into your food when you cook. Stainless steel and cast iron are excellent choices for an upgrade.
The laundry room is also often loaded with toxins!
Think about all the things that come into contact with your detergent and with you. Everything from your clothes to your sheets and towels can either support your health or expose you to toxins. Check out what is in your detergent!
Now that you have the hang of reading labels explore your other cleaning products. One by one, change them for something cleaner and reduce your toxic burden.
Two of our favorite free resources to help you find clean products are EWG.org and thinkdirtyapp.com.
So why test for toxins?
While it is impactful for everyone to reduce their toxin exposure, testing lets you know where to focus.
I was shocked when I did a total toxin panel and discovered that I had high lead levels. I had cleaned up my kitchen years before. I was already actively avoiding toxins in my personal care and cleaning products. So, where was my lead exposure coming from?
Getting my test results prompted me to play detective. It took me a while, but I figured out that my lead exposure came from the beautiful dishes I used daily and had been for decades. If I hadn’t done a total toxin panel, I would still be exposing myself to lead with every meal I eat.
Knowledge is power, and testing is knowledge.
By testing, reducing exposure, and supporting your detox pathways, you can regain your power and create wellness!