How Your Toxic Burden is Making You Sick & Steps You Can Take to Reduce It

Toxins are invisible culprits that wreak havoc on our health and the environment. Unfortunately we are exposed to tens of thousands of chemical toxins everyday, many of them interfere with the body’s normal physiology resulting in damage to bodily functions and resulting in devastating affects to our health. Many of these toxic chemicals, like plastics, are ubiquitous, they build up in our tissues and cells faster than we can eliminate them, resulting in a toxic body burden and disruption to our hormone system.
A study completed by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and The Environmental Working Group (EWG) showed that nine individuals, who did not work in an industry where exposure was known, could lead to high accumulating levels of toxic compounds. An astounding 210 compounds were identified and between each of them they had a total of 167, with an average of 91 each. Additionally, the specific chemicals found: 53 of them are linked to cancer, 63 are found to be toxic to the nervous system, 58 toxic to endocrine (hormonal) system, and 55 are linked to the immune system, and certain autoimmune disorders.
A major issue that is that regular exposure in conjunction with poor dietary choices, high-stress lives, inadequate nutrient status, and even genetic predisposition can lead to a barrage of disorders, from hormone imbalances (fibroids, PCOS), chronic fatigue, weight gain, heart disease, chemical sensitivity, muscle or joint aches, thyroid disorders, infertility (both male and female factors), and even certain cancers.
If you are concerned you may have a high toxic burden that may be associated with your current health issues then learning how to lower your toxic burden is key. And decreasing your toxic burden is easier than you think. The key is avoidance. By avoiding exposure to these invisible toxins you can greatly decrease the ill effects of a high body burden and greatly improve your health.
Here are a few ways to get started today:

  1. Take off those shoes! Whenever you’re in the home, be sure to leave your shoes at the front door, especially if you have carpeted floors. This will significantly decrease the amount of toxicants that can be brought into the home. This will also be essential if there are toddlers and/or pets in the home many whom spend much of their time on the floor.
  1. Dirty Dozen – Clean Fifteen. Choose to eat fruits and vegetables low in pesticide exposure and this does not necessarily mean having to eat organic all the time. However, choosing foods that are more likely to absorb the pesticides and insecticides used in the farming process will only increase your toxic burden. Following the “Dirty Dozen – Clean Fifteen” provides an easy guideline to help you choose your fruits and vegetables more wisely.
  1. Say “no thanks” to plastics and receipts. Especially, bisphenol-A (BPA) or (BPS) and phthalates. Do not heat or microwave food in plastic containers. Pass on hot beverages or leftovers that come in Styrofoam containers. Instead bring personal stainless steel coffee or ceramic thermos/mug or take home glass container. Unfortunately, high levels of BPA are found in most thermal receipts so be sure to ask the clerk if the receipt is BPA free. Instead opt for electronic version or if you need the receipt avoid contact as best you can by having an designated envelope to tuck them in.
  1. Drink purified water. Chlorine and bromine are used in our water supply to help disinfect it. Unfortunately they continue to act like an antibiotic that “disinfects” our digestive tracts by disrupting the flora balance that is needed for a healthy functioning gut. Using a charcoal system, reverse osmosis or gravity filtration system will eliminate these contaminants and many more out of the water supply. If you have sensitive skin, acne, or any skin issues like eczema or psoriasis consider using a filter on you showerhead to prevent further exposure.
  1. Personal care products. Take precautions to avoid anti-bacterial soaps and disinfectants. These agents are added to disinfect and prevent growth of mold and fungi, but unfortunately they are also considered endocrine disruptors that mimic or suppress our normal hormonal function. Also, just because something is labeled “natural” or “gentle” doesn’t make it safe. With poor regulation of safety testing many companies can use whatever chemicals they wish. Be sure to read the label and understand the labeled ingredients, typically listed from highest to lowest concentration. Keep an eye out and avoid products that contain: benzoic acid, BHT, fragrances, dyes, parfum, polyethylene glycol, sodium lauryl (laureth) sulfate, anything ending in “paraben”. Check out how safe your at the EWG skin deep page.

Taking measures to incorporate avoidance into your lifestyle will help to correct health issues caused by toxicity, maximize the body’s own detoxification capacity, and aid the body to more readily eliminate stored toxins. Remember, getting rid of toxins and learning how to optimize your detoxification system is essential for optimal health, hormonal balance, and creating vibrant health.

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What is Discover Health SF?

I will take an integrative medical approach to your health. My philosophy in practice is to merge naturopathic and conventional medicine — it is truly about holistic health care. My treatment plans carefully blend natural therapies and evidence-based, medical science, to treat and prevent chronic disease.

Dr. Youngren is a graduate of Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.

She completed a two-year clinical internship that included all naturopathic modalities and a one-year specialty residency in General & Environmental Medicine.

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