“Toxic load” refers to the volume of toxic substances that have been accumulated in the body at any given time and the overall burden it places on the body systems and vital organs. Toxins come from countless sources, many of which we are not even aware of. Environmental threats, chemicals, and radiation are three of the most common categories. Your body has a number of passageways through which it is directly exposed to toxins and several mechanisms that it uses to deal with this exposure. The three most common pathways of exposure are the lungs, the digestive tract, and the skin. We are directly exposed to toxins through the air we breathe, the food we eat, and anything that contacts our skin. While minimizing exposure to potentially harmful chemicals on a daily basis is the most effective method for limiting toxic load, you can be proactive about reducing toxic build-up already present in the body. Focus on a clean, whole food diet, detoxify with a regular dietary cleanse, and use all-natural household, skin, and hair care products. Below is a collection of articles that focus on the body’s natural detoxification process and ways you can support its proper function.
To understand the importance of minimizing toxic load, we must first define some foundational terms and discuss how our natural detoxification systems work. A “toxin” is any substance that causes excess stress to the body. “Toxic load” refers to the volume of these substances that have been accumulated in the body at any given time and the overall burden it places on the body systems and vital organs. Toxins come from countless sources, many of which we are not even aware of. Environmental threats, chemicals, and radiation are three of the most common categories. Technically, every substance that has a consistent chemical composition is a “chemical,” but in commonly used terms, a chemical is any substance (natural or synthetic) that can stress the body. Examples of chemicals we frequently come in contact with are ingredients in processed foods such as artificial sweeteners and flavor enhancers, automobile exhaust, cigarette smoke, solvents, plastics, pesticides, xenoestrogens, and harsh cleaning products. Radiation refers to high-energy particles that can negatively affect cellular structures and DNA. The most common source of radiation we are exposed to is sunlight. Our bodies are exposed to countless possible toxins every day, many of the interactions being unavoidable, but we can take steps to minimize their effect on our health.
Your body has a number of different passageways through which it is directly exposed to toxins and several different mechanisms that it uses to deal with this exposure. The three most vulnerable pathways are the lungs, the digestive tract, and the skin. We are directly exposed to toxins through the food we eat, the air we breathe, and anything that contacts our skin. Our bodies have their own natural defense mechanisms to protect these pathways. For instance, to protect the most susceptible tissue, our nose, mouth, and throats are lined with a thick mucous membrane to trap foreign particles. Similarly, present inside our lungs are special immune cells that destroy any other foreign agents that may get past the mucous membrane. While we have little control over the quality of the air we breathe outside or chemicals we may be unknowingly exposed to, there are measures we can take to minimize exposure and support the natural mechanisms that deal with the toxins.
Internally, a healthy body hosts bacteria that assist our inherent defense mechanisms in curtailing toxic load. The digestive tract is populated with trillions of microorganisms that collectively form a natural ecosystem. These microorganisms, commonly referred to as gut microbiota, microflora, or ‘friendly-flora”, play a significant role in overall health. Without a thriving probiotic environment that fosters the growth of these microbiota, less-friendly microbes have free reign to stress the gastrointestinal tract. These microflora serve a number of different purposes. The friendly-flora help maintain digestive efficiency, produce enzymes that break down proteins into usable amino acids, help the body produce and metabolize a number of different vitamins, and are key in the transportation of vitamins and minerals through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. Without them, several metabolic processes and neuromuscular functions are hindered, nutrient deficiencies arise, and our immune system’s ability to respond to threats weakens.
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