A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.
Toxins And Health
Posted before Dec-31-2007
The detoxification of the human body is a major priority for the health conscious in the modern world as toxins and synthetic pollutants have increased as a result of the technological leap made since the industrial revolution - the toxins we use on a daily basis are finding their way into out bodies and creating a health crisis of pandemic proportions. Many new hazards pose a danger to human health in the modern age, synthetic and potent toxic chemicals run rife in the products used by modern societies, there is the risk of radiation from nuclear waste, as well as contamination from polluted air and water. The natural world has been completely reshaped by man, leading to the production of many new health hazards that were absent just two centuries ago. As more and more chemicals are produced for various ends to meet the requirement of a modern society, the chemicals in drugs and pesticides find a way back to its originators. The many synthetic chemicals and drugs we use on an increasing basis find their way into the food chain - threatening not only human health but our food security and natural environment as well. The average man or woman in the 21st century consumes artificially refined foods in sugar rich, salt rich diets. The man or woman of the modern world weakens his or her body by consuming lots of artificial stimulants and sedatives, uses pesticides at home, uses millions of synthetic products on a daily basis and suffers for such recklessness by new health problems unheard of a century ago. Is it surprising then? That the number of people suffering from diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disorders is sky rocketing. Every imaginable disease, including allergies, cases of arthritis, the epidemic of obesity, and disorders of the skin to name a few are increasingly becoming major health issues across the world. In many countries, the numbers of people who complain of a variety of physical symptoms like constant fatigue, persistent headaches, vague pains, chronic coughs, disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, immune impairment, sexual diseases, as well as psychological disorders are also showing a steep increase. Although a connection between increased toxicity and increases in disorders is evident, it is vital to understand how it occurs so that we may avoid or reduce it from our lives.
Human health is affected by toxins at two basic levels, at the external level and at the internal level. Indeed, toxins find their way into the human body through contact from external sources, via the respiratory pathway from polluted air, through the consumption of contaminated food, or via the skin. Toxins can also be generated internally in the body, a variety of chemicals in drugs, additives in processed foods, as well as chemical allergens are toxic inside the body. Toxicity as a state can come about due to the accumulation of any substance to excessive levels within the human body.
There are many toxic chemicals generated by natural internal biochemical pathways in the human body - these toxins are the products of normal cellular activity. The healthy human body succeeds in eliminating all of the many toxins created by normal biochemical and cellular activities - these toxins are excreted out everyday. For example, unstable oxidative and highly reactive molecules known as the free radicals are normal biochemical toxins produced as a byproduct of cellular respiration -these molecules are a factor in many chronic disease states that affect human health. Free radicals are neutralized in the body by various natural mechanisms present in the cells - many disorders are triggered when these systems fail for some reason. A failure to subdue or neutralize these biochemical toxins through normal cell level clean up systems results in the irritation or inflammation in the tissues due to cellular death; such a failure of the cell machinery often results in the disruption of the normal biochemical system throughout the body, leading to disease. Internal toxins are also generated by the metabolic activity of microbes and other pathogens in the body. Yeast, intestinal bacteria, foreign pathogenic bacteria, and parasites all secrete metabolic waste products that must be neutralized by the body internally - a failure to do so results in disease and symptomatic problems. The effects of toxins and their biochemical generation is also affected by the mental state of a person, strong emotions, and psychological stress tends to induce greater susceptibility to toxins already in the body. Toxins must be eliminated from the body in a proper and timely manner in order for good health. While it is true, that the normal detoxification processes in the healthy human body can eliminate most toxins at any given time. The main problem lies in dealing with the elimination of accumulated toxins in the body, brought on either by the failure of the normal detoxification system or through the entry of toxins from different external sources.
By definition, a substance that irritates or induces deleterious effects on the body, either by depressing health or by putting stress on the normal functioning of the various organs in the body can be called a toxin. Toxins induce this irritation by the disruption of normal physiological mechanisms. Free radicals found in synthetic recreational drugs can bring on degeneration of tissues by inhibiting biochemical pathways. Toxicity in the human body is also increased by impaired psychological states, emotive stress, as well as by negative "ethers," or even by mental stress laid by bad spiritual and psychic influence.
When the body accumulates more toxins than it can eliminate or neutralize at one time, a net toxic state can be said to exist in the body - and the person is said to suffer from toxicity. The maintenance of the chemical and physiological balance in the body is called homeostasis - it is a natural function of a living body. Homeostasis is disrupted by the excess use of certain substances like drugs or by the consumption of large amounts of food not required by the body. The potency, the dosage, as well as the frequency of use of a potential toxin will determine the toxicity in the body. Toxic effects induced in the body by a toxin could be immediately apparent with the sudden appearance of physical symptoms - as is the case with drug abuse and contact with pesticides. However, other toxins will only have toxic effects in the long term; lung cancer caused by long term exposure to asbestos dust is a good example.
A healthy body will easily detoxify and eliminate all toxins on a daily basis, especially if the immune system and the excretory system are performing at optimal levels. The normal cleansing mechanism in the body also boosts immune system resistance to toxins and other threats, helping it in the detoxification process and in the elimination of abnormal cells produced in the body, from time to time.
In general, the human body disposes the toxins by active excretion, or by chemical neutralization, or even by biochemical transformation of the toxin into some other neutral product. One illustration of this process, is the neutralization of free radicals in the cells by antioxidant compounds, like the vitamins C and E, the beta-carotene, the minerals zinc, and selenium and many other nutrients. The principal detoxification organ is the liver, with the kidneys having an equally important role; distinct biochemical pathways in the cells of the liver alter many toxic substances to safer forms and push them out for excretion. Toxins accumulated in the liver during the detoxification process are transported in the blood to the kidneys and expelled in the urine. In other pathways, toxic wastes from the liver are routed into bile and find their way to the intestines, for excretion in the stool. Toxins in the body are also expelled through the pores on the skin during the process of sweating. Similarly, mucus traps toxins in the air and the sinuses expel the accumulated mucus in time. The superficial accumulation of toxins in the skin is also expelled by the formation of rashes, blisters and pus.
The detoxification process is aided by a positive mental attitude. It is important to clear the mind of negative thoughts on issues of health, a positive mental state makes for good health and the process of physical detoxification helps achieve this end. The physical process of detoxifying the body helps people deal with emotional problems as well, suppressed issues and hidden frustrations, fear and anger, as well as resentments are replaced by love and joy, a state of forgiveness, and by hope in the future. A cleansing process enables individuals to gain a new clarity and discover a purpose to life. A change in bad dietary habits and other abusive behaviors often result when a person undergoes a light detoxification regimen lasting several days. Cleansing the body physically will enable a person to feel better; and enable him or her to gain a deeper commitment to the process of changing to a healthier lifestyle. The physical process of detoxification is used to bring a lifestyle change in transformational medicine, healing body and mind. Optimal healing of a person is best achieved by positively affecting both the mental and physical states.
These days, individuals attempt to gain health by severe bouts of fasting, the use of laxatives, by undergoing enemas and colonics, by using diuretics, and even by extreme physical exercise, many of these attempts at gaining health result in the disaster and the body loses many essential nutrients. One direct effect of such extreme steps is that protein and nutrient deficiencies, including vitamin and mineral loss start to affect the body - health is ultimately impaired. All such problems arise from an attempt to gain health suddenly, however, such excessive detoxification attempts can also impair health and even if the over consumption and a weakened ability to eliminate toxins is the more common issue - health will still be impaired if detoxification is carried out in a haphazard manner.
The detoxification process
In the physical process of detoxification, the accumulated toxins and excess mucus is cleared away, by chemically neutralizing or altering their form - these toxins are then excreted out of the body. Within the body, free radicals, synthetic chemicals and accumulated cholesterol and poorly oxidized fats are the main toxins - these have to be flushed out of the body. Toxicity tends to increase in the body if the functioning of the colon is impaired, if there is an impairment in the functioning of the liver and if digestion is impaired in any way; these factors along with problems with excretion via the skin, the kidneys or through the respiratory tract results in the retention of toxins in the body.
There are no single steps to take during the process of comprehensive detoxification, aside from boosting the natural cycle, dietary changes as well as modifications in lifestyle are required steps. The chances of accumulating toxins in the body can be lowered by a strict vigil on screening out various chemicals in food, forsaking the use of including refined food products, giving up on sugar, giving up on caffeine, tobacco and alcohol, as well as drugs. The toxin threat can also be reduced by minimal contact with pesticides, insecticides and chemicals in other domestic products. One important step in detoxification is to drink a lot of pure water and at the same time consuming more fruits and vegetables as a part of the diet. Healing and wholeness is also increased by adopting a wholesome dietary regimen.
Fasting as a form of detoxification is the oldest medical treatment in human history. It is also a natural process; however, prolonged fasting is not good for health and has attendant problems of its own.
Detoxification and health
Detoxification to some extent is required for everyone. At the same time, certain individuals may require to rebalance their bodies more frequently compared to others. The process of cleansing can only be one step of the requisite three step nutritional process along with the toning and maintenance of the body - detoxification is not a substitute for an attending to ones health and growth. The need for detoxification is reduced by following a balanced and healthy diet full of essential nutrients. In the normal human body, there is physiological elimination cycle which operates at most times, responsible for carrying out at excretion of toxins at night and early in the mornings. People who consume diet that are rich in meats, and dairy products as well as refined foods, dietary fats, and chemical additives, the need for detoxification increases progressively. This factor is especially true of people who tend to overeat or eat irregularly, particularly at night time.
The ideal methods and choices for detoxification will depend on the lifestyle and nutritional profile of the person. A detoxification process will most benefit individuals who suffer from the physical symptoms or diseases associated with chemical toxicity or toxic congestion. The digestive tract and the body in general greatly benefit from a thorough cleansing and detoxification procedure.
Physical symptoms that tend to affect people with toxin generated problems are digestive congestion, persistent headaches, generalized and constant fatigue, vague strains and backaches, the presence of aches and swelling in the joints of the body, the development of symptoms resembling allergies, as well as increased sensitivity to chemicals, perfumes, and synthetic products in the immediate environment. Digestive problems are also commonly encountered by such people. The most beneficial treatments usually involve a change in diet. Avoiding contact with all potential toxins is also desirable but may not be practical. Medical attention if needed must be carried out after the possibility of a true allergic symptom has been rule out as many toxicity induced symptoms resemble allergic attacks. Even the allergic symptoms can be effectively removed and countered by detoxification programs that involve the consumption of cleansing juices, periods of fasting, as well as exercise. But, in general, most allergic reactions and symptoms are different from toxin induce problems and must be treated using other methods.
A comprehensive cleansing and detoxification treatment can accelerate recovery from a variety of acute and chronic disorders arising from congestive patterns that has set in on the body over the long term or in a short period of time. People with substance addiction and a dependence of drugs, alcohol or nicotine also benefit greatly from a complete detoxification or cleansing procedure.
Excessive body weight and obesity are also treated using detoxification processes as a part of the generalized treatment. The fatty tissues in the body are a site of accumulation for many toxins and chemicals consumed in the diet; this is the reason for the association of toxicity with obesity. The toxic load in the body is progressively reduced when weight is lost. While toxins are released from the body during a period of weight loss, this also results in the loss of essential nutrients, and supplementation with appropriate nutrient supplements, such as extra antioxidants will be necessary both to fight the toxins and to replace the loss of nutrients. Detoxification is also aided by a good exercise regimen and increased physical activity promotes health.
Signs and Symptoms of Toxicity
Problems Related to Congestion / Stagnation / Toxicity
The detoxification regimen
A detoxification that is aimed at the specific needs of an individual should be chosen, this ensures balance in the treatment with the maximum benefits health wise.
The natural cycle in the human body cleanses the internal system on a daily basis. This cycle improves if one is on a light dietary regimen, the intake of extra liquids, as well as a positive balance on excretion versus consumption at any time. The natural cleansing cycle takes place daily, normally optimal at night to midmorning, to approximately one hour following wakening from sleep. The cycle may also be operating at a maximum level on a weekly or more usually for a few days each month. Due to regular menstrual cycles, all women are familiar with this natural cleansing as a distinct cyclical event. Indeed, many women tend to feel much better just before and during menstruation if they boost the action of the natural cleansing cycle in their body by consuming herbs, drinking a lot of juices, adding greens and light fiber rich foods on a daily basis.
Humans in general are attuned to the changes in the seasons; this is reflected in a change in internal cycles. The period when such a change occurs is when each person must limit consumptions and keep pace with the natural cycle of the body. In this regard, the ideal time to undergo detoxification is in the spring season; in addition, a detoxification process may also be beneficial during the fall. Ideally, one must consume more juices and citrus fruits, as well as fresh wholesome greens in the spring season. The fresh harvest of fruits like apples and grapes, as well as year end seasonal vegetables must be the staple during the fall. In the summer, a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is ideal. During winter on the other hand, the diet must be rich in whole grains and soups, as well as legumes and fresh vegetables. A diet that follows the season ensures a health body in a healthy mind.
The detoxification program given as a sample in this article is essentially for the average healthy individual with a good appetite, who can follow it on an annual basis. Heart disease patients, individuals suffering from severe fatigue, those below normal weight and those with impaired or poor circulation with coldness in the body must not use the recommendation given in this sample. The program suggested here is just one example of what can be beneficial; however, an even more rigorous and complete fasting programs can flush out more toxins from the body depending on who uses it. One cautionary advice to bear in mind is that the sudden flushing out of a lot of toxins can bring illness in already ill people if the program is too rigorous. When such problems occur during a detoxification regimen, the person may need to consume a greater amount of fluids and eat normally till the body recovers. Detoxification regimens followed by cancer patients needs to be carefully planned and executed, such patients may require good quality and regular nourishment throughout the program. A qualified and experienced physician must ideally monitor a period of fasting undertaken during a detoxification program. Fasting immediately before a major surgical procedure is also not advisable as it can create problems for the person. Patients recovering from surgery must wait four to six weeks before starting out on a detoxification program. A rigorous detoxification regimen is also not advisable for pregnant or women who are lactating, however, a mild detoxification program is fine with the supervision of an experienced nutritionist.
It is okay to maintain the normal day to day activity during the course of a basic and mild detoxification regimen; this is even desirable for most people who are otherwise healthy. Keeping to normalcy even tends to keep energy, physical performance, and health at a stable rate for most people. However, this may not be true for everyone as some people may complain of persistent fatigue, headaches, general irritability, as well as mucous congestions, or aches and pains during the initiation period of even a very mild detoxification regimen. Though they will usually not develop, there is a possibility that any one of the symptoms of toxicity to show themselves during a detoxification regimen. There is also a possibility of the recurrence of symptoms that were evident previously; such symptoms may appear as temporary problems during the detoxification process. This creates difficulties as the person may not be sure of how to get rid of them, but, they normally dissipate within a few days.
Staying at home is ideal when starting out on new detoxification programs, a change in diet or in lifestyle. This is not necessary for everyone, and experience is a good guide. The majority of people will be easily capable of pursuing regular hours of work and activity during the course of a detoxification regimen, indeed, such a situation will likely boost efficiency in all tasks done by a person. Ideally, a cleansing regimen should be started on a weekend; this will give two days for the person to adjust to the detoxification regimen right when it is most demanding. A rest may also be important because certain people can become sensitive to the stress of a work environment or chemical exposure during the detoxification process. Staying at home will also keep a person from critical co-workers or friends, who might challenge the decision for detoxification and tempt the person. Ideally, one should have companions who are also undergoing detoxification or be supervised by supportive guides - such people can be a source for positive reinforcement when doubt sets and resolve is wavering. Physical symptoms including headache and fatigue might affect a person at the end of the first day or on the second day of the regimen. These symptoms normally become evident in the evening around supper time. Staying rested and in a familiar surrounding at home will be of advantage at this stage. Stability and eagerness for work or physical activity will normally return by the third day of the regimen for most people.
Individuals with strong will power and a great sense of purpose can like to begin new programs on a Monday. In fact, most people who start such programs with determination tend to feel better and are better at completing tasks and daily challenges - the regimen actually boosts performance in some. Fasting as an aid to boost productivity is a trick employed by many experienced fasters during hectic hours spent working. It may also be necessary to plan well, and to clear all doubts and fears from the mind. Writing a daily journal can aid this vital process and will ensure commitment to the regimen and reaching the goal.
The need to detoxify
The reason for detoxification is simple, it boosts health, increases physical fitness and vitality, prevents disease states and treats some disorders and acts to rejuvenate the body in a holistic way. Indeed, undertaking a regimen of internal cleansing may make a person better prepared to face daily life, it will also help induce changes and rectify the disorders in the body brought on by the abuse of drugs and addictive substances. If a detoxification regimen is followed whole heartedly, the withdrawal and recovery from addiction occurs fairly soon. The person can then resists recurring cravings better and start on a new phase of life in good health.
Though the principal aim of detoxification is not to lose weight, it may be a helpful way to shed extra pounds. The very act of dietary simplification brings general detoxifying influences on the body and promotes health. Detoxification, better health and loss of weight is assured for a person who starts a dietary regimen of consuming only two thousand to two thousand five hundred calories of wholesome foods a day from his or her usual intake of four thousand calories of sweet, fatty or oily refined foods.
Detoxification is also good for the body because it can rest and heal the overloaded digestive organs, allowing the body to bound back to wholeness. Detoxifying the body will also cleanse the external experience in life as a corollary. Many people find themselves redoing rooms, as well as sorting out the piles on work desks. The detoxification regimen can be said to be a clarifying experience about personal priorities - it can even revitalizing the wardrobe and change a person in other ways. The energy and activity level of a person undergoing a detoxification regimen tends to increase and becomes stable at a higher level. It is a great motivation for all aspects of life.
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