Detox Myth, Detox Magic
We live in a toxic soup. Of the more than 80,000 chemicals currently used in the United States, only a few hundred have ever been tested for human health effects. Many of these chemicals are outright banned in Europe and other countries. These chemicals include synthetic flavoring substances, food preservatives, food coloring agents, plastics, pesticides/herbicides, artificial scents, solvents, heavy metal toxins, among others.
These chemicals are known to cause neurological problems, such as neuropathy, depression and memory loss; hormone disruption, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, low libido, and heavy and irregular menstrual cycles; reproductive problems, such as infertility and birth defects; developmental problems, such as a low intelligence quotient and behavior problems; immune system problems, such as low white blood cell count and autoimmunity; and liver and kidney toxicity.
Toxins accumulate gradually over time. It may take years or decades for these toxins to develop into disease or dysfunction. However, Western medicine places little to no emphasis on chronic toxicity, despite overwhelming evidence and surveillance by health agencies worldwide. In fact, prescription drugs are part of the poison contributing to the toxic overload.
Your body’s detoxification system is working hard to help you rid these toxins every second of every day. However, the rate of toxic exposure in the U.S. is simply too great for our bodies to handle. This is why regular detoxification practice is important to facilitate the removal of these harmful substances from the body, not unlike changing the oil in your car or the air filter in your home.
There are supplements sold in health food stores that are labeled as “colon cleanse” or “liver detox”. The problem is these products often contain laxatives, and consumers may mistakenly think just because they have more bowel movements that the supplement is doing the job. Remember, toxins are stored widely throughout the body, not just in the bowel. And detox is handled by other organs besides the colon, so just inducing diarrhea is not detox in and of itself.
Chelation is the use of substances administered intravenously or orally that bind to heavy metals, which is a therapy often recommended by natural healthcare practitioners. This aggressive form of detoxification can cause some people, especially those with autoimmunity, to experience significant detox reactions and flare-up of autoimmune disease.
Current testing for toxins in the body bear limitations. Tests are based on samples of hair, urine, stool or blood. These tests measure toxins in those samples, which is not an indication of total body stores. The toxins detected through these samples are what are circulating in the blood. However, once the toxins are stored in organs, such as the kidneys, bone marrow or the brain, they are out of circulation and become difficult to detect and detox. It’s important not to only rely on one test, but to also look at clinical history; physical signs; and other methods, such as bioresonance testing, to detect underlying infections and toxins.
The best game plan for detox starts with the avoidance of toxins. Be aware of where toxins are in your environment and what you put in your body, and also on your body. Next, find an experienced practitioner to establish a baseline of your toxic load, and create a comprehensive detox plan that addresses all organs and toxins, with nutrients and lifestyle change that is safe and sustainable.
Follow Peter Kan, DC, DACNB, FAAIM, CFMP, the host of the online Ask Dr Kan Show, on Facebook at Hope Integrative Wellness Center and YouTube at Dr. Peter Kan for natural detox tips. He consults with clients globally via video conference and in his Gilbert office. For more information, call 480-988-6269.