Polluted Environment: Toxins and Their Effects

By: Dr. Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Dr. Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM



Environmental toxicity is possibly the greatest unaddressed epidemic of modern times. There is literally nowhere you can go to escape our polluted environment and its toxic effects on your body.

Living in a Polluted Environment

Food additives and polluted environmentOur bodies are becoming reservoirs of toxins that are prevalent in every corner of our living space. In the air we breathe, the water we drink, the foods we consume, and even the ground in which many of those foods are grown. Over 77,000 chemicals are actively produced in the United States. Three thousand plus chemicals are put in the foods we eat. Over 10,000 chemicals are utilized in the solvents and emulsifiers used in industrial processes, additives and preservatives in our food processes, packaging, the wrappings around foods, and storage containers.

We are ingesting small particles of these chemicals in one form or another on a daily basis. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says we are exposed to more than 20,000 chemicals we can’t metabolize. If we can’t metabolize them, we can’t get them out of our bodies. They’re stored in fat cells in our bodies and continue to build up over time.

It is this accumulation of all these chemical toxins and their very active metabolites called reactive metabolites that lead to the ill effects of the chemicals on our bodies.

A major problem with many of these chemicals is that they are used without adequate safety testing. Plus, not enough research has been conducted with these chemicals to even know what effects they will have on our bodies, in many cases.

The United States has more toxic chemicals in use than any other nation. This makes it imperative that we understand and control the effects of these chemicals so we can counter the significant illnesses they are likely to trigger.

What Are the Toxins in Our Polluted Environment?

Sometimes called biotoxins because of their biological origins, toxins are compounds produced by living organisms. They are poisonous, and some are exceptionally so. Man-made chemicals that are poisonous are called toxicants. They cause their dangerous effects in a number of ways in our bodies. Some are considered mutagens or carcinogens because they bring about mutations or DNA damage that lead to cancers. Others disrupt metabolic pathways, leading to dysfunctions of liver, kidneys, nervous system or other systems of the body.

There are two classes of toxins that can be a product of chemicals that pollute our environment: exotoxins and endotoxins. Exotoxins are those that are excreted into the surrounding tissues by microorganisms. Endotoxins are not released until the microorganism is killed by your immune system. Exotoxins are proteins and among the most potent poisonous substances known. Clostridium bacteria are the most frequent producers of exotoxins. Some resulting illnesses include diphtheria, botulism, and tetanus.

Standard American Diet

One of the most common ways toxicants enter your body is by consuming what is called the “standard American diet”. This describes the foods we ingest on a daily basis, such as fast foods, genetically modified organisms, and foods that have been treated with pesticides and other agricultural products found in our polluted environment.

Microorganisms and polluted environmentContamination by microorganisms is always a possibility in the foods we eat. On a regular basis, there are articles you can read or hear about on the evening news programs describing outrageous things people have found in their food products. Other articles appear regularly regarding whistleblowers who come forward with stories of the unclean practices used by major manufacturers of leading food brands.

Also a major concern is the contamination of foods by pesticides, left-over chemicals or other products used in food processing, prescription medications improperly disposed of, and even industrial waste products. Toxic heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, and cadmium have been released into the environment in such amounts that they have made their way into food sources as well.

Even the preparation of food can lead to toxins being ingested. Using Teflon-coated utensils can potentially release carcinogenic chemicals into foods. Compounds that contain nitrogen found in meats and cereals can be converted into benzopyrene and acrylamide under high temperatures. Some cheeses and smoked fish contain precursors to toxins called N-nitroso compounds (NOCs), which can become mutagenic when metabolized by bacteria in the colon.

Due to the levels of mercury found in some fish, the EPA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have advised women who are pregnant or nursing to stay away from fish that are high in mercury and to limit the amount of shellfish they eat. For the same reason, young children should also avoid these kinds of fish. Young children and fetuses are highly susceptible to the effects of mercury because of their developing nervous systems. Most other people are able to handle the mercury levels in fish and shellfish with no problem.

An emphasis on the toxins and toxicants in our polluted environment and consumed in our diets is important because diet-related chronic diseases are the greatest cause of mortality around the world. The potential of toxins and toxicants contributing to the epidemic of obesity and related health conditions is also important because these conditions and complications from them continue to grow.

The United Nations and many researchers believe the introduction of processed foods and the sedentary lifestyle of so many people have contributed to many chronic diseases seen in the Western world. These dietary and lifestyle changes have come about so quickly the human genome hasn’t had time to adjust.

One of the most commonly used chemicals sprayed on our foods is glyphosate. It is sprayed on wheat as a way to speed up the harvest. This allows wheat farmers to harvest crops earlier than they otherwise could. A major problem with this practice is that glyphosate is a known carcinogen and makes its way into our food products because wheat is the most common ingredient in processed foods.

There appears to be a strong correlation between the increased use of glyphosate and the dramatic rise in the incidence of breast, pancreatic, kidney, thyroid, bladder, and liver cancers. Glyphosate and polluted environmentThis toxic substance, once it’s in the body, makes it harder for the body to detox the chemical.

Glyphosate is also toxic to our gut microbiome. It damages the microvilli in the gut and thus decreases the ability of our bodies to absorb nutrients. Glyphosate can also attach to gliadin, often found in wheat, making a molecule large enough that the body has difficulty breaking it down. This is likely to be a contributing factor in the development of celiac disease.

Water, Wells, and Water Systems

Not only are the toxins from our polluted environment found in the food we eat, it also is in the water we drink. One article from USA Today reported over 500 different chemicals in the water from the average U.S. city.

Even though public water systems are regulated by the EPA, you still should know for sure whether it’s safe to drink. Chlorine is the typical chemical used to kill dangerous bacteria in water, and chlorine isn’t safe for humans to consume in any quantity. Many municipalities are now adding fluoride to drinking water to reduce the chances of developing cavities in teeth, but fluoride is also dangerous for humans to consume.

From time to time, local agencies will detect some dangerous microorganism that has leached into the drinking water and issue a boil order for an area. Be sure to follow these boil orders and don’t use the water otherwise until told it is safe.

If you have a well, you should make sure its water comes from a safe source. If your well is close to the leach field of a septic system, there may be contamination.

Even if you use only bottled water, you have no guarantee the water quality is any better than ordinary tap water. The FDA has standards for manufacturers and producers of bottled water, but it does not regulate the production the way the EPA does for municipal water. In addition, bottled water typically comes in plastic bottles that may contain bisphenol A (BPA). This BPA can leach out of the plastic bottles into the water to be consumed by you. Studies have shown a possible connection between this chemical and heart disease. It also may have some effect on the behavior, brain, and prostate gland in fetuses and young children.

In the Air

Everyone is familiar with the pollutants in the air of our environment. Smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes is dangerous not only to those smoking but also to those inhaling second-hand smoke in enclosed spaces. Some experts report up to 90 percent of all cancers are caused by smoking. Breathing secondhand smoke can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

polluted environment and childrenChildren are especially prone to developing wheezing, coughing, and excess mucus due to secondhand smoke in our polluted environment. Ear infections from a buildup of fluid in the inner ear due to inhaling secondhand smoke are prominent in children. The risk of pneumonia and bronchitis, especially in babies and young children, is significantly increased when they’re exposed to secondhand smoke. Sometimes, these infections are bad enough to necessitate hospitalization.

Sudden infant death syndrome brought on by secondhand smoke is an increased risk for babies with this exposure. Asthma attacks may be more frequent and more severe in children with asthma who live in an environment polluted with secondhand smoke.

Sadly, the place where we are exposed most to non-dietary toxicants is in our own homes. The air in our homes becomes yet another place where our environment is polluted by the off-gassing from common materials.

Building materials such as particle board, carpet, wall coverings, adhesives, and paints can emit toxic fumes into the air in our homes, creating a polluted environment. One study conducted by the EPA showed 98 percent of the human subjects to have a benzene derivative from deodorants and disinfectants in their blood streams. Another study by the EPA showed 100 percent of the subjects to have traces of three additional toxic solvents in their tissues.

One of the greatest of the indoor environment polluters is the carpet we walk on daily. One study tested 400 samples of carpet, finding 90 percent of them to have neurotoxins present in sufficient amounts to kill mice.

Carpets can also trap environmental pollution tracked in from the outside. The “Non-Occupational Pesticide Exposure Study” (NOPES) found 12 types of pesticide residue in the samples of carpet studies on average. This may be the likely route of exposure for infants and toddlers with non-dietary exposure to substances like DDT, Aldrin, atrazine, and carbaryl.

Indoor environmental air pollution can be worse in winter when the buildings you frequent are closed up. Less fresh air circulates then, increasing your risk of asthma symptoms, allergies, and even lung cancer. Three pollutants commonly found in houses may have the greatest effects on your health: Formaldehyde (released by some building materials), acrolein (from cooking oil heated to high temperatures and cigarette smoke), and respirable particulates from tobacco smoke and diesel exhaust.

Wood stoves and gas ranges can cause a polluted environment in the home as environmental pollutants, as well. If wood stoves aren’t properly maintained and vented, they can give off particulates and gasses like carbon monoxide, nitrogen, and hydrocarbons. Children in this atmosphere are more at risk of respiratory problems. Gas ranges that are not well vented can give off nitrogen dioxide. This increases the risk of respiratory problems.

Other Home Toxins

New home and mobile homes may have more of a polluted environment. Many household products give off formaldehyde, leading to nausea, eye irritation, dry skin, and respiratory problems.

Mold and 
polluted environmentAcknowledging issues related to environmental pollutants indoors, some experts use the term “sick building syndrome” to describe illness symptoms that only occur during the time spent inside polluted environment. No specific disease or cause can be defined from symptoms like a headache, dry cough, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, concentration problems, and sensitivity to odors. Most of the time, these symptoms resolve once you leave that particular polluted environment.

Poor ventilation may be one cause of “sick building syndrome”. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can come from carpets, building materials, adhesives, even cleaning fluids. If the levels of these VOCs is high enough, they can cause cancer.

Chemicals can also be brought into these buildings from an outside polluted environment. Exhausts from cars, trucks, and plumbing vents or building machinery can be brought into the building through its vents.

Bacteria and molds can grow in the water that builds up in humidifiers, drain pans, or ducts. Even places where water soaks into carpet, ceilings, or insulation can be sources of bacteria and mold. An illness called humidifier fever is caused by toxins from microorganisms growing in the humidifiers in both large buildings and in homes.

There are viruses that can survive on hard surfaces like counters or floors. These viruses can be carried through the indoor air when people cough or sneeze, spreading infections. Pet dander, dust mites, pollens, and molds are allergens that circulate through the house and cause polluted environment symptoms.

If the environmental pollution indoors is high enough and children are exposed early enough, this exposure can lead to an increased risk of asthma and allergies. Molds especially increase this risk. Allergies to polluted environment molds increase the symptoms and severity of allergic responses.

Everyday Pollutants

Many plastics used in plastic wraps and bottles can outgas phthalates that can damage your endocrine system.

Older dental fillings contain mercury that can leach out and get absorbed into surrounding tissue. Mercury has been implicated in Parkinson’s disease, among others.

Dry cleaned and permanent press clothes can emit dangerous vapors, also.

Cosmetics and personal care products may contain petrochemicals, parabens, and preservatives, all with clear connections to ill effects on your health.

Why Are Environmental Toxins So Dangerous?

The major reason these toxins found in the environmental pollution all around us are so dangerous are the changes they bring in our health. Changes that take us away from the optimum functioning we need in order to perform and feel our best.

If we don’t detox our bodies and rid them of these toxins, they can bring metabolic changes, dysfunctioning enzymes, deficits in nutrition, hormone imbalances, changes in brain chemistry, and cancer. These toxins build up in different parts of the body in different amounts of time and in different combinations. This allows them to lead to different chronic illnesses in different people.

Some of these chemicals can’t be pushed through the body’s detox system and thus can’t be excreted from the body. They course through the liver, then migrate to the fat cells in various parts of the body to be stored there. Sometimes, our bodies get overwhelmed with toxins and simply can’t handle them all. These, too, get stored in fat cells.

It is this total toxic burden that eventually overwhelms our physiological capacity to deal with it and leads to chronic illnesses.

toxic build up and polluted environmentClearly, this toxic buildup must be eliminated from the body. Our liver, kidneys, skin, and lymphatic system work overtime to deal with the constant stream of toxic substances from our polluted environment attacking our systems. Unfortunately, our organs can’t always keep up. The result is an overabundance of these substances that, in time, depress our immune system and open the door to serious illnesses.

Many environmental pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated fire retardants, and organometallic compounds are persistent and tend to build up in the body. They generate free radicals which, in turn, set the stage for inflammatory pathways that lead to inflammatory diseases like atherosclerosis, diabetes, and hypertension.

Research has shown that people who live close to hazardous waste dumps tend to have more instances of high blood pressure, cardiovascular difficulties, and insulin resistance.

These environmental toxins often lead to oxidative stress in the body. This is physical stress in the body due to high levels of reactive oxygen species relative to neutralizing antioxidants. This oxidative stress can lead to an overabundance of free radicals circulating in the body. A high level of free radicals in the body can lead to DNA damage inside the cell’s nucleus, often resulting in mutations. Some very serious illness conditions can result from these mutations.

When these toxins have reached a significantly high level for an individual and have led to an array of serious illnesses, they can be said to be due to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). This condition is one in which the person suffers from extreme and severe sensitivity to many different kinds of chemicals.

Children suffer the most from this condition because the chemicals and other polluted environment toxins are more prevalent in school – the place where they spent a great deal of their time.

MCS is often difficult to assess, leading doctors to doubt its existence. This may cause people to go from doctor to doctor, trying to find one who can help them. This is the same situation many other people find themselves facing. These are the people who suffer from Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

Symptoms that come as a result of AFS are due to the adrenal glands reaching a state of exhaustion. When stress enters our lives, regardless of the source, our bodies automatically set in motion a series of biological events to handle the stress. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is activated, with the adrenal glands at the end of the chain of events that are set in motion.

The adrenals secrete several hormones with cortisol being the main stress fighter. The more stress, the more cortisol is secreted to fight its effects. Normally, once the stress is removed, the body returns to a more relaxed, balanced state.

polluted environment and fatigueHowever, in our stress-filled society, stressors pile up one after another, all resulting in the same HPA axis activation. This places a significant burden on the adrenal glands to continue releasing cortisol to fight the effects of stress. Continuing stress eventually overwhelms the adrenals’ ability to secrete cortisol, resulting in the body breaking down.

As the body begins breaking down, the symptoms associated with AFS begin showing up. Many of these symptoms are vague and difficult to pin down at first. One of the major symptoms of this kind of adrenal exhaustion is fatigue. This fatigue is such that the person experiencing it may get a good night’s sleep, but wake up still feeling tired. Even taking a nap in the daytime does not completely erase the tiredness. Along with fatigue comes difficulty concentrating and brain fog, that foggy thinking that is so hard to describe.

With continuing adrenal fatigue comes insomnia. At times, this is accompanied by feeling very tired, but unable to sleep. It’s been called a “wired and tired” feeling. Gaining weight around the middle of the body is an indication of metabolic dysfunction due to AFS.

These symptoms and the others common to AFS are hard for people to explain and hard for physicians to understand. Often, people with AFS symptoms go from doctor to doctor trying to find help.

NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Model

When people with AFS symptoms visit their physicians, the symptom picture is one that isn’t well understood. Many physicians will simply begin treating each of the symptoms individually or possibly one organ that may be causing the symptoms or that is most affected by them. This is the conventional medical approach and is typically ineffective in dealing with the root cause of AFS symptoms.

Rather than adopting the traditional viewpoint of focusing only on one or two organs in the body to treat, a more comprehensive approach to AFS is needed. The NEM model considers all six circuits of the body as an interrelated whole. These are the metabolic, hormonal, inflammatory, detoxification, cardionomic, and neuroaffective circuits.

In this functional medicine approach, underlying imbalances in the systems of the body are examined. In particular, environmental toxicities stress the detoxification and inflammatory circuits, putting pressure on your immune system and liver. This leaves a person vulnerable to infections and increased inflammation.

The immune system plays a part in both regulating inflammation inside your body as well as helping your body to detoxify. All of the changes in the above two systems then lead to problems in the extracellular matrix and gut. This affects digestion and absorption of nutrients.

With impaired nutrition and increased inflammation, there will typically be a neuroaffective response as well. This response leads to depression and anxiety symptoms. With the changes that occur in these systems, the cardionomic response also begins. Hormones released by the body trigger increase heart rate and blood pressure among other symptoms.

Symptoms of Environmental Toxin Exposure

polluted environment symptomsThere are a large number of symptoms associated with exposure to toxins in our polluted environment. These symptoms typically are exhibited once a person’s total body burden of toxins reaches a certain point. Every person has a unique point at which the burden becomes symptomatic.

These are some of the general symptoms found with toxic exposure:

  • Overall fatigue and feelings of malaise
  • Inability to go to sleep or to stay asleep
  • Changes in hearing, vision, touch, and taste
  • Eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis

Some symptoms relative to the immune system include:

  • Food allergies and sensitivities
  • Allergic responses to chemicals and other things in the environment
  • Chronic viral or fungal infections
  • Weakened immune system
  • Some types of cancers

Nervous system symptoms include:

  • Numbness and tingling
  • Foggy thinking
  • Concentration and memory concerns
  • ADHD and ADD symptoms
  • Dementia and difficulty concentrating
  • Depression and anxiety

Endocrine system symptoms:

  • Fibroids and cysts in reproductive organs
  • Difficulty handling temperature changes
  • Increased PMS and menopause symptoms
  • Increases in problems with birth

Gastrointestinal symptoms:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite, weight gain or loss
  • Not able to tolerate some foods
  • Pain in the abdomen, stomach cramps
  • IBS, Crohn’s disease
  • Liver and kidney dysfunction
  • Cancers of the GI tract

Musculoskeletal symptoms:

  • Problems with coordination and balance
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Bone disorders

Cardiovascular and respiratory symptoms:

  • High or low blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Anemia
  • Bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Asthma and restrictive airway disorders
  • Some cancers

With this large number of significant symptoms and illnesses related to toxic exposure, it’s easy to realize the necessity of detox systems in our bodies. Unfortunately, the number of toxins in our polluted environment can overwhelm our detox efforts. That, plus the fact that our bodies can’t detox themselves from heavy metals and many of the inorganic toxic chemicals to which we’re exposed make it imperative we do all we can to help rid ourselves of these toxic elements.

Ways to Reduce or Eliminate Effects of Toxic Exposure

We live in a polluted environment and all of the very serious illnesses that come because of the toxins we’re exposed to daily. Many, if not most, symptoms related to toxic chemical exposure are the same as those experienced by people suffering from AFS. Thus, many of the suggested foods, herbs, and supplements that are beneficial for toxic exposure will also be beneficial for AFS symptoms.

Foods

A significant body of research indicates nutrition is an excellent vehicle to fight exposure to toxic substances in our polluted environment. Research also shows proper nutrition to be a powerful way to reduce disease risk from these toxic substances. The World Health Organization has reported unhealthy diets to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.

The interrelationship of nutrition and toxin exposure in risk of disease is affected by foods that modulate the effects of toxins and foods that can be both beneficial and sources of toxins themselves. Nutrition appears to be the best method of prevention of toxin-instigated diseases.

polluted environment and clean dietingOne strong suggestion is not to eat any foods containing ingredients you can’t pronounce. Read the label. If the list of ingredients is long or complex, it is probably made up of chemicals more than actual food.

Drinking water helps flush contaminants from your body. Adding lemons, limes, or cucumbers can add variety to your drinking water.

Buy certified organic foods. These may cost a little more, but you’re much more certain to consume fewer toxins from these foods. The USDA Organic Seal is one to be trusted. You can’t be certain of many claims producers and growers place on their foods unless they have this seal.

Artichokes and asparagus are high in the prebiotic inulin that helps promote probiotics in the gut. This may help improve overall gut health, strengthening the immune system and improving the absorption of nutrients.

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are high in fiber, promoting gut, liver, and kidney health by supporting excretion of toxins through bowel movements. These foods also contain the phytochemical sulforaphane that may inhibit pre-cancerous cells from impacting other cells in the body.

Fruits like oranges contain high levels of vitamin C, an antioxidant, that aids in the production of glutathione. Glutathione is important in helping the liver in its detoxification processes.

Sweet potatoes are high in B vitamins. Vitamins B6, B12, and folate all aid in normal digestion, cell functions, and metabolism.

Zinc is found in high amounts in lentils and beans. Your body needs this mineral to support metabolic processes, especially in the liver.

Oats are rich in soluble fiber, slowing the rate at which you absorb foods. The fiber helps support gut health, stimulating the excretion of bile from the liver. Decreasing the amount of bile that is reabsorbed into the intestines, your body can get rid of the toxic waste and increase development of short-chain fatty acids. This will improve gut health through the increased growth of beneficial bacteria that help with digestion and elimination.

Apples are high in pectin, a type of fiber that binds to cholesterol and heavy metals in the body. It also aids in the elimination of toxins and cleanses the intestines.

Avocados lower cholesterol and block toxins that attack arteries. They also contain glutathione, which inhibits many carcinogens and helps the liver detoxify synthetic chemicals.

Blueberries naturally fight infections through a blocking action on bacteria in the urinary tract. They also help block toxins from crossing the blood-brain barrier.

Anticancer and antioxidant compounds are found in cabbage. It also helps the liver break down excess hormones. Cabbage also improves the liver’s ability to detoxify.

Celery and celery seeds are rich in anti-inflammatory substances. They also contain compounds that help in detoxifying cancer cells from the body.

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil contain Omega-3 fatty acids, essential for cleansing the body.

Fresh garlic helps cleanse bacteria, intestinal parasites, and viruses from the body. It has anticancer and antioxidant properties, also. Garlic also contains allicin and selenium which are both antioxidants.

dietary suggestions for a polluted environmentBeets, carrots, and red onions contain flavonoids and beta-carotene, both strong antioxidants.

Eggs, brown rice, and whole grains contain B-complex vitamins that improve liver function and promote decongestion of the liver.

Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, and turnips contain glucosinolates that help the liver produce enzymes for its detox efforts.

Beef liver supplies selenium and boosts glutathione production. It does this better than supplements. Liver from grass-fed cows ensures the bioavailability of the selenium produced.

Herbs

Artichoke leaf helps in regeneration of the liver, helping increase blood flow to that organ. It is also said to stimulate bile flow. When taking artichoke leaf, be aware if may cause gas and worsen the effects of gallstones. Allergic reactions have been reported. Symptoms of allergy to this herb include rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, and wheezing. Consult your healthcare professional if this reaction occurs.

Silymarin is a bioflavonoid found in milk thistle. Some research suggests it helps stabilize the membranes of liver cells and prevents viruses and other toxic compounds from entering. It also supports regeneration and protection of the liver. Silymarin may cause diarrhea, nausea, and belly bloat. Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding should avoid taking silymarin.

Turmeric helps stimulate liver secretions and bile flow. It may irritate gastric mucosa. Other side effects of turmeric include stomach upset. Very high doses may lead to abnormal heart rhythm.

Milk thistle is said to help stimulate the production of glutathione.

Cascara sagrada, or sacred bark, is one of the more potent colon cleansing herbs. It is rich in a compound called anthraquinone that causes contraction of the walls of the intestine, resulting in healthy bowel activity. The benefit is that it is said to help protect your body from GMO damage.

Stomach upset may come from using cascara sagrada. Severe allergic reactions have been reported. Diarrhea, loose stools, and rectal bleeding have been reported less frequently. Be sure to contact your healthcare professional if any side effects occur.

Wild Burdock root is an aggressive diuretic that helps the body get rid of hard to reach toxins such as residue from GMOs, pesticides, and herbicide chemicals. It is said to help the body rid itself of parasites, bacteria, heavy metals, and other toxins.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid wild burdock root due to lack of research into its effects on these populations. It may slow blood clotting. People with bleeding issues may find them worsening with the use of this substance.

Allergic reactions have been reported. Burdock root has been shown to lower blood sugar. People who are diabetic should consult their healthcare professional before taking it. Because of its effects on blood clotting, burdock root should be stopped at least two weeks prior to any surgical procedure.

Supplements

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish are reported to be excellent at protecting your body from inflammation brought on by environmental pollutants. The ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids must be kept at an optimum level. Omega-6 fatty acids can actually increase the inflammation properties of some organic pollutants.

polluted environment and Psyllium huskPsyllium husk is particularly helpful in colon cleansing to flush the intestines. It also helps rid the body of GMOs, allowing healthy bacteria to increase and regulate the digestive system. Taken with a lot of water, psyllium husk produces a gel-like substance that can scrub the intestinal walls, cleansing them of toxic buildup.

Taking this supplement may lead to abdominal fullness and bloating. Severe side effects may include chest tightness, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or vomiting. If any of these side effects occur, you should consult with your healthcare professional.

Organic Sulphur/MSM supports the liver in its powerful detoxification efforts. It also aids in energy production, cell oxygenation, and supports the immune system. Nausea, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, and headache are sometimes reported when using this supplement. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid MSM because there isn’t enough research into its effects in this population.

Probiotics are always useful in protecting your body from the effects of GMOs. They help the body keep your body free of toxins. Gas and bloating are the most common side effects. Too much stimulation of the immune system may be a more serious side effect in some people.

B vitamins are cofactors for many enzyme systems and help in the liver’s detoxification processes. Unless you take large amounts, side effects are uncommon. Dizziness, frequent urination, and abdominal pain may occur with overdoses of B vitamins.

Vitamin C fights free radical formation. This vitamin works very well with vitamin E, also, as an antioxidant. High doses of vitamin C may cause side or back pain. These are infrequent but do require the attention of a healthcare professional. Some minor side effects have been reported also.

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant and helps in the production of glutathione. Selenium may be unsafe when taken in large doses or for long periods of time. There is a possibility that long-term use of selenium could lead to the development of diabetes. High doses can lead to nausea, vomiting, loss of energy and irritability.

Conclusion

We can’t help being exposed to a polluted environment daily in our world, but avoiding as many of these toxins as possible is the first step to gaining or regaining health that may have been detrimentally affected by them.

Understanding the effects of a polluted environment and learning how you can reverse these effects puts you on the right path to cleansing your body. Consuming the foods and supplements that will support your body’s natural detoxification efforts is the wise thing to do.

Extreme caution is advised when introducing these foods and supplements in advanced stages of toxicity and adrenal fatigue. When the body is weak and congested, any amount of detoxification can lead to a crash if not properly observed.

 
© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


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