No matter how much we try, we can't really escape the toxins around us that are the unfortunate by-product of today's society. The key to healthy living in our world is to get rid of stored toxins and lower the toxin intake to a level at which our body, with a little help from us, can easily process and eliminate them before they can do any harm. Doing so can dramatically contribute to our short and longterm health, reverse chronic diseases and slow down ageing processes.
Intoxication can lead to numerous different symptoms, chronic diseases and premature ageing. It can cause or contribute to most of the gruesome consequences of unhealthy nutrition. Unfortunately, there is no direct reverse one-to-one relationship of a certain symptom or chronic disease to a specific intoxication or intoxication in general. This leads to the situation that intoxication as a cause of a disease is often overlooked and not considered by conventional doctors. This is particularly true for Heavy Metal Intoxication. We think that it is no use trying to treat any chronic disease without prior implementing proper nutrition and detoxifying the body first.
One of the primary way toxins and other substances that are detrimental to our health enter our body is thru the food we consume.
Food Types that are detrimental to our Health
There are some types of food that are, even when produced organic, quite harmful to our health due to the compounds that they contain (e.g.: sugar, gluten, lectins, phytates, lactose, casein). This is covered this in the Nutrition section. If we eat Paleo, we are safe from those.
Processed Food and Toxic Food Additives
Processed food and ready made meals often contain compounds that are detrimental to our health. Either because they contain items form the section above like sugar and wheat (often used to stimulated appetite and hunger), added stuff like high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, trans-fats or due processing itself unwanted byproducts like carcinogens and glycated proteins. Unfortunately, this is true for items brought in organic shops as well. If we buy any processed food (which we usually don't), we make sure it's organic, and we carefully read the labels, to make sure it has no unwanted additives.
Virtually all soft drinks on the market are detrimental to our health. They contain either high fructose corn syrup, other sugars or artificial sweeteners and their low pH puts an extreme burden on our body. We cover this in depth in the Nutrition section.
Alcohol is a neuro-toxin. There is no study proving the consumption of alcohol is beneficial for our health. There are some studies, that see a slight positive effect of moderate alcohol consumption, but this might as well be du to the fact that people with moderate alcohol consumption do this in a social environment and being social contributes to positive well-being. A glass of red wine a day seems to be ok, but anything in excess probably damages our health.
Toxins in our Food
Modern agriculture and industrial farming employ a massive amount of fertilizers, pesticides and for animal farming antibiotics, hormones and cheap, non-organic animal food (like hexane containing non-organic soy). All these compounds end up in smaller and sometimes not so small amounts in the final product. All this in order to maximize production yields and lower overall cost. The longterm healthiness of their end-products is of no concern to the producers, since it does not influence their bottom line.
Buying only organic, and if possible, local produce from known and trusted sources, we minimize the risk of toxic load in our food. Meat should come from, free-range, grass-fed, organic animals. Poultry should be free range and organic. Fish should be caught in the wild an not be farm raised.
In our household we employ a great amount of cleaners, most of them fully untested for longterm human health. These products contain carcinogens, solvents and other poisonous substances that help to get the job done the product was designed for. The sad truth is that the longterm implications of these products are of no concern to the manufacturers. Only the short term efficiency and production cost effect the marketability and the bottom line.
Fortunately, there are organic replacement products for almost every conventional cleaner that we employ today.
Toxic Body Care & Cosmetics
There are more than 10.000 different substances used in the production of modern body care and cosmetics today. Almost all of them untested for longterm human usage. Some of them are even known to be harmful or cause cancer. There is no need for the manufacturers to list the used compounds on the label, and so most of them don't in order to keep their manufacturing secrets. Whenever we use one of these products, we simply don't know what we put on our skin. Most of these substances can and do enter our bodies thru our skin at an alarming rate. E.g.: when using a non-organic shower gel we absorb about ten times as much of its toxic content by applying it on our skin compared to drinking it!
In the light of this, we have to be extra cautious, since some products (even organic ones) contain wheat or other grains and thus gluten. This might not be listed on the label or named in a misleading way (e.g.: as amino acids). If a product is not explicitly labeled as "gluten-free", it probably is not.
For us it is paramount to buy only organic, totally additive-free, gluten-free body care and cosmetics. Fortunately, there are some companies producing products like that.
Common cookware can contain toxic substances, that are released into the food during the cooking process.
Non stick, teflon coated cookware is one of the most dangerous. The common perception that teflon is harmless unless scratched simply is not true and even if if where that way it is highly improbable that any kitchen utensil remains unscratched after prolonged use. Teflon coated cookware outgasses while heated, releasing extremely unhealthy toxins into our food.
Aluminum cookware releases aluminium into the food that is known for causing Alzheimer’s disease.
The best choice that we can currently use is ceramic coated stainless steel cookware. The ceramic coating is extremely temperature stable up and durable.
Toxic Plastic Bottles & Bags
Most plastics contain BPA a potent hormone disruptor. BPA leaches out of plastics with time and is increases exponentially when heat or corrosive substances are applied. Therefore, acidic foods such as tomato juice, mixed with a bit of sun exposure can lead to an extremely high level of BPA.
Phthalates is a chemical used to make plastic soft and flexible. It is found in any soft plastics such as containers, sandwich bags, bottles and styrofoam cups. Phthalates are a potent hormone disruptor and can cause developmental issues, male infertility, premature breast development, cancer and miscarriage.
We try to avoid plastic bottles and bags wherever possible especially for storing foods and drinks. If we have to use a plastic bottle (such as a shaker for a sport shake) we use a BPA free one and only use it for a short time and not for long term storage.
Toxic Floor Oils & Paint
When we treat wooden floors in our homes or paint something that is used in-doors, we must be aware that the toxic components and solvents used in conventional products are released from the surfaces they were applied to even months after the application. Thus causing a permanent toxic load in the air of our homes. This is particularly true for floor oils due to the large surface that is usually treated.
We make sure that we always employ non-toxic, water-solvent products that don't release toxins over time.
Cleaning out the House
We found the easiest way to get rid of the toxic sources in our homes is to completely clean out all of all the above in one big effort, throw away all food that is not Paleo, all processed food and everything that is not organic, all conventional cleaners and all conventional non-organic, non-gluten free body care.
Then we restock only with Paleo friendly, organic produce, organic household cleaners and organic, gluten free body care. Thus, we can make the switch to a toxin-free home in just one day.
Getting rid of Amalgam Fillings
Amalgam consists to a large extend of mercury and will continuously release the heavy metal into our body. Dentists have stopped using amalgam for that reason a long time ago. However, if we happen to have such fillings, they must be removed as soon as possible. The removal process has to be done carefully in order to not let us swallow any mercury ridden debris and thus even increase the intoxication.
The smoke of a single cigarette contains about 3.000 (!!) different poisons and carcinogens. Obviously smoking is a non-strategy to extend our healthy lifespan. We have to be aware that passive smoking exposes us to these poisons in almost the same way as if we would smoke ourselves.
Dry cleaning uses various chemicals to clean clothing. These toxins are easily absorbed thru the skin while wearing the cleaned clothes and can lead to headaches, nausea, dizziness, and memory problems. Some of the substances used are known carcinogens or toxic to our liver. We think it is best to avoid dry cleaning and if we can't we let the clean items outgas by hanging them outside for some time before storing or wearing them.
Toxins in the Air
Almost all things that make up our household from furniture to wooden floors more or less evaporate chemicals into the air. We can limit our exposure to those chemicals by buying products that are know to be free of the most dangerous and carcinogenic substances like formaldehyde. And we can ensure proper ventilation in our household by opening the windows regularly to ensure an exchange of fresh air.
Toxins in our Water
Unfortunately, our household water nowadays consists of much more than water. Everything that modern society deploys in large scale can be found in our tap water including chlorine, pesticides, hormones, medication, PCBs, heavy metals and numerous other substances. It's is best to either use bottled natural water from a trusted source or apply filtering to the tap water we use for cooking or drinking.
Tap water should at least be filtered by a filter pitcher or a faucet mounted filter. Best would be a carbon based under sink water filter. When buying bottled water, we prefer glass bottles since plastic bottles tend to release chemicals into the water.
If possible the whole household water should be filtered too since we not only take in toxins with our drinking water, but to an astonishing large amount thru our skin while taking a shower or a bath. There are several vendors offering whole house filtration systems.
Our body has several built-in processes to neutralize, eliminate and excrete toxins. It does this by first converting toxins to a water solvable form and then disposing the dissolved toxins thru urination, feces or sweat. Unprocessed toxins either attach themselves to tissue or are stores by the body in its fat tissue.
Hover our body was not designed for our modern toxic environment. Thus, it struggles to keep up with the constant onslaught of toxic compounds around us. We have to do our best to help it get rid of toxins by aiding these processes as much as we can. Unprocessed toxins stay in our bodies and cause short and longterm harm.
Increased Toxic Burden while loosing Weight
While loosing weight, e.g. when starting on Paleo, we have to be aware that the body stores all the toxins that it cannot eliminate instantly in fat tissue. When losing weight and fat tissue is dismantled, the stored toxins are release into the blood stream (This is one reason why crash dieting is really unhealthy). Particularly in this situation, we have to make sure to support our detoxification processes by providing enough water and by the measures described below.
Picking a Supplier for our Detox Supplements
When we researched detoxification and suppliers for detox products we found that ReNew Life has an in-depth offering of what we needed. We are not connected to ReNew Life other that we really like their products and consider them a trusted source for our detox supplement needs. The CEO of ReNew Life has written a very comprehensive guide to herbal detoxification, that we feature on our reading list.
see more: The Detox Strategy
Supporting Daily Detoxification
We can aid the body in several ways. By eating a healthy diet, that allows for a healthy digestion and excretion, by drinking enough healthy fluids like water or teas, that allow for sufficient elimination by urination and by sweating, allowing the toxins to be excreted thru the skin.
Additionally we can supplement a variety of herbs that stimulate and aid the body to detoxify on a daily basis. RenNew Life offers products for daily detox support.
Cleansing the whole Body
Two to three times a year we employ a dedicated fully body cleanse to release stored toxins from our bodies. The full body cleanse is done instead of the daily detox support. For first time cleansing, there is a special starter product.
Cleansing the Liver
The liver is the main chemical factory and detox organ of the body. Thus, it can accumulate a high load of toxins. We employ a dedicated liver cleansing is to release and eliminate the stored toxins from the liver two to three times a year. The liver cleanse is done instead of the daily detox support. We alternate daily detox support, fully body cleanses and liver cleanses on a rolling basis with at least four weeks of daily detox in between full body and liver cleanses.
see more: Liver Detox (renewlife.com)
Intoxication by heavy metals like lead, mercury, arsenic and aluminium is one of the most detrimental things to our long term health.
Amongst others, heavy metals attach themselves to our nerve tissue where they cause longterm, irrevocable havoc like damaged or reduced mental and central nervous function. They can dramatically lower energy levels, do damage to blood, lungs, kidneys, liver and other vital organs. Long-term exposure can result in slowly progressing physical, muscular, and neurological degenerative processes that mimic Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophy and multiple scleroses. They can cause allergies and cancer.
Once attached to our tissue we have to employ special means to part these compounds from the tissue and make them available for elimination again. The process involved is called chelation, where a chelation agent attaches to the metal, releases it from the tissue and makes it transportable by blood and the lymphatic system. The chelation agent can be administered orally or as an IV infusion.
Heavy metals can accumulate in the body over years and decades, especially when the environmental load is high and the body is not detoxing properly on its own. Often it's not even possible to deduct when or why the intoxication might have happened.
Removing heavy metals from the body, particularly when a high level of intoxication is present is not a short term process, but takes patience and months or even years.
Before testing or treating heavy metal intoxication it is important to have all amalgam fillings in our teeth removed since they are a constant source of mercury.
Detecting Heavy Metal Intoxication
Detecting heavy metal intoxication is done using urine testing. We need a physician expertly well trained and experienced in heavy metal removal to do the testing in a meaningful way. The test consists of the analysis and comparison of two urine samples. The first one is taken in the morning, right after getting up and before any food or drinks, the second one from urine collected over a period of six hours after applying the "Advanced heavy metal detox" described below. So doing the test is just like a heavy metal detox session.
Both samples are sent to a lab, and the results will return a few days later. The lab results will show the actual values of the respective heavy metals in mcg of the substance in relation to mg of creatinine. Thus, we get a good relative measurement, unskewed by the water content of the sample.
A good lab will give us different thresholds for both measurements, knowing that the second one was done when applying a chelation agent. We all have values elevated above the baseline threshold when using a chelation agent. Thus, we have to know what is good, average or totally out of range when detoxing using the chelation agent.
Unfortunately we cannot measure the absolute amount of heavy metal in our body, the test can only tell us how much we can drain from the body when applying chelation. It's like opening the faucet of a barrel. We can just tell if and how much outflow we have, however we cannot deduct the capacity of the barrel itself.
The first sample (baseline) tells us the basic outflow of our body without any aid. The second one (chelated) tells us the outflow during the detox process. The test results have to be viewed in conjunction with each other in order to see whats going on.
see more: Urine Metal Profiles (microtraceminerals.com)
||below||no heavy metal intoxication, we are good :-)|
|below||elevated||intoxication - our body is not able to detox the substance without help|
||intoxication - our body can and does detox the substance, but unfortunately the load is higher then our unaided capacity|
|below||we have an elevated intake of the substance, but our body is able to detox it sufficiently on it's own|
Medical Heavy Metal Detox
The most efficient therapy to eliminate heavy metals from the body is a combination of an oral (DMSA) and two IV chelation agents (ZnDTPA & DPMS) working together. Chelation agents attach themselves to heavy metals and break them loose from the tissue and transport them to the excretion organ. However, a certain amount of these bonds break up during the transport phase, freeing the metal ion which now would be free roaming in our body. DMSA is a weaker chelation agent than the two IV agents, but lingers much longer in our system. By applying it prior to the IV treatments sort of a safety net is created that catches metal ions lost by the stronger, but shorter lasting IV chelation agents during transport. The combination therapy is up to three times more efficient than using oral DMSA on its own.
Professional heavy metal chelation has to be done by a well trained and experienced physician. The procedure can be repeated once a week if it is well tolerated. After a certain amount of treatments, we take a break and remeasure our heavy metal levels.
Natural Compounds to eliminate Heavy Metals
There are several herbs like cilantro, green tea, garlic, chlorella and compounds like alpha lipoic acid that aid the body in eliminating heavy metals. Supplementing those can improve our baseline detoxification. This is especially advisable when undergoing a medical chelation that might stir up bound heavy metals in the body, that should be eliminated in the days after the therapy.
Herbs and supplement can help detoxification, but in no way can they match the profound effect of a medical chelation therapy.
LifeExtesion has a very good read on that topic and ReNew Life offers a combination product with several helpful herbs in one product.
see more: Heavy Metal Detoxification (lef.org)
Heavy Metal Cleanse (renewlife.com)
Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP)
As a special gift of nature there is a special compound that is extracted from the white soft layer between the orange's peel and its flesh. Modified Citrus Pectin can be taken as an oral supplement and has a substantial chelation effect, that has already been proven in several clinical tries. MCP is particularly effective in combination with seaweed alginates, that inhibit toxin re-absorption in the digestive tract.
In our own tests we measured an up to six-fold increase in mercury elimination when administering an MCP / alginate combination compared to our baseline values. MCP does not match the efficiency of our medical chelation therapy, but it can be applied on a daily basis which adds up to a quite tangible effect. It can be used on its own, either for an acute treatment or for ongoing detox support. And it perfectly complements a medical chelation therapy.
seem more: PectaClear MCP Chelation Capsules (econugenics.com)