Eliminating Toxins From the Body
As a naturopathic physician, over the years I have worked with many patients whose symptoms eluded diagnosis by conventional medicine. These symptoms include fatigue, nervous system disorders, poor memory, immune system problems, heartbeat irregularities, skin conditions, aches and pains, allergies, arthritis, insomnia, coughs, gastrointestinal problems, asthma, headaches and sensitivity to environmental agents such as chemicals, perfumes, and synthetics. Many of these patients’ symptoms were caused by the load of toxins they had accumulated in their bodies over the years. A toxin is basically any substance that creates irritating or harmful effects in the body, undermining our health or stressing our biochemical or organ functions.
The Chemical Feast
In the last 100 years or so, humans have managed to drastically change the basic chemistry of our planetary environment. In 1989 alone, more than one billion pounds of chemicals were released into the ground, affecting the soil in which we grow our food and filtering into our water supply. And that’s not all. Over 188 million pounds of chemicals were discharged directly into our lakes and rivers and more than two billion pounds of chemical emissions were released into the air we breathe. The total volume of these pollutants is staggering.
Again, that’s only part of the picture. Food grown in depleted soil with artificial chemicals lacks nutritional value. We have further refined and adulterated these already compromised foods and have added artificial colorings, flavors, preservatives and conditioners. Furthermore, hormones and antibiotics added to animal products contribute to the toxic load we are carrying and may cause endocrine and immune problems as well.
Then there is the matter of the internal pollution our bodies create as a byproduct of normal metabolic processes. I don’t think I need to belabor the concept of the toxic load we are carrying in our tissues. Suffice to say that both our present vibrancy and the experience of life we will have in our later years have been compromised. Fortunately, there are a variety of detoxification programs we can undergo that will assist our bodies in cleansing and rejuvenation.
Fasting is Not Enough
In the past, water or juice fasting was the only approach employed for detoxification. The principle of fasting is that by avoiding food, the body is able to clear stored toxins and heal itself when the stress of digestion and further input of toxins is eliminated. Fasting is still an effectively utilized method of cleansing. However, the sheer weight of the toxic loads most people are carrying has made fasting somewhat risky. The body’s clearing mechanisms simply cannot handle the volume of toxins being released from the tissues through fasting. In addition, prolonged fasting weakens muscles and various organs because of protein depletion and a gradual slowing of metabolic activity as the body tries to conserve its depleted energy resources.