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Living In Toxic World

Over the past 100 years, the world around us has changed drastically. However, our physiology has not adapted to these changes. Our ability to fight the toxins in our food and environment is the same as it was 100 or even 1,000 years ago.

At some point, all of us have been contaminated by these dangerous chemicals that surround us, in one way or another. They are in fast foods, processed beverages, water, pesticide-contaminated vegetables and fruits, pharmaceuticals, cigarette smoke, and industrial fumes.

Even when we are born, our bodies are already packing toxins. In a 2005 EWG research article, it was uncovered that the umbilical-cord blood of American babies contained on average about 200 industrial chemicals and toxins.

This is a concerning situation. Especially considering, as reported by CNN, that we have around 84,000 chemicals on the market (and only about one percent of them have been studied for safety).

Is it a coincidence that we are now witnessing an exponential rise in diseases associated with increased toxin accumulation? The perfect examples of this are “The 4 A’s” (Autism, Allergies, ADHD, and Asthma). But, there are many others.

While it is impossible for us to live in a bubble and completely protect ourselves from this toxic world; we can shield our bodies from some of the most frequent offenders. This list of frequent offenders can be quite large. So today, we are focusing on the ones we feel are most important (and the easiest to target).

Living In Toxic World

Excitotoxins

Excitotoxins are a class of chemicals that overstimulate neuron receptors.[1] They also do a phenomenal job of exciting our taste buds.[2] Therefore, making them very attractive to the food industry. They have been used for decades now as artificial flavorings to enhance the flavor of soups, snacks, sauces, gravies, and many low-fat and processed foods.

MSG

One of the best-known artificial flavorings is monosodium glutamate (aka: MSG). It was introduced in the early 20th century, and sold as a flavor enhancer that would stimulate the umami flavor in people’s taste buds.[3] During those times, with the great world wars and scarcity of good quality foods, it really became a staple in many households (because it could make spoiled foods taste good). As you can imagine, its popularity grew; and it conquered its place in the kitchens of homes and restaurants around the world.

Unfortunately, this “cuisine saver” has a dark side. Research shows that MSG consumption has been associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, liver damage, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, behavioral problems, nerve damage, and increased inflammation.[4] [5] [6]

Artificial Sweeteners

Another example of excitotoxins are artificial sweeteners. According to the FDA, the five main artificial sweeteners (acesulfame potassium, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, and sucralose) are “generally recognized as safe”.[7] However, many medical experts do not share that same opinion. In fact, there have been some studies linking these five sweeteners, in particular Aspartame and Sucralose (aka: Splenda), with insulin resistance, digestive tract diseases, infertility, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, autism, systemic lupus, and even cancer.[8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

Artificial Food Colorants

Many processed foods have bright colors to stimulate our visual senses, and make them more appealing for consumption. Not surprisingly, multiple studies have connected the consumption of synthetic colors and flavors in processed foods to diseases of the respiratory system, skin, gastrointestinal tract, and skeletal system; as well as to allergies,
headaches, and behavioral disorders like ADHD.

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7854587/
[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8656276/
[3] https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/90/3/728S/4597145?login=false
[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29743864/
[5] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10942912.2017.1295260
[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22681873/
[7] https://ift.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1541-4337.2006.tb00081.x
[8] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18604921/
[9] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3319565/
[10] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18800291/
[11] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29554272/
[12] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30721958/
[13] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1039267/
[14] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1123257/
[15] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/844631/

Toxic Halides

Halides are chemical elements that can be found in nature. Some of the most well-known halides are bromide, chloride, fluoride, and iodide. Most people are familiar with their slightly different chemical counterparts, bromine, chlorine, fluorine, and iodine. Today, we are going to discuss the first three, since they can have particularly toxic effects on the body. These three chemicals can be commonly found in some processed foods, but most importantly in our drinking water and pools. Once again, their safety is questionable. Studies have linked these compounds with bone, hormonal, and neurological diseases.[1] [2] [3]

Heavy metals

Last but not least, we have heavy metals. Due to the industrialization of production, heavy metal toxicity is becoming a frequent health issue. We are consuming more heavy metals than our bodies can handle and that is creating many health problems.

There are many heavy metals; but the most common troublemakers are Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury. These have been linked to delays in growth and development, learning impairment, behavioral disorders, hearing loss, speech problems, abdominal pain, anemia, and respiratory infections.[4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

Arsenic

The most common cause of arsenic toxicity is the indirect consumption of groundwater contaminated by industrial runoff. This can occur by eating foods like rice (rice is produced in fields with contaminated water), grains, and conventionally raised chickens.

Cadmium

Cadmium poisoning is the least common of the four heavy metals listed here. Usually, it results from excessive exposure to tobacco smoke, car emissions, or spray paint. But we can also ingest cadmium through water and soft drinks from dispensing machines with galvanized plumbing, refined wheat flour, canned evaporated milk, and processed foods.

Lead

Lead can make its way into our water because of old lead piping or inappropriate water treatment, such as the famous case of lead contamination in Flint, Michigan. Lead can also be found in canned foods or in old dishes, toys, and jewelry (since it was commonly used as an ingredient in paint).

Mercury

The most common mercury exposure is through eating large fish because of the pollution of our waters. However, we can also have mercury exposure from contact with broken thermostats, lightbulbs, batteries, and auto parts. There is also one lesser-known source of mercury. During the production of high-fructose corn syrup (used in most processed foods), this sweetener can become contaminated with mercury. Finally, we have the case of dental amalgams (metal fillings), which can be made up of over 50 percent mercury.

[16] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2129630/
[17] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30316182/
[18] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34204780/
[19] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30507775/
[20] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33231175/
[21] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32375657/
[22] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32460072/
[23] ​​https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22235210/

What Can We Do About This?

As mentioned earlier, we should try to stay away from these toxins as much as possible. Although there may seem to be too many to avoid, if we review all that has been presented so far, we can conclude that we can eliminate 80 percent of them. We can do this by staying away from processed foods; “industrial” vegetables, fruits, and meats; and non-filtered water.

Besides reducing the exposure, we also have to remove the toxins already inside of us. To do that, the best thing we can do is to support our physiology with micronutrient-rich foods (and key supplements). We need to give our livers and kidneys the biochemistry they need to help us detoxify. Some of the most important micronutrients involved in our detox pathways are B vitamins; vitamins A, C, and E; flavonoids; cysteine; glycine; glutamine; methionine; magnesium; taurine; and glutathione.

We can also take advantage of God’s pharmacy to help us get rid of these toxins. Cilantro and Chlorella (algae) are amazing binders (meaning, they attach to toxins and carry them out of the body).[1] [2] Another great option is eating cruciferous vegetables (i.e. cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts). They are rich in compounds such as Sulforaphane and DIM, which are phenomenal to support the liver during detox (and have anticarcinogenic properties).[3] [4]

Please note there are many different approaches beyond strategic nutrition. And, these will differ depending on your unique toxin profile. The key is not to waste time playing the guessing game. Work with a functional medicine practitioner , so that you can get a comprehensive evaluation. This data will allow the professional to create a specific plan; and work with you to remove these performance and health-robbing toxins from your body.

Here at BIOHAX, we do this every day. And, we are really good at it. Don’t try to take this journey blindfolded and on your own. Let’s work together to determine your situation and come up with a game plan to regain your edge ASAP.

[24] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26828430/
[25] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8914687/
[26] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32152852/
[27] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26138223/

Dr.De

Marcos de Andrade MD, MBA Biohax