In my last blog article (“Detox is a Dirty Word”, published April 23, 2017) I covered the basics of cleansing –The Why, Who and When (aka Detox 101). Now we get down to the dirty facts of toxification. Knowing we accumulate toxins constantly, thanks to stress and our environment, it’s no wonder our organs and tissues take a beating! Here are the main organs which are burdened with “keeping it clean” and how this toxic accumulation affects you:
The Colon: The colon is responsible for flushing out toxins so they won’t harm you. You should be having at least 1-2 bowel movements per day. In my practice I have done several initial assessments on patients complaining of intense symptoms or chronic (unresolved) conditions and one thing most have in common is constipation or bowel irregularity. They are inflamed all around and suffer from slow gut motility…which fires up more inflammation! The colon produces healthy bacteria responsible for preventing infections but a constant bombardment of chemical stress will deplete it and increase your risk for many types of illnesses.
A congested colon (also referred to sluggish colon) can explain bloating, weight gain, poor sleep, low energy, fatigue, muscle weakness, malabsorption of vital nutrients, parasitic and bacterial infections and…..the toxic colon! This is a rare condition characterized by abnormal dilation or widening of the colon and can be considered life threatening. It can also increase the risk for Crohn’s disease, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), UC (Ulcerative Colitis), GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) and Diverticular disease. There are even studies demonstrating the link between colon congestion and heart disease.
I published a book on Amazon called “Go With Your Gut!” It is a simple explanation of why gut health should be taken seriously and how it impacts brain function, sleep, mood, thyroid and all just about everything else. Download your copy by clicking HERE to access my page.
So, when you hear the word “detox” do you have miserable images of a bloated belly?
Multiple trips to the bathroom with uncomfortable diarrhea? Colonics? Or, perhaps the anxiety of achieving that flattened belly on time for beach season? Don’t let your mind dwell on these. The health industry as well as media tends to emphasize the impact on bowels (excuse the pun; impacted bowels is no fun either). Toxicity and cleansing extend beyond the gut.
While your lower abdomen houses the long and winding road to intestinal clarity, let’s not ignore the other key organs in the detoxification process:
The Kidneys: The kidneys are constantly filtering out toxins from your blood and channeling them out through your urine. Kidney inflammation or damage is typically due to exposure of a drug or toxin. Urine changes (bubbly, foamy, traces of blood), fatigue, swelling, metal taste in the mouth or bad breath, need to vomit, rashes on the skin, chills, leg or back pain, out of breath, dizziness are all signs of nephrotoxicity. https://rmkidney.com/10-signs-symptoms-kidney-disease/1/
The Liver and Gallbladder: The liver metabolizes proteins and fats. However it is also the first stop in the body’s “toxic assembly line”. It filters out toxins we absorb from food and our environment and prevents them from passing into your blood stream. It also takes particles from the blood after the digestive process and filters them- separating the waste products from the building blocks. The biliary tree (liver, gallbladder and bile ducts) play a major role in detoxification, lipid metabolism, transport and digestion (the bile acids). Abnormal function could involve the invasion of infectious material or biotoxins resulting in formation of biliary sludge. In Chinese medicine it is referred to stagnation. (Think of it as a traffic jam where everything gets backed up. No one is moving and exhaust fumes from cars idling contaminate the air and sneak into your vents-the toxic exposure!) There are several natural protocols and therapies, including acupuncture and herbology, which can break up the traffic and get some movement on the road!
The gallbladder is your organ that stores and concentrates the bile produced by the liver. Stagnation of gallbladder (“the sludge”) is usually due to prolonged fasting, low fat diets, high carb diets, prolonged, unresolved stress or exposure to pathogens. This leads to inflammation. Bile produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder is critical to excreting biotoxins and heavy metals through fecal matter. So, we need the liver and gallbladder to work synchronously.
What are biotoxins? Basically they are any poisonous substances produced by a living organism. In this case, we are specifically referring to bacteria, viruses, parasites, spirochetes, dinoflagellates and fungus. (Sounds creepy and disgusting, I know. But they are real and they can be found in our body.) Their accumulation in the sludge creates neurotoxins which affect our central nervous system through our second brain (the gut). https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/08/09/detoxification-biotoxins.aspx
The Brain: I am a chiropractor. Chiropractors are nervous system doctors. The nervous system is headquartered in the brain, so I’m going to explain the importance of the brain in all this. You may be aware of the strong relationship between the brain and the gut. (Read my 5 part Brain-Gut series I published last year by clicking HERE)
What are neurotoxins? They are simply the toxins you definitely do not want messing with your most important system. The more stagnant your gallbladder, the more sludge produced, hence higher chance of neurologic impact. These guys bind to structures rich in fat such as kidneys, liver and the brain. Neurotoxins can disrupt or kill neurons, the cells that transmit and process signals in the brain and rest of the nervous system. This type of toxicity can result from exposure to heavy metals, certain foods such as gluten, food additives, pesticides, some cleaning solvents, cosmetics and the following:
- drug therapy
- certain drug abuse
- organ transplants
Neurotoxicity is found to be a major cause of brain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Signs you may have neurotoxicity include (but not limited to) limb weakness or numbness, loss of memory, vision or cognitive function, uncontrollable obsessive or compulsive behaviors, delusion or sexual dysfunction.
Your Skin: Your skin is not only your largest organ but also a major organ of elimination. Some signs of toxic congestion in the skin include acne, red or dry blotches and inflammation/edema. Skin toxicity is also a side effect of treatments for colorectal cancer patients. Heavy metal toxicity causes symptoms like brittle hair and nails and rashes.
Oh! There’s one more….
FAT: Did you know FAT is considered an organ? It’s considered an endocrine organ, responsible for synthesis and secretion of hormones. There are healthy places to store your fat (around organs for example) and excessive fat, such as in the liver and around your waistline is dangerous. I found a great article from National Institute of Health describing the positive and negative roles of fat (ok another pun if you are reading out loud; click HERE). I mention FAT in this article because toxins love, love, love fat! The more fat you have, the greater your waist-hip ratio or BMI, the more toxins you are entertaining in your house! There are other detriments to obesity such as estrogen dominance (yes, in men too), increased risk for cancers, diabetes, early brain degeneration etc etc etc. This is just another reason why it’s important to get and keep your weight under control.
The information in this article was not intended to scare, disgust, nor discourage the reader from taking appropriate steps towards a cleaner, healthier internal environment. We advise refraining from surrendering to the discouraging outlook of today’s toxic environment and epidemic rates of chronic disease and obesity. We advise consulting with your physician before making any changes based on the information provided in this and other articles. There are steps you can take to optimize your resistance to toxins and your ability to eliminate them. I plan to show you some basics from my own experience and training in Part 3. I will keep it simple and hope to finish it by mid June. I wish I can pump out this series faster but I am in the midst of some exciting changes. Please stay tuned for my announcements!
Here’s something else to consider: What happens on the inside doesn’t stay on the inside. Your skin, hair, posture, expressions and even the energy you radiate are reflections of your internal balance. More on this in another future article!
Let’s Clean the Most Important House You Own!
Stay tuned for your next Free Dose of the Naked Truth by Dr. Melanie: Part 3 (the “how to”)
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Yours in health,