Authors: Tammy Dupuy, MD, IFMCP and Nia’Ja Mack, NP
When we think of the toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis, our thoughts immediately go to pesticides, herbicides and other environmental pollutants in the air, water and foods we eat. But toxins from everyday household cleaning products, skin care products, cosmetics, lotions and other similar products to enter our body through our mucosal membranes – such as our skin, mouth, nose, eyelids, lungs, stomach and intestines.
These toxins can disrupt our endocrine systems and lead to hormonal imbalances in estrogen levels and more. The Environmental Working Group maintains a database and consumer information on approved personal care products at ewg.org/skindeep/.
Fortunately, our bodies have a built in detoxification systems that helps neutralize and excrete toxins and deal with oxidative stress; which can lead to problems ranging from aging to diabetes, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.
So how does the body detox?
Toxins are eliminated through your breath, sweat, urine and feces, and dietary fiber eliminates toxins through regular bowel movements. In fact, chronic constipation can cause toxins to recirculate through your body causing prolonged exposure until they are eventually eliminated.
The two best ways to detox are with water and oxygen.
Both of these elements help clean your cells. Aerobic exercise trains your body to use oxygen more efficiently and causes you to sweat. A general rule of thumb, the minimum amount of water to drink daily is eight 8-ounce glasses. This can vary with exercise and sweating. It’s also important for you to remember, for your detoxification systems to function properly you need to be sure that you are getting essential nutrients including phytochemicals which signal your cells to turn on the enzymes necessary for detoxification.