Spring is often a reminder of the annual cleaning of our homes, but what about our bodies? We accumulate environmental by-products and toxins throughout our lives, and over time, we carry a load of unwanted baggage that may take special attention to eradicate. I’m noticing that most of my patients have toxins hidden away in their tissues that are draining their energy or diverting the attention of their immune systems. It’s a great time to metaphorically “take out the trash!”
I like the analogy of a bucket that gets filled with the garbage in our system. Our environments are filled with a myriad of toxins. Car exhaust is in our air; mold is growing anywhere water has collected, pesticides and herbicides are sprayed on our golf courses and lawns, plastic is everywhere. As we inhale, eat, or expose our skin, we take in these environmental elements. The “bucket” gets filled with more garbage. If our system is working well, we detox easily, and the trash is removed. However, with certain genetic mutations, prolonged exposures, elevated stress and a lack of vitamins and nutrients, our trash buckets can overflow and make us sick in ways we don’t realize are related to these toxins.
Our body has an intricate system for sounding alarms if there are toxins in the system. Signals called cytokines, and complement factors circulate through the bloodstream to call for help and start the inflammatory response. The liver identifies the toxins – I like to say it “tags the trash” and starts the detoxification process. Phase one detox changes the toxin into a metabolite or intermediate molecule. This step is run primarily by glutathione and folate. In phase two, liver detox, the intermediate metabolites are processed to make them water-soluble or ready for elimination. The final step is elimination through our skin and sweat, our kidneys and urine, or our intestines and feces.
To assess immune function and toxin load, start by looking at markers of the body’s alarm system – such as Transforming Growth Factor beta 1 (TGF-B-1) and Complement 4a (C4a). If elevated, a deeper laboratory workup is indicated and needs to include virus loads (including the herpes family and markers like EBV-EA for recurrent Epstein Barr infection), mycotoxin testing for mold toxins, heavy metals and non-metal toxins.
Healing starts by supporting your body with the needed ingredients to detoxify. The most important source of these ingredients is colorful fruits and vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are the best source of glutathione and its pre-cursor N-acetylcysteine (NAC). Based on your blood work, you can make sure you have optimal levels of minerals and vitamins, so your system is able to “tag the trash” and metabolize toxins for removal. It is vital to be sure the elimination systems are open and functional. Regular sweating either with work, exercise or sauna supports the removal of toxins. Hydration supports our kidneys in removing toxins through urination. Fiber and hydration, and, if needed, magnesium or other intestinal supports, promote daily stooling to remove toxins from our intestines. Our system is made to wonderfully support us if we support it!
Jeralyn Brossfield, MD is the founder and physician of XO Health and medical director of Brain Treatment Center both in Rancho Mirage. She can be reached at (760) 573.2761 or www.BrainTreatmentCenter.com and on Facebook @XOHealth.