Our world is increasingly full of chemicals and environmental pollutants that act as metabolic disruptors. Mental health, gut & liver function, immunity, even fertility are affected by these ubiquitous substances. Common poisons including cigarette smoke, asbestos, carbon fuels, cleaning chemicals, pesticides and herbicides are commonly recognised, but what about those we don’t know about?
Human technological evolution has occurred so rapidly in the last 150 years that our technology is far outpacing our understanding of the consequences, leading many experts to refer to our current generation as being members of the greatest scientific experiment ever performed. However, armed with the right information, we can avoid exposing ourselves to these nasties.
1. Know what to look for.
Removing hazardous substances from the immediate environment is much easier when we know where to look for it. Cosmetics and personal products are a major source of toxins, and even if they say ‘natural’ on the label, it’s unlikely to be the case. Avoid anything with the following ingredients:
- benzyl peroxide
- mineral oils
- propylene glycol/butylene (1)
Beware antibacterial soaps, nail polish and hairspray. Even baby products can contain nasty chemicals. Opt for organic choices instead, but make sure they are certified by the appropriate organisation.
2. What’s in your food?
Eating clean is important to keep toxic load down. Even fresh food will carry some sort of pesticide or herbicide residue, so eating organic is the best way to avoid this. Processed and packaged foods often contain additives including colourings, flavourings and preservatives, artificial sweeteners and trans-fats…and if you believe everything you read on the internet, even petroleum products too! But, let’s stick to the facts – fresh organic food is the best way to eat clean.
3. Good plastics, bad plastics
Plastic is not great for health. There is evidence to suggest that ALL plastics mimic oestrogen and should be considered hormone disruptors. (2). Unfortunately, plastic packaging is used so commonly that it is impossible to avoid. Water bottles, children’s toys, clothing, tinned foods, cooking utensils, storage containers, cosmetics, medical devices…and the list goes on. NEVER store water in plastic drink bottles. There are good quality glass or stainless steel drink bottles widely available, and these are a safer option.
4. Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.
Alcohol should be should be avoided where possible. Australian guidelines generally recommend 1 drink a day is fine, but alcohol does more damage than good, even at low to moderate levels. Implicated in cancers, particularly colon cancer, it is still a toxin. Recreational drugs contain all manner of unknown chemicals, some that will yield a lifetime of ill effects.
5.Use medications wisely.
While everyday medications may seem safe, especially when prescribed by your doctor, many still have undesirable long and short term effects. Newer research has implicated many medications once deemed ‘safe’ in a variety of unexpected health issues. Paracetamol (or acetaminophen) for example, has recently been exposed as a risk for causing ADHD in children when taken by mothers during gestation (3) Paracetamol is also highly toxic to the liver, and can easily cause damage if taken in doses higher than recommended on the packaging. Always ask your doctor about long and short term side effects of medications.
6. Include plenty of fibre in your diet.
Unfortunately, we live in a toxic world and there’s no escaping it. While taking precautions to avoid as many of these toxins as possible, eating the right nutrients to facilitate their removal is also important. Green leafy vegetables contain great nutrients for supporting liver health, but also contain fibre that helps to draw toxins out of the body for excretion via the intestines. Wholegrains are another great source, as are high fibre fruit and vegies like sweet potato, oranges, broccoli and apples.
7. Hydrate wisely and more often
Make sure you drink 2-3L of water each day and make sure your water source is as pure as it can be. Water is often contaminated by chemicals that have become ubiquitous in our environment, plus those that have been added to it including fluoride, chlorine and other ‘cleaners’, so it’s important that you invest in some sort of filter. They range significantly in price, but finding one that’s within your capability is usually achievable. Removing as many nasties as you can from your family’s water supply not only encourages you to drink more, but keeps your liver happy too!
If you would like further information on how detoxification, liver health or hormonal balance can assist your overall wellbeing, please feel free to contact us.
(1) Key Clinical Concepts in Detoxifcation. Metagenics – Practitioner Guide.
(2) National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (2017). https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine/
(3) Thompson. J et al. (2014). Association between Acetaminophen use during pregnancy and ADHD symptoms when measured between the ages of 7 and 11 years. Published: September 24, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0108210