During an ordinary day, we are all exposed to a myriad of toxins that will attack the body. From the moment we wake up and get in the shower we are bombarded with chemicals in our personal care products, (cosmetics alone have over 160 ingredients, many of which are categorized as toxins) water, food and environment. These toxins can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin or eaten in food. The real danger these days comes from a combination effect of all the different chemicals. These different toxins may interact with one another in a different and alarming way and cause a synergistic effect harming your health more than each chemical can independently. Toxicologists are calling this the “cocktail Effect” – from a recent issue of Alternative Health Magazine and it is linked to various chronic diseases including cancer, respiratory illnesses and neurological conditions.
The good news is that our bodies can take toxins in small quantities because our livers can either excrete them out or neutralize them. Your best defense is being aware of what is in the different products you are using and taking small steps in changing or eliminating those products as well is up-regulating detoxification pathways to maximize toxin excretion.
Below are some common harmful chemicals to watch out for
A family of fluorine-containing chemicals that make fabrics stain resistant. They are also found in teflon pans and waxed dental floss. Avoid stain resistant products and try using stainless steel cookware and unwaxed floss.
Manmade chemicals added to cosmetics, shampoos, lotions and other personal care products as thickeners and fragrance preservers. They are also used to make plastics more pliable. These compounds are absorbed by the body and stored in fat cells.
Phthalates pose a great risk to children and also babies still in the womb.
Choose products that are labeled organic and avoid anything that lists fragrance as the ingredient as it is most likely a synthetic cocktail. The scent should come from essential oils or be listed as a non phthalate fragrance. There are several products on the market that do not use phthalates and are safe for personal care.
I am a big fan of Belegenza products, so much so that I started carrying them at the office. Belegenza is a natural salon line of hair care and skin products which uses food grade ingredients that are not watered down. They do not contain any phthalates and furthermore are silicone free.
Silicon (also listed as dimethicone, phenyl trimethicone, amodimethicone, dimethicone copolyol, cyclomethicone, silicone quaternium-8, trimethlysiloxyamodimethicone, dimethiconol and dimethicone peg-7) is basically liquid glass which seals the scalp and suffocates its ability to absorb nourishment through the skin. These products worked so well on my hair that I started carrying a full line of their shampoos and conditioners. You can also learn more about the dangers of chemicals in personal care products and check out how your products measure up on www.cosmeticsdatabase.com
Used as a disinfectant in antibacterial soaps and detergents.
You really do not need antibacterial soap! There are many studies that show antibacterial soap is not anymore effective than regular soap at preventing bacterial overgrowth. It only causes harm by draining chemicals into our water supply and harming our bodies. You can use products with oils that have natural antibacterial properties such as tea tree, sandalwood and peppermint.
Found in crude and refined petroleum, benzene is found in tobacco smoke, gasoline and motor vehicle exhaust that you can inhale and absorb through the skin.
The greatest exposure occurs when you fill up your tank so keep the windows closed and air the car out as soon as you leave the station. Filling the whole tank at one time will help limit trips to the gas station.
Also, watch out for areas with a lot of exhaust such as areas of heavy traffic especially during exercise when your breathing increases.
How You Can Protect Yourself
Unfortunately we are all exposed to these to some degree as we cannot live in a bubble. The trick is to limit the exposure as much as possible (without letting it completely take over your life however as that is not healthy either) but also to make sure our bodies have protection against them.
Nutrients that support the liver and highly potent antioxidants are our best defense. Glutathione is our body’s most important water-soluble antioxidant and is found in impressively high concentrations inside cells. Both endogenous and exogenous chemicals and free radicals can destroy glutathione hence it is very important that glutathione and its precursors are well maintained.
I often use products such as N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), Resveratrol, Multi Tocopherols and Tocotrienols (different potent forms of vitamin E) found it Ultra Gamma Vitamin E and Detox Antioxidant. High doses of Vitamin C and non-isolate whey such as the one found in Paleo Meal are also great. All of these work wonderfully to help scavenge free radicals and revert glutathione it to its active state.
Liver and full body cleansing is also very beneficial to pull out already existing toxins and is recommended once a year. I have seen great results with clients using the Standard Process 3 week purification cleanse. It does not require fasting and thus can be used by everyone, regardless of job schedule, pre-existing health conditions and the like.
Including these in your regimen will keep the toxins at bay and help keep your body looking and feeling young.