Detoxification and Hyperbarics
There are a wide range of different substances, both man-made and naturally found, that can cause uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous symptoms. Not a day goes by in which we aren’t breathing, touching or ingesting toxins: they are literally everywhere! Luckily, our bodies are amazingly effective at metabolizing and excreting most of the daily, low-level exposures we take in. We have multiple detox pathways within every system of our bodies to help flush out unwanted toxins: our kidneys (urine), gastrointestinal tract (stool), skin (sweat), lymphatic system (immune responses), liver (delivers toxic by-products into intestines, which will go to stool or urine) the lungs (filters inhaled toxins to dump into other detox organs) and more. Every system of the human body either directly performs a detoxification function or supports the process of detoxification.
Toxins can be found in the air, water, our clothing, medicine, food, cleaning/hygiene, beauty products, and even some toxins which are produced within our own bodies! Heavy metals, pesticides and radiological waste can seep into water and food supplies from manufacturing plants and agricultural sites. Many of our everyday home products are also produced with inexpensive, but often toxic ingredients that can effect our hormones and cells, which can lead to cancer and other diseases.
Exposure to bacteria, mold, and viruses cause infections. These infections are often treated successfully with medications or supplements; however, when the microbes die within the body, they produce toxic by-products called endotoxins (bacterial), exotoxins (living bacteria), and mycotoxins (mold/fungi). These toxins can be the cause of the worst symptoms of diseases such as Lyme, Babesia, Borellia, Toxic Mold Illness, etc. This effect is referred to as “die-off” or a “Herxheimer Reaction.” Here is an article for further explanation of a Herxheimer reaction.
Emotional toxicity is an extremely underrated form of toxicity. Every emotion is a chemical reaction within the brain and many of these chemicals are substances that are required for other cellular functions that deal with digestion, hormone regulation, immune responses and more. If there is a chronic imbalance of chemicals being created or depleted due to severe emotions such as depression or anger, it can manifest into physical disease. Here is a fantastic link discussing the effects of toxic stress. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a prime and extreme example of emotional toxicity. The constant heightened stress response causes a cascade of reactions in the brain spiraling down into the rest of the body. Areas in the brain lose circulation and go dormant, while inflammation from stress appears in muscles, bones, the GI tract, etc. Research shows that people with PTSD are at an increased risk of being diagnosed with autoimmune and cardiac diseases.
If the body has so many routes of detoxification, how can it become overburdened and require help from diets, cleanses or therapies? Unfortunately, our environment and lifestyles are inundated with such high levels of toxins, both physical and stress-related, that the detox organs can’t keep up in the metabolizing process from such constant exposures. Imagine the scene from I Love Lucy with the chocolates on the conveyor belt. The toxins continue to build up at a rate too fast for the organs to metabolize and push towards excretion pathways. The toxins are simply tagged as waste and pushed into fat, muscle and other tissues for storage. As exposures continue to flood the system, symptoms of toxicity occur.