Why we need to detox?
Detoxification, or “detox” is a general term referring to any procedure which rids the body of toxins. Exogenous toxins are those molecular structures that enter the body from the environment for which the body has no use and which may also cause damage. Endogenous toxins are products of metabolism of which the body must rid itself.
There is little doubt that our environment is polluted with toxins and harmful substances. One of the keys of anti-aging is to identify useful ways to detoxify our exposure to toxic surrounding elements including our air, water and food. The reason is simple – the more toxins you ingest, the faster you age.The concepts of internal cleansing and detoxification have been around for centuries. Detoxification of the body refers to the cleansing of the bowels, kidneys, lungs, the liver and the blood since these are the organs involved in the detoxification of chemicals and toxins from the body.
A toxin is defined as any compound that has a detrimental effect on cell function or structure. Toxins can damage the body in an insidious and cumulative way. Once the internal detoxification system becomes overloaded, toxic metabolites begin to accumulate. We also become progressively more sensitive to other chemicals, some of which are normally non-toxic. It is this accumulation of toxins over a period of time than can wreak havoc on our normal metabolic processes thus causing numerous allergies and addiction.
Toxins include industrial chemicals and their polluted by-products, pesticides, additives in our foods, heavy metals, anesthetics, drug deposits, environmental hormones, and secondary smoke. More than two million synthetic substances have been identified and 25,000 new toxins are added each year. About 30,000 are produced on a commercial scale. Unfortunately, only a miniscule percentage is ever tested for toxicity.
Long term exposure to toxins can result in metabolic and genetic alternations that can affect cell growth, behavior and immune response. This is because the molecular structures of toxins are carcinogenic as they interact with human DNA. The World Health Organization has implicated environmental toxic chemicals in over 60 to 80 per cent of all cancer cases.
Exogenous toxins are primarily products of the petrochemical and industrial ages. Industry has brought with it high exposure to toxic heavy metals, namely aluminum, antimony, arsenic, beryllium, bismuth, cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, platinum, silver, thallium, thorium, tin, and uranium. In the pre-industrial age man had almost no exposure these elements except perhaps for silver and lead. In our evolution the exposure has been so meager that human biochemistry has made no use of these metals. Therefore when they enter the human body the only thing they can do is replace the nutritional metals (such as manganese, magnesium, etc.) in enzyme systems. As replacements toxic heavy metals stop the function of the enzymes with which they are associated and this is their toxic effect.
Other toxins we are exposed to are the halogens. The body can make use of only one halogen: iodine which is used to make thyroid hormone. The other halogens, e.g. fluorine and chlorine, are worse than useless to the body. Using biased studies, the aluminum industry has persuaded the American public that its very own waste byproduct , fluorine (as fluoride), should be painted onto and brushed into teeth, and swallowed with every drink of water. Epidemiological studies show that fluoride intake is directly linked with cancer. (And, by the way, it does not make stronger teeth.) Likewise chlorine which is dumped wholesale into most water supplies.
From the 1890s until the 1940s, organic chemicals were produced by the fractional distillation of coal and tar. No new chemicals were produced, only those already present in coal and tar were isolated. The petrochemical era was born in the 1940s. In 1940, by using new technology, synthetic chemicals were created which had never existed before. With the advent of thermal and catalytic cracking, it became possible to take petroleum, fractionate it, isolate particular chemicals and then, with a process of molecular splicing and recombination to produce any chemical you wanted to produce.
In 1940, we produced about one billion pounds of new synthetic chemicals. By 1950, the figure had reached fifty billion pounds, and by the late 1980s, it became 500 billion pounds, including a wide range of toxic, carcinogenic, neurotoxic and other chemicals. Most of these chemicals have never been tested for toxic, carcinogenic or environmental effects. We have been able to identify around 600 of these chemicals which are carcinogenic.
So, by man’s ingenuity we have been increasing the load of toxins almost daily — as if we needed more toxins. The body has all it can do to detoxify itself from the waste products of its own metabolism. To this end it devotes the largest organs in the body: the skin, kidneys, liver and colon. The body is designed to detox quite well if given enough pure water and fiber. However, the cultural norm is to drink very little (if any) pure water and to eat little fiber. In the place of pure water we have: tap water, mineral water, soda pop, coffee, tea, milk, juice, etc. (Distilled water is the only pure water.) In the place of fiber is meat (and yes that includes fish and fowl), breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, corn chips, milk — you know, the Standard American Diet (SAD).
When you add together the exogenous toxins and the endogenous toxins, practically the entire population is toxic. You can detect this by simply noticing the number of people with foul breath. Foul breath is almost always due to the presence of toxins, particularly when concentrated in the colon.
Signs that Detoxification is Needed
- If you have unexplained headaches or back pain
- If you have joint pain or arthritis
- If your memory is failing
- If you are depressed or lack energy
- If you have brittle nails and hair
- If you have abnormal body odor, coated tongue or bad breath
- If you have an unexplained weight gain
- If you have psoriasis
- If you have frequent allergies
- If you have a history of heavy alcohol use
- If you have a history of natural and synthetic steroid hormone use.
- If you have an exposure to cleaning solvents, pesticides, diuretics and certain drugs
Benefits of Detoxification
- Digestive tract is cleansed of accumulated waste and fermenting bacteria.
- Liver, kidney, and blood purification can take place that is not possible during regular eating patterns
- Mental clarity is enhanced as chemical and food additive overload is reduced
- Reduced dependency on habit forming substances such as sugar, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and drugs
- Stomach size is returned to normal as bad eating habits can be stopped
- Hormonal system is enhanced which is especially true for growth hormone
- Immune system is stimulated.
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Prof Sundardas D Annamalay
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