Part 2 of The Toxin Series
What are the Symptoms of a Toxin Overload?
First let’s have a quick recap…
Toxins are everywhere. From foods, drinks, food packaging, cosmetics, toiletries, perfumes, artificial colours, flavours, and fragrances, household products, pollution, pesticides, fertilizers, and more – toxins are inescapable these days.
The body has its own detox pathways that are designed to filter out toxins from the body. They are the liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, and digestive tract. But when you consume and are exposed to too many toxins, eventually the body cannot keep up with the elimination of toxins.
When toxins aren’t being eliminated properly, they start to absorb into cells and block the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. This is when symptoms of toxicity start to present. This is also when health and energy start to decline and aging starts to accelerate.
There are a few main ways that people consume toxins:
- You can consume toxins orally in food, drinks, supplements, and medications.
- Toxins can also absorb into skin topically.
- Toxins can be inhaled into the lungs. Perfumes, artificial fragrances like in candles and air fresheners are most common.
- Dangerous environmental pollutants like Formaldehyde, Asbestos, Air Pollutants, Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), Pesticide Chemicals (Glyphosate), and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs).
- Endocrine-disrupting phthalates found in personal care products.
- Toxic heavy metals (like mercury, arsenic, and lead) can accumulate in the soft tissue of the body and affect mood and energy levels. Heavy metals are common in crappy supplements and protein powders.Mould from damp and old houses for example.
Possible Symptoms of Toxin Overload
1. Chronic Fatigue
Many doctors who work with chronically fatigued patients and those who work in the field of environmental medicine, agree that chemical exposure is a major contributor to fatigue and low vitality.
In an address to the Well Mind Association in Seattle, Washington, David S. Bushcer, M.D., made the following remarks: “My personal theory on chronic fatigue is that the increased load of pollutants in our environment, such as pesticides, is causing people to have a breakdown of their immune systems…I would say that 70% of my patients with chronic fatigue had a chemical trigger; they moved into a new home, there was remodelling at the office, or a pesticide application, and now they have chronic fatigue. I think the mechanism is some kind of cellular poisoning from these chemicals. The affected person’s detoxification system is clogged up or destroyed, they get a backlog of chemicals, and their immune system goes down.”
Are you always tired? Low energy? Feel sluggish and struggle with ongoing lethargy, no matter how much sleep you get?
Do you crave carbs, sugar, salt, and/or processed food or dairy products daily?
When our bodies are in a stressed state (i.e. ready to outrun that tiger, with high cortisol levels) all the signals are being sent to eat carbs, sugar and things which are quick energy. The trouble is, we don’t actually need to because there isn’t a situation where we need to outrun a tiger in a life or death situation. Our bodies are purely being tricked into thinking this by receiving the wrong signals that toxins can cause.
These carb and sugar cravings can be nearly impossible to ignore. So no, you’re not weak, you just maybe should consider helping your body get rid of these toxins.
3. Digestive Issues
The more toxins in your life, the more negative impacts your organs face. Food and your environment determine how heavy your toxic load becomes over time, and the toxicity then causes inflammation that leads to weight gain.
How toxins lead to digestive issues is a complicated process, but it mostly takes place in your liver. The organ is responsible for converting toxins into highly reactive metabolites before excreting these toxins from the body altogether. Although the liver is the most impacted by toxins inside your body – the intestines, gallbladder, and pancreas are also vital organs that hold toxins in your digestive system.
Healthy digestive systems break down your food and absorb the essential vitamins and nutrients they can, releasing the unusable foods in your daily bowel movements. When this one-way system isn’t working right, people most often experience a whole range of digestive issues.
4. Anxiety and Depression
Heavy metal toxicity can disturb your brain chemistry causing depression and anxiety; it can also significantly weaken the immune system. Prescription drugs and medications can sometimes alter the brain chemistry, and certain medications have been shown to trigger depressive symptoms.
5. Low Energy
When toxins overload your body, it can cause your kidneys and liver to work overtime in order to get rid of that waste.
If we put our kidneys into overdrive it can get ‘backed up’ and cause toxin build-up, which in turn will cause the symptoms of fatigue and low energy.
6. Skin Issues
When excessive toxins build up in the deeper layers of the skin this causes inflammation to occur and this can manifest as:
- Premature ageing and wrinkling of the skin
- Brown liver spots which make you look older
- Red itchy rashes anywhere in your body
- Deep painful rashes which may lead to ulcers
- Acne rosacea – this causes small red pimples which affect the cheeks, the chin and the area around the nose and small yellow heads may occur on the top of the pimples.
7. Sore and Swollen Joints
One of the most common sources of pain within the body is inflammation. Swelling in the body can affect organs, joints, and every system operating that keeps us functioning.
Toxin build-up in the body causes inflammation, for example heavy metals, mycotoxins, mould, aspergillus or insecticides which are sprayed on crops that you are ingesting to name a few.
Far too many people reach for OTC medications or prescription medication to fight their pain and inflammation. While they can be effective at times, many medications stop working over time, and almost all bring with them a long list of other side effects, including some that can be quite severe! Many people do not understand how inflammation relates to toxins in the body and thus do not take an effective approach to treating it. This is a shame because reducing toxins and inflammation can be as easy as paying attention to what you eat!
Build-up of toxins and poor liver functioning can be responsible for headaches – this is because of the body’s inability to eliminate toxins from the dietary intake or that in the environment. The less toxins in there the better the body can do in removing more in the future.
9. Issues with Nails, Hair and Teeth
Toxins in the mouth can cause tooth decay or even gum diseases amongst other adverse health problems. Managing toxins in the mouth will prevent them seeping into the body and thus, lowering your immune system, impacting your digestion system or the function of your liver.
With more toxicity in the body, the bacteria in your mouth will also be more aggressive and this makes it difficult for the body to absorb the required nutrients that will help you in maintaining healthy gums and prevent the decay of your teeth. More toxicity leads to a rapid deterioration of your oral health: faster teeth decay, corrosion of the enamel and more aggressive gum diseases.
Toxicity causes hair loss because the toxins interfere with the nutrients and hormonal substances that help hair growth. Some toxins interfere with the glands or organs that govern these nutrients.
Your fingernails are a vulnerable part of your body and are susceptible to a number of diseases and unhealthy conditions. When your fingernails are unhealthy, it also tends to be a sign that another internal health condition is present. Some nail complaints that may be an indication of toxin overload are:
- Weakened nails
- Beau’s lines
- Half and Half coloured nails
- Nail psoriasis
- Split/peeling nails
- Nail clubbing
It’s worth noting that there are a lot of very toxic chemicals in mainstream nail gels and varnish. Our nails are super absorbent which means these toxins get directly inside us very quickly and then wreak havoc on our systems.
10. Brain Fog
Toxins can come from a variety of sources, including the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the products we use. They can build up in our bodies over time and eventually lead to cognitive problems. Exposure to pesticides, heavy metals, and other chemicals can lead to inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which have been linked to brain fog.
Toxins are known to have detrimental effects on our immune systems, body functions, and overall health. For people living with chronic pain, toxins can truly mean the difference between a painful day and a pain free day; a good day and one of those bad days.
12. Stubborn Fat and Puffiness
When the liver gets backed up and overburdened with toxins and hormones it pushes the fat-soluble toxins out into the blood stream. (Yes, now you have poison in your blood stream) The fat-soluble toxins then go throughout the body until they run into a fatty cell that can absorb them. Abdominal fat is one of the closest areas with a large amount of fat cells, but the brain is another large repertoire of fat cells that the toxins can deposit into.
Side Note: This is one of the reasons why you see so much autism and ADHD in the young population today. They are overburdened with toxins and need somewhere to store it, so the brain takes the blunt hit and we see so many side effects.
One of the side effects of losing weight rapidly is that you end up with toxins recirculating in the blood stream. As you lose your belly fat, you slowly but surely release toxins into your blood stream and often people feel awful. This is very common with ketogenic diets where people begin to lose weight quickly.
If you have ever started losing weight and then hit a plateau, this can often be because you are still overburdened with toxins that the body is either trying to keep stored or as you lose some it continues to create more to protect you from the toxins.
13. Autoimmune Disorders
When the immune system works the way it’s supposed to, it protects us from disease and helps us to heal from injury. But when it becomes confused, autoimmune conditions can develop.
A healthy immune system is tightly regulated to prevent it from attacking its own healthy tissue and cells. But when this regulation fails, autoimmunity can develop.
As there are many thousands of environmental toxins, pinpointing one as a cause of autoimmune disease is nearly impossible. However, there is research pointing to specific toxins such as BPA plastic, mercury and asbestos as triggers for autoimmune disease.
14. Bloating and Nausea
When you eat foods containing toxins, instead of producing small amounts of the harmless and odourless gases as with normal digestion, the intestine begins producing toxic and smelly sulphides and mercaptans – sulphur bearing gases. The sulphur comes from the foreign proteins.
Often these are produced under higher temperatures and pressures than our gut can easily manage and we feel ill with the bloating and pain.
15. Infertility and Hormone Disruption
Unfortunately, there are many toxins and chemicals in our food environment that can have larger impacts on fertility rates than we initially thought. These toxins can go unnoticed and can have adverse impacts on the body’s hormone production.
Environmental contamination and different food additives can impact the body. For the most part, these chemicals impact fertility through their disruption to the endocrine (hormone) system.
During pregnancy, the endocrine system is even more sensitive to these toxins due to the large production of hormones. If this hormone production is disrupted, the body may produce an excess amount of a specific hormone, or possibly not enough.
Some chemicals in the environment are toxic substances that can produce cancer. Most chemicals act by causing the initiation step in the cancer process (altering the DNA), but they also can act as promoters.
These toxins could include smoke, radiation, pesticides, insecticides, EMF, household toxins and chemicals. There is a long list of carcinogenic substances and doing a quick google search will bring up the current list.
It is impossible to avoid some of these toxins, especially if they are in the air we breathe and on the food we eat. But by being knowledgeable we can limit our exposure and make sure our body is doing what it does best – filtering and excreting these toxins so they have no or minimal effect on all our systems. It’s when we get toxin overload that the burden takes its toll and that’s when we may experience things like cancer.
17. Premature Aging
There are two critical times in your life when toxins do the most harm. The first is when you’re very young and your body is still developing. This critical time is well known and well-studied.
The second one is less well known and largely ignored by researchers. After age 50 you are also more susceptible to the effects of toxin exposure.
Why? Because older folks have two strikes against them. They have accumulated a lifetime of toxin exposure. And the changes in your body as you age decreases your ability to deal with toxin exposure.
In other words, a lifetime of toxin exposure, plus your body’s decreasing ability to deal with toxins accelerates aging and disease.
Conclusion of Toxic Overload
There are a lot of symptoms that can be caused by the overloading of toxins in our bodies. But the take-home is that these toxins can affect every organ and system in the human body.
The trouble with these symptoms are:
- They are very general
- They can be put down to any number of other issues
- They can come on slowly, meaning you don’t notice the onset
So if you have any ongoing symptoms then look at getting a mycotoxin test, or talk to your GP. If you need further help, then please send me a direct message or comment on any of my posts.