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In the U.S. alone, more than 60,000 different chemicals are used in industry, agriculture and household products, none of which require real safety testing. These include flame retardants, pesticides and hydrocarbons and many other everyday pollutants, including byproducts of industrial processes, believed to be responsible for adverse neurodevelopmental conditions.
Despite their widespread use and assumed safety, independent research demonstrates that these chemicals pose real harm, particularly to vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, babies and children. But none of us are immune…
Here are some of the more common chemicals linked to neurodevelopmental disorders such as ASD (autism spectrum disorder), ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, and other developmental disorders:
- Phthalates, found in plastics
- Organophosphate (OP) pesticides
- Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) flame retardants, found in furniture, electronics, household dust
- Combustion-related air pollutants
- Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
- Many others…
If we want to support health against this constant barrage of harmful chemicals and pollutants, we need strategies to safely remove toxins and heavy metals from our bodies, and prevent their re-accumulation.
Improving our natural detox functions
While cells and certain organs are actually quite good at removing toxins, they simply can’t handle the kind of toxic load we face today. Despite the best efforts of our organs of elimination including the liver, kidneys, skin, immune system, lungs and GI tract, many toxins remain lodged in the body.
In my practice, detoxification is a starting point in the treatment of numerous chronic illnesses, including cancer, Lyme disease, heart disease, autoimmune disease and many others. Gently removing toxins from the circulation and digestion first is a key strategy.
There are a number of important botanicals that support this process, such as modified citrus pectin (MCP) and sodium alginates. These are gentle agents that support the body’s ability to remove toxic metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic, as well as environmental toxins such as certain pesticides. This combination has been clinically shown to safely remove toxic metals without affecting essential minerals as so many other detox agents do.
For deeper detoxification, I recommend additional botanicals and nutrients to support the liver, kidneys, skin and other detox organs. The goal is to enhance the body’s natural detox mechanisms, including the critical process of methylation, and encourage antioxidant activity to help neutralize free radicals generated by toxic body burden. We also want to support the body’s vitality so that we have enough energy during detox.
Here are some ingredients that can support these actions:
- Milk thistle seed extract
- Dandelion leaf
- Cilantro leaf
- Astragalus root
- Chinese salvia
- N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Calcium D-glucarate
Of course, an organic diet emphasizing whole, unprocessed foods, lots of green vegetables, and plenty of filtered water and herbal teas also provides critical detox support and supplies important phytonutrients to protect the body’s vital systems.
Regular exercise is another key modality that most of us overlook with our busy schedules. A 20 minute walk everyday can do wonders for your health, and is critical during detox to prevent toxins from getting stuck in transit.
There are also a number of therapies that can help clear the body’s detox channels and support overall health. Infrared saunas or regular saunas encourage sweating, one of our most important detox pathways. Acupuncture can help support the liver and other detox organs. Lymphatic massage is also helpful to get the lymph moving and increase blood flow, important when toxic burden, chronic inflammation or illness cause sluggish lymphatic drainage.
Today, environmental toxicity has become an immediate problem that requires an urgent solution. Yes, we absolutely need more aggressive regulations and protections for consumers. But we also need to regularly support the body’s abilities to eliminate toxins, safely and naturally.