toxins

  • Bile: Your New BFF

    Bile Your New BFF Ann Louise Gittleman

    Bile is an emulsifier—a type of soap for fats. It breaks down the fats into small particles so that your intestines can absorb them. Produced by the liver to the tune of about one quart per day, bile is made from lecithin, cholesterol and bilirubin. It is stored near the liver in the gallbladder. From there, it is transported to the intestines during digestion.

    Here's a NEWSFLASH for you: Bile is not ONLY the real key to the body's ability to digest and assimilate fats, but it is also a vehicle for removing toxins from your body so they can be flushed out through the colon.

    Bile is one of the liver's premier detox mechanisms so the consequences of inadequate bile go far beyond the inability to lose weight. If the liver can't clear fats, then it most likely can't break down hormones or other metabolic waste products either, and you can end up with hot flashes, night sweats, cysts, migraines and depression.

    To put it another way, bile is one of the most underrated and ignored methods our bodies utilize to move out toxins. The quantity of bile your body makes is directly proportional to the quantity of toxins you can eliminate.

    If you lack enough fiber to escort these toxins out of your body, they can remain (along with bile) in your intestines for too long and are then reabsorbed. This is when toxic overload occurs with poisonous wastes ending up stagnant in your lymphatics and getting stuck in the bloodstream, joints and other tissues. There is already a 75 percent bile deficiency by the time allergies, arthritis, and inflammation in joints and muscles develop. By the time cancer or chronic illness is diagnosed, a whopping 90 percent deficit has already occurred.

    If your gallbladder hasn't been doing its job due to a lack of the right Smart Fats or too much hydrogenated fat or even if your gallbladder is gone, your body loses its ability to adequately regulate proper bile flow. Without your gallbladder, for instance, there is still a steady release of bile from the liver, but it is "mismatched" with the amount of oil or fat you are consuming— whether in quantity or timing. This has a cascading detrimental effect on your digestion as well as absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D, and K) and the essential fatty acids.

    Moreover, bile can be hampered from doing its job because of a lack of bile nutrients, congestion or even clogged bile ducts, which interfere with bile flow and result in less bile production. Regardless of where the bile is—in the liver, in the gallbladder or in the bile ducts—the principles of manufacturing, thinning and moving bile are the same.

    Bile helps to break down ALL dietary fats and ALL fat-soluble vitamins. This is no insignificant task. If you check any decent nutritional textbook these days and research all the symptoms and problems linked with fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies you will find everything from dry skin to indigestion to cataracts and cancer. Bile also acts as a lubricant for your stool to prevent constipation. Who knew?

    Just as fascinating, French researchers have found that bile may be connected to our obesity epidemic and hypothyroidism. They discovered that fat metabolism is sped up by the activation of thyroid hormones in the fat cells. Could it be that an imbalance of bile is one of the reasons that hypothyroidism is so rampant today?

    My friend Dr. Raphael Kellman, Functional Medicine guru and author of "The Microbiome Diet," told me, "I diagnose many people with hypothyroidism who have been suffering and undiagnosed for years. I use a test called the TRH stimulation test that the medical community abandoned when the routine TSH assays became more sensitive. In 2007, two studies confirmed what I have been saying to be true. I also treat many with both neurodevelopmental and degenerative diseases. Recent studies are showing low levels of T3 in the brain of such patients yet routine blood tests were normal. Anyway, the point of all this is that I have been suspecting that, in addition to low hydrochloric acid, there is also low bile production in so many people with low thyroid function. So many of the people I diagnosed with low thyroid also had a cholecystectomy in the past. Many have GI dysfunction that is consistent with low bile. So I'm with you!"

    Let Sleeping Gallstones Lie
    Millions of us experience unrecognized signs of poor bile digestion like bloating, nausea, sluggishness, poor thyroid function, constipation, hemorrhoids, and dry skin and hair. Well over 20 million Americans have known gallbladder challenges while millions more go undiagnosed. Why? They haven't been able to connect the dots between ALL the seemingly disconnected—but urgent—SOS signals our body is sending out loud and clear.

    It is a shame that gallbladder removal has become the most common type of surgery performed in this country, usually due to the presence of gallstones. Gallstones commonly occur because of congested bile due to buildup, which results in the precipitation of stones.

    Ideally, treatment should consist of making sure the bile is thinned, decongested, and fluid—a major focus of my book "Eat Fat, Lose Weight."

    For those who no longer have a gallbladder, it is critically important to mimic your body's natural output of bile by taking an ox bile supplement (also known as bile salts). While you may not be able to duplicate your body's remarkable wisdom of knowing just when to release the exact right amount of bile, supplementation with bile extracts can go a long way in maximizing the process and assuring that your fat-soluble vitamins are being absorbed.

    Too much bile supplementation can create loose stools, while too little can make for very light or clay colored stools.

    The Allergy Connection
    If you still have your gallbladder but are experiencing frequent gallbladder attacks OR if you have had your gallbladder taken out but still experience pain (what is called "post-cholecystectomy syndrome,") you should definitely know about the work of allergist Dr. James C. Breneman. He identified food allergies as a primary underlying cause of gallbladder pain.

    I discovered Dr. Breneman's landmark work thanks to a newsletter ("Dr. Jonathan Wright's Health and Healing") written by my personal integrative physician, the brilliant and insightful Dr. Jonathan Wright in 2004 with the enticing headline, "The 99.9 percent effective technique for eliminating gallbladder attacks forever."

    The article brought to light Dr. Breneman's surprising discovery that gallbladder pain was significantly related to food allergies. In his study from the 1960s–70s of individuals both with and without a gallbladder he found that the major offenders were eggs (92.8 percent), pork (63.8 percent), onions (52.2 percent), chicken and turkey (34.8 percent), milk (24.6 percent), coffee (21.7 percent), and oranges (18.8 percent). Other foods which accounted for less than 15 percent of attacks included corn, beans, nuts, apples, tomatoes, peas, cabbage, spices, peanuts, fish and rye.

    When his study participants eliminated their food allergies, they obtained 100 percent relief. WOW! So, needless to say, if your gallbladder's acting up, give an elimination diet a try. Or, at least avoid the top three primary offenders like eggs, pork and onions. You know what you've got to lose!

    The bottom line is you simply must ensure that you will be utilizing all the Smart Fats you will be adding back into your diet—with or without your gallbladder—for the most complete digestion, assimilation and utilization.

  • Consumers Beware: Toxins Lurking in Your Clothing!

    Focus on Health…

    • Today’s clothing industry is a seven trillion dollar a year industry that uses an astounding 8,000 synthetic chemicals;
    • Consumers have the mistaken illusion that synthetic fibers in clothing are safe;
    • For over half a century people have been reacting negatively to chemicals interacting with their skin causing disorders like infertility, respiratory diseases, contact dermatitis and, yes, even cancer;
    • The more synthetic clothing you wear, the greater your risk of absorbing toxic chemicals that can precipitate health conditions most often not attributed to synthetic fibers.

    Key Points…

    • Your skin is the largest organ of elimination and absorption—what goes ON the skin goes IN the body;
    • When toxins are absorbed through your skin, they are taken-up by the lymphatic system, then into the blood stream and eventually the liver—the chemical-processing plant of the body responsible for removing toxins;
    • Your skin also keeps you healthy by actually venting approximately one pound of toxins daily;
    • Petrochemical fibers restrict and suffocate your skin—shutting down toxic release rather than allowing it to escape—contributing to your total body burden and may be the trigger for the onset of disease;
    • A “toxic soup” is created when combining multiple chemicals that interact to create an even more toxic substance and health consequences than individual chemicals by themselves.

    Fabric may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about living a healthier lifestyle, but it definitely should be considered. Even many “health nuts” don’t realize that synthetic fabrics are teaming with chemicals and dyes that cannot be washed out, making them a potential health hazard.

    Most synthetic fabrics, from towels to dress shirts and bed linens, are treated with chemicals during and after processing. These chemicals not only leach into the environment, impacting groundwater, wildlife, air and soil, but they also may be absorbed or inhaled directly.

    “The use of man-made chemicals is increasing, and at the same time we have warning signals that a variety of wildlife and human health problems are becoming more prevalent,” says Dr. Richard Dixon, Head of the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) Scotland. “It is reckless to suggest there is no link between the two and give chemicals the benefit of the doubt. Urgent action is needed to replace hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives especially in clothing and other consumer products.”

    WWF is so concerned about one fairly new clothing additive that they advised parents to check their children’s clothing labels. If the chemical is on it, they advise switching to clothing made from natural fibers whenever possible.

    Teflon in Your Trousers
    The chemicals that the WWF was warning about are perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which include the non-stick additive Teflon. These chemicals are increasingly being added to clothing because it makes them last longer and also can make them wrinkle-free. Most clothing labeled “no-iron” contains PFCs.

    I have written about and consulted with patients worldwide regarding their allergic responses from synthetic fibers—bedding, clothing, car interiors, exercise/athletic clothing, mattresses, hats, etc.—that said, the frequency of recent incidents is very alarming to me and it should be to you. The allergic responses now commonly being reported as a result of these synthetic chemicals include, but are definitely not limited to:

    • Skin rashes and lesions that can be cancerous
    • Nausea
    • Unexplained fatigue
    • Burning and itching
    • Unexplained headaches
    • Blurred vision
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Reoccurring sinus infections not previously experienced
    • Sudden inflammation and pain; especially in soft tissues

    Keep in mind that if you have mysterious “invisible illnesses” that linger and yet you’re told “everything is within normal range,” it’s time to look into whether the fibers your clothes and bedding are made of could be the problem; it is for many.

    Recent Case History:
    The following is a quote from a patient of mine who I have worked with via long-distance for years. Hopefully her experience will assist others when mysterious skin eruptions appear and to further make my point about the toxicity of chemicals used in synthetic fibers and coloring.

    “I wore a white cotton tank top with orange embroidery around the neck line. After a few hours the skin around the neck line was scratchy and bothersome so I removed the garment. I noticed small red irritation where the embroidery touched my skin but really thought very little of it as I assumed it would go away. After a few weeks the skin still appeared irritated so I started using my ‘safe’ moisturizing lotion. When this had no affect I saw a dermatologist and explained the situation. He determined the skin was pre-cancerous and prescribed a cortisone ointment for the next five weeks. If the skin is not completely healed at the end of this time the doctor said we need to remove it. I questioned the dermatologist about how and why this happened and he informed me that skin irritations such as these can lead to cancer.

    I have been very careful to wear only 100 percent cotton for years and soak/wash any new clothes four times (powdered milk soak, safe detergent, vinegar, baking soda) prior to use since I have been immune challenged for years.

    I have noticed that even if I touch my father’s colored cotton/polyester blend shirts/socks that I feel an odd sensation in my fingertips. This does not persist but is a very strange feeling. I have similar experiences with the cloth grocery bags from health food stores that make me immediately put it down. It is not the exact feeling of a static shock but close. The dermatologist shared with me that he has seen this type of reaction from other patients that can only be attributed to toxic chemicals and dyes used in manufacturing.”

    Which Fabric Finishes “Scream” Toxic Chemicals?

    1. Easy Care—Wrinkle-free, shrinkage-free—these garments release formaldehyde;
    2. Water Repellent—Fluoropolymers (as in Teflon) are used to repel oil and water;
    3. Flame Retardants;
    4. Bacterial and Fungicidal Chemicals—Triclosan and nano-particles are used for these purposes, dangerous neurotoxins and irritants.

    Fabrics containing Formaldehyde—linked to a 30 percent increase in lung cancer, skin/lung irritation and contact dermatitis:

    • Anti-cling, anti-static, anti-shrink
    • Waterproof
    • Perspiration-proof
    • Moth-proof and mildew resistant
    • Chlorine resistant

    It’s also used in dyes and printing to fix the design and prevent “running.” It is widely used in bedding so it’s best to use bedding that is all cotton and in light or white colors to eliminate risk from formaldehyde used to set colored fabrics.

    You Need to Know…

    • Most governments restrict formaldehyde levels in clothing… but NOT the U.S. One of the worst offenders is China. Beware of “Made in China” labels.
    • Use of formaldehyde in clothing is extremely widespread. There have even been lawsuits alleging high levels of it in Victoria’s Secret bras.
    • High temperatures and humidity make “poison clothes” even worse—they open your pores and increase chemical absorption.
    • You absorb formaldehyde from multiple sources daily, so don’t be fooled by manufacturers’ reassurances.
    • Disperse Blue Dyes may look gorgeous—even regal—but they put you at high risk for contact dermatitis. . . especially dark blue, brown, and black synthetic clothing. It’s important to note—laundering does not reverse that risk.
    • Worse. . . Disperse Blue # 1 is classified as a human carcinogen due to high malignant tumor levels in lab animals.
    • Incidentally, you might be interested to know that this dye also shows up in cosmetics and semi-permanent hair dyes.

    Fire and Burn Hazards
    The U.S. Marine Corps now prohibits troops in Iraq from wearing synthetic clothing while off base . . . after too many unfortunate burns from soldiers wearing polyester, acrylic, and nylon—which readily melts in high heat and fuses to the skin. (What did you expect? This stuff is a first cousin to plastic—both products of the oil industry.)

    Of course, that begs the question of whether flame retardants are safer. . .

    Historical Perspective. . .
    Flame Retardant use began in 1971, when government required children’s sleepwear to be self-extinguishing; their solution was to add Brominated Tris. Studies measuring urine samples showed that this chemical is readily absorbed.

    Brominated Tris is a mutagen*, and causes cancer and sterility in animals and have also shown they cause testicular atrophy and sterility.
    *Mutagens cause inheritable mutations by damaging DNA

    Tris was banned in children’s clothing in 1977 (but lives on in upholstered furniture foam, baby carriers, and bassinets). Today most synthetic fabrics contain a new generation of flame retardants bonded into the fabric, which must survive 50+ washings.

    According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Burn Center, only 36 children a year suffer serious injuries from sleepwear catching fire. My heart goes out to these tragic victims and their families. But is the toxic contamination of millions of children worth protecting 36 children per year from burns?

    The Way I See It. . .
    This sort of regulation is a product of the “precautionary principle”—the notion that there should be no limit to the amount of money spent or the amount of inconvenience inflicted on millions of people when it comes to preventing rare dangers that affect a tiny number of people. The mania for making our society risk-proof and accident-proof actually increases danger in many cases.

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission exempts certain sleepwear from flammability standards. Two companies selling kids’ sleepwear without flame retardants are L.L.Bean and Lands’ End.

    But it’s not just children’s sleepwear—demand is high for fire-retardant uniforms and civilian clothing.

    Lab studies show that flame retardants (PBDEs) can cause a slew of health issues—thyroid problems, brain damage, ADHD symptoms, fertility problems and even cancer.

    The insecticide permethrin is now in civilian outdoor wear and military uniforms even though no long-term studies have assessed its safety.

    Focus on Health…
    • Scientists find that restrictive bras suppress the lymphatic system—needed to flush toxins from your breasts and lymph nodes and to help prevent breast cancer;
    • Despite wide appeal of synthetic athletic apparel, medical studies show that synthetic fibers cause muscle fatigue— which can make the difference between winning and losing for competitive athletes;
    • A study of 24–27-year-old-males, showed that natural linen long sleeved shirts were worn for five hours—and then polyester ones were worn for another five hours. Their arms were monitored during both with electrodes measuring skin temperature and velocity of the men's muscle tissue. No changes were measurable when they wore linen. However, when they donned polyester they endured a range of muscle disruptions.
    Key Points…
    • While individual chemicals might not endanger your health, the synergistic effect of multiple chemicals (a “toxic soup”) interacting can have unpredictable negative health effects;
    • Choose natural fibers. While not always as easy to find, its best to do so when possible:

    Cotton — preferably organic still remains the “king” of textiles. Organic accounts for less than one percent of worldwide production;
    Flax — one of nature’s strongest fibers;
    Hemp — grows without any need for fungicides, herbicides, or pesticides because it’s naturally insect-resistant. Its fibers are reported to be four times stronger than cotton. This is NOT the hemp known for its mind-altering properties;
    Silk —known as the “queen of fabrics.” Watch out for the use of synthetic dyes in this fiber.
    Wool —most of today’s wool is contaminated with chemicals, i.e., pesticides used to kill parasites. But organic wool is becoming more common.
    Other — alpaca, angora, camel, cashmere, mohair, ramie, aluyot.

    You Need to Know…
    The Organic Trade Association estimates that one non-organic cotton T-shirt uses one-third pound of pesticides and fertilizers. Cotton production uses one-fourth of the entire world’s fertilizers. It’s another good reason to choose organic cotton to add to the ones above.

    Don’t get over-whelmed, start small. Choose organic for clothing closet to your skin most of the time—underwear, sleepwear, camisoles, sheets/pillow cases, etc. Build on your organic wardrobe as you replace items.

    Are You Getting a Charge? Electrostatic charges accumulate in synthetic clothing. There are reported incidents of shocking mini-explosions from mixing layers of synthetic clothing with synthetic carpeting. And get this…synthetic undergarments contribute to infertility in men.

    A 24-month study of male dogs wearing either loose-fitting polyester underpants or loose-fitting cotton ones showed that wearing polyester created significant decreases in sperm count and degeneration of the testes. The animals wearing cotton suffered no side effects. (And, please, no emails to the editor about dogs wearing underwear. I agree, it sounds silly but no humans would volunteer!)

    Scientists hypothesize that polyester traps body heat, encourages chemical absorption, and creates electrostatic buildup… which all affect sperm count.

    Personal Perspective...
    I'm mindful of the problems with synthetic fibers and dyes because (cancer concerns aside) I'm sensitive to a wide range of chemicals as are most of my patients.

    A few years ago I bought a beautiful set of sheets from an upscale store. The label said they were 100 percent cotton, but after sleeping in them a few nights I experienced all my old fibromyalgia pains that had long ago resolved (unless I eat foods in the nightshade genre or consume MSG) and I was now again experiencing bone and muscle pain from head to toe. Repeated washings didn't get out whatever the offending substance was—it never does.

    I got a terrible reaction from the dyes or maybe the chemicals used to make those all-cotton sheets "no-iron." You can only imagine what true synthetic cloth can do to us; after all, it's largely a product of the oil industry. After I switched to a high-quality set of organic sheets, all my symptoms were resolved.

    Invisible Saboteurs...
    We have the illusion that clothes made from synthetic fibers are safe, but the materials are in fact full of invisible chemicals the clothing industry prefers we donft think about.

    A hundred years ago, clothing was made of natural fibers like cotton, flax, wool, and silk—synthetics weren't developed until the early 1900s.

    Although rayon was introduced in 1924, the first truly synthetic fiber was nylon, made by DuPont from the petro-molecule toluene. Nylon was first used because it was a popular material for women's stockings and later panty hose.

    Other synthetics followed:
    • Acrylic (1950), aka, "wash-and-wear fabrics"—a "revolutionary time-saving leap" for homemakers.
    • Polyester (1953), "wrinkle free" fabrics developed from xylene and ethylene.
    • Spandex and olefin (1959), which became the mainstay of sportswear, swim suits, and thermal underwear. Olefin is produced by "cracking" petroleum molecules into propylene and ethylene gases.

    The Way I See It
    Don't wait until you or a loved one has a health issue before changing the products you purchase. Yes, organic cotton does cost a bit more...but then...isn't it more cost effective to stay healthy than to get well?

    I'm especially concerned about pregnant woman and their newborn children, make the decision as parents and grandparents to create a safe nontoxic nursery beginning with non-toxic no VOC paint to hard surface flooring, the crib and bedding and the clothing used for a newborn whose immune system is not fully developed to provide maximum protection, naturally. 

    Resources:
    1. www.cancerdefeated.com Clement, Anna Maria, and Clement, Brian, Killer Clothes: How Seemingly Innocent Clothing Choices Endanger Your Health . . . And How to Protect Yourself! Hippocrates Publications, 2011. p. 75.
    2. http://www.cool-organic-clothing.com/organic-clothes.html Much of the information in this article was taken from the book Killer Clothes, by the Clements.
    Resources:

    1. www.cancerdefeated.com
    2. Clement, Anna Maria, and Clement, Brian, Killer Clothes: How Seemingly Innocent Clothing Choices Endanger Your Health . . . And How to Protect Yourself! Hippocrates Publications, 2011. p. 75.
    3. http://www.cool-organic-clothing.com/organic-clothes.html

  • Staying Healthy in a Polluted World

    Toxins are stuff that your body can't use and that can cause health problems if they hang around and gunk up cells. They include formerly good stuff (such as hormones) that have done their job and been broken down for disposal. They also include bad stuff (such as pollutants and pesticides) that in an ideal world wouldn't have ended up in your body in the first place.

    Normally, your body knows how to avoid excess toxins—you take in what you need, and you get rid of what you don't.

    Your liver detoxifies, using what are called phase I and phase II detoxification pathways. Your kidneys detoxify, filtering blood, removing toxins and dumping them into the urine for disposal. Your skin detoxifies, using millions of sweat glands. You even detoxify with every breath, inhaling life-giving oxygen and exhaling toxic gases.

    Breathing demonstrates a basic fact about detoxification: the body does it automatically. No worries!

    But in our toxic environment—where there are more than 85,000 synthetic compounds that can mess with your body— it sometimes helps to improve detoxification by giving your body a helping hand. This article shows you six simple ways to do just that.

    SIX SIMPLE METHODS OF DETOXIFICATION

    1) If you can't read it, don't eat it.
    I used to give a yearly lecture on nutrition to third-graders in our local school. Here is one of my recommendations to those kids which, is relevant for everybody: If you can't read it, don't eat it.

    You know what I'm talking about: ingredients on food labels that are virtually unreadable, like acetaldehyde phenethyl propyl acetal (a "fruit" flavoring found in ice cream, candy, ) I don't think I need to do much convincing on this point, because not eating a lot of food with ingredients you can't read is common sense. Why barrage your body with toxic chemicals if you don't have to?

    2) Take supplements that support detoxification.
    Various stages of phase II liver detoxification require specific nutritional compounds to do their work. How can you make sure you're getting those nutrients?

    The Energy Revitalization System vitamin powder supplies all the amino acids, vitamin C and many other nutrients that support glutathione production and detoxification. It's one of the easiest ways to purify!

    3) Drink up!
    Water plays a key role in daily detoxification. In fact, drinking enough water is probably the best action you can take to support your kidneys as they clean up your blood.

    How much water should you drink every day? Just check your lips and mouth. If they're dry, you need to drink more water. Another simple method: take a look at the color of your urine. If it's a dull yellow color, there's not enough water diluting it, so you should drink more.

    But you want to be washing out toxins, not getting more in the water you drink. For clean tap water, I recommend installing a good filter.

    4) Speed up transit time.
    "Transit time" is the term for the hours and days it takes for a meal to move from mouth to going out the rectum—the transit from one end of your digestive tract to the other.

    A healthy transit time is about a day, although conventional doctors assert that three days is fine. Faster than 12 hours, and your body doesn't have enough time to pull all the nutrients out of the food. Slower than 24 hours, and the digesting food starts to turn toxic—and those loitering toxins are reabsorbed into your system, causing and contributing to poor health.

    To speed up transit time:

    • Eat more fiber, the easiest way to speed up transit time. A simple way to put more fiber in your diet is to eat whole grain cereal for breakfast every morning, like low-sugar Cheerios or Life cereal. Add a slice or two of whole grain toast for the transit time of your life!
    • Take magnesium, a must for healthy muscles and nerves, including those responsible for peristalsis, the rhythmic muscle contractions that move food through the digestive tract.
    • Drink more water. Without it, your stools tend to be small and hard, slowing transit time.
    • Take vitamin C, which attracts water into the colon, softening stool and speeding transit time. Between 500 and 1,000 mg is a good level for most people.
    • Exercise regularly, which provides a kind of intestinal massage that can speed transit time.
    • Optimize thyroid function, because an underactive thyroid slows down everything in the body, including transit time.

    5) Take a probiotic supplement.
    Probiotics provide the same friendly, health-giving bacteria that typically inhabit your gut (like Lactobacillus acidophilus). These good-guy bacteria combat bad bacteria and fungi, which if allowed to multiply, can make you toxic.

    All probiotic supplements are not created equal, however. Many don't contain the number of bacteria advertised on the label. Or the bacteria in the supplements are dead. Or they die in the acid environment of the stomach. Any of these mean the probiotic isn't doing you much good.

    6) Sweat it out in a sauna.
    Sweating for health is a worldwide tradition, from Native American sweat lodges to the Finnish sauna, and I think, "sweat therapy" is a great way to aid detoxification. I recommend (and use myself) a type of sauna called the "far infrared sauna." A few suggestions for safe and effective saunas:

    • Don't overdo it. Start with a few minutes, at a lower temperature, and gradually work your way up to longer durations and higher temperatures, as you feel comfortable.
    • Listen to your body. If you're feeling light-headed or otherwise uncomfortable in a sauna, it's time to come out.
    • Prevent dehydration. Take drinking water into the sauna and sip throughout.
    • Rinse off afterward. It prevents toxins from being reabsorbed.

  • Toxins Too Close for Comfort

    Toxins Too Close for Comfort Elson Haas MD

    As a doctor who practices integrative medicine, I focus on health care and not just disease care. I always attempt to understand the deeper underlying causes of any illness or condition and not simply treat superficial symptoms. So when it comes to looking at causes of disease I am working from the inside out rather than outside in.

    This is such an important topic that I devoted an entire chapter to the "Causes of Disease" in my latest book Staying Healthy with NEW Medicine. In brief, I believe that cellular dysfunction is one of the main causes of body imbalance, inflammation, and dis-ease. The health of our cells is affected adversely by two primary factors— deficiency, by which I mean not enough intake and assimilation of the necessary (required) nutrients; and toxicity—contact with too many harmful man-made chemicals and chemical-containing products.

    Nutrients
    As for nutrients—we need an adequate supply of amino acids (from protein foods), fatty acids, some carbohydrates, plus vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (these are chemicals that plants produce and use to stay healthy—providing protection, for example, from insect attacks or radiation from UV rays). Any deficiency of these essential nutrients can diminish cellular function.

    Toxins
    As for toxins—the external environment has a significant impact on our cell health—from the level of contaminants, chemicals and artificial additives in the foods we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe, and with a special concern for the products we use in our homes and gardens, or put on our bodies.

    In fact personal care products are one of the most common yet overlooked sources of environmental toxicity.

    The average adult uses nine personal care products a day, exposing themselves to as many as 126 different chemical ingredients. What makes things worse is that items like toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, makeup, or deodorant, are not held to the same standard as food or drugs, which we put in our bodies. Hair coloring is potentially one of the most toxic of all, linked to increased rates of breast cancer in a recent 2017 Rutgers University study.1 This is especially troubling given that an estimated 75 percent of U.S. women over age 18 color their hair. Obviously we need more research on the short and long-term health consequences of using these kinds of products. As consumers we need to be aware of the toxic potential of what we buy.

    In addition many cosmetics are now imported, with virtually no regulation or inspection. The FDA recently stated that while such shipments had doubled in the past decade, there were just six inspectors assigned to the more than 3,000,000 shipments which arrived last year from over 180 different countries and 29,000 foreign companies, few of which have registered with the agency, as they are not required to do so.
    • The FDA physically inspected just 0.3 percent of such imports last year.
    • Laboratory tests were conducted on an even smaller sample—just 364.
    • 20 percent of those tests led to adverse findings; including bacterial contamination, illegal color additives, ingredients that were not on the label as required, and unsafe chemical substances like mercury that can cause kidney and nervous system damage.

    Given that it is doing so few inspections, the FDA really has no way of knowing the scope of the problem with imported cosmetics, and neither do we. Clearly this is area where we all need to pay close attention to what we buy and what we use.

    Pollutants in the Home and Office
    Another area of similar concern is the widespread use of potentially toxic chemical products in our homes and gardens. Just to give you some idea of the scope of this problem, here's a list of the major indoor pollutant sources to watch out for. It is from my book Staying Healthy with Nutrition:

    • Hydrocarbon fuel combustion—the burning of coal, gasoline, natural gas, wax candles
    • Pesticide sprays—used on insects and rodents
    • Cleaning fluids—cleansers, soap, bleach, detergents, ammonia, window cleaners
    • Paints, adhesives glues, and solvents—used in housework and hobbies
    • Plastics—used in many areas, but especially important to review drinking water, beverage and food storage containers
    • Heating/Cooling systems—which can spread toxins, especially forced-air systems. This also includes your car.
    • Smoke—(secondary or side-stream, smoke is now clearly a big problem), fireplace smoke or barbecue chemicals can also be hazardous
    • Aerosol sprays—disinfectants, and cleaners—mostly propellants, which may be fluorocarbons or hydrocarbons, both of which are problematic
    • Dust—which can carry sensitizing or toxic materials, including mites, molds, bacteria, pollens, carbon monoxide, asbestos, pesticides, solvents, sulfur dioxide, lead, smoke, and vinyl chloride

    Obviously we need to know more about the short and long-term health implications of using these kinds of products both in our homes and on our bodies, and we need to be watchful consumers, especially when children are involved where any negative effects can be even more serious and long lasting. A great resource that I recommend is the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) www.ewg.org online database of potentially toxic household and cosmetic products, which also includes recommended non-toxic alternatives.

    This is all part of living more naturally, using fewer chemicals on and in our bodies and in our surroundings overall; this is a conscientious reduction in the use of synthetically made and petro-chemically-based products, which have a negative and toxic downstream effect in both our local and global environments.

    This shift to a more natural lifestyle is growing across our nation and the globe, and is based largely on the same principles as those of NEW Medicine: taking personal responsibility for our health and for the planet, and recognizing the incredibly complex interactions between the decisions we make, the products we use, and their affect upon our entire environment and ecosystem, including our own and our family's health.

    Essential Nutrients For Avoiding Cellular Deficiency

    Macronutrients:

    Proteins and amino acids, carbohydrates, fats and essential oils

    Micronutrients:

    Vitamins: A, C, D, E, K, B1, B6, B3, B12, CoQ10, Lipoic acid (Most must come from our diet, and a few the body makes, like coQ10 and lipoic acid.)

    Minerals: all must come from our diet and include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, iron, manganese, selenium, iodine, traces of boron and others.

    In addition the soil must contain these minerals for them to be in our food, and much soil is now seriously depleted.

    Phytonutrients: hundreds of plant substances, such as flavonoids and carotenoids, which give our fruits, vegetables, herbs and basically all foods their color, aroma, and add to their flavor. These have many physiological and protective functions for our body.

    Antioxidants:these nutrients protect us from "free radicals," the unstable molecules that can cause inflammation and damage; these nutrients include Vitamins A (and betacarotene), C, D, and E plus some B vitamins; minerals zinc and selenium, with protective activity also from iron and magnesium; coenzyme Q10 and alpha lipoic acid; and amino acid L-cysteine, which helps support glutathione.

    References:

    1. https://www.cinj.org/use-dark-hair-dye-and-relaxers-associated-increased-breast-cancer-risk