About Toxicity

What is making you sick, fat and tired? I'm here to guide you in addressing the cause behind your health conditions and not just treating symptoms. My name is Dr. Terrie Van Alstyne, I’m a Naturopathic doctor and today I want to talk about detoxification and toxicity.

Toxicity is one of the 7 main causes behind disease. We are full of toxins! The toxins are coming at us from everywhere- the air, water, food, the chemicals in our homes and workplaces and on our lawns. It's disastrous.

80,000 metric tons of toxic chemicals are released into the atmosphere every year in North America alone. I have a whole list of fun facts about toxicity that I don't want to bore you with because it's way too depressing. The key is cancer rates are on the rise because of the level of toxicity in our environment.

Even our water is loaded with toxins. The toxic runoff of pesticides into the rivers is feminizing the fish, alligators and crocodiles. They are becoming female when they are, actually male. They are no longer depressed because they have lots of Zoloft and Prozac in their systems. They have birth control pills regulating their cycles and antibiotics in the water are killing any bacteria that they might have in their bodies. How depressing!

How do you know if there's toxins in your system? First of all, there definitely are, and we can't avoid them because we don't live in a plastic bubble. Some of the symptoms are poor memory, cognitive decline, any neurological symptoms like numbness and tingling, headaches, migraines, memory loss, low energy, aches and pains in the joints and muscles and unexplained weight gain. The weight gain is because the toxins are being pushed from the liver into the fat tissue to store them so that we don't become sick and damaged. Other signs of toxicity are low testosterone in men, causing infertility. Any central nervous system disorder, breast and other types of cancers that are all caused by high toxicity in the body.

Which nutrients are needed by the liver to detoxify? The liver does a two-step detoxification process and it needs certain nutrients in each phase to take the fat-soluble toxins and make them into water-soluble toxins so that they can be eliminated.

In the first phase the liver needs B vitamins and folic acid in the form of methylfolate (which is the body ready form), Glutathione, antioxidants, carotenoids, vitamin E and vitamin C.

In the second phase the liver needs certain amino acids which are glutamine, glycine, taurine, cysteine and sulfur chemicals, which can be found in cruciferous vegetable family. We're talking about cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, garlic, onions and leeks.

The toxins are moved from the liver into the bile which is stored in the gallbladder and released into the intestinal tract to be released through the colon. They are also sent to the kidney and eliminated through urine.

We need lots of water while we're detoxifying, (or in general, because we are constantly detoxifying and most of us are chronically dehydrated). For a detox we need one ounce of water for every kilogram of body weight. For me at 120 pounds I need three liters. If you're heavier than that you need more water. If you're drinking caffeinated drinks, including coffee and caffeinated teas, which are diuretics, you need even more water than that. Water is absolutely, key!

The carotenoids that I mentioned are in the orange vegetable family, so kabocha squash and any other orange squash and carrots. There are some herbs that are great at stimulating and enhancing detoxification, for example: