You may not know why it’s so important to avoid common toxins in our environment, but here are a few sneaky, major areas in which substances in the environment can affect you:
Energy, Sleep, Mental Health, Healthy Weight, Libido, Fertility.
Also, most environmental toxins are linked to higher rates of cancer and earlier onset of dementia. Listed below are some broad categories of toxins we may encounter on a regular basis.
Hormone disruptors – found in the linings of most canned foods and canned drinks, plastic water bottles, paraben preservatives, and the ingredient called “fragrance.” These chemicals strongly stimulate estrogen receptors (highly undesirable in men, but also problematic in women), and thereby can cause weight gain, affect fertility and libido, and can increase the risk of some cancers. Also, estrogen receptor stimulation may cause men to develop breast tissue and women to grow fibroids and have more PMS, painful breasts, and painful menses.
- One of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce exposure to these chemicals is to stop drinking water bottled in plastic. This is especially important when the bottles have been exposed to heat or sunlight. Non-plastic water bottles are healthier for you, and the environment!
- Use unscented body care products, or products scented only with essential oils
- Buy tomato sauces in glass jars, not in cans. Tomatoes are acidic and highly concentrate the BPA found in the linings of cans. In general, transition away from canned foods. Eat fresh foods or foods in glass jars instead.
- Avoid personal care products that use paraben compounds as preservatives.
- Eat organic food, and especially avoid non-organic foods found on the Dirty Dozen list by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org). Non-GMO certification is nice, but remember that non-GMO does not mean that it wasn’t sprayed with hormone-disrupting (leaky gut-causing) pesticides or herbicides such as Roundup. For this purpose, organic certification is more important than non-GMO.
- Avoid animal products where pesticide concentrations bioaccumulate. Eat vegan or consume only organically-raised animal products.
Halogens – Why does exposure to chlorine, fluoride, and bromine matter to you? These are a class of chemicals that can interfere with iodine use in the body. Iodine is an essential nutrient for good thyroid function. Good thyroid function is essential to everything, as it is your metabolic powerhouse. It regulates optimal weight, body temperature, sleep, bowel function, mood, cognition, and hair, skin, and nails, to name a few.
Unfortunately, thyroid dysfunction is becoming epidemic in this country.
Other tissues that depend on iodine are those of the breast and ovaries. The thyroid, breasts, and ovaries often form cysts as a response to iodine deficiency which can be reversed with iodine supplementation and avoidance of halogens. Listed below are prevalent halogens.
- Flame retardants
- Brominated wheat flours
- Brominated vegetable oils found in some sodas
- Brominated swimming pools
- Fluoride mouth rinses. Instead, favor oil-pulling which supports bone and gum health without disrupting your metabolism.
- Drinking water! – favor drinking reverse osmosis water. Avoid drinking directly out of the faucet.
- Chlorinated swimming pools – swim in natural bodies of water when possible.
- Drinking water
- Bath water – adding a ½ tsp of vitamin C to bathwater may help deactivate the chlorine.
Heavy Metals – they interfere with normal energy production in the body (mitochondrial impairment) and impede the body’s ability to detox, potentially leading to fatigue, brain fog, and chronic pain. Examples are listed below.
- Mercury – major exposure comes from silver-colored dental fillings (amalgams), fish, and some vaccines. Ask your dentist for composite fillings, if fillings are necessary. If you choose to remove your mecury amalgams consult with a biologic dentist who can do so safely. Avoid larger, predatory fish as they tend to be higher in mercury.
- Arsenic – a current major source is rice grown in Southern US soil, as it was previously treated with arsenic-containing pesticides. Favor wholegrain rice grown in California or Asia and avoid foods made with processed rice such as rice crackers, as the source of the rice is unknown.
- Cadmium – sources include tobacco and chocolate, therefore if consuming these, consume in moderation.
- Nickel – a primary source is stainless steel pots and kettles used for boiling water and preparing food. Favor porcelain-enameled cast iron or cast iron, if possible.
Environmental toxins are pervasive. We need to first educate ourselves as to their presence and effects and next actively work to avoid them. In doing so, we advocate for our personal health and also that of the planet. Once again, on a physical and energetic level the internal world mirrors the external. As we work on more global environmental solutions, it is important to try to protect ourselves as best as we can.
The knowledge we have shared is widely available but not globally accepted or practiced. We offer it here to share some basics with you, as it will take going against what is commonly practiced and accepted to reclaim your health and lead the most vibrant version of your life. In essence, a simple life of unprocessed food and natural, non-disposable goods will accomplish a lot of the recommendations listed above. Technology has taken us too far to one extreme, and today we invite you to take it back to the basics. For your health.
Drs. Nisha Khanna and Dane Mosher
The above content is intended for educational purposes only.