Environmental Toxins – Building Our Resilience
We often talk about unmanaged stress and its negative implications for our health, but we don’t speak about environmental stress relative to health and its negative impacts. However, the environment in which you live indoors, outdoors, and at work all impact your health.
Environmental stress refers to how people respond to their physical environment. The stressors can be the unrelenting noise of a factory line, pollution, or even changes to the climate around you. There are a number of different types of environmental stresses ranging from how you adapt to your environment (crowds, weather, noise), Energetic Stress (excessive exposure to Ultraviolet, X-rays, gamma rays) and even biological stressors (pathogens or allergens). Most of the time, your body responds to the stresses as a temporary situation, but for some, their fight or flight response to the stressors around them never turns off.
Our natural habitat is full of various types of toxins that disrupt biological functions. We hear of mercury (present in seafood, fertilizers, and pesticides), lead (household use – old paint and plumbing), formaldehyde (building materials and wood-pressed products), and air pollutants. And let’s not forget that many “fragranced” consumer products which are silent contributing culprits – such as air fresheners, laundry supplies, cosmetics, personal care products and cleaners.
The environment in which we live - indoors, outdoors, and at work, all impact our health. How our body responds to these stressors can have a negative impact on our body. Think of how fast you want to run away from an offensive odour or how angry you may have become at an excessively noisy neighbour’s outdoor gathering, resulting in a short-lived (or perhaps longer!) fight or flight response. Long-term low-level exposure to neurotoxins (in the food we eat and the air we breathe) can result in a range of health issues, from fatigue to neurological diseases and conditions such as cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Research highlights that environmental toxins may be the main cause of diabetes and obesity.
Environmental contamination is a reality of modern-day living. We know it is impacting our climate and our health. While we can work towards reducing these toxins, we can also learn how to manage our exposure and reduce the stressors on our well-being, albeit emotional, mental, or physical in origin.
Ways to cope with stress environmental contamination can cause.
Learn about resources available in your community to help you cope with stress.
Learn what steps you can take to avoid or reduce exposure to harmful chemicals. Not everyone can move away from specific environmental stressors. This is especially true for individuals who do not have the resources to move away from a harmful environment. It is important to take stock of what you can improve and the level you choose to address these issues.
Invest in some indoor plants to increase psychological and physical health (improve mood, lower stress, and minimize headaches by improving air quality).
Become more discerning in your choice of cleaning supplies and personal care products. White vinegar shines and removes hard water stains and degreases. Baking soda is a mild abrasive and removes sticky messes (and is an alternative to toothpaste). An essential oil diffuser with essential oils can be a natural air freshener alternative.
Consider using vegetable wash on your products to help remove unseen soils, pesticides, and herbicides.
If you have or suspect lead pipes in your home, run tap water to flush out your pipes prior to drinking. Water sitting for several hours in the pipes is more likely to absorb lead. Alternatively, water filters may be an option to use. While bottled water contributes to other environmental issues, use refillable bottles when possible.
If you live near a noisy highway or railroad, you can use noise-cancelling white noise generators in your home or play nature sounds while you sleep.
Continue or improve your healthy and regular routines. Make time to eat well, exercise, have fun, and relax
Spend time outdoors, go for a walk, or hike, have more houseplants inside your home or office, or create an aquarium in your home. Find ways to relax, like meditating, taking a warm bath with Epsom salts, doing a foot soak, getting a massage, unplugging from technology, aromatherapy with healing essential oils, and laughing.
The good news is that you can build resilience to stress through various behaviours and lifestyle changes. Resilience means your ability to bounce back from stress or to handle it well.
Body Cleansing and Detoxification
Your body is equipped with a natural purification system that includes your liver, kidneys and other cleansing organs. Under normal circumstances, your detox system would do a fine job on its own. But with the continued exposure to environmental toxins, your body may need extra support to keep up with the natural clean-up process.
The liver is the main detoxification organ. The liver filters hormones, drugs, heavy metals, pesticides, chemicals, and all other foreign substances. It converts toxins into waste products, cleanses your blood and metabolizes nutrients and medications. As a fundamental part of the body’s regulation system, it is paramount to keep your liver healthy and functioning optimally.
Signs your liver may not be keeping up with demand:
- Fatigue, Lack of energy
- Sensitivity to smells
- New or increased allergic reactions
- Frequent constipation or diarrhea
- Confusion or brain-fog
- Hormonal imbalances
- You wake up between 1-3 am
- The stool is yellow or oily
Support your liver through your diet
Shifting your diet to reduce/remove processed, prepackaged foods and increasing those from the brassica family (high in sulforaphane to aid the liver), such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and turnip are beneficial. Promote the secretion of bile and digestive juices with Dandelion greens, chicory, and artichoke. Increase Selenium and sulphur groups to support liver detox with garlic and onions. Don’t forget fibre which binds fats, sugar, and toxins in the intestines and aids is removal (Flaxseed, psyllium, chia, apples, pears.
Support your Liver with Cleansing Supplements
Milk Thistle is one of the most well-researched supplements for liver health. The plant compounds in Milk Thistle (silymarin and silybin) exert a substantial effect on protecting the liver from damage as well as enhancing detoxification processes. Silymarin prevents damage to the liver through several mechanisms: by acting as an antioxidant, increasing the synthesis of glutathione, preventing viral infection and increasing the rate of liver tissue regeneration. It also helps prevent inflammation and may also have metal-chelating effects on heavy metals like arsenic.
NAC ( N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine) supports the liver’s ability to replenish glutathione levels (the most critical antioxidant in the body). NAC can help neutralize toxins and pollutants, including heavy metals that accumulate in the liver, kidneys and other fatty parts of the body
IP6 (inositol hexaphosphate)facilitates the excretion of heavy metals to help prevent toxicity by binding with harmful toxins and promotes excretion through the urine
If you are looking for supplements that are formulated with various nutrients, then look to:
Enerex Heavy Metal Cleanse is a natural cleansing formula that combines humic and fulvic acids, essential minerals, and raw kale to safely facilitate the elimination of lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and environmental toxins while also replenishing essential and trace minerals.
Healthology Liv Great improves liver function by supporting both Phase 1 and 2 detoxification pathways. It provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support to heal and protect the liver from damage caused by toxins and promotes the regeneration of healthy liver cells.