In this month’s Integrative Medicine blog, I will continue with my top tips for optimal wellness and anti-ageing. Hopefully you have already started eating a healthy diet; moving your body; and avoiding unhealthy habits such as drinking excess alcohol. As I’ve said before there are heaps of other ways to improve and maintain your wellness. So, in today’s blog we’ll look into the types and sources of toxins. Stay tuned for next months’ blog for tips and tricks on how to eliminate them.

It is definitely more challenging in our modern world to avoid toxins. Especially as we know that there are more than 80,000 chemicals registered for use today, many of which haven’t been studied for safety by any government agency. This equates to around 1.4 billion kilograms of chemicals each year. More disturbingly, the Environmental Working Group, states that the average newborn baby has 287 known toxins in his or her umbilical cord blood.

A recent reform of the US toxic substances control act will hopefully (but probably slowly) reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals. Previously, chemical company appointed regulators had to prove a chemical posed an “unreasonable risk” before action could be taken. This was so difficult that the Environmental Protection Agency couldn’t even ban asbestos, a known carcinogen that still kills 15,000 people each year.

Other reputable agencies such as the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme, state that rates of endocrine-related health problems are climbing with growing evidence that chemicals are to blame. Sources of toxins include the classics such as:
• Farming and gardening related chemicals, i.e. fertilizers and pesticides (e.g. Roundup)
• Vehicle related chemicals e.g. petrochemicals
• Heavy metals, e.g. mercury and lead
• Cleaning products, e.g. bleach

However, there are other, less obvious toxins in our environment and these include:
• Medications can sometimes be toxins. Although we sometimes need medications, in general medications (including over the counter meds) are over-prescribed and over-used.
• Food chemicals, e.g. preservatives, colours, flavours, trans fats and emulsifiers
• Food production/storage/preparation related toxins, e.g. oxidised fats found in deep fried/over-heated foods, excess sugar.
• Pathogens, i.e. bacteria, viruses and fungi and their toxins.
• hormonal and metabolic toxins that we need to eliminate
• Personal care products. Yes, your favourite make-up or moisturiser may be damaging your health!
• Allergies, i.e. to food or the environment (e.g. pollen).
• Metabolism. We generate toxic metabolites, e.g. when we break down our hormones and food.
• Psychosocial and spiritual toxins. Negative feelings such as anger and loneliness are interpreted by our body as a toxin and therefore generate a similar negative effect.

What (I hear you say)? Yes, sugar is a form of chemical toxin if eaten in excess and this is easy to do. The WHO recommends that we should eat no more than 5-6 teaspoons/day of added sugar whereas the average New Zealander eats about 20-25 teaspoons of added sugar/day! Check out my other blog for more information on the problems of sugar.

If you need help combatting your sugar addiction click here for more information on the amazing I Quit Sugar program. It cured my addiction!

Although it seems like we’re in a lot of trouble with all these toxins, never fear, we have the solutions. See you next month for everything you need to know about detox! In the meantime, let me know your toxin exposure stories by commenting below.

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