Charmaine Shepherd BSc. Biomed; MBAcC
My promise to my patients is that I will do everything in my power to bring them back to health but sometimes these efforts are sabotaged when patients have a high body burden.
We live in a world where every day we are bombarded with toxic compounds, the air we breathe, the water that we drink, food we eat and our homes that we live in – all have some level of toxic components. It is the unavoidable nature of modern life. The build up of these toxins can have an enormous impact on overall health. It won’t be able to eliminate all exposure but there are some things over which you do have control. Reducing your exposure to toxins will dramatically reduce the negative impact that they have on your health.
What is Body Burden?
Body burden refers to the total accumulation of toxins that build up in the body over time. The body does have self-cleaning mechanisms, but if you are exposed to more toxins than it can eliminate, they will accumulate in body organs. The more toxins accumulate, the bigger the burden becomes on the body.
Body burden has become a critical health and environmental problem. It affects us all and causes health problems ranging from cancer and diabetes to infertility and possibly. We know that in combination they can disrupt the hormonal, nervous and immune system and it affects all ages – even our babies before they are born.
Babies are now starting life with a burden as newborns are found to have as many as 300 different chemicals in their bodies and breast milk is rife with environmental pollutants. These toxins are coming from our food, water, the air that we breathe, our household cleaners, our cosmetics, plastic containers, building materials, and about a million other places.
Toxins may be anything from pesticides to food additives or even dangerous metals such as lead and mercury. Every day products such as plastics and even children’s toys contain a number of chemicals. In fact, more than 80 000 are known to be used in industry at this point and many more are added every year. Most of these have never been safety tested. Unlike pharmaceuticals or pesticides, many chemicals used in household products such as shampoos do not legally need testing.
As an example of known toxic disrupters, heavy metals and organochlorides affect the nervous system causing anxiety, insomnia, chronic fatigue, dementia to name just a few. Plastics and pesticides affect our hormones leading to thyroid disease, diabetes, infertility and endometriosis.
Due to the sheer number of toxins out there, we will never be able to avoid them all but we can take some simple measures to reduce the loads on our bodies. This will help your treatment process enormously as some of the strain is removed from the body.
Simple Steps to Reduce Your Body Burden
Remove triggers from the home: cleaning products contain a myriad of chemicals to give you that clean, fresh result. With it, however, comes a list of toxic burden on the system. Natural alternatives work just as well and don’t have to be expensive. It is amazing what you can do with bicarbonate of soda and vinegar! As an example, here’s a great recipe for a general household cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar with 2 tablespoons baking soda and 10 drops tea tree, lavender, or lemon essential oil (for their disinfectant properties) into a clean spray bottle and fill with water. You can also use eco-friendly household cleaning products. Yes, they are more expensive, but we can no longer put a price on our health or that of future generations.
- The dreaded Phthalates – most people are aware of this chemical found in plastic containers (it’s the compound that makes plastics soft and pliable) but their presence extends far beyond that. In fact, about a billion pounds of phthalates are produced every year, and their use is so widespread that they are nearly impossible to avoid entirely. Indeed, 95 percent of us have detectable levels of phthalates in our urine. This is because it can be found in perfumes, hair sprays, laundry detergents, carpeting, vinyl flooring and even your car’s steering wheel! Moreover, it’s found in high levels in dairy products, possibly from the tubing used in milking. Even our tap water contains small amounts of this chemical. This makes it very difficult to avoid. Phthalates are thought to mimic and displace hormones and interrupt their production. This can have a range of unpleasant effects in disrupting the hormonal system. While it is impossible to completely avoid them, one can use glass storage containers instead of plastic and never heat food in plastic containers. While this is more inconvenient, it’s a lot less inconvenient than chronic illness.
- Eat organic. While there is controversy over whether organic foods are more nutritious than conventional foods, there is no doubt from a body-burden perspective that they are safer and healthier. Eating organic reduces your exposure to pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and myriad other chemicals in our food supply. Eating organic is expensive, so if you have to be selective then make sure that your meat and dairy are organic also look at the “Dirty Dozen,” which are the most contaminated foods. A famous study on kids showed that even after just a few days on an organic diet, the levels of toxic chemicals in kids’ blood dropped dramatically, while there was no change in kids who were kept on a similar, but not organic diet.
By reducing your body burden you invest in your future by not only reducing your risk for cancer, diabetes, dementia and a range of other illnesses, but improve your overall health and wellbeing. You will also find that any treatment therapy that you undertake will also be much more effective !