“Often we see detox as a solitary pursuit, something we have to muscle up for and go it alone. But the truth is that it will be easier and healthier if you find a way to integrate your friends and family into the experience.”
WHAT ARE TOXINS?
A toxin is a chemical or poison that is known to have harmful effects on the body. Toxins can come from food or water, from chemicals used to grow or prepare food, and even from the air that we breathe. Our bodies process those toxins through organs like the liver and kidneys and eliminate them in the form of sweat, urine, and feces.
WHERE DO TOXINS GENERALLY COME FROM?
Air: Pollution refers to the toxic gases and chemicals, such as methane and carbon monoxide, that are released into the atmosphere only to be mixed into the air we breath in and exhale out. Pollution toxins can come from vehicle and factory emissions as well as other sources. A notable air pollutant is also cigarettes. Inhaled tobacco products contain a number of highly toxic ingredients that can negatively effect your body. Tobacco product toxins effect more than the smokers. Second hand smoke can be inhaled in a wide variety of situations: bars, restaurants, casinos, at home from family members and roommates, sporting events, city sidewalks, outdoor cafes and other social gatherings. So even non-smokers should be aware of the toxic ingredients in tobacco smoke.
Water: A number of toxins have been discovered in water. Everything from chlorine, bleach, ammonia and even OTC and prescription medications have been reported to be found in excess in drinking water. Water supplies across the globe greatly vary in composition. Spring, mineral and artisan bottled waters have become all the rage in the past decade, although some critics believe that tap water is not as bad as the media depicts.
Food: Toxic foods can refer to food additives, highly processed or genetically modified foods and even chemical ingredients in food recipes such as food dyes (RED 40) and chemical flavorings (MSG and aspartame). A few doctors believe that modern day American diets can actually be considered 'toxic' because of the high intake of processed, dead 'empty-calorie' food items like white flour and sugar. Dr. Robert Lustig, of the University of California San Francisco, says "today's processed food is loaded with sugars that alter the body's hormonal balance, creating a "toxic environment" and an "addiction" to food." Another common food toxin is alcohol.
Chemicals: Chemicals that are toxic may include small amounts of toxins, such as pesticide residue dusted onto our freshly-picked, non-washed, non-organic produce (always choose organic produce when possible.) High pesticide produce items include non-organic peaches, strawberries, apples, nectarines, bell peppers, celery, cherries, lettuce, imported grapes and pears. Over the counter, prescription and even recreational drugs are all referred to as chemical toxins that can build up in your body over time. In addition, high levels of mercury in the body from foods like fish, can cause illness and even death.
HOW ARE TOXINS RELATED TO LYME?
As part of its normal life cycle, and as a strategy to weaken its host, Lyme bacteria continuously secrete potent fat-soluble toxins into the body. Additionally, when Lyme bacteria are killed off with antibiotics, an intense rush of these toxins will flood the body--the "herx" reaction.
HOW DO LYME TOXINS AFFECT THE BRAIN?
The toxins secreted by Lyme bacteria primarily effect the brain because they are neurotoxins; but, they can also affect all other organs and body systems. In addition, because Lyme bacteria continuously secrete toxins and they are produced inside of the body, opportunities for the body to eliminate them before the brain is affected are diminished.
HOW CAN LYME TOXINS AFFECT THE BODY
Lyme disease toxins can be:
- Responsible for decreasing hormone output and disrupting hypothalamus, adrenal, and thyroid function
- A primary cause of severe inflammation of the brain
- A cause of lethargy, fatigue, muscle soreness and fibomyalgia-like symptoms
- Responsible for Lyme-related pyschological, emotional and neurological symptoms, such as depression, OCD, rages, brain fog, memory loss, decrease in reasoning abilities, panic attacks, agitation, confusion, personality changes, mania, seizures, stroke etc.,
- A cause of eating disorders and appetite suppression, even anorexia
- Responsible for weakening the body's detoxification ability such that other toxins accumulate
- Damaging to vision and eye function, leading to blindness, blurred vision, eye pain, night blindness, etc.
HOW DOES THE BODY ELIMINATE TOXINS?
The human body has its own internal detoxification system. The three critical organs involved are:
- The Liver: Your liver acts like a filter in preventing toxic substances contained in foods from passing into your blood stream.
- The Colon: Your colon has bacteria that produce both healthy and unhealthy chemicals. You want to keep your colon flowing regularly since its main role is to flush out toxic chemicals before they can do you any harm.
- The Kidneys: Your kidneys are constantly filtering your blood and getting rid of toxins in the form of urine.
WHAT DOES SLEEP HAVE TO DO WITH DETOXIFICATION?
Your sleep time is a primary housecleaning time, exactly how you feel when you wake up in the morning and how long it takes you to get your energy systems up and running are fairly good measures of how your detox systems are working. There is nothing worse than waking up and feeling like you did not sleep at all, a real toxic backlog.
WHAT IS DETOXIFICATION AND WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT DURING LYME TREATMENT?
Detoxification ("detoxing") is the process of ridding the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.
The effects of Lyme disease neurotoxins and other toxins can be unremitting and severe, detoxification therapies are critical to symptom reduction throughout the healing process because the body cannot always rid itself of the toxins on its own.
In fact, proper detoxification can result in faster symptom reduction than any other type of Lyme disease therapy. Detoxification alone will not cure Lyme because it does not provide antibacterial action to eliminate the infection. However, because detoxing greatly reduces symptoms and lifts the toxic burden from all internal organs, it should be a core part of Lyme treatment.
WHY IS SWEATING IMPORTANT TO DETOXING?
Sweating is important to detoxing because it works to rid the body of harmful toxins. Sweat can effectively eliminate almost thirty percent of all toxins built-up in the body.
Sweating can remove the build-up of heavy metals from your body. It would normally take your kidneys 24 hours or more to eliminate these metals. Sweating even draws out lactic acid which can cause stiff muscles and fatigue.
WHAT ARE EPSOM SALT BATHS?
Epsom salt is a magnesium compound (magnesium sulfate heptahydrate) first isolated from a well in the town of Epsom, England. Adding Epsom salt to bathwater has long been a popular home remedy for aches and sore muscles.
An Epsom salt bath can be pleasant and relaxing, but there is no conclusive evidence that Epsom salt, not the warm water, soothes. Similarly, there is no research showing that an Epsom salt bath can draw toxins from the body, as many people also believe.
Regardless, you may want to try these baths. It is important, however, not to rely on them exclusively. You can help the body rid itself of unwanted toxins by drinking more water to increase urinary output, taking steam baths or saunas to promote sweating, adjusting diet and fiber intake to ensure regular eliminations, and getting enough aerobic activity to stimulate breathing.