Health & Wellness in the 21st Century...Discovering Detoxification

Health & Wellness in the 21st Century...Discovering Detoxification

Although our bodies have remained the same for thousands of years, our environment has changed. Thousands of chemicals have entered our culture and have seeped into our bodies. It seems that as we approach the new millennium, it's time to update our strategies for achieving and maintaining health. Our country has manifested more illness and morbidity than ever before. Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Syndrome, to name only a few, have become so prevalent that they are commonplace.

One of the most important steps in enhancing health and longevity is detoxification, a process of cleaning the blood and removing toxins, which are stored in the body. This process can have profound and far-reaching effects for those of us who are battling serious illness, as well as for those who seem to be feeling healthy. The human body has it's own miraculous systems in place to process the toxic load we are exposed to on a daily basis. Our own bodies also produce harmful substances that need to be cleared as well. The problem is, our detoxification systems are only designed to handle a limited amount of toxic burden. Therefore, we are vulnerable to damage.

The health of our cells reflect the overall health of our bodies. Our cells contain DNA which is necessary for cellular replication and tissue repair. Undamaged blueprints are an essential component of health. Some toxins have the ability to confuse the expression of DNA, as in the "estrogen mimicking effect" of pesticides, which have been linked to breast cancer. Free radicals, a by-product of toxin damage and normal cellular metabolism, steal electrons from DNA, changing it's actual chemical code. We must be capable of ridding the body and/or neutralizing these free radicals in order to stop their harmful effects.

Toxin overload also has an effect on the mitochondria, which are our cell's "energy powerhouses." Mitochondria, as part of their normal function, produce toxic organic acids. If the liver's ability to breakdown and clear these toxins is impaired, they recirculate and reenter the cell, causing conditions ranging from fatigue to death.

The membrane surrounding the cells is comprised of fat. It has many important functions, and it's job is almost as important as that of the cell itself. It contains millions of receptor sites and antennas which act as communication centers and passageways that serve as entry and exit points. The cell membrane also contains chemical markers, which serve as addresses used by the immune system to differentiate between foreign invaders and our own body's cells. When damage occurs to the cell membrane, communication to and from that cell breaks down.

The steps to detoxification begin with an investigation into all areas of your life that contribute to your toxic load. This includes heavy metals, pesticides, food sensitivities and stress. Without making environmental changes, detoxification will not be as effective -- and will most likely prevent long term results from occurring.

Improving circulation plays an important role in cleansing because these circulating toxins must be removed from the body via the blood and lymph. The next step is enhancing elimination by improving the pathways of excretion winch include the kidneys, intestines and skin. Proper supplementation, increased fluid intake, sweating, kidney and intestinal flushes, and exercise are some of the most effective methods. Colonic irrigation, a gentle yet deep cleansing of the colon, is an important tool to rid the body of old waste material and mucous that has built up.

Repairing the gastrointestinal tract is essential to well-being. It contains over 400 species of bacteria, weighing over three pounds. When waste products build up and clog the bowel, it irritates the delicate lining of the large intestine, allowing toxins to he reabsorbed back into the bloodstream. This waste material can cause chronic inflammation and other serious symptoms.

The liver, needing to be stimulated during a cleanse, excretes its toxins into bile, which is then released into the intestinal tract -- increasing the importance of normal daily bowel function and regular cleansing. The kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood and an adequate intake of water is necessary to replenish lost fluids.

The skin is another mechanism in which poisons are released from the body. We lose two pints of water per hour through sweating alone, even though it isn't usually obvious. (Saunas increase toxin elimination via the skin, as well as mobilize fat, thereby releasing stored toxins.)

Hormones produced as a result of stress can upset every organ system, reducing our body's own ability to detoxify. Our bodies do not know the difference between a bear chasing us for dinner and our boss chasing us to meet that deadline! Chronic exposure to stress causes shifts in our nervous system, which in turn can produce a variety of devastating effects. Caffeine, sugar, and processed flour consumption, combined with an unbalanced lifestyle (to name only a few), are major contributors to chronic stress and adrenal fatigue.

As a result of living in a rapidly changing world, it is necessary for us to "clean house." Although the human body can, to some extent, cleanse itself, in today's world it needs assistance. Consult your health practitioner for the detoxification program that meets your specific needs.

The Share Guide.

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By Deborah Burkhart

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