Every day we’re continually exposed to toxins in the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the items we touch. Learning more about these potentially harmful chemicals can be critical for making decisions to protect long-term health. As with any subject, toxins are best understood through a little history.
Toxins—or xenobiotics—have always been part of the natural environment. Many of them are made by plants, bacteria, and animals as defenses to keep predators at bay. The greater the abundance of toxins in a species, the more likely they will survive. This natural arms race has produced millions of different kinds of toxins including venoms and poisons.
Human exposure to toxins also depends on how food is prepared. The use of fire was a novel way to deal with food toxins. Heat breaks down many plant and animal defenses. Another example was fermentation, in which microorganisms produce a food that is edible. As our ancestors improved upon their culinary talents, they were able to expand their palates.
Humans would eventually enjoy a wide variety of foods spanning all parts of the world. As they did, new foods and food preparation techniques would introduce new toxins. Examples are the chemicals produced by heat, such as char, nitrosamines or acrylamide, which can each be carcinogenic.
The act of living itself also comes to us at a cost. Toxins are produced within the human body from simply being alive day to day. Toxins may, at times, be used to battle foreign bacteria or viruses. These can cause harm as they work to protect the body, but after their job is done, they are detoxified through biochemical processes.
In our modern environment, pollution and food processing has increased our toxic load considerably. Humans have added thousands of new chemicals that pollute our air and water. These toxins can often end up in our foods, not just in plants, but concentrated in the animals that we eat. Food is also laden with chemicals in form of pesticides, processing agents and artificial ingredients.
As our bodies are endlessly exposed to toxins, the toxins can overwhelm the body’s natural detoxification defenses. A slow accumulation of toxins in our bodies may eventually disturb our natural processes.
It only adds to our toxic load when—in an age where portion sizes have grown out of proportion—we eat a lot more food than ever before. Most of the foods available are designed, not to support us nutritionally, but to appeal to the power of our taste buds. Our busy schedules have also made processed foods all the more convenient, adding to the waistline-expanding potential of sedentary lifestyles, and putting further burden on our bodies.
The human body has had to adapt over the generations to removing varying toxic loads. Our bodies come equipped with powerful protections in forms of detoxification or cleansing systems. They are found throughout the body: in the stomach, the intestine, the liver and the kidneys.
The liver is a primary detoxification organ, metabolizing thousands of different chemicals we’re exposed to daily. Much of what we eat must pass through our livers. As the liver breaks nutrients down, it also metabolizes toxic substances. In most cases, these toxins are cleared from the blood, then eliminated through bile or urine. At other times, they can become stored in fat.
In addition, each individual cell contains its own inherent protections from the daily stresses of simply living. These include powerful detoxification and antioxidant enzymes, which help maintain cellular integrity so that the cell may function appropriately.
Our ancestors found ways to enhance many of the body’s internal detoxification and cleansing systems. These nutritional cleansing methods, which have been around for thousands of years, are only now beginning to be understood. A common practice was the use of fasting along with herbal teas or special botanicals. The reduced food intake would allow the body to purify itself through rest and renewal. Botanicals such as aloe gel, licorice root and ashwaghanda root contain bioactives that encourage detoxification within the liver and in the individual cells.
Age-old traditions of nutritional cleansing have now been combined with modern technologies. Isagenix is a company that has achieved this task with Cleanse for Life™, a drink specialized to support the liver, the immune system and cellular health with vitamins, herbal teas and other botanical ingredients. The ingredients were chosen to help protect the body from daily pollutants and promote their detoxification.
As a dietary supplement, Cleanse for Life can be taken daily for nourishment to help deal with daily toxic load and stresses. Alternatively, when taken as guided in the Cleansing and Fat Burning System—a program rich in nutrition and low in calories—one can reap benefits of “deep cleansing” and a sound approach to weight management.
Balanced nutrition and nutritional cleansing are key strategies for coping with daily toxins, but there are others. Although there’s no way to avoid all toxins, one can reduce exposure as much as possible. It can be achieved by simple lifestyle changes such as choosing clean fruits and vegetables, drinking clean water, using non-toxic skin care and seeking out fresh air whenever possible.