Dr. Betty Lacy, M.D.

Toxins and Health

March 17, 2020

Environmental toxicity is a major contributor to illness, for humans and all living things. Toxins are not well understood in the medical world because this topic isn’t taught in medical schools, so our doctors aren’t considering its impact on our health. We are chronically exposed to toxins, we inherit the burden through the generations. In today’s world, before a newborn even takes its first breath there are at least 280 known toxins in its blood.

This accumulation, even at low levels, over-burdens our body’s natural detoxification systems and show up with symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, headaches, a rash or trouble sleeping. These symptoms can be viewed as sacred messengers—communicating to us that something is amiss. Eventually if the burden isn’t corrected it may lead to a serious diagnosis, such as cancer, stroke, auto-immune disease or dementia. The brain is a primary target because it uses a quarter of the body’s energy and it is 2/3 fat, and toxins are stored in fat. Toxins cause inflammation, which damages brain-body functioning.

Our body has systems in place to eliminate toxins. In today’s world, we are all exposed to excessive amounts of multitudes of chemicals that have not been assessed for health and safety. Our innate systems cannot always handle the load.

The symptoms that people develop can be complex and involve multiple systems, presenting with a perplexing situation for patient and doctor. There are things we can do to limit and manage these exposures.

One method for understanding toxins is to separate them into internal and external sources.

Some examples of external sources:

  • Solvents/Petrochemicals—paint, furnishings, carpet, clothing.
  • Heavy metals—cookware, personal care products, tap water, dental fillings, fish.
  • Air pollution—car exhausts, industrial waste, fires.
  • Parabens—cleaning products and make up.
  • Pesticides and herbicides—our yards, parks, food.
  • EMF Radiation—wifi, cell towers, cell phones, airplanes, microwaves, smart appliances.
  • Mold from our homes, offices.

Some internal toxin sources:

  • Food — conventionally produced food that uses chemicals, additives, animals that are forced to exist in stressful and inhumane situations and fed GMO grains. Intestinal infections produce toxins and are very common. Infectious diseases like Lyme and Epstein-Barr.
  • Medications—they all have side effects.
  • Stress—influences every biological system, money, relationships, trauma, being inactive, etc.
  • Insulin resistance—is so common in our modern world.

Here’s what to do to to support health:

  • Eat organic foods, avoid processed and GMO foods, avoid eating chemicals, learn to cook and plan your meals. Avoid sugar (including fake sugar) in its 60 or so disguised names (more on sugar in a future column).
  • Use natural products, if you don’t understand an ingredient on the label, don’t use it. Remember that your skin absorbs, think of it as a giant mouth.
  • Upgrade your diet and use nutrient dense foods like organic vegetables and herbs.
  • Support your natural detoxification systems by exercising, sweating, daily full bowel evacuations, hydrate with clean water (not from a plastic bottle).
  • Avoid using plastic food containers.
  • Use cookware that is free of teflon and aluminum.
  • Stop using Round-Up, it kills our microbiome along with so many life forms. Remember Gut Health = Brain Health = Health.
  • Make use of the Environmental Working Group website ewg.org for information and guidance.
  • Support your local organic farmer, food is not just medicine, it’s information for your cells and your genes.
  • Cultivate calming practices—reduce your stimulation, slow down, Unplug.

Get tested for heavy metals, environmental toxins, and glyphosate. Once your toxic load has been accurately determined and the sources of toxins are known, begin a detoxification program with the supervision of a naturopathic or functional medicine practitioner.

We strongly recommend the book Brain Body Diet by Sara Gottfried MD.

Imagine our world 100 or 200 years ago, the toxic load was entirely different and not ubiquitous as it is today. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and even depressed when we realize these facts about our world and our health. With awareness comes change. Share this information. As the knowledge spreads, we will be motivated by our love for the children, the animals, nature, our families and friends; and slowly, a shift will begin to take place.

Betty Lacy, M.D.

Dr. Lacy specializes in the field of brain health, cognitive resiliency, genetics, and mental health. Learn More >

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