Our body is an amazing thing. It’s truly a fine tuned and yet resilient thing that when cared for properly will heal itself from a multitude of illnesses and impairments. But one thing that has greatly affected our bodies ability to heal itself is the environmental toxins that surround our bodies on a daily and almost constant basis. It’s the reason that doing a home detox and ridding your space of toxins has become such a useful tool in the world of healing and health.
When you think about the space around you, you can actually think about it as a second skin. Our skin is a protective layer to our body that protects our internal organs and prevents anything dangerous from getting to our intricate systems. Our home can create another protective barrier around our skin, protecting us from toxins and dangerous chemicals that we could come in contact with.
Unfortunately so often, our homes are actually the opposite of a healthy barrier and they end up being a place where environmental toxins are harbored instead of avoided. This toxic environment in our homes starts to overwhelm and burden the body, creating a series of issues ranging from fatigue to disrupted endocrine systems and even mental health problems.
But as we learn to create a healthy home, our body WILL begin to unburden itself and return to a natural state. This post will look at how the body is designed to heal itself and how environmental toxins stop this process. I will also share the main environmental toxins causing issues in your as well as the symptoms of toxic overload.
If you’re ready to create a healthy home environment, be sure to download my workbook Toxin Free Home to get you started step by step.
THE BODY IS DESIGNED TO HEAL ITSELF
The body can actually heal itself quite well. Think about recovering from illness, or a broken bone or even just a papercut. The body knows how to heal through many different avenues.
First, the body’s cells can replicate to replace cells that have become damaged or been destroyed. Our bodies are in a constant state of producing new cells and new tissue and removing damaged cells. It happens when we get a cut for example. The white blood cells remove the injured cells and produce new, healthy cells. (SOURCE)
Second, our immune system also plays a role in healing. When our body comes in contact with viruses, bacteria and toxins, our cells recognize this invasion and destroy the cells affected. The immune system does this through fever to kill viruses and bacteria and through inflammation, which is the body’s reaction to infection. (SOURCE)
Third, our bodies are constantly removing toxins and invaders through natural detoxification of the bloodstream. Our liver and kidneys play a huge role in this as they filter out and remove unwanted toxins from food, substances and environmental toxins. It’s how our body handles being in contact with environmental toxins almost constantly.
HOW ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS STOP THIS PROCESS
And while the body is an amazing thing, it can only remove so many of the toxins we come in contact with at one time. If the body works at a certain pace to remove toxins, it means only a certain number of toxins can be removed in a 24 hour period.
If your body is becoming bombarded with toxins through your diet, your home environment and your beauty products, there may be more toxins coming into your body than toxins that are leaving your body through natural removal methods.
This is when the environmental toxins surrounding our bodies become too much for our systems to handle. Systems that can’t keep up with removing unwanted toxins from the body start to become dysfunctional and ultimately begin shutting down. (INFORMATION)
THE MAIN ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS IN YOUR HOME
PVC: Polyvinyl chloride is a type of plastic in your home that uses toxins such as chlorine and phthalates. It’s found virtually everywhere inside your home from flooring to water piping, snack bags to windows, high chairs and carpet. PVC toxins have been linked to childhood obesity, hormone disruption and even cancer. (more on PVC toxins can be found here)
Bisphenols: All the toxins that start with BP, such as BPA, BPS, BPB, BPF — they all contain bisphenols which are primarily in plastics and resins. Over 90% of individuals in the United States currently have bisphenol toxins in their body because of almost constant exposure. Bisphenol toxins have been linked to endocrine disruption, reproductive problems, breast cancer, diabetes and metabolic disorders and obesity.
Phthalates: Sometimes referred to as plasticizers, phthalates are a group of chemicals that are in hundreds of products in our home from flooring to personal care products to toys. Phthalates have been linked to abnormal reproductive development, neurological toxicity, endocrine disruption leading to thyroid and immune system problems and even lower IQ and hyperactivity in children.
PBDEs (Brominated Fire Retardants): Added to so many of our home products and even kids’ clothing, it has most recently been added to polyurethane foam found in couches, car seats, mattresses and more. PBDEs are carcinogenic in nature and have been linked to immune system suppression, thyroid and endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, delays in childhood development and reduced neurological function. (more on flame retardants in this post)
Parabens: While parabens are more so found in the products you bring into your home through cosmetics, shampoos and soaps, they are a huge burden to your body and should be avoided when addressing toxic overload. Parabens have been associated with hormone disruption (including early puberty, abnormal reproductive development, fertility and preterm birth)
Heavy Metals: Homes that are older have a higher potential for containing heavy metals like lead, arsenic and mercury in the building materials. However, aluminum (pots, pans, kitchen utensils) and cadmium (dyes in textiles and carpets) are heavy metals that are still brought into our homes on a regular basis through our products. Heavy metals can also be in the water we drink. Heavy metals have a tendency to build up in the body’s blood stream, causing an array of health problems such as immune system dysfunction, birth defects, certain types of cancers, nervous system disorders and damage to the GI system and kidneys.
SYMPTOMS OF TOXIC OVERLOAD
Once your body becomes burdened to the point that it exceeds the threshold of natural detox, it pushes the immune system into an overdrive state, where it becomes difficult to keep up. This is when symptoms of toxic overload start to appear:
- Brain fog or difficulty concentrating
- Digestive problems
- Skin issues and rashes
- Nasal and sinus congestion
Unfortunately, sometimes these symptoms are so common in many of us that we don’t even notice our body’s signal that it’s overworked and overwhelmed. It takes really paying attention to subtle changes over time to notice body burden and toxic overload BEFORE it gets out of hand. (SOURCE)
HOW YOUR BODY WILL NATURALLY DETOX ONCE UNBURDENED
The good news is that your body has the power and capabilities to heal naturally when provided with the right tools and environment. The first step is to remove toxins from your environment and your life. This can sometimes take time as our bodies have to work through high levels of toxins that have built up in the body.
Your skin, kidneys, lungs, lymphatic system and GI tract are all part of the body’s complex detoxification system. The bulk of the work, however, is done by the liver and GI tract. Basically the body’s natural enzymes convert toxins to free radicals which are then removed from the body. (SOURCE)
Obviously it’s much more intricate process than what I outlined, but just know that you can support your body by reducing toxins around you in any way and then adding some positive habits into your life:
- Clean up your diet (limit caffeine, alcohol and processed foods)
- Focus on sleep (The Healthy Home Blueprint will help you create a true sleep sanctuary in your home)
- Increase blood flow (exercise, dry brushing, foam rolling)
- Reduce stress (meditate, cut out anxiety triggers, start a gratitude journal)
While this list of potential side effects and toxins may feel overwhelming, I want to encourage you that this process of natural detoxification by your body can be helped along by even the smallest adjustments to your life. As always, start with what you can control and focus on one simple change at a time.