Detox Diets For Dummies
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A toxin is any substance that your body can’t use in a purposeful way or that requires energy to be removed. Even substances that your body has to have to survive can be toxic if you get too much of them. If you have a good grasp of what’s out there in terms of toxins, you can more easily identify and avoid them.

It’s truly a miracle that we can expose our bodies to the vast numbers of toxins in our environment and we don’t just drop over and die. But even though your body is resilient, if you push it too hard, something is bound to break.

Natural chemicals as physical toxins

People often think of toxins as manmade chemicals, but Mother Nature provides plenty of toxins, too. If you’ve ever brushed up against some poison ivy or been bitten by a spider, you know the toxic effects of your close encounter. The key to limiting the amount of damage that natural toxins do to your body is avoidance.

Living toxins

In addition to the natural chemicals that act as toxins, plenty of living things can have toxic effects on your health. Bacteria, for example, are all around us. Some types of bacteria are helpful, like the kinds that live in your intestines and help to digest your food, but many other types are extremely toxic and harmful. Yeasts, parasites, and viruses are other common living toxins.

Toxic manmade chemicals

In the past 100 years, man has been really busy creating new things that are supposed to make our lives easier and better. Unfortunately, many of these things contain toxic chemicals and/or are made using some sort of toxic process. The chemical creations include pesticides, petrochemicals, and food additives, to name just a few.

In the United States today, more than 80,000 chemicals are being released into our environment, and less than 3,000 have been tested for toxic effects on humans. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows any chemical to be released unless scientific proof exists that it causes cancer or is toxic in some other way. We have the cart ahead of the horse when it comes to manmade chemical toxins.

About This Article

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Dr. Gerald Don Wootan, DO, M.Ed., is a board-certified osteopathic physician and the medical director of Jenks Health Team, a medical practice that specializes in integrative medicine with an emphasis on natural detoxification and nutritional supplementation. M. Brittain Phillips is a freelance writer.

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