Life in a toxic world has grown complex: Our cosmetics, food, water and air are all filled with contaminants that inflame our immune systems and cause serious health issues. Limiting your exposure to these chemicals and cleansing them from your body is essential for better health.
Scientists have come up with various, complicated names for the distasteful pollutants that threaten our health. Xenobiotics are what they call one class of unnatural chemicals that enter the body through the skin, lungs and digestion and set off troublesome immune reactions. These substances include prescription medications, dioxins, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and many other synthetic molecules and unnatural substances that you encounter daily. Consequently, when these poisons cause your immune cells to bring on allergy symptoms or autoimmune reactions, you can end up with chronic illnesses that just won’t go away.
Where does a prescription drug go after it passes through your body? Into sewage where it becomes a persistent pollutant. Once it gets there, it has plenty of toxic company: Xenobiotic substances are mounting in the sewage-treatment system, and they resist being broken down. Sewage toxic soup can contain organochlorides, derived from plastics and pesticides, as well as byproducts of oil, gasoline and coal.
Researchers around the world are busy unraveling how xenobiotics harm our immune systems. Scientists in Germany1 and the Netherlands2 found that these reactive chemicals and their metabolites provoke intricate reactions that end up inflaming the body. As a result, immune-sensitizing antigens are released into the bloodstream and immune cells may be activated which end up attacking the body.
Meanwhile, another class of pollutants originating in dental fillings and food containers as well as plastics and pesticides interfere with our hormones. These toxins, labeled xenoestrogens, act like an evil form of estrogen and may lead to cancer and other diseases.3
The hamburger you ate yesterday may have been tainted with hormones: Anabolic steroid implants are routinely used to make cows grow bigger.
The inflammation that results from all of these toxins are linked to chronic illness and, to my way of thinking, all chronic illness has an autoimmune component. But the science of these illnesses is still young, and researchers have only just begun to unravel their mysteries. So far, a growing number of diseases have been definitively connected to specific autoimmune problems. These include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, antiphospholipid syndrome, Still’s disease, Sjogren’s disease and gluten enteropathy.
Cancer Turn On
Moreover, there is emerging evidence in the scientific literature that xenoestrogens switch on genetic tendencies to develop cancer. Frighteningly, these so-called “endocrine disruptors” can influence your hormone functions up to a thousand times more severely than a normal hormone. And you have to live with them a long time. For example, DDE, the substance the body makes from DDT and which gets stored in body fat, stays in tissues for decades.
Recently, scientists have found that all the antibiotics we take are changing the nature of even the friendly, probiotic bacteria dwelling in our intestines. These little bugs are mutating and becoming antibiotic-resistant.4 Even more worrisome to me is delayed immune hypersensitivity that may occur in your tissues years from now.
All of this worrisome news may make you wonder why you may not feel particularly sick. For many of us, our toxic state may, at the moment, be causing only the classic symptoms of allergy: runny nose, itchy throat or persistent fatigue. But internally, the body may be attacking itself somewhere and setting the stage for the eventual expression of disease.
Quiet The Inflammation Process
The first principle of quieting your reaction to inflammatory xenobiotics and xenoestrogens is to avoid them. This may mean trading in your cosmetics, deodorant, shampoo and soap for organic ones that contain healing herbal ingredients. These are usually available at your local herb shop or natural-foods store. You should also only eat beef, chicken and eggs that are organic and certified hormone- and antibiotic-free. Only consume deep ocean fish that is mercury-free.
In addition, restrict your fruits and vegetables to organic produce that is free from pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. These changes help eliminate xenobiotics and xenoestrogens from your life.
Sources for Story:
1 Griem P, Wulferink M, Sachs B, González JB, Gleichmann E. Allergic and autoimmune reactions to xenobiotics: how do they arise? Immunology Today. 1998 Mar;19(3):133-41.
2 Pieters R, Ezendam J, Nierkens S. Chemical-specific properties co-determine the type of adverse immune response. Autoimmun Rev. 2003 Jan;2(1):25-9.
3 Wozniak M, Murias M. Xenoestrogens: endocrine disrupting compounds. Ginekol Pol. 2008 Nov;79(11):785-90.
4 Mathur S, Singh R. Antibiotic resistance in food lactic acid bacteria-a review.International Journal of Food Microbiology. 2005 Dec 15;105(3):281-95. Epub 2005 Nov 8.