It’s nice to think eating organic food and using “green” household and body products keeps us toxin-free. While those measures certainly help, the sad truth is we are nevertheless inundated with unprecedented levels of toxins in our air, water, food, and everyday environment.
Numerous studies link toxins with myriad health disorders, including autoimmunity, cancer, brain disorders, obesity, hormonal imbalances, and more.
Studies show humans carry hundreds of toxins in their bodies. The only reason it isn’t more is because of limits as to how many are tested. Children contain a higher body burden of toxins and toxins are found in umbilical cord blood and breast milk.
Though this is depressing, understanding the situation can help you better protect your body from the tens of thousands of synthetic chemicals in our environment.
Be aware of chemical sensitivity
Of course, we’d like our toxin levels to be as low as possible. However, it’s even more important that you do not react to toxins. People develop sensitivities to toxins the same way they do to gluten, dairy, or other foods.
A sensitivity to a chemical or heavy metal contributes to autoimmune disease, food sensitivities, and and an overall decline in health. Plus, since it’s difficult to impossible to avoid toxins, a sensitivity to them will leave you with an ongoing immune battle.
Weathering a toxic environment
Studies have turned up ample disturbing evidence on the effects of toxins on human health, and tens of thousands have not yet been studied. Nor do we understand how these toxins may work in combination.
Although there is no way to completely escape (the deepest parts of the ocean contain high levels of toxins), there are ways you can protect your body from toxins and prevent chemical sensitivities.
How to protect yourself as best you can from toxins Start with your diet.
Foods and beverages, even organic ones, contain toxins because of how prevalent they are in the environment. So avoid the obvious offenders of artificial additives and foods that contain pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.
Beyond that, the goal is a balanced immune system. This requires eating a diet that stabilizes blood sugar (no sugars or sweeteners, not too high on carbohydrates, and avoid skipping meals, over eating, or under eating.)
It also requires following a diet that does not trigger an immune response. This is different for everyone although gluten and dairy are the most common offenders.
Resveratrol and curcumin
Toxins trigger inflammation and damage cells. Studies show high doses of resveratrol and curcumin can help buffer the body from the damage of toxins, especially if you take them together in a liposomal form.
Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant that protects the cells from damage. Low glutathione raises your risk of chemical sensitivities and suffering damage from toxins. Nutrients that boost glutathione levels include n-acetyl-cysteine, cordyceps, Gotu Kola, milk thistle, L-glutamine, and alpha lipoic acid. Straight oral glutathione doesn’t work well, but liposomal, reduced, and s-acetyl glutathione are absorbed. Glutathione can also be delivered via IV, suppositories, or a nebulizer.
Another strategy against toxins is to improve your body’s detoxification. This can mean supporting the liver, lymph glands, kidneys, and bowel motility (so you’re not constipated). An inability to excrete toxins makes you more inflamed and raises your overall body burden.
Nutrients that support the liver pathways include methyl B12, selenium, molybdenum, dandelion root, milk thistle, trimethylglycine, Panax ginseng, and MSM.
Ask my office about how best to protect yourself from environmental toxins.
If you’re still feeling knackered from the time change with daylight saving, you’re not alone. Changing the time throws a kink in the fragile and sensitive human biological clock, leaving many people feeling continuously jet lagged for a few weeks.
An hour of lost sleep might not sound like a big deal, but if you or your friends and coworkers are any indication, it makes for some groggy and grumpy days, bouts of insomnia, and feeling generally off.
It’s not just a hunch — scientific studies have demonstrated various ways in which the bi-annual time change messes with our health.
The body has genes that flip on and off to keep us in a steady rhythm of sleeping and waking. When we throw those genes off beat by artificially changing the time, the effect extends into the rest of the body, including muscles, the skeleton, the pancreas, etc. The disruption is felt body-wide.
How daylight saving time can impact health
This disruption dulls the brain and throws the body’s systems off, resulting in serious and even fatal consequences for some people.
For instance, past studies have shown driving fatalities, workplace injuries, and heart attacks go up after the spring-forward change in time. An Australian study found that even suicides increase after the time change.
Unsurprisingly, work productivity goes down as well, causing losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Night owls, people who naturally are more inclined to stay up late and sleep later in the morning take the longest to recover.
Worst of all, some studies suggest our bodies never really adjust to time changes. We’re designed to sync with natural changes in light throughout the year, not artificially inflicted ones.
How to recover from daylight saving time
Although people complain and we see a spate of news stories every spring bemoaning the change in time, we’re nevertheless stuck with it until politicians add it to their to-do list.
Understanding the effect of the time change on your body can help you better know how to ease the transition into suddenly waking up an hour earlier.
Avoid overdoing it for a while.
Because you know your whole body is struggling to adjust to being thrown out of whack, don’t expect too much from yourself. Avoid scheduling high-risk or energy demanding activities the week after the time change. And be extra careful driving.
Schedule in some naps and restful mornings.
If you’re like most people, you’ll be sleep-deprived for a week or two. Take a lunch nap in your car at work, let yourself rest on a weekend morning, and be extra disciplined about getting to bed early enough.
Wear orange glasses at night.
Wear some orange safety glasses a couple of hours before bed to shield your eyes from artificial blue light from light bulbs, the TV, and computer and phone screens. This facilitates production of sleep hormones and will help ease you into the new schedule.
Get some sunshine during the day.
Our bodies were designed to wake and sleep according to the light of the seasons, not an industrialized schedule. Get as much natural light as you can during the day and avoid artificial sources of blue light (computer, TV, smart phones) in the evening.
Hypothyroidism has received a lot of attention online since the publication of Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? by Datis Kharrazian in 2009. While many facets should be addressed in managing hypothyroidism, one of the most important continues to be a gluten-free diet.
Research shows ninety percent of hypothyroidism cases are due to an autoimmune disease that attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. This disease is called Hashimoto’s.
Most doctors do not test for Hashimoto’s because it does not change treatment, which is thyroid medication. Also, many cases of hypothyroidism go undiagnosed because Hashimoto’s can cause the lab marker TSH to fluctuate.
Where does gluten fit in with this? Numerous studies have linked an immune reaction to gluten with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Whether it’s a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, gluten triggers an autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland in many people. Most of these people do not even know they are sensitive to gluten.
Going off gluten is the first step with Hashimoto’s
Studies, clinical observation, and patient stories make a very strong case for the benefits of going gluten-free to better manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism symptoms.
A number of studies for several countries show a link between Hashimoto’s and gluten. This is because the protein structure of gluten closely resembles that of thyroid tissue. When your immune system reacts to gluten, it may start erroneously reacting to thyroid tissue as well. This will cause the immune system to attack and destroy thyroid tissue in a case of mistaken identity.
Studies also show patients improve on a strict gluten-free diet. One study showed as many as 71 percent of subjects resolved their hypothyroid symptoms after following a strict gluten-free diet for one year.
Why you may need to stop eating other foods too
Sorry to say, going gluten-free alone doesn’t always work. Many people with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism also need to go dairy-free. Dairy, whether it’s cow, goat, or sheep, is the second biggest problem food for people with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Many people simply have an immune intolerance to dairy and aren’t aware of it until they stop consuming it. However, in an immune sensitive individual, the body may also mistake dairy for gluten and trigger an immune reaction that ultimately ends up targeting the thyroid.
For those serious about managing their Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, a gluten-free and dairy-free diet frequently results in profound alleviation of symptoms, if not total remission.
Many find they may need to eliminate additional foods, such as certain grains, eggs, or soy. An elimination/provocation diet can help you figure out what your immune system reacts to, or a comprehensive food sensitivity test from Cyrex Labs.
What is there left to eat?
If you’re used to eating without restrictions, eliminating gluten, dairy, and possibly other foods to manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroid symptoms may seem overwhelming and too restrictive. Many people are left wondering, what is left to eat?
Rest assured there is more than enough to eat. Most people fare well on a paleo diet that is primarily vegetables (a diverse array of plenty of vegetables helps create the healthy gut bacteria that improve immunity.)
More importantly, symptoms and general health improves so dramatically that people come to love their new diet and despise the way they feel after they cheat.