What Are Toxins? (Part 1)

Toxins are poisons produced within living cells or organs of plants, animals, and bacteria (venom, bee stings, botulism, etc). Toxicants are synthetic, human-made, toxic chemicals (asbestos, BPA, Phthalates, etc). Both are harmful to the body and recent studies suggest that our bodies are having a difficult time detoxifying from the frequent exposures to the chemicals found in our everyday environments. While not exactly the same, the two terms have become synonymous and therefore, the term “toxin” will apply to both types going forward in this text.

Exposure to toxins is at an all time high and at this point it is almost impossible to avoid them on a daily basis. Numerous studies have even found toxins in newborns as well as breast milk. Toxins can disrupt biological and endocrine functions and cause different types of cancer to develop.

What are environmental toxins and their negative effects?

  •  Mercury is highly toxic. It is found in medical devices, seafood, fertilizers, and pesticides. Mercury poisoning can cause headaches, fatigue, tremors, and even hallucinations
  • Leadis a toxic metal found in the environment. It is used in gasoline, ceramics, batteries, paint and even some cosmetics. It can cause neurodevelopmental defects as well as gastrointestinal, neurological, and kidney toxicity.
  • Formaldehyde is known as a preservative and it is present in many homes as plywood, glue and fabrics. Can cause adverse effects such as watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing, wheezing, nausea and skin irritation.

Toxins also include chemicals made by humans and can also have negative effects:

  • Triclosan is found in hand soaps and dishwashing liquids that use the terminology “antibacterial”. This is a probable carcinogen and can also encourage the growth of drug resistant bacteria.
  • BPA (Bisphenol A)is found in products in the form of food and drink packaging, bottles, and water pipes. BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which mimics the hormone estrogen and causes early puberty, infertility, and low testosterone levels.
  • Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastics. They are found in products like cosmetics, bottles, deodorants or any packaging that uses flexible plastic. These are also endocrine disruptors. They can affect genital development in fetuses through prenatal exposure and can cause thyroid dysfunction issues.

One of the most proliferative types of toxins is Glyphosate. It is one of the most widely used herbicides/pesticides in the world! If you are not eating organically grown foods, you are probably ingesting glyphosate. There is a strong link between glyphosate and the development of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. There is also documentation linking exposure to autism as well as many other chronic diseases. It is commonly found under the product name of “Roundup”.  Many people probably have it sitting in their garage for weed control.

Action Steps to Avoid and Detoxify Toxins (Part 2)

Everywhere we turn today it seems we are exposed to one toxin or another. There are many ways   toxin exposure can be limited to help encourage a more healthy lifestyle.

The following action steps can help you make wiser product decisions and implementing healthier daily routines can help you avoid exposure and even detoxify from the exposure you do have.

  • Make your own cleaners. Replacing commercial cleaners with natural homemade cleaners can limit skin/breathing exposures. Vinegar and baking soda combinations can be used to keep your home clean and also toxin free! *To make a spray that will clean just about anything—countertops, the sink, light fixtures, and more—mix 13 ounces of hot water, ½ cup of white vinegar, 15 drops of grapefruit essential oil, 10 drops of lavender essential oil, and seven drops of lemon essential oil in a spray bottle, says Kimberly Button, a certified green living expert (Oprahdaily.com).
  • Monitor personal care ingredients. Many people don’t realize that our skin is our largest organ and toxins in soaps, cosmetics, etc. can be absorbed through the skin. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) doesn’t even require basic safety testing of ingredients in personal care products. org/skindeep/ is a helpful site that can give you toxicity scores for your personal care and cleaning products. Some brand names are listed, but for brands that aren’t you can input the ingredients to get safety data.
  • Eat organically grown foods. Food products labeled “organic” must contain at least 95% organic ingredients with no synthetic growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, biotechnology, synthetic ingredients or irradiation used in production or processing.Look for local farmers who sell grass fed meats and pasture raised eggs. Wash off fruit/vegetables before eating, as well. Avoiding processed (frozen/fast food restaurant/pre-packaged) foods will greatly limit chemical and preservative toxin exposure.
  • Follow a healthy exercise/sleep routine. Adequate exercise and sleep can help the body naturally detoxify itself. Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. Not only does sleep detoxify the brain, but healthy sleep also helps reduce the risk of certain neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Detoxifying footbath. Detoxify with the IonCleanse by AMD. The IonCleanse is a non-invasive, full-body detox. It helps the body detox through the healing power of ions. Because of their powerful charge, ions cleanse the body more effectively than other forms of detox. The process ionizes the footbath water as H2O is split into OH- and H+ ions. These ions attract and neutralize oppositely charged toxins. After a session, the user feels calm, relaxed and focused. Typical session times vary from 10-30 minutes, primarily based upon age (www.amajordifference.com).


Benefits of an IonCleanse footbath session:

  1. Promotes general wellness
  2. More energy throughout the day
  3. Helps with brain fog
  4. Initiates a relaxation response (and often helps to achieve better sleep)
  5. Removes heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, aluminum and lead (as well as many other harmful toxins)

Chart of water colors to reference during a footbath:

*To find out more or schedule an IonCleanse footbath, contact:

Wilmington Functional Medicine @ 910-444-9438