What Are Toxins

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Toxins are any substances, produced within your body or introduced into the body, that prevent the countless body processes maintaining optimum functioning. When toxins build up in your body, they affect every cell and the result is compromised health and possibly chronic disease.

As you go about your daily living, you are exposed to many toxins in the environment, both outdoors and within your home. Toxins from your environment, inhaled, ingested or absorbed through your skin, are called exotoxins. These include exhaust fumes; plastics; chemicals in cleaning products; chemicals used in building materials, furniture and furnishings; pesticides; herbicides; heavy metals; synthetic ingredients in cosmetics and other body products; oxidised fats in fried food; burnt fats in barbecued food; moulds; hormones given to some livestock; and food colours, preservatives and flavours. In fact, the complete list of environmental toxins you are regularly exposed to is overwhelming.

Endotoxins are toxins that form within the body. These toxins occur in several ways: if your digestive system isn't breaking down and assimilating food correctly; if you have what naturopaths call 'leaky gut syndrome', where larger than optimum food particles and waste matter are absorbed through damaged or inflamed intestinal membranes into the bloodstream and lymphatic system; if there is too little folic acid, vitamin B12 and B6 in your diet;

and/or if you are lacking dietary antioxidants (nutrients that prevent cell damage and deal with free radicals). In addition, you may introduce more toxins by choice, such as nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, overly processed foods and recreational drugs.

The result of all of this is an overloaded body that may not be able to keep up with the detoxification demands placed upon it. As the liver struggles to play its role in detoxification, some toxins recirculate through the body, essentially affecting most of the body systems by damaging cells and setting off inflammation which may eventually develop into chronic disease. When overload happens you are mostly likely to experience all kinds of niggly symptoms. Allergies, hayfever, hormonal imbalance, low energy, susceptibility to colds, fatigue, poor alcohol or caffeine tolerance, digestive disturbances and headaches are just a few initial complaints that may occur.

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