How Do I Know If I’m Full of Toxins?
Toxins come in 3 general flavors that we can currently test:
- Heavy Metals
- Synthetic Chemicals
Toxins are ubiquitous. We can’t avoid them all the time but we can do our best to help support our body’s natural detox processes. Most toxins are fat soluble and end up stored in fatty tissues in our bodies like our brains, nerves, glands and yes, that extra layer around our tummies and thighs.
Toxins can be hiding in your tissues
Because our bodies can store toxins in fatty tissues, some lab tests for toxins can completely miss or inaccurately measure our actual toxic load. This makes proper testing for heavy metals, chemicals and biotoxins critically important.
The fat solubility of toxins explains why they can cause symptoms ranging from fatigue to infertility to nerve pain. Many of my patients who suffer from toxicity have symptoms that are fairly common like pain, headaches, poor memory, brain fog, hormonal imbalance, thyroid disorders and fatigue. Correcting a thyroid disorder or sex hormone imbalance may help to clear away a lot of the symptoms, however it doesn’t answer the question; Why did my thyroid become imbalanced in the first place? Fat-loving toxins can be deposited in the brain, immune glands and hormone glands, wreaking havoc!
Many detox strategies apply no matter what the toxin. We always want to optimize the ability of our organs of elimination – liver, bowels, lungs, kidneys, skin and lymphatics so they can keep up with our inevitable exposures. See our article on supporting our organs of elimination for step by step guides to sweating, dry skin brushing, regular bowel movements, deep breathing exercises, castor oil packs and liver-supportive herbs.
All three types of toxins can be measured in the body and then targeted specifically for elimination.
1. Heavy Metals
Depending on the patient’s symptoms, age and known exposure I will measure heavy metals through hair, urine or blood. When we measure urine levels we use an IV provocation with EDTA and DMPS — provocation substances that serve as biochemical magnets that travel into fatty tissues, pick up heavy metals and take them into the blood where they can be eliminated in the urine or through stool via the liver. This represents full body burden vs. current exposures. Blood levels of most metals are only representative of current exposure, which may miss stored metals that can cause serious health problems and debilitating symptoms.
2. Chemical Toxins
Like heavy metals, chemical toxins are also tested for in the blood and urine. I currently use the panels available through Great Plains Labs and Genova. Chemical toxins include herbicides, pesticides, styrofoam, petrochemicals, fuel additives, BPA and other plasticizers. Some synthetic chemicals are water-soluble instead of fat-soluble like the majority of other toxins. When looking for chemical toxins I do not recommend using a provoking agent.
Biotoxins are inert but toxic substances produced by living organisms, and they can be detected in urine. They are generally fat-soluble. When testing for biotoxins I do recommend using 8 tsp of Redisorb oral glutathione or 2 grams of IV glutathione to provoke the release of these toxins before collection. I have had too many patients who were experiencing symptoms from a known mold exposure who tested negative for mycotoxins in their urine. This can happen if your body doesn’t detoxify biotoxins as efficiently — in fact, this is why they are a problem! Your neighbor, husband, wife, child, coworker who may also be exposed might not be having a reaction because their bodies are better detoxifiers. They are being exposed at the same rate and eliminating the toxins easily. You have symptoms precisely because biotoxins have been building up in your system. I currently use Great Plains Labs to test for mycotoxins.
Call today to schedule your appointment if you would like to be tested for any of the three flavors of toxins.
Written by: Dr. Heather Sandison, ND
North County Natural Medicine (760) 385-8683