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Body burden: how to reduce your toxic load

As the snow begins to melt, the daffodils and allium begin to emerge from their slumber, the announcement of springtime is much welcomed. Much like the flora, we too begin to reemerge, and we get to partake in the 3,000-year-old tradition of spring cleaning. In order to maintain a happy and healthy home, we all take the time to clean out and organize the space we live in. The same should be addressed when looking internally with our own bodies to maintain a happy and healthy life.

Everywhere around us we are bombarded with chemicals that can build up in our system, considered the toxic burden. The food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink are also toxin sources, but that’s not the only places they are hiding out! It can seem overwhelming navigating ourselves through this inevitable toxic world, but it is not impossible if we know where to look!

Environmental Chemicals: Pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, and plasticizers. These can be both endocrine disruptors and cancer-causing chemicals such as radon and formaldehyde. Though many are human made, there are also those that are naturally produced.

Mycotoxins: Produced mainly by fungi and molds with over 300 known and many of which are carcinogenic and toxic! The air we breathe is the top pathway for contamination, and they can often come from previous exposure, including from previous housing. Exposure can be found in previous or current homes, workplaces prone to flooding, and in foods. Grains are one of the highest mycotoxin sources, which get into our bodies through various sources.

Heavy Metals: Lead, mercury, and arsenic are the first few that come to many people’s minds. While some are essential to body function in small amounts, accumulation can often lead to poisoning and thus more serious damage may occur. Many of these metals are used in cancer treatment, so special considerations should be made for the increased toxic load.

Much like our homes, we must approach the cleaning/detoxification process one room at a time. Eliminating years of buildup in our home can be a daunting task, but small steps toward a life of toxin minimization is possible!

Binders: These substances can both absorb and bind to toxins for elimination from the body. Including activated charcoal, carbon binders, and bentonite clay.

Nasal Passage Rinse: Those with upper respiratory symptoms can help the clearing process by using pressure to clear out the nasal passageway.

Sauna Therapy: Sweating is often an alternative detoxification route for the body. Having been used for over 2,000 years in Scandinavia, the largest organ of the body excretes many toxins, including heavy metals and pesticides.

Foods: Focus on eating organic (clean 15 and dirty dozen). Eat apples, cruciferous vegetables, and other dark colored fruits and vegetables. Avoid sugar and processed food. Nutrition iscritical when looking at immune function and the necessity for quality vitamins and minerals.

Air Quality: Keep air ducts and air quality clean. Make sure to keep clean and use HEPA filters to remove particles including mold spores. Controlling humidity and keeping under 50% will cause mold to become dormant but not be killed. Consider an at-home mold test which will detect mold in as little as 48 hours.

Water: Using distilled or reverse osmosis water can ensure the water we drink is not contaminated. If using a distiller, it is recommended to supplement the water with minerals that are lost during the distillation process.

Clean Body Care Products: Notorious for containing endocrine disrupting toxins which affect multiple body systems, including metabolism and hormone regulation. Switching to organic, cruelty-free, green products will reduce toxin exposure significantly.

Much like our homes, regular inspections and spring cleaning is essential to maintain a space for ourselves and our loved ones. Zero exposure is unrealistic, but minimizing our toxin load is something each of us can work on. Learning more about the relationship our bodies have with our environment, we can all take steps to achieve a healthier world for ourselves and future generations. Consider working with a functional medicine clinic for directions on where to begin, what to prioritize, and how to monitor your lab work to achieve optimal wellness.


Phil Herzog is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis on Health and Fitness Management.  Phil is a nutrition counselor at Nutritional Healing and focuses on group and individual coaching in various capacities. Phil takes his own health journey to walk alongside clients down their own individual paths.  Working with clients of all ages and backgrounds, his passion comes from the relationships he builds with those he works with. Phil has experience working with clients regarding weight and fatigue issues, food sensitivities, autoimmune conditions, and general health concerns such as high blood pressure, high glucose levels, high cholesterol/triglycerides, migraines, thyroid conditions, and gut dysfunction. To learn more, call 920-358-5764 or email [email protected].

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