The harsh morning sun bore down on the primitive surface of the Earth. None rode their bicycles on that morning because vertebrate life had not yet appeared. The atmosphere was far from friendly. Some clutches of primitive bacteria clung to the surface of rocks and took steps to survive in the low-oxygen, acidic environment. To be successful, they would need to develop some powerful means of adapting, and fortunately for all of us, they succeeded. From the dawn of life, organisms developed ways to find safe space, seek necessary energy, produce vital substances and excrete and/or transform toxic substances so they could reproduce and survive. These functions are so powerful and so common that we often forget they even exist.
It is sad that people do not have better understanding of this really critical subject, because our health is largely determined by how well we understand and implement this material in our daily lives. While the basic information is contained in simple physiology textbooks and basic scientific research, many never apply the data to living.
Sources of Toxins
Disease signs and symptoms come from the body's reactions to toxins, which are encountered from two primary sources:
- Exogenous toxins are those toxic substances that originate from outside the body. They come from the environment and enter the body through various bodily surfaces. Examples of exogenous toxins include cyanide, carbon monoxide, ozone, chlorine, fluoride, petrochemicals, plastics, pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs, plants, acids, bases, arsenic, heavy metals, etc.
We can measure how toxic a substance is by determining its LD-50. This test measures how much of a substance must be ingested before half (50 percent) of the test subjects die (lethal dose in 50 percent of exposed patients). These toxins gain access to the environment and our bodies through contact, inhalation, ingestion and injection. Detoxification is the process of reducing the toxic nature of a substance. In some cases the toxin is made completely safe, and in other cases its toxic nature is only diminished. Here are some ways that our bodies detoxify or address toxic substances:
- Avoidance is the simplest method. The autonomic nervous system has detection methods that warn us of the presence of toxins and allow us to use our nervous system to redirect our actions so that we can avoid toxins in the environment. Primitive creatures use this method by reflexively being attracted to good things and repelled by bad things. If we look at the nervous system of a worm we find the tiny brain sits right on top of the oral cavity and in direct contact with the gastrointestinal and circulatory systems. On exposure to a toxic substance the worm's reflexes move its head in the opposite direction so that the noxious material is escaped. Our sense of smell comes from the first cranial nerve and enters the brain to advise the body regarding air that is inhaled. Smell is a critical part of our immune and defensive systems. If you have ever walked out of a room or wrinkled your nose because of the presence of tobacco smoke, then you have personal experience with this mechanism. If we learn to listen to our nervous system we will find all sorts of clues regarding toxins.
By understanding these basic mechanisms and by working with professionals who are trained, it becomes possible to better address health and disease through steps that optimize the body's efforts to handle such toxic exposures. It is smart to avoid toxins, but no one cannot live on this planet in modern times and totally avoid them. Fortunately, the body has taken this into account. If we can balance our exposure to toxins and support our detoxification and drainage systems, then we can reduce the damage done to our bodies by those toxins. Hopefully that assists us in living better, more healthy lives. Being better-informed allows us to relax and enjoy life more.
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