The body is a remarkable machine, but humans have become a pretty toxic bunch of folks. Simply put, we serve as filters for toxins in our environment. The good news is that the body has a natural built-in system for dealing with this toxic assault. There’s a caveat to this, though. We may be exposed to more than ever before.
Within the last 20 years, reports have come out that support this theory. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that over 69 million Americans live in areas that exceed smog standards and that some cities’ drinking water contains over 700 chemicals, including excessive levels of lead.
Additionally, one source says that nearly 3,000 chemicals are added to the food supply and that as many as 10,000 chemicals in the form of solvents, emulsifiers, and preservatives are used in food processing and storage. Although used only in trace amounts, they can remain in the body for years and do add up over time.
James Dillard, M.D., assistant clinical professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, remarks, “Certainly, the human body carries huge loads of petrochemicals. We know people usually die with the full burden of PCBs they’ve ever been exposed to stuck in their liver. DDT sticks around, too.”
So, what’s a body to do? Glad you asked.
Our lungs, skin, kidneys, liver and colon function to detoxify our bodies. Here’s how.
The lungs are said to take in pounds of pollutants and eliminate toxic gases each minute. Since our lungs are comprised of muscle tissue, they need to be exercised regularly to remain strong. Most of us don’t use our lungs to their capacity, but exercise requires deep breathing, which can help keep our lungs strong so they can do their work.
The skin is our largest eliminative organ; each skin pore serves as an exit route for waste. Some ways to keep skin healthy is to keep it clean, well-circulated and primed for getting its job done. The kidneys, however, get rid of fluid wastes and purify the bloodstream, so make sure you drink enough pure water.
The liver does the lion’s share of cleaning, though. It’s responsible for functions related to metabolism, filtration, bile production, detoxification and immunity. It takes toxins and neutralizes as many as it can; whatever it can’t neutralize, it stores to protect the body.
Interestingly, the liver is also intricately involved in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism and in the storage of vitamins and minerals. It’s part of bodily mechanisms and physiological processes that control blood sugar and hormone levels, too. Additionally, it synthesizes proteins, lipids, lipoproteins and bile acids excreted in the detoxification process.
The colon gets rid of solid wastes, of course, so it’s important to keep things moving along in order to decrease contact time internally.
Thank goodness we have this built-in detoxifying system. It might be especially important since our world may be growing increasingly toxic.
After all, Bob, you don’t want to be a sponge.