by Dr. Wally Taylor of Texas Integrative Medicine
Today, we are experiencing a skyrocketing epidemic of chronic illness. Many of these illnesses like autism and ALS used to be quite rare, but are now widely seen in our community. Other illnesses like diabetes, asthma, inflammatory arthritis, eczema, Alzheimer’s and even cancer used to be uncommon and are now seen everywhere. Why is the incidence of these diseases increasing at such a dramatic rate?
Environmental Toxins Explain The Epidemic Of Chronic Illnesses In The World Today
The answer is that our environment – the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat – has changed in a dramatic way and continues to change rapidly, but not in a good way. The amounts and numbers of toxic substances that enter our bodies is staggering. There are at least 90,000 different man made chemicals that are now in the environment, many in the millions of pounds. Most have never been adequately studied for their safety to humans. Most of the ones that have been studied now come with warnings of the harm they can cause in your body. Levels of toxic chemicals in our bodies are now measurable at birth. Unfortunately, at the same time, the levels of beneficial nutrients in foods has declined greatly.
Environmental Toxins Have Increased Dramatically In Numbers And Amounts Recently
Your body possesses an amazing and intricate system for the elimination of toxins. The liver, kidney, intestines and sweat glands are important for detox. Unfortunately, this system was not designed to handle the numbers and amounts of toxins that your body must clear in today’s world. As the toxins mount up, the diseases appear. If there were no toxins, there would be no disease. It really is that simple. In order to eliminate disease, you must do two things. First, you must eliminate ongoing exposure to toxins from your air, food and water. Unfortunately, this is not completely possible, but you can move in that direction through the choices you make. Second, you must do all that you can to make sure that your detox processes are functioning at their peak efficiency if you are going to have any chance of getting ahead of the toxins in your body.
Absence Of Environmental Toxins Would Equate To The Absence Of Much Chronic Illness
So how does your mitochondria get involved in all of this?
Your complex systems of detoxification (also known as “detox”) all require energy to work. About 95% of that energy comes from your mitochondria in the form of stored chemical energy, known as adenosine triphosphate, or ATP for short.
Mitochondria, the power houses of the cells, are tiny bodies about the size of microbes that exist in almost all your cells. Some cells that need lots of energy contain thousands of them per cell. All together estimates are that about 10% or so of your body weight may be made up of mitochondria. If your mitochondria are not working, a condition sometimes known as “Acquired Mitochondrial Dysfunction”, your detox systems underperform allowing toxins to build, and diseases to happen.
Since the mitochondria, themselves, are easily damaged by toxins, you can see why toxin elimination and avoidance is key.
Elimination Of Toxins In Your Body Requires Normal Mitochondrial Energy Production
Recently, research has begun to explain how mitochondria are controlled by your brain. In what has been called the Mitochondrial Cell Danger Response, it is being shown that the energy-producing process of mitochondria can be dialed down in the presence of certain stressors. These stressors include toxic chemicals, toxic physical stimuli such as electromagnetic frequency (also referred to as “EMFs” think computers, microwaves, cell phones), toxic metals like mercury and lead, and even life stressors such as the death of a loved one. There are many others. All of these various stressors work through a common pathway to trigger the body to “dial down” mitochondrial ATP production, resulting in a body-wide power deficit, much like a power outage in your community. When this happens detox capacity is dramatically reduced.
To restore power and detox capacity, the mitochondria must return to a more normal state of energy production. It turns out that stress reduction is a critical way to restore more normal mitochondrial energy production.
Stress Reduction Helps Restore Mitochondrial Energy Production, Restoring Detox
Techniques of stress management as simple as deep breathing, positive affirmations, meditation, prayer, yoga, and being in nature, are all ways that can result in improved mitochondrial energy production and improved detox of dangerous, cell-damaging toxins. Restoring mitochondrial recovery also has the added benefit of better fat burning, resulting in weight loss and reversing chronic fatigue and intolerance to exercise.
If there is one think you should come away with from the knowledge of your mitochondria it is this: take care of your mitochondria! We do this through minding our detoxification pathways, and controlling as much of our environment around us as possible. This means limiting our exposure to pesticides and chemicals on our food, limiting our exposure to EMFs, and taking care of ourselves through acts like mediation, prayer, yoga etc.
Nutrients Required for Detox
Of course, there are key nutrients that are required for our body’s ability to detox. If you were to do any research on detoxification you would find that glutathione is needed, it is the body’s master antioxidant. Glutathione helps by binding to toxins in the liver before they are excreted.
Key nutrients for detoxification:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
It is possible to receive some of these nutrients through diet, but because of soil depletion and compromised digestion taking supplements is usually recommended as well. An even better option? Our clinics offer the option of receiving nutrients via nutritional IVs, which bypass the gut barrier and allow nutrients to more readily enter cells. This is an excellent option for an individual experiencing mitrochondrial dysfunction.
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