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Detoxification and Chronic Disease

Wisdom of the Past

Cleansing is an age old ritual which has been practiced by individuals in many different cultures. Detoxification has been practiced since the times of ancient Greeks. Hippocrates proclaimed as the father of Western medicine recommended fasting and drinking water as a form of detoxification to improve health. Every attempt to detoxify is an attempt by the individual to rid the body of accumulated toxins and parasites and thereby increase the efficiency of the organ systems of the body. Accumulated toxins if left untreated can eventually cause many chronic illnesses.

The Rise of Chronic Disease

In industrialized nations, the rise of infectious disease has been replaced by chronic conditions. There is growing evidence that chemicals in the environment and people’s lifestyles play a major part in these changes in patterns of disease. The rise in chronic, degenerative conditions has heightened our awareness of the need to eliminate potentially harmful substances from the body.

Researchers are starting to realize the profound impact that toxins have on the human body and how they affect all aspects of our physiology. The neurotoxins found in pesticides can cause biochemical and cellular changes in exposed persons at well below toxic doses and well before the onset of overt disease. These compounds can also adversely affect the immune system causing immune deficiencies, allergies, autoimmune states and increased risk for certain cancers. Environmental neurotoxins have been shown to produce a wide range of subclinical neurotoxic effects, including cognitive impairment, reduced attention span and alteration of behavior.

Detoxification specialists call the buildup of toxins bioaccumulation. Bioaccumulation over time is responsible for the rapid increase in physical and mental disorders such as asthma, cancer and mental illness. Inadequate detoxification results in non-specific systemic complaints such as chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, eczema, psoriasis, poor circulation, headaches, indigestion, bowel complaints, reproductive problems and many others.

Linking Endotoxins with Chronic Disease

The bowel is essentially a living eco-system of many kinds of bacteria and other organisms. Stress, toxicity, and nutrient deficiencies reduce the body’s immune function resulting in overgrowth of intestinal bugs such as; parasites, yeasts, fungus, and other pathogenic forms of bacteria. These bacteria in turn, produce by-products that contribute to ill health. These by-products are called endotoxins. Endotoxins leave the digestive system and can circulate in the blood causing a wide variety of health concerns. A proper naturopathic assessment is important to determine if the issue is a result of abnormal intestinal bacteria or not.
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