I’m no health saint. Every now and then, I do something really dumb. That’s rare, but I’ve been known to drink too much wine or beer—and even indulge in the occasional cigar. All of these are toxic, and as a rogue chemist turned consumer health advocate, I’m not proud of it. But it’s my choice. And that’s the point. Exposing yourself to toxins should be a choice. But modern-day society rarely allows this and even exposes you to toxins daily without your choice.
Our health is endangered by a rash of new toxic threats, courtesy of modernization. Brush your teeth, and absorb the cumulative poisons sodium lauryl sulfate and fluoride. Grab a quick glass of tap water, and guzzle the fuel additive methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE). Enjoy that scrumptious apple, and poison yourself with atrazine. Slather on sunscreen, and expose yourself to cancer-causing benzophenones. Smear on the makeup, and rub your skin with wrinkle-inducing parabens. Follow doctor’s orders, and trash your liver with statins. Never before have we been
exposed to so many toxins.
Nobody is safe from the mass contamination. Newborn babies have tested positive for more than two hundred industrial toxins, courtesy of modern society!19 A 2005 report by the Environmental Working Group, a consumer advocacy group, found that tap water in forty-two states contained many contaminants that were dangerous, if not technically illegal. Of the 145 contaminants identified in the report, fifty-two have been
linked to cancer, forty-one to reproductive toxicity, thirty-six to developmental toxicity, and sixteen to immune-system damage.
Your best bet of avoiding the toxic onslaught is to minimize exposure while protecting your liver with Mother Nature’s detox cure. To do this, you need to understand the top toxic threats and learn how to use a natural supplement that works overtime to protect your liver from toxic onslaughts.
YOU GOTTA LOVE YOUR LIVER
Your liver is the chief organ responsible for allowing you to occasionally “toss a few back” and enjoy your wine buzz without getting overtly sick.
Once consumed, alcohol instantly turns the volume down on life. Working directly on the central nervous system, it takes our minds off everyday hassles while relaxing our muscles.
After eliciting its euphoric effects, alcohol races to the liver for detoxification. Once the alcohol arrives there, substances known as liver enzymes help convert it into harmless carbon dioxide and water. This enzyme action wards off the dreaded hangover. Without it, we would succumb to poisonous effects of alcohol such as headaches and, long term, cancer. The liver understands this, which is why it works so diligently to metabolize alcohol into something that is not detrimental to our health. The liver contains innumerable amounts of enzymes designed specifically to protect us from alcohol and a host of other toxins.
THE OVERACHIEVING ORGAN
The liver has a multitude of chemical strategies for neutralizing toxins and escorting them out of the body and into the toilet—where they belong. But in protecting us from hangovers and toxins, the liver is an overachiever. My father learned this the hard way.
You’ve seen the commercials; you’ve heard the risks. Every ad for cholesterol-lowering drugs ends with the caveat that “routine liver tests must be performed.” Ignoring the caveat, many are too eager to follow doctor’s orders and take cholesterol-lowering drugs. My dad was. A few weeks later, like so many others, his routine liver test showed positive for “liver enzymes.” This meant that his liver was being damaged by cholesterol lowering
Just like alcohol, cholesterol-lowering drugs race to the liver. Inundated with the foreign molecules, the liver can fail. This is best seen by enzyme spillage into the blood. My dad’s liver functions were being compromised, if not totally shut down, which explained why he felt terrible. Oh, the wonders of modern medicine. Freaked out, he frantically attempted to learn what was going on.
Unbeknownst to him, his liver is his top weapon against toxic exposure. Just as it wards off a hangover, the liver removes or neutralizes toxins from the blood. The liver also is needed to boost immunity and protect the body from viral and bacterial infection. A biological pharmacy, the liver produces its own proteins that regulate blood clotting, while at the same time it manufactures bile to help absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins. My
dad learned that the liver is quite important—an over-achiever of sorts.
You can survive a few days without water, but not a single one without your liver. But it’s not invincible. When the liver is bombarded with too many toxins—like cholesterol-lowering drugs—it goes from being squishy and protective to being hard and ineffective. It eventually stops working due to enzyme spillage.
Hardening of the liver is technically known as cirrhosis. It’s one of the ten leading causes of death in the United States.21 Without a properly functioning liver, you can easily succumb to modern-day toxic threats while risking a host of other medical complications. Diabetes, heart disease,and cancer—and whatever else a toxic compound can induce—can become a harsh reality. This threat goes virtually unnoticed, but not by my dad.
Once he internalized the importance of liver function, he never again swallowed a cholesterol-lowering drug. To further ensure that his liver didn’t take a dive, I taught him how to navigate the treacherous waters of today’s top toxic threats, while at the same time using a natural supplement to help strengthen and detox his overachieving liver.
The liver is known for its ability to rejuvenate itself—if it’s not sideswiped by toxins. Today, my dad doesn’t have liver enzymes floating aimlessly throughout his bloodstream. Thanks to getting off his cholesterol-lowering drugs, he has a liver that performs perfectly. Cholesterol lowering drugs are not the only threat to our liver. Our environment is teeming with toxins, most of which go unnoticed until it’s too late.
TOP TOXIC THREATS
Most toxins are invisible. They are tasteless or odorless and sometimes are administered under the guise of medicine. Each toxin is a wild card, passing through the liver on a crash course. The toxic soup around us is seeping into us and consists of the following top toxic threats:
ACCUMULATIVE POISON IN YOUR HOME
Many people are unknowingly poisoning themselves with man-made industrial toxins. The accumulative poison triclosan is one example. Triclosan is used in an array of household products, including tooth-pastes, soaps, and lotions. And it was recently approved for use in more than 140 household products despite its real and present danger! Synthesized more than thirty years ago, triclosan was once thought to be a safe and
effective antibiotic. But results from a recent study at the University of California, Davis, have sounded the alarm.
Researchers discovered that triclosan accumulates in the body—even when applied on the skin topically—to eventually disrupt hormone activity and cause liver tumors. When it is applied externally, the toxin rapidly penetrates the skin and is absorbed into the blood to throw thyroid and sex hormones out of whack. This potentially leads to obesity, infertility, cancer, and age acceleration. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control found
that 75 percent of people from a random sample tested positive for triclosan.
The best way to avoid this and many other toxins is to choose organic products. Natural soaps and the safe antibiotic zinc oxide work as well as triclosan at beating infection. And neither of them can accidentally poison you.
ARE YOU SMEARING THIS AGE ACCELERATOR ON YOUR SKIN?
You might not have heard about parabens. But odds are you’ve been spreading this group of toxic chemicals on your skin. As preservatives and anti fungal agents, they have been added to shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, personal lubricants, toothpaste, and spray tanning solutions. Look for them on ingredient lists as:
Even in the smallest amounts, like 1 part per trillion, parabens shift metabolism and elicit key changes in brain structure and function. For example, these toxins can cause teenage girls to grow into adulthood faster than usual. For the rest of us, parabens just help us age really fast. Ironically, parabens are common ingredients in antiwrinkle creams and lotions! Few cosmetic companies recognize that parabens accelerate
aging or can even act like estrogen imposters to elicit breast cancer. Avoid them by carefully reading the labels of shampoos, creams, and lotions.
WASTE PRODUCTS DUMPED INTO CITY WATER SUPPLY
Since 1945, fluoride (as sodium fluoride or silicofluoride) has been added—about 1 part per million (milligrams/liter)—to our municipal water supply. Most of the fluoride comes from recovered waste products of the phosphate fertilizer and aluminum industries. Sound yummy? Despite what we’ve been told, there aren’t any health benefits to consuming waste products—quite the contrary. When the fluoride level in drinking water reaches 1 to 5 ppm, disturbances can be seen in the liver, kidney, and nervous systems that can manifest as irritability, depression, and even
cancer. Avoid filthy fluoride by filtering your tap water.
Fluoride isn’t the only chemical added to drinking water. Chlorine is, too. Mass chlorination of municipal water protects us from bacteria, parasites, and viruses. But the practice gives rise to a new risk: THM exposure. THM stands for trihalomethanes, which are chemical by-products of chlorination. A common one is known as bromodichloromethane.
Any level of THM exposure is dangerous. Tap water is estimated to contain 80 to 100 parts per billion of THM—bottled water, too! Drinking five or more glasses of water daily that contain THM has resulted in damage to the heart, lung, kidney, liver, and central nervous systems. Scientists at the Environmental Working Group have shown that THM exposure causes as many as 9,300 cases of bladder cancer each year. A growing body of science also links THM to miscarriages and birth defects, including neural tube defects, low birth weight, and cleft palate An easy fix for
this potentially deadly problem is to stop drinking bottled water and filter your tap water. And since THMs are volatile and therefore more apt to be inhaled, you’ll want to filter your shower water, too.
PCBS: BANNED SUBSTANCE STILL LURKING
Just because something is banned doesn’t mean it no longer poses a threat. A poignant example is that of PCBs, technically known as polychlorinated biphenyls. PCBs have been used in a slew of products such as coolants and insulating fluids for transformers and capacitors, pesticide extenders, flame retardants, hydraulic fluids, sealants (used in caulking), adhesives, wood floor finishes, and paints. PCBs have made their way into the water supply, poisoning us through tap water or from eating wildlife that drank tainted water.
If ingested, PCBs can disrupt thyroid hormone activity, cause damage to the nervous system, causing obesity, loss of muscle control and tremors, and poor brain function, and elicit the growth of cancer. Recognizing PCBs’ high toxicity to the liver and many other areas of the body, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned these toxins in the early 1970s. But PCBs still persist in water and streams. To avoid them, filter your water and make sure you’re not consuming any game that has come from polluted regions.
WORSE THAN WHISKEY
If you thought drinking whiskey was bad, try perchlorate. As many as 20 million people are swallowing this rocket fuel. It has been found in drinking water in quantities up to five times the safe upper limit. Once in the body, perchlorate interferes with iodine uptake, throwing your thyroid hormones out of whack. Municipal water, groundwater, and cow’s milk can be tainted with it. Filter your water, and make sure your milk isn’t loaded with this gas additive.
FAILED PRO-HORMONE GETS INTO BOTTLED WATER
I love the convenience of bottled water, but I’m not a fan of man boobs. That’s why I avoid it. During the early 1930s, bisphenol A (BPA) was created as an estrogen-mimicking pro-hormone. It was sidelined when it failed to pass the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s safety inspection (back when the FDA still had scruples) due to its ability to damage the liver while igniting cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Years later, a chemist
learned to “attach” the BPA molecules together via a process known as polymerization, and BPA had a new use: plastic water bottles.
BPA can now be found almost anywhere in our convenience-addicted societies. Every time you take a sip from a plastic water bottle, you may be guzzling estrogen. We all know estrogen makes great breasts, but no one intended it to make breasts on men. I avoid water bottles like the plague, and my physique shows it.
To counter concerns about the BPA risk, the bottled water industry insists that consumers are only exposed to “trace amounts” of BPA. What they don’t mention is that BPA sticks to the insides of the body, causing it to accumulate over time! The body doesn’t innately know how to get rid of BPA. So this toxin builds up and festers inside of us, increasing its infamous estrogenic effects. The FDA doesn’t seem to mind man boobs or
rapidly decaying health. As was noted in an article in USA Today (“FDA reviewing plastic ingredient BPA,” April 27, 2008), “This raises serious concerns about whether the science the FDA relied on to approve the use of bisphenol A was bought and paid for by industry.”
Although the FDA is slow to act on and release its research, other countries and some major corporations—including Wal-Mart—are acting quickly to deal with their health responsibilities. Products that contain BPA are being ousted rapidly, convenient or not. If you want to avoid the ill effects of BPA, abstain from plastic food and beverage containers.
WIDELY USED HERBICIDE MAY CAUSE PARKINSON’S
The European Union banned the use of atrazine several years ago. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not followed suit. Despite atrazine’s proven ability to cause birth defects, deformities, Parkinson’s disease, infertility, and even cancer, this liver-damaging herbicide is still heavily used on American crops. We eat, drink, and in some cases, breathe it (through crop dusting).
To avoid atrazine, filter your water, and choose organic foods. If you think organic food is expensive, try atrazine-induced Parkinson’s disease. While the upfront costs of organic are greater than nonorganic, you’ll save tons by avoiding the costs of treating life-threatening illnesses associated with atrazine-laden foods.
HISTORICAL TOXIN THAT WON’T GO AWAY
Within fifteen minutes, all 2,500 students were evacuated from their school. A mercury-laden thermometer had been dropped and broken. The liquid element had spilled across the classroom floor. Chaos ensued.
The ancient Chinese found mercury in 1500 BC. The mysterious element was thought to increase lifespan. One of China’s early emperors, Qín Sh Huáng Dì, died while attempting to drink it and achieve eternal life. Every generation since has learned the same thing: mercury doesn’t belong in the body. Havoc can ensue when the risk of exposure is high. Still, mercury is getting into our bodies far more often than it should.
Mercury occurs naturally as mercuric sulfide and is harmless. It becomes poisonous with human intervention. In the forms of mercuric chloride, methyl mercury, and thimerosal, it attacks the nervous system, kidneys, and liver. The toxic effects can sometimes appear clinically as autism, diabetes, and cancer. A host of other biological maladies—loss of teeth, nails, and memory—can also occur. School officials know this, so a
broken, mercury-laden thermometer elicits mass panic in most of their minds and spurs immediate evacuation. But broken thermometers are the least of your worries.
Exposure to poisonous mercury compounds comes mostly from the air we breathe, thanks to coal-fired power plants. A study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in twelve women were harboring mercury in their blood above the levels considered safe by the EPA.30
Power plants aren’t the only guilty parties. Mercury has no place in medicine. The Chinese emperor who thought mercury would prolong his life learned this. But vaccine makers haven’t. As of 2008, flu shots, vaccines for hepatitis A and B, and those for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis routinely carry mercury. The official stance of the FDA seems shrouded in a haze of conflicting messages. On one hand, FDA officials assure us that their studies show the amount of mercury to be harmless. And on the other, they are working frantically to remove the toxin. I’ll take history as a teacher over an FDA-funded study.
PRESCRIPTION ROULETTE WITH YOUR LIVER
Environmental toxins damage your liver, and so do your prescriptions. Every time you swallow a man-made drug, you’re compromising your health.
Sometimes liver cells are damaged, and other times they are not. Taking pills is like playing prescription roulette with your liver. Each one passes through the liver with the potential for life-threatening consequences.
Scientists are fervently attempting to unearth these mysterious, deadly outcomes. “We’re trying to understand why two perfectly healthy people can be taking the same drug, and one suddenly turns yellow and dies,” stated Paul B. Watkins, MD, a liver expert at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Over-the-counter drugs can do the same thing. The commonly used painkiller acetaminophen is notorious for causing liver damage, as seen by liver enzyme leakage and even premature death. “Acetaminophen poisoning now accounts for at least 42 percent of U.S. acute liver-failure cases seen at major hospitals and one third of the deaths,” researchers reported in a study published in Hepatology.
Most of these toxins flow into our body because of a lack of regulations. Laws appear to protect us from such toxic exposure, but appearances can be deceiving.
MAKE YOUR OWN LAWS
In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act, which requires the EPA to determine safe levels of toxins in drinking water and over-thecounter products like toothpastes and soaps. These levels are called maximum contaminant level goals (MCLG).
None of these levels are enforceable. When contaminants exceed the MCLG, there is no law requiring their removal. That’s why triclosan and so many other toxins are found
in everyday products.
The only way to avoid these toxins and live young is to make your own laws. Make it a point to read the fine print on your household items and cosmetics. If you can’t pronounce the words on the label, ban the product from your house. Go to a local health-food store and choose natural! If you think buying safe products is more expensive, consider the cost of suffering from liver failure. And for around-the-clock protection, turn to Mother Nature for a detox cure that works safely.
MOTHER NATURE’S DETOX CURE
In light of the modern-day toxic soup, you have to become proactive at protecting your liver. The best way to do this is by supplementing with milk thistle (silymarin). I call it Mother Nature’s detox cure. Milk thistle has been used for more than two thousand years to treat acute hepatitis, chronic liver disease, jaundice, and gallstone disease.
However, its ability to protect us from toxic exposure was not discovered until 1949. It showed beneficial effects against toxicity from the chemical reagents known as carbon tetrachloride, which can result in liver failure, coma, and even death when someone is exposed to them. Milk thistle successfully protected the liver, while escorting the toxic chemical out of the body. Twenty years later, it was formally acknowledged as a therapeutic agent against toxic exposure. Ever since, this natural detox cure has proven wildly beneficial in protecting us from environmental toxins and prescription drugs—and even poisonous mushrooms.
Studying milk thistle’s protective qualities, Mayo Clinic announced that “Multiple studies from Europe suggest benefits of oral milk thistle for cirrhosis. In experiments up to five years long, milk thistle has improved liver function and decreased the number of deaths that occur in cirrhotic patients.”
As a toxicity remedy, milk thistle works in three distinct ways to preserve our health. Once ingested, the active ingredients bind to the squishy membrane of our liver cells to form a protective “shield.” This keeps foreign molecules out and essential nutrients in. Milk thistle also protects us from oxygen shock, making it a potent antioxidant. As a natural detoxification cure, it can also serve as a “biological janitor” to clean up foreign molecules.
Through a process known technically as conjugation, milk thistle attaches to foreign molecules and carries them out of the body,keeping the liver free from the accumulation of toxic threats.This natural detox cure can be found inexpensively on any grocery store shelf.
MOTHER NATURE’S DETOX CURE BATTLES CANCER
Western medicine took twenty years to accept the protective qualities of milk thistle. Recognition of its side effects, which are welcome benefits, could take even longer. Daily use of milk thistle could help ward off high blood sugar, hepatitis C, and even cancer.
Each and every cell in your body comes with a self-destruct program. Think of it as a built-in protection mechanism against early death. When cells are damaged, they destroy themselves so that they don’t replicate and compromise total health. Scientists call this cell suicide. It’s one of many ways we steer clear of cancer. When a cell becomes cancerous, it usually commits cell suicide before it turns into a deadly tumor. Sometimes this programming fails.
If our cells’ self-destruct programming ceases to work, we can become overwhelmed with cancer cells and tumors. Recent studies highlighted by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center on milk thistle are showing that it can rewire the faulty cellular program to help damaged, cancerous cells commit suicide. Preliminary studies are hinting that this may prevent liver, breast, prostate, and cervical cancer.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.
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