It is Monday morning and I sit down to blog about Detox. Having just finished the writing of my Detox book I expected to write some more along those lines – food, the digestive system, detox and so on.
An article in the latest issue of the “Townsend Letter For Doctors and Patients” got my attention though.
The article written by Ingrid Kohlstadt MD,MPH calls attention to Asthma and to factors we tend to overlook and that are tied in to toxins that are involved and it was that insight that really got my attention.
Dr. Kohlstadt argues that toxins find it easier to gain entry to the body via the lungs than by the digestive tract.
So the lungs act as a short cut for toxins!
This ties asthma firmly together with Detox and makes us more determined to find and use some natural asthma remedies.
Let’s look into this…
Down the Hatch
The first barrier that toxins face when swallowed is the acid in the stomach. This is very strong and will digest just about anything! The rest of the gut has sophisticated alarm systems that marshal the immune system if triggered.
Part of the 3 Step Detox process I write about is called, “Healing the Gut”.
Just to be clear what we are thinking of is repairing any portion of the tube starting at the mouth and going all through the body from mouth to stomach to small and large intestines and out to the anus.
If you compare this “living tube” to an old fashioned bicycle tire then you can see that any part of it that gets a puncture needs attention and needs fixing.
This condition in the gut is well understood and is called “leaky gut” and Naturopaths and Nutritionists see lots of patients with this condition and it’s usually pretty straightforward to fix and a simple laboratory test can tell you when the gut has been repaired.
The results are good – allergy symptoms reduce if they were due to the food allergy and leaky gut picture and your energy levels and sense of well being increase.
So not only do ingested toxins ie swallowed toxins face several barriers – even when the gut lining is damaged it’s easy to fix and restore.
Let’s see how this compares to the situation of toxins that enter the body by breathing.
We are used to thinking of toxins as being carried into the body on food – as a spray for example. But a significant part of the toxins in the body are carried in as we breathe.
Years ago as part of a Physics course I had to teach the working of a 4 stroke car engine. As I recall the 4 strokes were…..
Intake – fresh air and fuel are pulled into the cylinder
Compression – the air fuel mix is compressed and that heats it
Power – a spark is added to the hot mix of air and fuel igniting it and pushing the cylinder down
That’s 3 strokes, OK? The last one pushes all the burnt toxic gases out of the engine so that the whole thing is restored and a new intake stroke can start. The name in the books for this is the Exhaust stroke but it so riled me that all this toxic brew was pumped out so that we could breathe it in that I called it the…..
My students hated that name. To link pollution which we all regard as “Bad” to a vehicle which they were dying to drive and own was hateful to them. I still called it the Pollution stroke though! I wanted to make a point!
Breathing toxins in is serious.
Air fills up all the little cavities in the lungs and is in contact with a delicate membrane that separates and protects us from those toxins. On the other side of the membrane flows your blood.
When the toxins cause inflammation in these little spaces or alveoli, the body has to heal the inflammation and still keep the absorption of oxygen going.
Healing the Lungs
The obvious question here is can we fix the lungs like we can fix the gut?
There are 2 problems to be solved, we need to damp down the inflammation AND heal the damage caused by the toxin and perhaps even by our own immune system enthusiastically putting the fire of inflammation out.
Anti-inflammatory Action Steps
There are several anti-inflammatory vitamins and supplements we can use, the most obvious of which is vitamin C. It is hard to give general dosage advice but I take a minimum of 3 grams per day and if feeling under the weather or a little flu, I respond by doubling the dose. For asthma I would increase the dose some more.
Vitamin C not only has a natural anti-histamine action but also helps the body make better and stronger collagen so that the damaged parts of the lung can be healed.
Along with vitamin C the bioflavonoids act as anti-oxidants. A supplement makes sense but the best way of getting a good variety is to eat a good diet with varied fruit and vegetables so that good range of carotenes and flavonoids are consumed.
Along with calming the fires of inflammation a treatment plan needs to relax the respiratory system. Asthma goes along with a tremendous tension and dealing with this directly is helpful and easy.
Magnesium relaxes muscles directly so using a good magnesium supplement is helpful. If available, the Blackmore’s supplement called PPMP is ideal.
There are many helpful herbal remedies that could be used as well.
Gingko is perhaps the most obvious and Euphorbia another relaxing herb for asthma. These can be used as a tincture or in a combination formula with other asthma herbs.
Remove The Cause
This is basically the root motto for Naturopathic treatment. The cause may be environmental smog from vehicle engines – so lobby for change and choose your travel options carefully. But there’s lot to do in the home too.
We spend around a third or a quarter of our life asleep, so how about checking the toxins in the bedroom.
Is the paint work emitting toxic gases? Almost certainly, yes!
Are the curtains coated with non stain or other treatments? If so they add to the toxic atmosphere…..
Now the flooring – if carpeted it is almost definitely contributing fumes from the dyes and materials and if you have a lovely polished wooden floor then the varnish or wood treatment will probably be outgassing as well.
I left this to last. Safety regulations about fire risk mean that most furniture like sofas and beds have fire retardant in them and you are breathing that all night.
I don’t want to frighten you or alarm you with all this info. It is a picture of a civilisation that has lost sight of its real values and just produced all these products in an thoughtless and silly way that makes the most profit and one that pays little or no heed to our health or to the environment.
By being well informed your buying decisions can reduce the atmospheric hazards in the home.
And being well informed about Detox you can take the right supplements and diet to help your body deal with atmospheric and ingested toxins.
For as long as industry produces toxins and triggers into the atmosphere we will be exposed to them but building our own resilience and our knowledge gives us the edge in creating a healthy life.
So asthma has quite a lot to do with toxins and detox but the good news is that there’s lots of help, and Asthma does not have to be a life long curse.
There are some natural asthma remedies and you can get further help by consulting a Naturopath or by taking measures at home to “clean up” your home environment by reducing the number of chemical cleansers and products sending toxic gases into the air.
Townsend Letter http://www.townsendletter.com/April2012/optmet0412.html
Ingrid Kohlstadt MD, MPH www.INGRIDients.com
Image credit hey paul