21 Sep Can Toxins Promote Weight Gain?
You may not be aware of this, but we are exposed to toxins every single day of our lives. In fact, exposed is putting it lightly. We are inundated and bombarded with a multitude of toxins on a daily basis. Can toxins promote weight gain? The short answer: absolutely. Below we break down what toxins are, how we can reduce our exposure, and how we can keep our bodies working optimally to help our natural detoxification system keep us from illness and weight gain.
What is a Toxin?
Plain and simple, a toxin is any substance that is poisonous to humans. Toxins can be chemically created in a laboratory (think pesticides), biologically produced by another organism (think snake venom or mold), or naturally occurring (think heavy metals, like lead). Some areas of science prefer to define a toxin as any harmful substance of a purely biological origin. Anything produced artificially they refer to as a toxicant. Toxins that disrupt fat metabolism and create weight gain are often referred to as obesegens. But, for our purposes today, we will refer to all of these harmful substances as toxins.
Here is a short list of common everyday toxins:
- Heavy Metals
- Cigarette Smoke
- Phthalates (chemicals used to soften plastics)
- Flame Retardants
- Mercury in Fish
- Air Pollution
- And so much more…
How are we exposed to these chemicals? They lurk in our cosmetics, skincare products, soaps, shampoos, deodorant, food, water, air, household cleaners, plastic food storage containers, furniture, mattresses, and carpets. These everyday toxins can promote weight gain and other symptoms and illness by overburdening our natural detoxification system.
Our Natural Detoxification System
The good news is that our bodies are fully equipped to process and protect us from these harmful substances. Our lungs filter the air that we breathe, and our liver and kidneys filter toxins through complex chemical processes that keep us alive and disease-free.
The liver is the star of your natural detox system, as it works to break down pollutants through two phases. Without getting too scientific about this, Phase I converts a toxic chemical into a less harmful chemical through chemical reactions such as oxidation, reduction, and hydrolysis. Phase II is called the conjugation pathway, whereby the liver cells add another substance (eg. cysteine, glycine or a sulphur molecule) to a toxin, to make it water soluble.
Glutathione conjugation is an important pathway in Phase II liver detox that converts certain toxins in to water soluble substances to be pass through the body. It can be depleted by large amounts of toxins and/or drugs that need to pass through the liver. Our toxic burden has a direct effect on our natural detoxification system.
Our Toxic Burden
When the liver becomes overburdened with the sheer number of toxic insults we encounter in a day, it is unable to properly process toxins. These toxins can promote weight gain, but they can also cause other symptoms:
- Bloating and gas
- Acid reflux and heartburn
- Memory Issues
- Brain Fog
- Sleep Issues
- High blood pressure
- Moodiness, anxiety or depression
- Chronic fatigue
- Excessive sweating
- Bruise easily
- Poor appetite
- and more
How Do Toxins Promote Weight Gain?
Toxins promote weight gain in many ways, including affecting your metabolism, your hormones and your brain function. In fact, studies show that early-life exposure to environmental toxins can play a major role in predisposing animals to insulin resistance, hormone disruptions and obesity (1).
They overload your body’s detox systems creating oxidative stress and inflammation.
They disrupt hormone function – Many toxins are known “endocrine disruptors,” which means they mimic certain hormones and confuse the chemical messages your metabolism relies on. This can cause insulin resistance which promotes fat storage.
They increase fat cells or fat metabolism – Exposure to environmental toxins has been shown to alter lipid metabolism and promote the growth of fat cells (2).
What Can You Do to Decrease Your Toxic Burden?
Now that we’ve learned what and how toxins can promote weight gain and other symptoms and illness, what can we do to prevent or decrease our toxic burden?
1. Reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides by eating organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
2. Learn about toxic skincare products. Parabens, petrochemicals, lead, or other toxins are easily absorbed through your skin. If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. Please visit EWG’s page about skincare products and cosmetics to learn more.
3. Filter your tap water. Use a carbon filter or reverse osmosis to get rid of hidden contaminants in water.
4. Avoid high-mercury fish. Larger fish, such as: tuna, swordfish, and salmon.
5. Support your body’s natural detoxification system by drinking eight glasses of water a day, supporting your gut microbome, sweating to excrete toxins (with exercise or saunas), eating foods that support your Phase I & II detoxification.
6. Take supplements that support detoxification including: selenium, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin B complex, as well as special glutathione boosting compounds such as n-acetyl-cysteine, alpha-lipoic acid and milk thistle.
7. Try Glutathione IV Therapy. Glutathione helps support liver detoxification, fights oxidative stress (helping to slow the aging process!), controls inflammation, lightens and brightens the skin, and so much more!
8. Try an Ionic Foot Detox. Start slow with a relaxing Ionic Foot Detox. Learn more here.
9. Do a safe and physician-monitored liver detox. At Cavallo Health, our integrative, naturopathic, and Functional Medicine practitioners can work with you on a safe and effective detox program that is personalized for your body’s specific needs. Call us today to learn more.
To book an appointment, fill out the form below or call us at:
New Holland Office: 717-351-0631
Quarryville Office: 717-806-5672
Also, leave us your questions in the comments, and we’ll get back to you ASAP!