Could toxins be making me sick?

Could toxins be making me sick?

Margie GanderMar 18, '21

Often when we think of getting sick, we think of our bodies being invaded by invisible viruses and bacteria from the "the dangerous & dirty" microbial world that surrounds us. We often neglect to make the connection that toxins act in the same way, with our bodies having to launch a similar immune response whenever exposed to chemicals from our environment.

Every day, we are exposed to hundreds of toxic chemicals through products like pharmaceuticals, pesticides, packaged foods, household products, and environmental pollution.  As we have become more exposed to chemical-laden products and to toxic chemicals in food, air, and water, we have been confronted with an accelerating rate of chronic illnesses like cancer, heart disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, chemical sensitivity, autism spectrum disorders, ADD/AD(H)D, autoimmune disorders, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.


Think of toxins as being inflammasomes

Think about toxins as being inflammasomes. Tiny, molecular triggers that cause your immune system to release cytokines in a response to these foreign invaders! Sounds awful, right? This onslaught can be made even worse if you carry a poor detox genotype + a genetic predisposition for inflammation. This is a "double whammy" to your immune system and could be the reason behind your low-grade, chronic inflammation, the bedrock to many diseases and autoimmune conditions. 

Research has shown that inflammation is this greatest culprit in an immune system that is weakened or starts to attack itself. We know this. What is much more challenging is determining what is triggering this inflammation and how you can make better daily choices to managed it. 

Is there a detox genotype

We're not all the same when it comes to detoxification. There are key genes involved that encode for detoxifying enzymes. If you carry a medium to high "misspelling" in the protein-encoding region of these genes, you may have lowered enzyme activity that predisposes you to poor phase 1 (oxidation,reduction, hydrolysis, hydration & dehalogenation), intermediary phase (antioxidant enzyme action), phase 2 (sulfation, glucuronidation, glutathione conjugation, acetylation, amino conjugation and methylation) and phase 3 (bile production) liver detox of the chemical and toxins that you are exposed to, resulting in increased toxic burden and inflammation. If you carry high impact genetic variations in your inflammation genes, then your risk for inflammation increases. 

If you would like to test your genetic variations in these genes, you can order the GENE-COMBO test online.

Toxins & autoimmunity 

Toxic injury happens when you're exposed to a chemical or toxin in doses that are high enough to make you sick, or when you're exposed to the same toxic repeatedly, over time, leading to a compounded effect.
Over 300 million people worldwide suffer from an autoimmune disease.
Functional medicine teaches that immune imbalance, while often resulting from a genetic disposition, will generally arise in the context of one or more of the following:
1) high consumption of pro-inflammatory foods
2) food allergies and intolerances
3) microbial infections
4) hormonal imbalances
5) nutritional insufficiencies
6) toxic exposure

Understanding how to limit your daily exposure to chemicals coupled with the knowledge of your genetic ability to detox and regulate inflammation goes a long way in protecting and preventing autoimmune diseases.

Measuring toxic levels 

You live in an amazing time, where you can test and measure your toxic levels to take the guesswork out of your exposures.
THE TOXIC NON-METAL PROFILE screens for the presence of 172 different toxic chemicals including organophosphate pesticides, phthalates, benzene, xylene, vinyl chloride, pyrethroid insecticides, acrylamide, perchlorate, diphenyl phosphate, ethylene oxide, acrylonitrile, and more.

This profile also includes Tiglylglycine (TG), a marker for mitochondrial disorders resulting from mutations of mitochondrial DNA.  These mutations can be caused by exposure to toxic chemicals, infections, inflammation, and nutritional deficiencies.



Limiting & removing toxins

I like to look at this as a maths equation - limit what comes in and support what needs to come out! The best place to start is to do an assessment of your immediate environment. Start by reading the labels on the products that you use in your home, garden, bathroom, skin, hair and face. Products that contain chemical ingredients can easily be replaced with non-toxic, chemical free versions. If you are looking for ideas and "swap outs", visit our ENVIRONMENT shop. 

There are many nutrient cofactors that support enzymatic actions that assist in neutralising and removing toxins safely and effectively out of your liver and cells. Adding these in daily will help you to better manage your toxic burden. You can take a look in our integrated DETOX SHOP to learn more. 

When I think about  toxins, inflammation and immunity, it makes me think of one of my favourite quotes about prevention: 

"The greatest medicine of all is to teach people not to need it".


Marguerite Doig-Gander

BA (Speech, Hearing & Lang Therapy) Hons | FMCHC | ReCODE Coach | Men's Health |  Harvard Medical School Fundamentals in Genetics | Immunology (candidate)

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published