According to Ayurveda, toxin overload or “Ama” in our body is the primary disease causing factor! In fact, a detailed look into disease development process reveals that toxin buildup in the body is the main culprit behind stubborn weight, food cravings, fatigue, mood swings, digestive issues, and even problems in sleeping.
In modern times, we come across multiple foreign materials or “external toxins” that enter our bodies through the food chain or through a highly polluted environment.
On top of this, if our body’s digestive system is compromised, then our ability to absorb nutrients from food is also reduced. This leads to “toxin overload” in our body.
Toxin buildup can result in several short terms and long term health issues in the body. If toxins are not flushed out of the body on a regular basis, toxic build-up can be chronic.
Toxin buildup also starts to block our body’s natural detoxification pathways. This triggers a vicious cycle of toxin overload leading to more toxins and hence development of disease.
In this post we will look into the signs and symptoms of toxic buildup in the body. We will also go through Ayurvedic guidelines to detoxification and how to support your body flush these toxins out.
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What are Toxins?
In Ayurveda, toxins are referred to as “Ama”. Toxins are the foreign materials or waste that our body is not able to assimilate. That’s why it needs to flush them out.
Toxins in our body can create confusion at the cellular level. They lead to inflammation, hormonal imbalances, poor immunity, weight gain, and nutritional deficiencies.
Toxin overload clog our body channels. They slow down the intelligent functioning of our body’s systems.
They can either accumulate internally as metabolic waste or externally as chemicals, pesticides, bacteria, and other harmful substances. There are three types of toxins in the human body:
- Endotoxins or Ama, which are formed in the body and
- Exotoxins, which enter through the environment.
- Emotional Toxins that are generated due to emotional disturbances such as anxiety, fear, stress, anger and depression
Chronic toxin overload in the body creates the vicious toxin “Amavisha”. It impairs the functioning of our immune system, digestive system, nervous system, and respiratory system.
Hence, it is essential to follow a routine cleanse process through your diet or by including specific measures such as “panchakarma” or Ayurvedic detox to assist your body.
Prolonged exposure to toxins impacts the health adversely and increases the chances of diseases like liver cirrhosis, cardiotoxicity and renal failure.Medhya Herbals
What Causes Toxin Overload in the Body?
When your digestive system is not functioning well, toxins can pile up in your body even when you are eating healthy.
This is simply because of the poor digestion, your body is not able to properly utilise the food that you just took in. So, instead of nourishment, the good food ends up accumulating in the digestive tract as waste.
Some other factors that lead to build up of toxins are:
- the environmental pollutants
- chemicals present in our food
- personal care products
- household products.
- our modern yet ultra stressful lifestyle.
And unfortunately, we are not able to avoid these completely.
Now, these toxins take shelter in the fatty tissues of our body. They hold on to fatty tissues, making it difficult to lose body fat and weight.
And they also slow down our metabolism, thus further hampering our digestion, and leading to toxic buildup in the body.
Natural Detoxification Processes in our Body
Detoxification is an inherent capability of our body. It is an essential body function that takes place 24 hours a day and 365 days a week!
The human body has several organs such as Liver, Lungs, Skin, and Kidney to safely expel the waste/toxins. They are an integral part of our body’s natural cleansing system.
Healthy cleansing organs strengthen the functioning of our body’s immune system and vice-versa.
- The liver is the human body’s primary organ of detoxification. The liver metabolizes toxins and expels it through the stool.
- The kidneys remove the toxins through urine.
- The skin flushes out through sweat.
- Similarly, lungs expel toxins through our respiratory system.
Toxin Overload Damages Lungs, Liver and Kidneys
Toxins in body can severely damage the three primary cleansing organs of the body: Lungs, Liver and Kidneys.
Not only toxins disrupts the normal body processes but they also lead to multiple peripheral diseases and chronic inflammation.
Toxin Build Up in the Lungs
Lungs are one of the most exposed organs (apart from skin) to the toxins present in the environment. This is primarily because the air we inhale is not pure.
While the indoor air contains harmful microbes and dust; outdoor air consists of undesired chemicals and pollutants.
Toxins enter the lungs and get deposited there in primarily three ways – Impaction, Sedimentation and Diffusion. The three major diseases caused due to toxin build up in lungs are Bronchitis, Asthma and Emphysema.
How lungs fail to remove the toxins in body?
The toxins in body travel in the respiratory tract, get absorbed, and settle down in the alveolar sacs. This damages the functioning of lungs.
Though the lungs have their natural mechanism to remove the toxins, certain substances can stay diffused inside the lungs. For example, harmful gases can dissolve and form fluid deposition inside the epithelial lining.
Toxin build up in the Liver
Liver is yet another key body organ for blood filtration and hence toxin removal. It receives majority of the impure blood from the lower regions of the body, including the kidneys, the gastrointestinal tract, and the spleen.
It is the principal organ in the body that works to transform various chemicals. Despite that, even the liver is vulnerable to tissue damage and injury due to the effects of the toxins present in chemicals.
More so, when liver comes across excessive toxins than it can normally filter, it would let the excess stay put till it can clean it out. This excessive toxin load would in turn deposit in the fat cells in liver.
Should one be exposed to excessive toxins on a regular basis, there can be a huge backlog for liver and hence a very high density of toxins and fat cells build up in the system leading to diseases like Fatty Liver Disease FLD.
How does liver fail to remove toxins in body?
When the activity of the cytochrome P-450 in the liver is inhibited, it may result in the accumulation of toxic substances in our body.
Toxic chemicals can result in the absence of additional enzymes in the liver, thus damaging its functioning.
Toxin build up in Kidneys
The primary function of kidneys is to regulate the consistency and volume of bloodstream in the body by filtration. Kidneys constitute only 0.4% of the body mass but process (filter) as much as 25 per cent of the volume of our body’s entire blood.
As a result, they are additionally exposed to the toxins and chemicals transported in the bloodstream. Post filtration, about 99% of the blood filtrate gets reabsorbed and only 1% is discharged as urine.
How kidneys fail to remove toxins in body?
Due to the toxin overload, kidneys processes get hampered and it fails to follow its natural way of filtering out the harmful substances.
The minute particles get deposited in certain tubules of the kidneys and the lumen, the internal lining of the kidney and are not cleansed out from the body.
Do I need a Detox? Warning Signs of Toxin Overload in the Body
When our body is constantly exposed to high amounts of toxic wastes, it poorly affects the ability of our body’s detoxification system.
This can partially or fully damage our cleansing organs such as the liver, kidneys, and skin. As a result, toxic waste starts to buildup.
Toxins get deposited into various parts of our body such as blood, skin, and liver. Certain symptoms of toxin build up in the body include:
1. Weight Gain and Hard to Lose Weight
Toxins can deposit in the fat tissues, which is their primary home, hence leading to excessive weight gain and obesity. Accumulated toxins disrupt biochemical mechanisms of metabolism making weight loss an almost impossible task.
This explains the struggle which people face to reduce weight, no matter how much they exercise or reduce their food intake.
2. Skin Problems
Our skin expels toxins from the body through perspiration. However, certain toxins get blocked in the pores while expulsion.
This leads to several skin symptoms such as rashes on the body, itching, acne, eczema, psoriasis, skin discoloration, boils, and abscesses.
3. Excess Mucus
Breathlessness, cough, throat pain, nasal discharge, pain in the chest, blood in sputum are prominent symptoms from toxin build-up in lungs and respiratory organs.
4. Brain Fog and Nervous System Problems
Several toxins have a destructive effect on the nerves. Neurotoxins can damage the central nervous system.
This can lead to symptoms such as brain fog, dizziness, lack of focus and mood swings.
5. Digestive System Problems
Toxin overload can destroy our gut microbiome. Toxins can penetrate the gut lining, leading to more unwanted materials in our circulatory system.
6. Hormone Imbalance and Endocrine System Problems
Certain synthetic items contain chemicals that disturb the normal functioning of our hormones. That’s why they are termed as endocrine disturbing chemicals. Their action is similar to estrogen produced in the body.
The chemicals can hamper the proper functioning of estrogen in women. They produce conditions such as pcos, endometriosis, and hormone imbalance in women. And in men, they often lead to poor quality sperms and low sperm count.
7. Poor Circulation and Water Retention
Toxins block the body channels, capillaries, veins, and arteries that carry vital nutrients and fluids throughout our bodies.
They can also get deposited in various organ tissues. Toxins overload the organs such as the liver, lungs, kidneys and hamper their functions.
You have trouble sleeping, staying asleep, or difficulty in waking up. You may feel tired even after sufficient hours of sleep.
9. Poor Immune Response from Chronic Toxin Overload
Toxin buildup in the body affects the normal functioning of the immune system. Excess “Ama” interferes with immune cell action and communication.
Toxins or “Amavisha” also triggers high level inflammation in the body. This is often the starting point of autoimmune disorders.
10. Food Cravings
When your body is not getting the nutrients from the food that you are taking in, you start experiencing food cravings. These cravings are a way of your body’s communication to let you know about nutritional deficiencies that it is experiencing.
Since you feel lethargic, your body starts to point towards high energy foods to give it the right nourishment. However, when food comes in wrong form, it again builds up more toxins.
11. Muscular and Joint Pains
Chronic toxin buildup in the body often results in poor metabolism and nutritional deficiencies. This leads to a state of low energy levels, crumminess, and body aches that often come and go.
Since, the body is not getting right nutrients, it lacks its usual tone. Muscles and bones (in extreme cases of osteoporosis) may start paining due to low mineral levels.
Ayurvedic Guidelines to Prevent Toxin Overload Symptoms
Regular detoxification is essential to cleanse the body of metabolic wastes and environmental pollutants that build-up over time. Cleansing is one of the important pillars of the Ayurvedic medicine system.
Knowing how to support your body’s natural detoxification systems can lead to weight loss naturally and also prevent many health issues. An Ayurvedic detox emphasizes on safe elimination of existing toxins and also supporting body’s cleansing pathways.
In an Ayurvedic detox diet, you won’t need to drink litres of water in order to flush out the system, nor will the prescription be for a steady intake of raw fruit and vegetables, salads and bland meals.
Ayurvedic detox emphasizes on three points to cleanse and maintain health:
- stimulating body’s natural detoxification processes so that waste is removed efficiently and effectively
- firing up the digestive system so that food is fully broken down and its energy used in the proper ways
- and in supplying the body with the necessary nutrition in order for it to feel full satisfaction.
Diet and Foods to Detox Naturally
Detoxification can also be done on a daily basis with inclusion of antioxidants rich foods, regular intake of Ayurvedic herbs, and by following a healthy lifestyle.
Here are Ayurvedic diet guidelines to flush the excess toxins out and to prevent toxin buildup.
- Consume plenty of warm water each day, at least 8 to 10 glasses.
- Avoid excess of mucus producing foods such as dairy, meats, corn, wheat and soy.
- Increase your fiber intake. Fiber binds the toxins and helps to flush them out. Sufficient fiber also supports our body’s elimination system, therefore improving overall health of all of your organs.
- Eat a diet full of a variety of natural and wholesome foods to supply your body with sufficient nutrients.
- Include probiotics into your diet via fermented or pickled foods.
Healthy Lifestyle Guidelines to Prevent Toxin Buildup
- Regularly practice pranayama or breathing exercises to provide your body with sufficient oxygen – natural revitaliser for your body.
- Regularly exercise and sweat it out. This will naturally cleanse the unhealthy layers of toxins from the organs.
- Enough sleep at night and relaxation of mind reduce the level of Cortisol. Thus, try to have good sleep at night.
- Relax your mind by spending time with your friends and family.
- Practice meditation to build up your body’s stress fighting capabilities.
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