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Have you been noticing that your clothes are fitting tighter, or that no matter how much dieting or exercise you do, you just can’t seem to get down to your ideal / goal weight?

It is true that as we age, maintaining a healthy weight becomes more difficult, and we are oftentimes told that getting accustomed to a heavier weight is just something that we need to come to terms with as we get older. However, this is not entirely accurate!

Our doctors explain that this slowing of our metabolism is due to changes in our hormones, or a result of poorer quality of sleep, or a byproduct of life’s stressors, or perhaps even because we are not exercising enough or as physical active as we need to be.

That being said, it is in fact true that our muscles do actively begin to atrophy with advancing age, if we do not work at maintaining our muscle mass by engaging in activities like weight lifting or strength-training, which is simply due to the physiological changes that begin to take place as our bodies age.

Although all of these facts may be true to some extent about our bodies, have we ever stopped to think about how toxic our environment is, and as a result, how toxic our bodies might be? The easiest place in our bodies for harmful toxins to be stored is in our fat cells (adipose tissue). This is because our adipose cells have a relatively lower metabolic rate than other tissues in our bodies, such as our liver, heart, and brain.

Generally speaking, unless we are actively stimulating lipolysis (AKA the breakdown of fat cells), then all of the toxins that are stored in these cells, for the most part, tend to stay put. To be clear, toxins can also be deposited and stored in other tissues around the body, as well, such as bone, kidneys, liver, and brain; however, the most common tissue they are found in are fat cells.

It might feel crazy to think that we may have experienced an exposure to some hazardous environmental toxin decades ago; however, due to how these toxins get stored within the tissues of our bodies, they may still in fact be present many years down the line!

What toxins are we being exposed to, and how can they impact the body?

There are a myriad of dietary and environmental toxins found in our foods, water, drinks, cosmetics, personal products, living spaces, work places, cars, gyms, and many other locations, including mold mycotoxins, toxic heavy metals, glyphosate (i.e. Round Up) and other pesticides, BPA, phthalates, microplastics, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, the level of toxins that are allowed in our food and water here in the U.S. is not the same as what other countries allow for the safety of their population of citizens.

Therefore, we need to do the best that we can, given where we live. Luckily, our bodies are incredibly intelligent, and what ends up happening is that these toxins get deposited and stored (i.e. “hidden away”) in the tissues throughout our bodies (e.g. adipose, bone) so that they are not freely circulating throughout our bloodstream wreaking havoc on our tissues and organs.

The reason that we want to minimize the circulating levels of toxins in our bloodstream is because they can lead to oxidative damage by causing free radicals (i.e. reactive oxygen species or ROS), which can enter the cells within our bodies and lead to DNA damage within the nucleus of our cells.

What does this mean, and why do we care?

Oftentimes, we feel tired, sluggish, heavy, have low libido or stamina, and experience hypoglycemia coupled with alternating mood disorders; however, it may not necessarily be that there is something wrong with our “end organs”. If there is in fact a dysfunction at the level of the end organ (e.g. sex organs, adrenal glands, thyroid gland), then this is considered a primary-level dysfunction; however, if the issue is in fact higher up, or at an upstream level (i.e. either at the anterior pituitary (secondary-level dysfunction) or even further upstream at the hypothalamus (tertiary-level dysfunction)), then we need to widen our view to determine what is actually at the root cause of the varying dysfunctions.

If the hypothalamus and/or anterior pituitary are not releasing adequate levels of “releasing hormones” (e.g. thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), adrenocorticotropic hormone

(ACTH), luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)) to stimulate the end organs to effectively release their respective hormones (e.g. T4 & T3 thyroid hormones, cortisol, estrogen / progesterone / testosterone), then we need to treat the dysfunction at its origin.

All of this is to say that oftentimes, high levels of free-circulating toxins within the bloodstream can lead to oxidative damage throughout the body, including straining the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, which can lead to a widespread deficiency of hormones being released from the organs downstream.

How can we stay safe while we detox?

It is for these reasons that we do not want to forcefully push our bodies into a “toxin dump” by rapidly stimulating the process of lipolysis. The more rapidly we turn over or break down our fat cells, the faster the toxins that have been stored in these tissues will be released throughout the bloodstream. This effectively increases the overall level of oxidative burden and strain to the brain, kidneys, liver, heart, and many other essential tissues throughout the body.

We must be mindful of how we stimulate a detoxification in a person’s body because their system may be pushed so far to the edge already, that something like a massive surge of toxins throughout their system could end up being the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Needless to say, please always be mindful when attempting a full-body or even organ-specific detox, and work with your medical provider for assistance in how to safely excrete the toxins that you have stored for potential decades, while sparing your vital organs at the same time.

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