Worry About Toxins Not Germs

Let’s think about this for a minute. What are toxins? What are germs?

How do these two very different things dramatically affect our health?

Why must we be more concerned with toxins (toxic chemicals) than germs?

https://pixabay.com/en/biohazard-sign-symbol-toxic-24049/

Toxins: an antigenic poison or venom of plant or animal origin, especially one produced by or derived from microorganisms and causing disease when present at low concentration in the body. (Dictionary.com)

The term was first used by organic chemist Ludwig Brieger (1849–1919)

Toxins can be small molecules, peptides, or proteins that cause dis-ease on contact with or absorption by body tissues and interacting with biological macromolecules such as enzymes, hormones, or cellular receptors. Toxins vary greatly in their toxicity, ranging from usually minor (such as a bee sting) to almost immediately deadly (such as botulinum toxin).

When used non-technically, the term “toxin” is often applied to any toxic substance. Toxic substances not directly of biological origin are also termed poisons and many non-technical and lifestyle journalists follow this usage to refer to toxic substances in general.

In alternative medicine, the term “toxin” is typically used to refer to any substance alleged to cause ill health or dis-ease. This could range from trace amounts of potentially dangerous pesticides, hormone disrupting plastic byproducts, harmful substances produced in the body by intestinal fermentation (auto-intoxication), and food ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup (HFC), monosodium glutamate (MSG), preservatives, and aspartame.

These are the man-made toxins that I worry most about. Simply because they are not considered toxins. These chemicals are created or derived only with profit in mind, rarely are they studied for long term side effects on humans, nor is anything done if side effects are proven. Simply because it is too costly to change.

What is the cost to you?

Toxic agents (toxins) have been proven to compromise immune system function (immunosuppression).

“The study of human immunodeficiency disease syndromes reveals a clear association between the suppression or absence of an immunologic function and an increased incidence of infectious or neoplastic disease.”  [National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on Immunotoxicology. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1992.]

When the immune system is compromised or ineffective the germs are free to invade and prosper.

Germs – Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi and Protozoa

Bacteria: defined as one celled animal that receives its nutrients from its environment. This environment can be any body, human or animal. Bacteria can reproduce outside of or within the body as they cause infections. Some infections that bacteria can cause include ear infections, sore throats (tonsillitis or strep throat), cavities, and pneumonia.

Some bacteria are good for our bodies — we need them because they help keep things in balance. Good bacteria live in our intestines and help us use the nutrients in the food we eat and make waste from what’s left over. These germs are essential to our survival.

Viruses: must be inside a living cell to live, grow, and reproduce. They cannot live long outside of plant, animal, or human cells. The body the virus lives in is called its host. Viruses like streptococcus cause strep throat, while others like the varicella-zoster virus causes chicken pox.

Fungi: multicellular, plant-like organisms that love warm, damp places and get their food from the organism they are living on.  Most fungi are not harmful in healthy people. Some examples include tinea pedis or athlete’s foot and candida albicans or common yeast.

Protozoa: a one celled animal that love moisture and spread disease through water. An example would be giardia which causes intestinal distress. You can get this from drinking unfiltered or untreated river, lake, or well water.

At any moment in your day you ARE under attack by any one of the above invaders. No one is safe, no matter how much you wash and sanitize. You cannot see any of them and yet there are billions outside and within you right now. Just accept it!

These are all a part of the natural balance of nature and our immune system has evolved for this specific reason. Don’t hinder it with toxic chemicals.

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The Human Immune System

The immune system is the body’s defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade body systems and cause disease.

The immune system consists of white blood cells, the thymus, the spleen, lymph nodes, and lymph channels. It provides immunity to the body from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and tumors by producing B lymphocyte and T lymphocyte cells). Also, the immune system helps the body distinguish its own cells and tissues from foreign cells and substances. In this way, it plays a role in fighting cancer, developing autoimmunity, and rejecting transplanted organs.

In other words, our bodies are capable of destroying or engulfing invaders and protecting us from them to an extent when in optimal condition. When the body systems malfunction due to chemical overload or toxin buildup (manmade chemicals) the systems fail, and invaders prevail.

Prevention

  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands with mild soap after using the toilet and before eating.
  • Take care of your teeth. Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Eat right. A healthy, balanced diet can help prevent infections.
  • Be physically active. Staying fit is important to your overall health. Ask your doctor what activities are appropriate for you.
  • Get enough sleep. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time daily and get the same number of hours of sleep every night.
  • Manage stress. Some studies suggest that stress can hamper your immune system. Keep stress in check with massage, meditation, yoga, biofeedback or hobbies. Find what works for you.

As you see toxins in our environment are way more harmful to us than the germs we have evolved with. Take care of your health and remove some toxins today.

References:

  1. https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/germs.html
  2. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/immune.html
  3. https://www.mdpi.com/journal/toxins
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxin
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235670/
  6. https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/truth-about-toxins
  7. https://naturemed.org/how-toxins-cause-disease/
  8. https://www.medicaldaily.com/what-are-toxins-322528
  9. https://experiencelife.com/article/8-hidden-toxins-whats-lurking-in-your-cleaning-products/
  10. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/environmental-toxins-are-seen-as-posing-risks-during-pregnancy/2018/08/03/770fab98-7643-11e8-9780-b1dd6a09b549_story.html
  11. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/primary-immunodeficiency/symptoms-causes/syc-20376905
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2213035/
  13. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/substances/toxorganlisting.asp?sysid=16
  14. https://www.iol.co.za/news/toxins-that-can-weaken-immune-system-2011464
  15. http://jem.rupress.org/content/jem/201/3/321.full.pdf
  16. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18053/9-tips-to-reduce-toxins-support-your-immune-system.html