[Disclosure: All information provided on this website is general information. The information provided is not intended to substitute professional medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice. All opinions expressed are my own.]
I’m a huge lover of books and continued learning. Even though I’m in school right now studying nutrition and health, I still keep a hefty stack on my nightstand for “just for fun” reading. I’m kicking off a new series on Mind Body Mel with a monthly book club read, where I will share my big takeaways and insights I’ve learned. To start us off I chose The Rain Barrel Effect by Dr. Stephen Cabral, ND which was inspired by my current battle with toxic mold exposure. Read on to learn all about toxins and the body and how you can live a detox friendly lifestyle!
The word “detox” gets thrown around in the media quite frequently in regard to detoxing from an indulgent meal or having a few too many drinks the night before. But have you ever stopped to think about what “detox” really means? (It’s not all green juice and ginger shots if you were wondering). Detoxification is a process the body undergoes to remove toxins from the bloodstream. Toxins are a problem because they interfere with your ability to achieve optimal health.
In The Rain Barrel Effect, Cabral describes your capacity for health and propensity for disease as a rain barrel that fills with toxins and exposures. As the barrel becomes more saturated, your ability to detox these exposures decreases. When the barrel overflows with rain water you start to see symptoms of disease and detoxing you bring the level of the water down.
The water level can significantly increase when something extremely traumatic occurs such as a death in the family, a break up, or exposure to Epstein Barre virus. These are all events that can cause a “rainstorm" and massively fill up your water barrel. This causes a greater chance of seeing symptoms of disease. When you start to observe symptoms it doesn’t necessarily mean you are just now being affected by the disease or exposure but is often a result of a significant period of exposure. When you see symptoms of disease, the body has been out of balance. It has switched from carrying a “toxic load” to “toxic overload” where the body is strained by the toxin load so symptoms manifest and you start to see progression of disease.
The first stage of detoxification in the liver is called Phase I detox. The fat soluble toxins are removed from the blood and converted into a less toxic intermediate metabolite until could be further detoxified and broken down. This requires B vitamins, Vitamin C, D, A, and E. From there, the metabolite proceeds to where the intermediary metabolite is changed into a harmless water soluble molecule that can easily be excreted from the body via your urine, sweat, or stool. This requires sulfur-based nutrients such as NAC, glutathione, glutamine, and glycine. If you are lacking these nutrients you can’t properly detoxify these toxins from the body so they end up being re-circulated back into the blood or stored in tissues, predominately adipose tissue.
Cabral asserts that all disease names are different expressions of the same malfunction in the body. Depending on a person's genetic predisposition the toxic load can lead to different disease manifestations. For example one family might have a predisposition toward heart disease and in another family it might be rheumatoid arthritis. In his clinical experience he has observed three toxic triggers leading to disease.
Genetics help predict how your body will react to different medications, drugs, alcohol, stress, and other toxins.
Environment, both your physical and internal environment.
The Event, the big trigger of massive stress to the body.
While we are exposed to many different toxic exposures, three of the most pressing exposures I find are heavy metals, electrosmog, and personal care products.
Cadmium, lead, aluminum, fluoride, and mercury are all examples of heavy metals found around us. They are in found in pesticides, the plug in air freshener, the furniture, the water, all over the place as a result of increased technology. While these inventions are revolutionary, they come at a cost. For example, mercury is one of the most dangerous heavy metals because it quickly impacts the brain and body when absorbed. Aluminum is associated with neurological disorder such as ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimers and dementia.
Electrosmog or EMFs are emitted from electronic devices such as your phone, tablets, laptops, and other bluetooth devices. These devices are particularly damaging because our bodies are 99.9% energy. EMFs interfere with cell to cell communication by disrupting the electric field in the body. This can lead to symptoms such as mitochondrial dysfunction, microbiome disturbances, brain fog, fatigue and even cancer. Interestingly, people that have silver amalgams, metal IUDs, plates, screws, or joint replacements are especially susceptible to EMFs because they can act as electrical conductor in the body.
Personal care products are especially concerning because on average a woman uses 12 products a day on their skin. This exposes them to 168 chemicals, which can be even more dangerous on the skin than ingesting. When ingesting a toxin there are enzymes and bile to help break down some of the chemicals in the product, but when applied on the skin it can take as little as 26 seconds to be directly absorbed into the bloodstream. This can result in skin rashes, allergies, headaches, mood disturbances, brain fog and fatigue. If you are looking for recommendation on detoxing your beauty routine check out my post HERE with all my favorites.
So yes, you can say you need to detox after a night of drinking wine with your girlfriends and you wouldn’t be wrong. But I believe how the word detox is thrown around is a disservice to the truly amazing process in the body of detoxification. Your liver is your detoxification organ and every six minutes all the blood in your body circulates through it to cleanse the blood. We can’t control our genetics and we can’t control a big catastrophic, traumatic event. But you do have the capability to decrease the amount of toxins you are exposed to and help decrease the rain level in your health barrel. Check out my FREE downloadable guide to 6 Steps to Detoxify Your Life to learn more about becoming empowered in your health.
Biggest Takeaways: Our bodies are insanely resilient in how they are able to detoxify and manage disease. It can take YEARS before we see any symptoms of disease but our bodies have been dealing with and recalibrating systems to manage the exposure. It was a reminder to me that our bodies are always, always on our side.
Overall rating of the book: 4/5 stars, I would have preferred more research descriptions but it is a very easy read if you do not have a science background.
Who I would recommend it for: Anyone who is new to natural/naturopathic medicine and curious about how to live a detoxifying lifestyle. Great read if you are dealing with heavy metals, mold exposure, or autoimmune disease. The book is filled with many practical tips that you can take action on right away.
What do you think of this new series? Any books you’ve loved that I should add to my reading list?