QUESTION: “I’ve long put off any kind of detox because of a continual steady decline of my overall state in regards to CFS, a very leaky gut from SIBO/dysbiosis, Candida and latent cross viral activation. Immense amounts of brain inflammation/Microglia activation. I’m gridlocked in a cell danger response on about 5 foods; I’m now out of breath and facing whole body fatigue after very little exertion. If I dare try treat Candida and SIBO simultaneously my neuro inflammation is immense. I don’t tolerate most supplements. Worst part – I can only sleep 2-4 hours per night. What can I do to make any progress?”
ANSWER: Forget detox. Forget fixing anything. Forget everything. Aim for reducing your total body burden. Period.
I’ve been in your shoes, exactly and nothing has been more bewildering than all the advice I got about supplements and ways to “fix” my health. Yet nothing worked. I had a paradoxical reaction to almost all supplements.
We try this and try that, drown in all the fancy concepts of functional medicine, annihilate our savings on doctors, tests and well marketed products, try one protocol after another, eliminate most foods from our diet and nothing helps. We stay sick or feel worse. Why?
All that suffering because of one profound mistake – not being aware of the concept of Total Body Burden (TBB) of substances that cause disease. This one is extremely important to understand if you want to get yourself out of this predicament. Yet, it is one of the most overlooked concepts in any medicine! It absolutely blows my mind.
Let me give you some good news – you can absolutely get well and restore your vitality. But you have to unlearn a ton of garbage that was put in our heads by the conventional and alternative medicine, as well as the supplement industry. (Supplements can certainly be of help but when used like a scalper rather than a hammer.) This is a mistake many of us make – we add to total body burden with unsuitable supplements and make the body even more reactive.
It is amazing how my life changed when I started looking at everything through the lens of total body burden. We absolutely underestimate the level of improvement we can achieve by simply shifting our focus from “fixing” organs or function to reducing overall toxin burden.
Who has an easier job a mechanic or a janitor? Our body is not a car and doesn’t need to be fixing. It is already intelligent and knows what to do. We just need to clean things out so it can do its job. Remove debris so that water can flow on its own. So, janitor is what the situation calls for.
WHAT IS TOTAL BODY BURDEN (TBB)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition is this:
“The body burden of a toxic substance is said to be the amount of the substance in the human body and represents the difference between cumulative absorption and excretion of the substance. Measuring body burdens provides a precise individual measurement of exposure to a toxin.”
In simple terms, this is a total amount of unwelcome substance that our body stores at any given time. A good example is alcohol. One drink – tipsy and giggly, ten drinks – passed out on the bar floor. Our bodies have a certain threshold of dealing with toxins before it produces symptoms or disease.
Alcohol has a half-life. It takes a specific amount of time to clear. In the absence of further partying our body will detoxify alcohol within several hours. Meanwhile, if you smoke a cigarette this too will add to TBB. If you breathe car exhaust, wear aluminum deodorant, walk in polluted streets, drink contaminated water this too will add to TBB and need a certain time to clear. Some things like alcohol can clear by the morning and some things like heavy metals can take up to twenty years.
Considering some claims that there are over 200 chemicals in cord blood of new-born and up to 700 chemicals in adult bodies it is safe to say some of us are walking living toxin dumps.
How much can we safely store? It depends on many factors. In holistic medicine this phenomenon is simply called the Rain Barrel Effect or simply Bucket. The fuller the bucket the more sick we’re going to be. Everyone’s bucket size is based on their age, genetics and bio-individuality.
Bottom line: If your body is able to excrete faster than the amount of toxins you absorb every day then you are good. If you are not excreting as fast enough then noxious substances start to accumulate. Slowly and quietly, the body stores away toxins in our organs, fat, vital organs, and bones.
When the rain barrel fills up it doesn’t go unnoticed by our immune and nervous system. We start developing “mysterious” symptoms, get sick more often, put on weight and begin to breakdown over time.
What happens when our bucket fills up?
- Extremely difficult to detox, takes a long time;
- Sleep disturbances or full-blown insomnia; sleep aids do not help;
- Allergies, skin issues, gut issues, food intolerances, chemical sensitivities;
- Chronic fatigue;
- Unable to detox because detox channels are sluggish and overwhelmed;
- Supplements cause paradoxical reactions;
- Slow or never to heal;
- Unable to lose weight;
- Impossible to recover thyroid or adrenals;
- Slew of mysterious symptoms that puzzle the doctors.
Various holistic practitioners report that their clients seem to be more sensitive than before, more layered and more complicated. This could be a sign that the number of interferences and our total body burden is growing bigger with every year.
This you already know: sleep is crucial for detox and rejuvenation. Add chronic insomnia on top of an already full rain barrel and you have a mess of epic proportions.
Now you may be thinking: Look… others smoke, party, eat sushi, have a mouth full of amalgams, munch fast food, falling asleep with cellphones in their hand, breathing mold and fungi all around, why aren’t they sick and I am?
I must admit… At some I was this person too. Happily, night clubbing my youth away in San Francisco, oblivious of the things that I’m exposing my body to. After all, I had no issues, my health was perfect.
But then small things started popping up that seemed random, “normal” health concerns that most people go through. And then more, and more, and then infections, and then surgery. Then I moved back to Lithuania and insomnia started. Few months later all hell broke loose and I totally crashed.
What I wasn’t aware of all that time was that I was adding to my body burden until it maxed out what it could handle without symptoms. It was a classic “straw that broke the camel’s back” scenario. It took me years to figure out I’m dealing with toxins and even more years to understand TBB.
SOURCE OF TOXINS
Toxins and compounds that can add to body burden are all around us and inside of us. This is an inexhaustible list but here are a few:
Inside or Endo: did you know that our body can produce toxins of its own? Amalgam fillings (mercury), hidden inflammation in teeth cavitation, Candida, SIBO, parasites viruses like Lyme and others all produce so called endo-toxins (interior). Inflammation. Stagnant liver, low bile, low stomach acid, food sensitivities can produce the so-called toxic metabolites – these are things that are normally processed and eliminated but instead keeps circling around like ammonia, glutamate, inflammatory byproducts. Stress produced hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Genetic variances and leaky gut issues can makes are more sensitive to various food groups like sulfur, oxalates, lectins, etc.
Home/Office: MOLD, cooking fumes, indoor air from poor ventilation, VOCs (toxic gasses from furniture, paint, carpets, appliances), pet allergens, personal products, flame retardants, cleaning products, poor quality cooking pots, even tap water can be full of toxins.
Food or personal products: heavy metals, glyphosate (Monsanto’s infamous pesticide), fungicides, BPA, phthalates (micro plastics), smoking, parabens, PCBs, alcohol, pharma drugs, processed oils, food additives and preservatives, hormones and antibiotics in meat, this list goes on forever.
Environment: air pollution, allergens, industrial waste, polluted bodies of water, (Baltic Sea, for example where I live, is one of the most polluted seas in the world.)
Most of these toxins have been scientific linked to chronic disease, cancer and insomnia yet they are literally all around us and inside of us.
Each toxin is a bullet that loads the gun. Small or large, more toxic or less toxic, doesn’t matter. One substance by itself may not become an issue but when combined into a cocktail they can compound into very potent disruptive force. The more stressors the body is exposed to the more likely something will work slower or snap.
And here is the biggest bummer: Most of our health conditions are due to high toxic load yet we try to treat the condition itself by simply taking medical drugs to subdue the symptoms. We try to “fix” the organs, treat some textbook disease, write things off to “bad” genes or blame bad luck. Rarely are we able to connect the dots and see the larger picture: that our chronic illness is a set of symptoms produced by an overburdened body.
For instance, when it comes to chronic insomnia most people chase conditions like adrenal fatigue, MCAS, thyroid issues, methylation, hormone imbalances, hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, chemical sensitivities, autoimmunity and so on. Curiously, all of these are hugely related to high body burden and hyper arousal of the immune and nervous system. The body becomes super sensitized and acts like a traumatized person – boom and they are shaken, very reactive.
Now, addressing these fires makes sense only to a certain extent because these dysfunctions are not the root causes of our insomnia but cascading reactions down the chain of events that are adding to even more hyper-arousal and stress to our TBB.
Here is an example of the long but logical cause and effect: one of the ways that heavy metals, enviro toxins, mold, endo-toxins disrupt our immunity is by depleting glutathione reserves. The latter is a master antioxidant produced by our own body and is used for cleaning up the house. Besides detoxing, glutathione levels also regulate our immune system by saying “Hey, don’t attack everything you see, I got this”.
When you are running low on glutathione, perhaps have one or more slow detox genes, toxins start building up, immune system kicks in, activating inflammation, creating more histamine, cortisol and so on. Auto-immunity is often a chain reaction event, not the root cause itself. When the body’s toxic load is reduced the body will naturally start producing more glutathione. This will bring back your body’s innate ability to cleanse. This is where things start looking up exponentially faster.
HOW TO REDUCE TOTAL BODY BURDEN
Most people are confused what to detox and get overwhelmed so why not keep it simple? Focus on reducing overall body burden. That’s it! This made a huge difference for me. When I started to look at everything through this body burden lens my mission became obvious. I questioned all of my supplements and filtered everything out through simple logic: will this ADD to the current body burden or REDUCE it?
There are many things we can do unload our body burden. First, we prevent, then we remove. Always focus on how to remove things rather than “fix” something biochemically.
The theory I have worked out for myself is simple and logical: the more I reduce the burden the better my body is able to heal. The less things are in the body’s way the more likely it will self-repair.
I’ve discovered that things like mercury, candida, parasites must be addressed simultaneously but in a very gentle way and correct order. When attempting to detox these things it is wise to consider whether herxing will add to more to body burden than you are trying to remove. This is why everything has to be done super slow and methodically, which is absolutely the opposite of what everyone is trying to do!
When done right you will start feeling relief within months, not days. But before you know it you have less brain fog, more energy, can tolerate significantly higher doses of chelators like OSR, introduce more vigorous therapies and make huge leaps in your recovery.
Bottom line: Pathogens/toxins + weak endocrine/immune system + gunked up elimination organs = DISEASE. Which one doesn’t matter so much in the initial phase because the protocols will be roughly the same and they will ALL start with reducing toxin burden.
THREE WAYS TO ADDRESS THE BODY BURDEN:
Gentle is where you simply avoid things, bind toxins internally and use very gentle therapies:
- Stop exposure – avoid toxins in food, air, water and environment as much as possible;
- Eliminate allergens (specific to you) and inflammatory foods (soy, gluten, dairy, corn, trans fats, etc.) One of the biggest triggers for mercury toxic people is thiols (sulfur rich foods); made a huge difference for me.
- Use binders (various types to bind different toxins);
- Sweating in infra-red sauna (gentler) or regular;
- Qigong or similar energy work which charges the body with healing energy and encourages it to repair. I am experimenting with Red Light Therapy and so far, finding it to be somewhat beneficial;
- Adrenal cocktails consisting of natural Vitamin C, coconut water for potassium and quality sea salt. This is very nourishing and safe way to prop up adrenals and provide for a source of electrolytes. If not sensitive to herbal formulas – He Shou Wu, Rehmmania Six are gentle adaptogens and also provide for great support;
- Gentle liver herbs (one at a time, not formulas) like roasted dandelion root, milk thistle, artichoke, etc. Spices that promote bile flow;
- Nervous system support – whatever is most suitable for you: prana breathing, gentle walks, gentle yoga. Emotional support, suiting massage, tapping, there’s all sorts of things.
Vigorous are more invasive where you remove physical blockages and improve flow through the pipes:
- Liver Flushes as instructed by Dr. Andreas Moritz;
- Coffee enemas as per Gerson Institute;
- Castor Oil liver packs.
Targeted approach is where you go after a specific toxin and eliminate it from your body’s storage:
- Heavy metals
- Strengthen the host, don’t attack the guests;
- Don’t try to fix anything; work with body’s innate ability to heal;
- Take away things that are in the way of natural intelligence;
- Provide building blocks (nutrients) and low stress conditions;
- Energy work like Qigong or whatever works for you;
- Start detox very slow and then introduce more vigorous ways.
FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS MOST
The message is simple: stop worrying about all sorts of diagnosed or undiagnosed issues. One way to address them all is to reduce the body burden.
If we work with the premise that our body is intelligent new doorways open up.
Human body is programmed to live and adapt so fatigued but toxic people have many functions running on minimal to preserve vital functions. The body is not able to transport toxins out at as fast as it is being intoxicated so we need to reverse these dynamics but do it in the way that is mindful of the body’s current inner terrain. We can’t push anything too much without creating even more distress so we must only open the gates, give it some energy and allow the body to push out whatever needs to be pushed out at its own pace. This is crucially important.
Remember, body doesn’t detox for a reason. It does not detox well when stressed or overwhelmed. Nature cannot be forced. Gentle propping is the way to go.
It can take years to bounce back from a serious chronic illness and insomnia so brace yourself, get educated and chip away at all the layers.
P.S. If any of this resonates and you want to learn more about all the hidden things that interfere with our body’s ability to detox download a FREE report and start making those positive changes today: TOXED OUT: How to Overcome Toxin Induced Chronic Illness and Insomnia.