Environmental pollutants are everywhere in our environment—in what we touch, eat, drink, and breathe. Long-term exposure to even trace amounts of these substances has been linked with a number of undesirable health effects.
Under normal circumstances, our bodies are well equipped to filter out harmful chemicals and pollutants to protect against their effects. Sometimes, however, the volume of exposure can overburden these natural processes and allow some of these substances to accumulate in tissue. Nutrient-deficient diets and heavy consumption of processed foods can create further challenges.
The body’s natural cleansing or filtering process primarily involves the liver, digestive tract, lungs, and kidneys. Unwanted or potentially hazardous compounds that are soluble in water are easily eliminated (e.g., stool, sweat, urine). But fat-soluble compounds require enzymes from the liver to help break them down into neutralized, water-soluble substances for transport to the kidneys or intestines for elimination. Individual detoxification capabilities vary. “Environmental overload” or lack of nutrients to fuel necessary detoxification activities may also prevent harmful, fat-soluble compounds from undergoing this transformation process. Over time, this may influence the way you feel.