Throughout the last century, advances in industrialization, manufacturing, and technology have resulted in ever-increasing amounts of toxic elements being released into the environment. From air pollution, tooth fillings, skin creams, and paint dyes, to batteries, seafood, vegetables, tap water, and dietary supplements, toxic exposure now commonly occurs through a multitude of diverse vectors. Most of these elements remain in the environment long after the original exposure source is gone.
Over a lifetime, these toxic elements may accumulate inside the human body in tissue such as fat and bone, being broken down and eliminated very slowly. Eventually, this increasing toxic burden can trigger a variety of physical and cognitive disorders, including depression, anxiety, memory loss, and fatigue. Even at relatively low levels, toxic elements have the destructive capability to damage nerves and tissue. Strong clinical evidence points to their potential role in early neurodevelopment disorders, such as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, as well as in neurodegenerative conditions of aging such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Heart disease, impaired kidney function, respiratory illness, weakened immune function, gastrointestinal dysfunction, and increased cancer risk have also been linked to chronic toxic element exposure.
The Total Toxic Element Exposure Profile assesses levels of 20 potentially damaging elements using a urine sample. A substantial body of scientific literature supports urine analysis as an accurate, reliable gauge of toxic exposure. Should levels be elevated, a variety of clinical and lifestyle interventions can be implemented to reduce toxic burden; follow-up urine testing provides a good indication of long-term treatment effectiveness (after 3-4 months).
Although everyone is potentially exposed to toxic elements, this comprehensive profile is particularly relevant for individuals employed in high-risk occupations, including welding, metalworking, mining, battery production, aerospace work, optical fiber and lighting manufacturing, and various other high technology and metal manufacturing industries. Because of their unique physiologies, children and other adults (especially post-menopausal women) are also much more vulnerable to the negative health effects of toxic element exposure.
In the discipline of environmental medicine, it is important to understand that not only the specific allergens (substances that cause allergic reactions) and toxins need to be identified and treated, but also the underlying genetic and nutritional factors, since exposure to toxic substances often predisposes one to develop sensitivities to foods, chemicals, airborne allergens, and other materials. The importance of a thorough environmental and nutritional-oriented history is stressed in order to uncover possible contributing factors to illness. The following is a list of the factors that may contribute to an individual’s susceptibility:
- Heredity/Genetics: Sensitivity to dietary and environmental agents appears to be linked to one's heredity. It is recognized that a genetic predisposition to the development of allergies can be passed down through successive generations of a person's bloodline. The number of family members in that chain who experienced severe allergies appears to increase the likelihood of their descendants experiencing allergies as well and at an earlier age.
- Poor Nutrition: A major cause of chemical sensitivity is poor or inadequate nutrition. A diet of refined, processed foods deficient in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and other vital nutrients can severely impair the body's ability to function efficiently due to the increased levels of toxins such foods contain. Their ingestion can also result in an increase of free radicals (highly reactive destructive molecules), which can further predispose a person to allergic reactions.
- Infections: Sensitivities to allergens can also be developed following severe infection, whether viral, bacterial, parasitic, or fungal (candida). Candidiasis or parasites can cause chronic inflammation or irritation of the lining of the intestinal tract. This inflammation can lead to “leaky gut syndrome” in which bacteria, bacterial toxins, and partially digested foods are able to travel from the intestine into the bloodstream, causing an allergic or immune reaction.
- Chemical Exposure: Current research has shown that due to their toxic effect on the body, exposure to pesticides, herbicides, petrochemicals, and other chemicals in the food and water supply, as well as in indoor and outdoor air, can lead to the development of allergic reactions.
- Stress: Increased emotional or physical stress can also contribute to allergies in ways that are often both subtle and overlooked. Other factors that can lead to allergies or sensitivity reactions include:
- Frequent use of antibiotics, steroids, and other medications
- Hormonal changes due to the menstrual cycle, aging, or surgery
- Glandular disorders such as low thyroid function, thyroiditis, and adrenal insufficiency
- Physical trauma such as accidents or surgery
- Electromagnetic disturbances of the environment
- Geopathic factors (harmful radiation from the earth)
- Dental amalgam fillings that contain large amounts of mercury and other dental involvements, such as infections under the teeth.
Dr. Bronner works to help uncover the underlying toxicities so that a comprehensive plan can be developed to eliminate and cleanse the body. This plan is individualized for each patient.