Raw cacao in the pod. A rarely seen side of one of the world's most powerful detoxifiers.
"Detox" has become quite the buzzword over the past few years, which is great, as detoxification is a huge need in our contaminated modern word. On the other hand, whenever a word becomes a buzzword, there is always the danger that it will be dismissed as a fad. A scheme aimed at capturing the disposable income of the gullible, self-obsessed bourgeois.
Don't be seduced by this dismissive thinking, toxins are very real and they are more prevalent and dangerous than they ever have been at any point in history. Toxins are having a measurable negative impact on your energy levels and performance this very moment. Fortunately, our understanding of the types and impacts of these toxins has improved dramatically in the past few years - as has our understanding of how to avoid and combat the effects of these toxins.
Where are toxins coming from?
Where aren't they coming from? It's unfortunate that we've created a techno-economic state that pumps out toxins so readily. The air we breathe, the products we touch and the houses we inhabit are all potential sources of toxins. Occasionally the toxins are chemical leeched or off-gassed by synthetic materials. Less obvious, but even more troubling, our living spaces are prone to mold contamination. Many molds release toxins into their environments to inhibit the growth of competitive molds. The mold-produced toxins are particularly disruptive in the body and have been correlated with a wide spectrum of health issues. Researching common mold "hot-spots" in the home and removing suspect carpet, curtains, etc. can have a huge impact in reducing your exposure to these highly-disruptive toxins.
As I've covered in-depth in articles on this blog, the foods we eat usually present the greatest risk for toxin exposure. Mold-produced toxins from grains such as wheat and corn and oxidized cooking oils are two major sources of dietary toxins that I've addressed in previous articles. Other dietary sources include heavy metals from sea food, pesticides and herbicides from produce, solvent residues from processed foods and plasticizers leeching from packaging.
Of course, the best strategy is avoiding toxin exposure whenever possible. In addition to the two articles linked to in the previous paragraph, Synchro articles on choosing high-quality water and low-toxin alcohols both deal specifically with toxin reduction. Speaking generally, if you follow the dietary tenets outlined in these Synchro Life Design articles, you will have eliminated a huge portion of potential toxin sources from your diet.
Inevitably, despite our best efforts, toxins will still find their way into our bodies. As such, we need intelligent strategies for minimizing their impact in the body.
How toxins impact the body
To understand the specific impacts toxins have in the body, we first need to backtrack a bit and look at how the body's biochemistry functions under ideal conditions. Our cells use a huge variety of highly-complex organic molecules to perform a wide range of functions in the body. These organic molecules include the hormones that the body uses to communicate to cells as well as enzymes that catalyze essential chemical processes throughout the body. Also included here are cell receptors which interact with hormones in all of our cells as well as communicate messages in our nervous system. All of these molecules are highly complex and will only perform their function when they are in perfect condition, exactly the way they were described to be by our DNA.
Toxins disrupt hormones, enzymes and cell receptors in a few ways, rendering them unable to perform their critical functions:
- The most common way toxins damage these molecules is by oxidation. Toxins "steal" electrons from the molecules, damaging them such that they change shape and are rendered useless. The chemicals referred to as "free radicals" fall into this category.
- Toxins can also occasionally be mistaken for nutrients in the body. As you might expect, when the body uses a toxin rather than the proper nutrient to build a molecule, that hormone, enzyme or receptor will not function. Heavy metals often fall into this category.
- The third primary way toxins disrupt metabolic processes is through more specific interaction with and disruption of organic molecules. Some toxins will target and disrupt specific enzymes, hormones and cell receptors in the body. Because of their specificity of action, it is this class of toxins that have the potential to be most detrimental to health. Many mycotoxins fall into this category, which is why avoiding these mold-produces toxins needs to be a top priority.
Put simply, when enzymes, hormones and cell receptors are disrupted, your well-being and performance suffer.
Avoiding toxins will always be the best strategy for minimizing negative effects. Your body does have several means of dealing with toxins, and excreting them is a major one. Making sure you are deeply and fully hydrated naturally aids this process, as does any activity that increases the movement of fluids throughout the body (exercise, massage and sauna come to mind).
Hydration and exercise alone are not enough. To fully protect yourself against the disruptive effects of toxins, you'll have to take more specific measures. I'm going to take the rest of this article to focus on nutritional strategies for aiding your body's natural detoxification processes.
Antioxidants - These compounds are secondary metabolites produced naturally by most living things, and particularly by plants. Antioxidants neutralize the oxidizing effects of toxins by being oxidized themselves, thus preventing the toxin from oxidizing a critical molecule. Eating foods naturally high in antioxidants will do a lot to protect your body against oxidizing toxins.
High-quality raw cacao is the planet's single richest source of antioxidants. On top of that, cacao also functions as a vasodilator, opening up blood flow throughout the body and promoting the clearing of toxins. This is why we've obsessively gone to such lengths to source what we believe to be the planet's highest-quality, most powerful raw cacao for Synchro Genesis. We believe that our heirloom Ecuadorian organic raw cacao (grown in pristine high altitude forests) is absolutely the most powerfully detoxifying food available.
It's important to note that there are many types of antioxidants. Certain types have propensities for neutralizing particular types of toxins. As such, it's important to eat not only quantity of antioxidants, but variety as well. This is why we've included acai (another one of the planet's richest antioxidant sources) in Synchro Genesis. Cacao and acai are come from very different types of plants, and we suspect that the antioxidants in each would be unique and complimentary.
- Spirulina and Chlorella - These two are without question the best dietary sources of chlorophyll, a compound that is excellent for binding to toxins (a process called chelation) and allowing them to be safely excreted from the body before they do damage. Chlorophyll is particularly adept at binding to heavy metals that antioxidants are often ineffective at dealing with. This powerful detoxification ability (complimentary to that of cacao) is why these two marine algaes feature so prominently in Synchro Genesis.
- Vitamin C - This is a vitamin that is somewhat taken for granted, because it is one of the easier ones to acquire from the diet. Yet, supplementation with higher doses of vitamin C can be quite useful in protecting the body against toxins. Vitamin C is an essential component in the synthesis of glutathione, the body's most powerful endogenous antioxidant. Supplementing with 1000-2000mg of Vitamin C daily is the best way to support your body's natural toxin-defense.
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