In today’s world we are exposed to a growing number of chemicals from the air we breathe to the food we eat, the water we drink and the personal care products we use. Our bodies are bombarded with a plethora of chemicals, pollutants and heavy metals on a daily basis.
This begs the question how do these toxins affect our health, especially that of our cardiovascular system, and what can we do to minimize exposure to them?
According to a (1) report published in the British Medical Journal the more pollution in the air the more cardiovascular events occurred. In fact, a major Harvard study conducted in 2017 found that air pollution kills thousands of people in the United States each year, even at pollution levels currently allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
However, air pollution is not the only cause for concern as Cardiologist Jack Wolfosn explains in his book The Paleo Cardiologist
“There is also evidence pesticide exposure causes respiratory problems, particularly asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematous and rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and ageing. At the most basic level, pesticides as well as other chemicals, affect the way cells function. They cause genetic damage and interfere with hormones, and damage the energy production of the mitochondria”
When we ingest or breathe in chemicals that result in damaged genes, our bodies become a sitting target for disease to creep in. This is highlighted by recent research (3) conducted on Hispanic and Latino workers who had been exposed to pesticides which found they were twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease ( CVD) than those who hadn’t been exposed.
Cardiologist Dr. Michael Galchi explains why CVD is more likely to occur in people exposed to pesticides, “pesticides cause the body to develop inflammation and oxidative stress, which are known to be risk factors for CVD”.
These risk factors can also be caused by toxins such as heavy metals. In a study titled “Environmental toxic metal contaminants and risk of cardiovascular disease: systematic review and meta-analysis”(2) researcher, Rajiv Chowdhury found exposure to arsenic, lead, cadmium, and copper is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.
Another reason heavy metals may increase the risk for CVD is that studies suggest that certain metals can elevate blood pressure as well as prevent your body from absorbing certain nutrients as efficiently. Both lead and arsenic are believed to interfere with nitric oxide which plays a crucial role in blood vessel dilation. When this is depleted or the body is unable to use it, maintaining a healthy blood pressure becomes challenging.
A healthy blood pressure, along with key factors such as; reducing oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, are essential for a robust cardiovascular. One of the ways to improve both our overall health and that of our cardiovascular system is to avoid toxin exposure.
So what are some of the best ways to do this:
Firstly assess all areas of your home for possible toxins, some of the top culprits are:
Assess toxins you may be ingesting from foods and packaging:
Assess other toxin exposure:
As the saying goes “The preservation of health is easier than the cure of a disease” so minimising your exposure to toxins will certainly help to keep you healthy.
However if you believe you have heavy metal poisoning or have had excessive exposure to pesticides, or chemicals you may want to consult a detoxification specialist who can assist you in the best ways to remove these toxins from your body.