Environmental Toxins

The Five Toxins that Affect the Gut

3d illustration of human digestive system infected by virus and bacteria.

Did you know that there are more bacterial cells within the body than human cells? The human body contains about 40 trillion bacterial cells and 30 trillion human cells¹. Approximately 1,000 of these cells live within the gut microbiome and are made up of various bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. Contrary to what many believe, most of the bacteria in our system is more of a necessity to the way that our body functions rather than something harmful. Every bacteria plays a specific role in the gut microbiome by assisting in metabolizing nutrients, regulating immunity, and providing protection from more pathogens.  However, if the body doesn’t provide enough good bacteria, this allows bad bacteria to thrive and take over, resulting in autoimmune disease, digestive issues, thyroid problems, constipation and diarrhea.

Bad bacteria usually start from inflammation that later spreads throughout the body, however the cause of inflammation can vary. At LifeWorks Wellness Center, many patients don’t even realize that they have inflammation until they receive their test results, which ultimately shows the entire root of their health problem. While most individuals connect inflammation with an external injury, it can also be induced from the toxins that surround our daily environment. With constant exposure to pesticides, chemicals, pollution and bacteria that are in the air, these malevolent substances seep into the body and accumulate over a long period of time. So, now this leaves us with a few questions. What are these toxins? And, how are they affecting our gastrointestinal tracts? Below is a list of toxins that can lead to major disruptions within the gut microbiome.

1. Triclosan

Triclosan is a common added ingredient in multiple daily consumer products (such as kitchenware and toys) and antibacterial substances (like soaps, body washes, toothpaste, and cosmetics.) This toxin can be easily absorbed through the skin and gastrointestinal tract which causes widespread changes to the gut microbes. The alterations of the microbes will impact the way that the gut regulates immunity and cause the digestive system to become more vulnerable to autoimmune disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Studies have also shown that constant exposure to this toxin can cause bacteria to grow resistant to antibiotics and contribute to skin cancer.

2. Heavy Metals

In our environment, exposure to heavy metals is a massive concern. These consist of various earth-made substances such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury that are found in oceans, automobiles, manufacturing plants, industrial sites, machinery and construction areas. Too much exposure to heavy metals can lead to environmental toxicity and reduce the amount of healthy bacteria within the gut. Additionally, it will create a vulnerable gastrointestinal tract and promote inflammation leading to various chronic digestive diseases such as Crohn’s, leaky gut, IBS, gas, hemorrhoids, and GERD.

3. Bisphenol A (BPA)

BPA was created in the 1950s as an industrial chemical to produce resins and plastics. These plastics are normally used as food containers, the material of water bottles or found in other edible consumer goods. Meanwhile, epoxy resins can be used to produce bottle tops, food cans or water supply lines. This chemical can mimic estrogen, and if too much is consumed, it can disrupt the hormonal system while also affecting the gut flora. The National Library of Medicine has also concluded that this chemical plays a significant role in the onset of liver disease².

4. Pesticides

Pesticides are widely used to keep crops protected from bacterial growth so that we can happily enjoy fruits and vegetables without worrying about them decaying over a short span of time. Additionally, they’re also used to kill insects both inside and outside of our homes. While these intentions are meant to be convenient for us, the pesticides have proven to cause some damage to our system, especially within the gut microbiota. Studies have shown that constant digestion of foods containing pesticides have disrupted immunity in the gastrointestinal tract, limited the amount of healthy bacterial cells and altered the fecal microbiota volatolome pattern, which detects imbalances of microbial activity.

5. Pharmaceutical Drugs

A report from Medical News Today revealed that studies have found common drugs such as antibiotics, antidepressants, and many others have “predisposed people to certain types of infection by affecting the balance of their gut microbiome”³. While people use antibiotics to kill bacteria, too much consumption of it can have the opposite effect, as it also kills the healthy bacteria that the gut needs. This will further disrupt the gut microbiome and cause an imbalance of gut bacteria. Other drugs such as birth control, laxatives, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), and metformin (a drug that treats type 2 diabetes) are other common additives that can lead to induced gastrointestinal issues.

Protecting the Gut from Environmental Toxins

At LifeWorks Wellness Center, we help patients with gut issues and environmental toxicity with a comprehensive treatment plan to detox the body of all toxins and bad bacteria. Every detox method may differ from patient-to-patient, however most treatments include intravenous and ozone therapies, special diet plans, supplementation and peptides to induce essential amino acids. People can also take proactive measures at home by steering clear of conventional cleaning products, body care products, processed foods, and conventionally-grown produce to limit the amount of toxins that enter their system.

If you or someone that you know is experiencing symptoms of gastrointestinal infections, environmental toxicity or both, please call to schedule an appointment with us at 727-466-6789.

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Helpful Environmental Toxin Resources

  • Environmental Toxins - our complete page on environmental toxins. Learn how environment toxins can affect your life and how to recover from these.