We live in a very toxic world. From the air we breath to the water and food we ingest our bodies are exposed to a tremendous amount of toxic substances on a daily basis. For most people with healthy systems of detoxification these burdens prove manageable. For others the toxic load overflows, the body no longer can bare the volume of toxic onslaught and symptoms emerge.
The following chart was one I modified from a lecture slide of Dr Christopher Shades of QuickSilver Scientific, an excellent research and products company focused on proper detox and elimination strategies for the body.
Through the chart we can see how high toxic levels decrease levels of glutathione which in turn drive a TH-2 dominant immune response. This further drives chronic inflammation, allergies, autoimmunity and lowered ability to fight infections. Increased inflammation leads to more depletion of glutathione and vascular permeability which drives "leaky gut" and "leaky brain". The cycle repeats itself as increased inflammation and lowered glutathione levels drive even greater toxicity.
The yellow arrows in the chart represent points along the cycle where interventions can be taken. The allopathic approach seeks primary to stop symptom manifestation. The naturopathic approach seeks to address the underlying cause which is predominantly the high toxic burden.
Limiting toxic exposures by drinking filtered water, eating organic foods and using organic products is a good first step. Working on detoxifying and supporting the organs of elimination (liver, kidney, lymph, skin, lungs and gut) is best done with the help of a skilled naturopathic/ functional medicine physician.