Toxic Burden: Causes and Signs

Toxic Burden: Causes and Signs

There are so many buzz words about health and wellness that it’s hard to keep up with the latest trends. Words like “non-GMO”, “clean eating”, “superfoods”, “macro-nutrients” and truly, we aren’t making this one up….AQUAFABA.   Who knew? It really is a thing! In recent years, you may have also heard the terms  “toxic burden” or “body burden”.

What is toxic burden?

In this article, we will talk further about the “toxic burden” on your body. Quite simply, toxic burden is the amount of toxins within the body. It is made up of chemicals that come from food, water, air and personal care products.

Wait, food and personal care products? 

You probably assumed there are toxins in the air we breathe and the water we drink, but you may not have considered that food and personal care products are also toxic culprits.  Individually, the toxic impact of one of these may not be detrimental, however, when we combine all of these toxic sources together the result is what we call in functional medicine,  “body burden”.

Sources of environmental toxins include: 

  • Agricultural production (pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers).  Commonly occur through ingestion or inhalation of water, foods, and air.
  • Materials used in new construction, carpet chemicals that can off-gas into the air, paint, household cleaners, mixed metals and synthetic materials used in dental products
  • Personal hygiene products applied to face, skin, and hair. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep site is a great resource to help you navigate personal care products.
  • Air pollutants found in industrial exposures, first or second-hand smoke exposure, and auto exhaust.

Other contributing factors of body burden include: 

  • A person’s genetic predisposition to effectively eliminate toxic compounds
  • Proper nutrition and consistent ingestion of helpful detoxification nutrients or phytonutrients. Both can impact your body’s ability to adequately reduce the presence of toxicants and lower the body burden.

The telltale signs of toxic burden

Toxic symptoms may occur when we reach our personal limit of accumulated toxins and are not able to eliminate them quickly or efficiently enough. Symptoms related to toxicity include:

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility
  • Allergies
  • Behavior and mood disorders, neurological conditions such as tremors, headaches, and cognitive difficulties, along with several other diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

You might be experiencing other signs and symptoms of body burden. Some of them are subtle and slow growing over time. Here are some signs that your body may be screaming for a detox.


We can’t control the many environmental strikes against us, but we can control what we ingest by mouth and what we put on our skin. We often think that disease or allergies are out of our control. However, we can empower ourselves with proper nutrition and healthier habits to achieve optimum wellness.  As we explore nutrition and what you can expect from food detox, we hope you will be inspired and motivated to consider a detox program for improved health and wellness.

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