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Is There Toxic Waste In Your Body?

Is There Toxic Waste In Your Body?

YOUR BODY MAY BE a toxic waste dump. Worried? You should be …

We are exposed to 6 million pounds of mercury and the 2.5 billion pounds other toxic chemicals each year.

Eighty thousand toxic chemicals have been released into our environment since the dawn of the industrial revolution, and very few have been tested for their long-term impact on human health. And let me tell you, the results aren’t pretty for those that have been tested …

How can we not be affected by this massive amount of poison?

According to the nonprofit organization Environmental Working Group, the average newborn baby has 287 known toxins in his or her umbilical cord blood.

If a newborn is exposed to that many toxins, imagine how many you have been exposed to in your life…

Do you think this may be why so many of us are sick and fat today?

The simple truth is that we are living in a sea of toxins and it is destroying our bodies and brains.

The two most important things you need to know to cure disease, create health, and lose weight are:

  1. The role of nutrition in health and disease.
  2. The role of toxins and the importance of detoxification in health and disease.

Unfortunately, you probably aren’t going to learn much about them from your doctor. Most physicians today are still hopelessly ignorant in these areas. They were simply never taught about nutrition and detoxification in medical school.

However, there are many things you can do to reduce your toxic exposures and enhance your detoxification. Today I want to share some information your doctor probably won’t focus on in your next visit, even though it is at the very root of your health. I am going to outline a simple 10-step plan you can use to enhance your detoxification.

Problems with detoxification form one root of illness. If you feel lousy, it’s likely you’re toxic.

Enhancing detoxification is the fifth key of the Seven Keys to UltraWellness. If you want to lose weight and get healthy, you need to clean up the toxic waste in your body. Today you will learn how.

The Role of Toxins in Health and Disease

The role of toxins and detoxification in health has been largely ignored by medicine.

Thankfully, scientists and practitioners are starting to recognize its importance in health.

I recently spoke about detoxification at the 13th International Symposium on Functional Medicine. The presentation was called Managing Biotransformation: The Metabolic, Genomic, and Detoxification Balance Points. Leading experts from all over the globe came together to present the data on the role of toxins in health and offer suggestions for how we can detoxify.

If you want all the scientific background on detoxification, I recommend reading the proceedings from that meeting. You will find extensive data on the impact toxins have on our health and how critical detoxification is for long-term wellness.

The reality is that many of you probably have symptoms of chronic toxicity but don’t realize that you’re toxic.

The following is a list of the common symptoms of chronic toxicity. If you suffer from any of the following, detoxifying might be critical for you to get healthy and feel good again:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
  • Sinus congestion
  • Postnasal drip
  • Excessive sinus problems
  • Headaches
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Foul-smelling stools
  • Heartburn
  • Sleep problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Food cravings
  • Water retention
  • Trouble losing weight
  • Rashes
  • Skin problems
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Canker sores
  • Acne
  • Puffy, dark circles under the eyes
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Other menstrual disorders
  • Bad breath

But how do you detoxify? And what does that word even mean? Let’s look a little more closely at what detoxification is.

What are Toxicity and Detoxification?

When you hear the word “detox” you might think drug detox or alcohol detox or wheatgrass enemas. That’s not what I am talking about.

I am referring to the science of how our bodies get rid of waste. If waste builds up, we get sick. And the key is to figure out how to enhance your body’s capacity to detoxify and get rid of waste while minimizing your exposure to toxins.

This is so important, because many diseases of our society are actually related to toxicity. Here are some of the diseases you may suffer from if you are toxic:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s diseaseDementia
  • Autism
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Depression and other mood disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cancer
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Food allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Digestive diseases like Crohn’s disease, ulcers, and colitis
  • Menstrual problems like heavy bleeding, cramps, PMS, menopausal symptoms, mood changes and hot flashes

With so many conditions on that list, it might seem that everyone is toxic.

That may be true to differing degrees …

Problems with detoxification form one of the roots of illness–and signify one of the core systems in the body that must be working well for you to be healthy. If you feel lousy, it’s likely you’re toxic.

It is important to understand why we are toxic and how we can detoxify. I will explain how you can detoxify a little later, but first I want to tell you about where toxins come from and how we are overloaded.

To understand toxicity, you must understand the concept of “total load.”

Total load is the total amount of stressors on your system at any one time–it’s like what happens when a glass fills over with water. It takes a certain amount of water to fill the glass and then, after a certain point, you put more in and it overflows.

When our detoxification system is overwhelmed, it gets overloaded. That’s when we start developing symptoms and getting sick, but it may take years of accumulated stress and toxins to get to that point.

Here are some, but not all, of the factors that can contribute to your total toxic load:

  • Exposure to heavy metals like mercury and lead, petrochemicals, residues, pesticides, and fertilizers.
  • Food allergies, environmental allergies, molds, and toxins from molds.
  • Eating a standard American diet.
  • Mental, emotional, and spiritual toxins — isolation, loneliness, anger, jealousy, and hostility, all of which translate into toxins in our system.
  • Medications can sometimes be toxins. Often we need medications, but the reality is that most of us are overmedicated and use medications to treat problems for which there are better solutions, such as lifestyle and diet.
  • Internal toxins–things like bacteria, fungus, and yeast inside our gut as well as hormonal and metabolic toxins that we need to eliminate.

That’s a lot of toxins for our bodies to manage.

You may wonder: Why aren’t we all sick, given this incredible load of toxins?

The answer is simple.

It is because each of us is genetically and biochemically unique. Some of us are good at getting rid of toxins and waste, and others are not.

I am not. That is why I developed chronic fatigue syndrome.

I became overloaded with mercury and couldn’t get rid of it because I am missing a gene for GSTM1–a critical detoxifying enzyme for mercury. But by learning to support my system and how to detoxify, I was able to cure myself of a seemingly incurable condition.

What I learned is that there are five key steps to optimal detoxification. They are:

  • Identify and Get Rid of Toxins — I listed the primary forms of toxic exposure above. Eliminating them is absolutely essential if you want to rebalance your detox system.
  • Fix Your Gut — Gut imbalances are a key source of toxins for many.
  • Get Moving — This help your blood and lymphatic circulation do its job.
  • Get Your Liver and Detox System Working — If your detoxification system isn’t working properly, this is a serious problem and needs to be addressed. A great place to start is the 10-step approach outlined below.
  • Detox Your Mind, Heart, and Spirit — This is just as important as detoxing your body, and it’s an area few of us ever think about as a source of toxins.

To completely detoxify your body you need to work through each of these steps carefully, and that can take some time. But you can start today by following this simple 10-step plan.

10 Simple Steps to Enhance Detoxification

Proper detoxification is so essential for health that you need to start enhancing your body’s ability to detoxify today. Here is how to do it:

  1. Drink Clean — Drink plenty of clean water, at least eight to ten glasses of filtered water a day.
  2. Eliminate Properly — Keep your bowels moving, at least once or twice a day. And if you can’t get going, then you need some help. This can include taking two tablespoons of ground flax seeds and taking acidophilus and extra magnesium citrate capsules. If you have any chronic diseases or problems, you have to be careful about taking supplements and should work with your doctor.
  3. Eat Clean — You should also eat organic produce and animal products to eliminate the toxins, hormones, and antibiotics in your food.
  4. Eat Detoxifying Food — You should eat 8 to 10 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables a day, particularly family of the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, collards, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi) and the garlic family (garlic and onions), which help increase sulfur in the body and help detoxification.
  5. Minimize Drugs — Avoid stimulants, sedatives, and drugs, such as caffeine and nicotine, and try to reduce alcohol intake.
  6. Get Moving — Exercise five days a week with focus on conditioning your cardiovascular system, strengthening exercises, and stretching exercises.
  7. Avoid the White Menace — This includes white flour and white sugar.
  8. Sweat — Sweat profusely at least three times a week, using a sauna, steam, or a detox bath.
  9. Supplement — Take a high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement.
  10. Relax — Relax deeply every day to get your nervous system in a state of calm, rest, and relaxation.

Simply following these steps will help to correct problems caused by toxicity, maximize your body’s own detoxification capacity, and help you safely eliminate toxins stores in your body.

Depending on your symptoms, genetic predispositions and environmental exposures, you may need different levels of nutrients and types of treatment, but this is an excellent way to get started on detoxification today.

Remember, getting rid of toxins and learning how to optimize your detoxification system is essential for creating lifelong vibrant health.

Now I’d like to hear from you…

Why do you think we live in such a toxic world?

Do you think the government should do more to regulate toxins? If so, what kind of legislation should be put in place to protect us?

Have you suffered from toxic exposures? What were they and how did they make you feel?

Do you have any other suggestions for detoxification?

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below—but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about taking back our health!

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman MD is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

Comments (32)

  • I have many of the symptoms you decribe and then some. I am dealing with unexplaned cronic neutropenia, mouth sores and skin rashes. I feel after reading your articles that these may be associated with metals in my dentures. I have stopped wearing them and have done the three day detox that you and Dr Oz suggested. I feel alot better already. It is difficult to find a Dr to help with the rest of the detoxification as you mentioned. They tend to roll their eyes and disregard this notion, even though non of their tests have identified the cause. I am hoping that continueing on a better diet will eventually make a difference. Thank you so much for what you do to help so many people.

  • I have been on a healthy diet, no junk food, no processed foods, organic and so on and I just couldn’t understand why the weight didn’t release.. then I tuned into detox and this article is wonderful.
    I happened to have a natural detox smoothie. with beet, apple, cucumber, juice of 2 lemons, 1 lime and 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
    I replace one meal a day with this and now the weight is slowly coming off.
    Had heard that these toxins cause a hormone to form in the body that holds onto weight.
    Thank you Dr. Hyman for making a difference in so many people’s lives.

  • Please mention NOT to take omega capsules from CANADA as they are made from the baby seal slaughter. Thank you for caring.

  • Please do NOT take omega capsules from CANADA as they are made from the horrendous baby seal slaughter.Thank you.

  • I have had major toxicity problems all my life caused by faulty amalgams that were inserted in my mouth when I was 14. Ive since had most of them removed and had tremendous amount of improvement.
    I have had great relief from taking a quality Vitamin and Mineral supplement like GNLD who offer a 100% organic product.
    Be careful when choosing a Vitamin and Mineral supplement as they also can be toxic if obtained from a synthetic source which alot do these days.

  • I have struggled with fybro, bi polar, neuropathy and much more. I’m feeling much better on dr humans diet. I ll just say simply that I CANNOT lose weight. I do all the right things but can’t lose. Depressing. Love this diet

  • Hi, I struggle with releasing bowels daily ..this is something that I’ve had problems with for some time now. I tend to feel bloated when I haven’t gone in a while and use colon cleansers to clean my system out, I’m very thankful for the information you’ve presented bcuz I’m definitely going to make some life changes by taking supplements, eating right, and detoxing my body. What’s the best supplement to take?

    • Dear Lakeisha,

      Thank you for your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. You might start with some magnesium citrate as many people tend to be deficient in this powerful mineral. Have you seen this video by Dr. Hyman?

      In good health,
      The Nutrition Team

  • I have a unusual odor coming from me. I can’t explain the smell. It just started about 4 weeks ago. It seems to be coming from somewhere around my vagina or lower area if the body. My diet has not changed. I shower 2 times a day and the odor appears soon after. I’m really scared that something else is going on.

    • Dear Lisa,

      In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.

      If you are interested in working with Dr. Hyman’s virtual nutrition coaching team to receive dietary care related to a potential yeast overgrowth, please see:

      In good health,
      The Nutrition Team

  • Dr Hyman, I have been sick for six months. I believe I have a gut infection in my small intestine. I printed out your article on this and took it to my doctor. I am now following it. I am nervous about the toxins in my body. I feel sick inside, lousy. My eyes burn and vision blurry once in awhile. My joints ache. Mornings are the worst. What else should I doi? Thank you, Robin

    • Thank you for your interest in Dr Hyman’s work. Unfortunately Dr Hyman cannot provide personal medical advice in this forum. For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to: OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.

  • I already get the newsletter. I saw Dr. Oz today and I find it incredible that just now he has found out about pesticides in our food and what they and GMO exposure does to our bodies. I am older, so I have been reading and studying the impact of just this subject for twenty years. I knew everything they were talking about and have for over twenty years! Can the medical association really be that far behind? Yes there are those who want to take you on a long ride to detox, and that will make you poor.

    And if you do not have a lot of money to spend on food, organic is almost untouchable. I do not have any money, and I eat organic, and not a lot of food goes on my plate, but what is there is organic, as far as I know. Let me just say that the chemical companies have not got our back, they have our whole body! Time to read up in books you never hear of. To find these books you just have to be awake, care about your life and that of your family and friends, and make an effort to realize how much better you can feel, health wise by not ingesting poison. Read Michael Pollan, read Seeds of Destruction, read Seeds of Deception, arm yourself with knowledge and don’t say “I don’t know” why I have this or that or my children or grandchildren have this health problem.

    Some of it is genetic, but that being said, where and what caused that genetic problem in the first place. Cancer is more prevalent now that it ever was while I was growing up in the forties. People died of old age or got hit by a train, but with all the new diseases now, and all the new medicines, and all the genetic material being sent our way we die younger. I revel in the news about people who live to be 100, and wonder what they did. I know they did not eat organic. But then, we did not have all the chemicals we have today either. DDT was the big culprit and really no one gave it a second thought, it was killing the pests, us included, but not for a long time.

    I wish I would have known what I know now about health and food and a lot of other things, but I grew up in a smoking generation full of ideas about other things besides health, like work and we never thought of health insurance…our thoughts were about the war, food rationing, our brothers and fathers at war and gone. Wait, we do that now…well these are just some of my thoughts, and I am sure you have as many if not more. I guess the big topic today is terrorist, climate change, health care, and just trying to keep our homes. The government is in there somewhere with a word we just cannot get use to, NO to everything. Final answer.

    J Arianne

  • I was diagnosed with botulinium toxin type A. after a botched botox injection. It has been the worse 9 months of my life! I am getting better and can drive again. But I am still weak and found out I have nerve damage in my eyes and other parts of my body. My question is will the toxin ever leave my system and is there a way to get rid of it.

    Thank you.

  • Hello –

    I’ve been supplementing with magnesium for the past few weeks. I seem to have all the signs of a deficiency…..chronic migraine, muscle spasms and twitching, teeth grinding, heart palpitations….. But at times my head/brain feels a little strange. Is this part of detox or is this a sign of a problem?

    Thanks –

    • I’m no doctor, but those all sound like fatty liver symptoms to me. Make an appointment with your GP to have a liver ultrasound. Best wishes!

  • First, like to suggest adding tachycardia to the list of symptoms. Leading cause of my fatigue do to toxic overload. Second, I see no mention of use of activated charcoal? No matter how careful I am once every week or so I have use it to detox. Otherwise, great article thanks! Wish more doctors would talk about toxic overload.

    • Well said for mentioning tachycardia. I had this terrifying problem start 28 years ago when I first arrived in Australia from UK and would slather myself in sunscreen on the beach. Slowly, over the years, this evil, chemical cocktail (pure zinc is ok) must have accumulated and I could never work out why I would get dreadful tachycardia (220 plus that went for hours) after spending time at the beach.
      Antibiotics, which I took for years on and off for acne, also had their part to play. Eventually, after having a Vega test and being told I was allergic to peanuts (no swelling but a heartbeat of 227 bpm 8 hours after ingestion) I realised that the mycotoxins present in the antibiotics had damaged my liver and phase 2 detox pathway, leading to an inability to breakdown the mycotoxins which are prevalent in peanuts. This explained why I used to get 227 bpm the morning after a Thai curry. Now I find that hydroxybenzoate a preservative in Pure Aloe Vera Gel, also triggers this condition. So do many other chemicals. Many people don’t correlate these things and the doctors used to tell me it was stress!!! I used to say “I’ve just spent 4 hours on the beach, are you kidding?” I hope this info helps somebody. I haven’t had a serious problem with it for years since finding out the triggers. I also find that large doses of vit C can stop an attack from starting if I discover I’ve accidentally ingested peanuts for example BUT do not take it once an attack is in full swing – it only makes it worse.

  • I think there are so many toxins in the world because the rich dummies who think they have to control the of the world population by poisoning every one.creating vaccines that have harmful stuff in them.the list go’s on and on.

  • I have been bothered everyday for about 15 to 16 years from the inside of all the cars I’ve owned. I’m sick everyday its getting old. No wonder cancer rate is so high. What can I do?

  • Coffee enemas; How are glutathione S transferase levels tested and is there any research that prove or disprove their efficacy in stimulating the liver’s production of this?

  • J

    I am very keen to hear about persons living with a slow emptying bowl and am doing research in this area. It is so good to have a place where we can openly talk about it… not being able to empty your bowls daily… or for some weekly without taking something for it.
    Does it affect you mentally, sociably ?And how do you cope?

    I am hopeful to making more doctors aware that this IS a fact so that we can act on eliminating pesticide and chemically treated foods ending up on our shelves…
    Also help you live better lives

  • This is an amazing article.. It worries me though.. I dont even know where to start.. for the last few years I have been a stay at home mom.. But not a very good one I must say.. My day consists of waking up feeling like I have slept at all after 8+ hours.. Its hard for me to even stand up straight.. It kind of reminds me of a hangover every morning.. I feel like I’m sick everyday.. Some days are better and have a little energy but not what people would consider normal.. it’s hard for me to get up and go to the kitchen.. Half the time I lean on the counter with my weight on my arms to help hold myself up.. I’m very irritable all the time and have constant head aches.. I rarely have an appetite.. It seems like my overall health has been deteriorating this last year.. I pretty much lay around all day everyday cause I have no energy.. I don’t think this is normal for a 27 year old.. I dread normal easy daily tasks because its so hard to get my body to do it.. I can tell my immune system isn’t working well cause I’m always catching some bug going around and or have a sinus infection.. And I know my digestive system isn’t healthy either cause I have a bowl movement maybe once a week sometimes longer.. But I never have any digestive pain or bloating that I know of.. The only pain I experience is in my head.. Either a headache or sinus pressure.. And neck is constantly hurting.. But that was due to a car accident I believe.. Could all of these symptoms I am have be from toxins in my body poisoning me.. If so how do I get them out? I need help..

    • Hi Brooke,
      Thank you for your interest In Dr. Hyman’s work. Unfortunately he cannot provide you personalized medical advice in this forum. In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.

      You can also make an appointment to be a patient at Dr.Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA. Please go to:
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • Please can you advise me I have been juicing for the last 4 weeks really changed my diet
    but I have not done any detoxing in way of enemas ect
    I have stomach cramps and blood in my urine is this lousy feeling of no energy because the toxins are stuck ?
    thankyou annie

    • Hello Annie
      Thank you for your interest In Dr. Hyman’s work. Unfortunately he cannot provide you personalized medical advice in this forum. In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff