The circulatory, digestive, endocrine, immune, integumentary (hair, skin, nails), lymphatic, muscular, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, skeletal, and urinary systems communicate with each other (picture below). What you experience as a symptom is a diagnostic report from one or more of these systems telling you how well – or how poorly – your organism as a whole is functioning.
Symptoms and feeling ill
When your healthcare practitioner asks, “so what’s wrong?” they’re asking about the state of one or more of these systems. When we talk about our skin breaking out, or nails splitting, or feeling sluggish or uncomfortable, we’re talking about symptoms arising from an ailing system. These cues lead doctors to a diagnosis. It’s how they find the underlying causes of your biological troubles.
In their effort to keep us alive, organs like the lungs, skin, digestive tract, kidneys, and liver also eliminate toxins and irritants from the body. Luckily for us, the body is a pro at keeping itself clean through detoxification. Two great ways to help keep your gears well-oiled is drinking plenty of (but not too much) water and taking a sauna session.
Toxins come in many shapes and sizes, and many more factors dictate how the body responds to each one. In fact, “toxin” is described simply as anything that is either not useful, or harmful to the body. In other words, anything that compromises the integrity of the body is toxic.
By this definition, the most common toxins come from poor diet and poor digestion, where undigested food ferments in the digestive tract, creating an acidic environment in the body. Additionally, medications, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, environmental toxins (air and water pollution, for example), smoke, pesticides, electromagnetic frequencies and radiation from appliances (think microwaves, cell phones, wireless internet) also harm the body.
And those are just from the outside. Negative thoughts and a bad attitude – if they persist long enough – have been shown to cause physiological harm in the form of excessive stress.
How do you know if you’re experiencing toxin overload?
- Do you have persistent brain fog, lack of mental clarity or focus, or migraines?
- Do you have persistent fatigue, muscle aches or pains, a general lack of motivation, or feelings of depression?
- Have you noticed an increase in body odor, foul fecal odor, and pungent or bad breath?
- Are you experiencing skin reactions or acne in a new way?
- Have you recently become sensitive to new chemicals, fragrances, or scents?
- Have you developed any new allergies of any kind?