Demystifying Microplastics, and How to Support Lymphatic System and Detox From Microplastics and Other Harmful Toxins

Recently, buzzwords and phrases like “microplastics” and “full-body detoxification” have been all of the craze in the health and wellness faction—and with good reason.

Studies have been showing that microplastics are creeping into and overloading nearly every person’s bodies at alarming rates. Further, while we understand some of their health impacts, scientists are far from discovering the full scope of their long-term health consequences.

However, experts do agree that microplastics are a toxin in our environment that must be addressed on an individual level. So, what is this troublesome toxin?

What are Microplastics?

Microplastics are tiny plastic particles, typically less than 5 millimeters in size, that originate from the breakdown of larger plastic debris or are intentionally manufactured at small sizes for various purposes. They can be found in a wide range of environments, including oceans, freshwater bodies, soil and even the air we breathe.

“Recent studies have found microplastics in human blood, breastmilk and testicals, with many studies showing them in one hundred percent of the tested subjects,” reported Jason Blair of NTD Tonight.

In our current knowledge, microplastics are harmful primarily due to their ability to absorb and concentrate toxic chemicals such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and heavy metals. 

The particles can enter the body in a variety of ways, ranging from ingesting contaminated seafood or foods wrapped in plastic; drinking from plastic water bottles; inhaling airborne particles; using electronic cigarettes, Juul products and vapes; and absorption through the skin through certain clothing, personal care products and plastic objects.

Essentially, microplastics are everywhere and permeate everybody. Once inside the body, microplastics may accumulate and release harmful chemicals, potentially causing inflammation, oxidative stress and damage to organs. Some studies also suggest that microplastics might interfere with the immune system, disrupt hormone regulation and interfere with other key biological processes.

“The evidence is getting clearer and clearer that the toxic load in our environment is playing a direct impact on us as a society. [We’re] suffering from more physical and mental health issues than we ever have before,” said Tori Hartlin, D.C., M.S.

However, it’s not one single toxin, heavy metal or chemical that will potentially cause a disease process to happen in the body, said Sheilise A. Irby, R.D.N.

“There has to be, usually, some sort of overwhelm,” Irby continued.

She described a metaphorical “toxicity bucket,” which everybody possesses in their bodies. Every single day, as we breathe, eat, drink, groom and move through the world, we add toxins to that bucket.

“In a healthy body, we’re able to empty that bucket at at least the same speed or faster than we are adding toxins in,” she said.

As Irby suggested, the human body can rid itself of toxins like microplastics naturally. However, toxins run rampant in the current environment, overloading bodies faster than they can detoxify.

How Do You Detox From Microplastics and Other Harmful Toxins?

To aid our body’s lymphatic system in emptying that bucket, look to the primary methods by which bodies detoxify: stool, urine and sweat. The pillars of full-body detoxes are always thorough hydration; sweating regularly through exercise and/or sauna use; and caring for digestive and liver health through consumption of lots of fruits and vegetables.

Aside from these traditional and essential steps, the following guide will offer additional pathways to detoxification.

Items that Can Support Your Detox:

  • Astaxanthin, a carotenoid and pigment (natural coloring) typically found in water-dwelling organisms that serves as a powerful antioxidant.
  • Watercress, an aquatic flowering plant and highly nutrient dense vegetable.
  • Green tea
  • Dandelion root and milk thistle, which can be consumed as teas. 
  • Activated charcoal, a binding agent that binds to toxins, particularly heavy metals, in the bloodstream and then flushes them out the body.

Detox Baths:

For those seeking a relaxing detoxification method, a detox bath can be beneficial. Adding Epsom salt to a warm bath helps draw out toxins through the skin while promoting muscle relaxation. Optionally, adding baking soda can aid in neutralizing acids on the skin, enhancing the detoxification process. Essential oils like lavender or rosemary can further enhance relaxation and detoxification effects.

  1. Epsom Salt: Add about 1-2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath. Epsom salt, also known as magnesium sulfate, can help draw out toxins from the body and promote muscle relaxation.
  2. Baking Soda: Optionally, you can add 1-2 cups of baking soda to the bath. Baking soda is alkaline and may help neutralize acids on the skin, as well as assist in detoxification.
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar: You may also add 1-2 cups of apple cider vinegar to the bath.
  4. Essential Oils: A few drops of essential oils like lavender, rosemary, or peppermint can enhance the relaxation and detoxification effects of the bath. 
  5. Duration: Soak in the bath for at least 20-30 minutes to allow your body to absorb the minerals and toxins to be released through sweating.
  6. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water before, during and after the bath to stay hydrated and support the detoxification process.
  7. Skin Brushing: Before getting into the bath, dry brush your skin using a natural bristle brush. This can help stimulate the lymphatic system and improve circulation, aiding in detoxification.

Other Key Tips:

While the aforementioned methods can support the body’s detoxification pathways, it’s essential to reduce exposure to environmental pollutants at their source. Minimizing plastic use, opting for organic foods, and using natural cleaning products can all contribute to reducing environmental pollution and supporting long-term health.

Limit exposure to microplastics by scanning your environment and determining which major sources of plastic you can cut out. For instance, you may decide to cut out plastic water bottles, plastic water filters and plastic tupperware. Or, perhaps you will begin to purchase cotton clothing, rather than nylon and polyester materials.

Remember, the body naturally detoxifies itself every day, but supporting it with these practices can enhance its ability to eliminate harmful substances effectively.

Understanding the impacts of microplastics and adopting effective detoxification practices are crucial steps toward safeguarding both personal health and environmental well-being in a world increasingly challenged by plastic overconsumption.

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