Now, more than ever before, the world has become infatuated with immunity—the body’s innate ability to protect itself against infectious disease. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the questions of “Who is most likely to get sick?” and “Why?” have been universally and almost obsessively asked. And while we know that the diagnosis of a pre-existing condition such as heart disease, diabetes, and asthma exponentially raise the risk of infection, something else has been waging a silent, unseen, and insidious war against human immunity for decades.
That something is commonly referred to as our toxic body burden—the total accumulation of toxic substances present in our cells, tissues, and organs at any given time. Once it reaches a tipping point, this internal toxic load can trigger a cascade of harmful, immune-suppressing consequences.
From the air we breathe to the food we eat, water we drink, clothing we wear, personal care products we use, and sports we play, we are exposed to dozens (if not hundreds) of toxic substances each and every day of our lives. What are these toxins and how do they enter our bodies? What are the symptoms of toxic overload? How—exactly—does a high toxic body burden contribute to poor immune function? And how can we better navigate our way through an increasingly toxic world?
The answers to these questions are complex for sure.