Unfortunately, the world we live in is becoming increasingly toxic. The air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat, may all be contaminated.
When our body is exposed to a toxin its primary concern is to remove it from the blood and put it in storage sites where it is less likely to cause as much damage eg fat or bones. Hence blood tests are only good for identifying acute exposures and not helpful at all to assess long term contamination. The best way I have found to test for toxic metal contamination is a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) and for environmental chemicals is a urine test called GPL Tox test.
Signs your body may be storing toxins include:
Doesn't it sound like the same symptoms as the menopausal transition? This is why it's important to investigate for toxicity before you start trying to balance hormones. Because if toxicity is the cause of your imbalance you won't get complete or long term results by addressing the hormones without removing the underlying cause - the toxins.
But what makes this particular time of life the most important time to test is due to the increased bone turn over that occurs now. As mentioned above toxins have an affinity to be stored in bones. After we reach peak bone mass at the age of 30 we start losing 1% bone mass a year until we start our menopausal transition, from here it increases to a 2-3% loss per year. This breakdown of bone re-circulates old toxins that were stored there. Next problem is that our liver function reduces at this time too. It reduces at roughly 1% per year starting at peri-menopause. We may be looking at the perfect toxin storm. More toxins coming in from our ever-increasing polluted environment, more being re-circulated from within the body and a reduced ability for the liver to process and remove it.
These toxins then:
So what can do?
The first step is to test and see what your body is storing. I use Interclinicals HTMA for metal testing and Great Plains GPL Tox for environmental chemicals. Both of these are practitioner only tests that need to be ordered through a Naturopath or Functional Doctor.
Once we have your test results back we look for possible sources of contamination as we want to stop adding to your current levels. The next priority is cellular protection. We want to minimise the damage caused by removing the toxins from the body. Anti-oxidant therapy is the way to go here. The final step is to remove the offending substance or substances.