Providence in a Bottle
First I was oblivious. Then ambiguous. Even when diagnosed with toxic metal poisoning, I didn’t really understand. A process that began slowly a few years ago kicked into high gear recently, and I want to fill you in. Because what I’m discovering affects all of us. And, after last week’s blog about narcissists, can we just talk about something we can actually change for a minute?!
After leaving the church, one of the things I did was develop curriculum for an online graduate school. One of my last assignments involved researching the cellular effects of pollution, and what I discovered radically shifted my perspective. Turns out, pollution’s as pervasive as narcissism these days.
After getting reacquainted with terms like “mitosis” and “meiosis” (because high school biology happened many moons ago, y’all!), I started digging into the academic research. Scientists all over the world are studying environmental toxins, but few of their findings make it into the news.
It can be summarized simply: toxins are everywhere and if you eat, drink, or breathe, your body deals with them on a daily basis. Fortunately, we’re hard-wired for resilience with some pretty impressive detox mechanisms. Unfortunately, there’s a limit to what a body can handle when swamped with the tsunami of chemicals in the air, water, soil, and food supply.
As I understand it, cells are programmed to make genetically perfect reproductions of themselves. And they do it beautifully, like an intricate dance or a complex symphony, to the tune of billions of times a day. When something goes wrong and there’s a stumble or a wrong note, most of the time, the body can fix it. If not, there’s a built-in mechanism that prompts the cell to implode for the sake of the greater good. Amazing, right?!
The dance depends on the ability of the cells to communicate with each other and internally. Remember the high school bio labs where we learned the stages of cellular replication like anaphase, telophase, and metaphase? Yeah … that was a “biology for dummies” version of the process. What happens in each individual cell is a whole lot more like rush hour in downtown Shanghai.
On any given day, 50-70 BILLION cells are replicating to replace the ones that die. It takes a crazy amount of detail, and our bodies do it on auto-pilot! But guess what pollution does at the cellular level? It compromises the communication between and inside our cells. And just like a communication breakdown can quickly derail a relationship, it doesn’t take much to jeopardize the dance of the DNA.
Cellular self-sacrifice happens most of the time when something goes amuck. But when it doesn’t, sometimes the cells float around taking up space and not replicating at all. Other times, cells with broken DNA start to duplicate the broken patterns. That’s never good.
The more I dug into the research, the more this humanities girl started geeking out over science! One concept kept sticking out like a marketing jingle: oxidation.
Oxidation is a normal process, a byproduct of healthy metabolism. Ever watched a banana ripen and then turn brown? That’s oxidation, and it happens inside us all the time. An antioxidant is something that slows it down. The body produces antioxidants, and they’re also found in nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables.
In a perfect world, oxidants and antioxidants would be about equal. But, this isn’t a perfect world, and guess what increases oxidation? You guessed it: pollution!
When I first saw the results of my tests, I’m sure I burst some brain cells! How did mercury, lead, and arsenic end up in my body? The truth is toxic metals are all around us, and toxicity is one frightening example of the compound effect. For most, it’s not one exposure to nuclear fallout, it’s a thousand tiny exposures that accumulate over time.
Here’s the problem with pollution: we all have a tipping point. A point at which the oxidants overwhelm the antioxidants. Once compromised, it’s hard for the body to recover without help. And sadly, as in my case, there was a genetic complication that added another layer of complexity. Turns out, the detox mechanisms in my body don’t work as efficiently as they should. And, stress makes everything worse … but that’s a story for another time!
So what do we do? The petrochemical industry in the U.S. alone produces billions of chemicals every year. Some of them (like byproducts of mercury, for example) go directly into consumer products, everything from cosmetics to pacifiers and the lining of almost every tin can anywhere. Others get released into the environment as byproducts where they migrate through our air, soil, water, and food supply.
Just about the time I wanted to throw up my hands and melt down, I came across an article that sparked hope. It was conducted by a group of Chinese researchers and published in 2016 in the Journal of Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine. These researchers used constituents from a plant called Lycium bararum to combat the effects of mercury exposure. And the results were dramatic!
Don’t recognize the botanical name? I didn’t either. So I Googled it, and it’s more commonly known as the wolfberry. The plants in this experiment came from the NingXia province of China. For those in the Young Living community, we know it as the NingXia wolfberry, one of the key ingredients in the antioxidant drink NingXia Red.
When I realized that was the plant being studied, I almost burst into tears. You see, I’ve been drinking NingXia Red for years now, but I’d never realized what a powerhouse we had in our home. And, I never dreamed that the juice I was kicking back an ounce or two at a time was one of the best things I could do to support my systems as they target the toxic chemicals and usher them out of my body. It’s been cleaning house from the inside out, one cell at a time. I call it “providence in a bottle.”
Click here for more on NingXia Red and how you can join me in using it to support optimal wellness. And, here for more on how it fits within a holistic plan for fueling your wellness goals. For more on the effects of environmental pollutants, try searching for something like “effects of mercury on the human body” and pubmed.gov alone will serve up reading options for days. The Environmental Working Group website is another goldmine of information and options for living cleaner in a toxic world.