The currently evolved physiology that exists in humans today came about by being exposed to natural compounds that only occur in nature. For the millions of years that led up to our current human physiology, heavy metals like lead, mercury, and aluminum were buried in the ground and never came into contact with any living thing. Also, our human physiology is exposed to countless man-made chemicals that have been combined in unnatural ways, like plastic for example. In the span of about 200-250 years our physiology has been bombarded by so many chemicals that it has become overwhelmed. There is just no place in our physiology for them and that causes issues.
Before you even think that you may not come into contact with many toxic substances, I would like to point out that toxins are found on produce, made naturally by plant produce, and in meat products, tap water, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, vaccines, the air we breathe, cookware, anything plastic, air fresheners, many supplements, water-damaged buildings, new furniture, clothes, sunscreen, and your dental fillings, just to name a few. You really can’t avoid them all but it is important to control the toxins you can and not stress out about the ones you can’t. But how do these exposures lead to heart disease?
These toxins have no place in our physiology and the only thing the body can do with them is to try to get rid of them. Given the large amount of toxins we are exposed to, often our bodies cannot keep up. This leads to an accumulation of toxins in our body. Once inside, they act as what are called “free radicals” and cause what’s called “oxidative stress” (for more about oxidative stress see my YouTube video by clicking here). Toxins that act as free radicals cause damage to tissues in our bodies by stealing electrons from them leaving parts of that tissue unstable.
This happens more often than not in our blood vessels. Since there is no place for these toxins in our physiology, we are constantly shunting them around in the blood trying to either eliminate them from our body or store them somewhere until we have the resources to eliminate them. When there are too many in the blood stream, these toxins damage the endothelium, or the lining of the arteries. The bodies reaction to this damage is to combine cholesterol with minerals, like calcium, to try to patch up the damage before the blood vessel becomes too weak and ruptures. When damage continues to occur many, many repairs get done and we end up with plaque build-up in arteries and eventually atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. It is important to note that the hardening of the arteries is not caused by cholesterol in the blood, but is a by-product of the damage done by increased free radicals in the form of toxins that are a result of high carbohydrate diets. The cholesterol is only used to patch things up when the damage occurs and is not the cause of arterial damage. Without cholesterol and minerals our arteries would rupture as soon as the toxins have caused too much damage to the artery.
This damage, and the subsequent hardening of the arteries, is one situation that can lead to high blood pressure and poor blood circulation. However, damage to the lining of the arteries, the endothelium, has an even more serious implication. The cells on the inner lining of our blood vessels are responsible for making Nitric Oxide (NO). NO is what dilates the blood vessels to lower blood pressure, but it also plays an important role in allowing the heart cells to receive the “non-stress” or “rest and digest” signal from our nervous system. If the lining of the blood vessels is damaged and we are not making enough NO, then the transmission of this signal can be blocked. When this happens, it is one of the key steps in the series of events that lead to a heart attack. This series of events is something I have gone into much more detail about in my eBook called The Heart: Our Most Medically Misunderstood Organ (which you can find by clicking here) and my heart course, specifically chapter 8, (which you can find here).
So, one of the many troublesome situations that the toxins of our modern-day world can directly cause is heart disease, and heart attacks. Minimizing your exposure to as many of these toxins as you can will not only go a long way to achieving every day health and helping you perform better at everything you do, but as we have seen, it will also prevent the development of chronic disease, like heart disease, down the road. For some of my best strategies to avoid toxins in everyday life check out my previous blog on 5 Toxin Avoiding Strategies for Vibrant Health.
Stay healthy out there!