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Toxins — an often overlooked cause of chronic disease

Toxin exposure has become a regular part of our daily routines. From inorganic beauty products to smoggy air to hidden mold, our bodies have plenty of harsh substances to filter out on a regular basis.

But when these toxin levels become too high, our detox systems weaken. Dr. Ari Kasprowicz-Calhoun of North County Natural Medicine compares the body to a bucket.

“We can fill the bucket with toxins, and there’s a small drainage at the bottom,” Dr. Calhoun illustrated. “If we’re filling the bucket excessively, that can accumulate to the point where our body can no longer handle that burden.”

The most common burden-causing toxins are mold and heavy metals. This winter, heavy rainfall led to increased amounts of mold in local structures not designed to accommodate wetter weather. Mold exposure starts with allergy like symptoms of cough and runny nose, but may later escalate, according to Dr. Calhoun.

Heavy metals like mercury and lead can have a similar effect. Mercury is common in high consumptions of fish as well as older tooth fillings.

Lead is present in homes built before 1978 as well as gun ammunition. Children especially are at risk for lead, which can slow growth and development and cause conditions like ADHD.

“When someone grows, lead is stored in the bone, so lead can be released in the blood at increased rates when someone is going through a growth spurt,” Dr. Calhoun said.

To help tackle these toxins, Dr. Calhoun has dedicated her life to naturopathic medicine, using science-based natural therapies to improve health and treat illness.

People of all ages approach her for symptoms across the board — some have a chronic cough or runny nose, while others may have neurological issues. First, Dr. Calhoun and her team will screen for toxins, then identify the ones causing problems.

After, they help patients change their environments — for example, they may send in a mold expert or connect a patient with a holistic dentist to replace a mercury filling.

“The body is really incredible at detoxing, but if we don’t know where the exposure is coming from, then we miss the boat,” Dr. Calhoun explained.

Next up is the toxin extraction. Dr. Calhoun ensures the patient’s elimination organs are functioning properly, so the body can effectively dispose of waste through all channels. Then, her team begins procedures that pull toxins out of tissues. Some substances can be removed by taking a supplement. Heavy metals are treated with chelation therapy through an IV.

“We’re pulling it out of the storage forms so the body can do its detox process and eliminate the toxins,” Dr. Calhoun said.

Dr. Calhoun wants to help people understand the effects toxins like mold and heavy metals have on overall well-being, whether a patient is seeking help for a sickness that’s lasted years or simply trying to optimize general health.

“This is not an area addressed within other realms of medicine,” Dr. Calhoun said. “Whether or not we’ve been exposed is not the question, but it’s how much is at play in our current standing.”

For a consultation, visit North County Natural Medicine at 815 N. Vulcan Ave. in Encinitas. Schedule an appointment here or call 760-385-8683.