One of the most dangerous culprits that affects an athlete’s ability to perform at an optimal level also happens to be one of the most elusive. Environmental toxins are virtually everywhere given their almost global nature; for instance, we don’t think too much about the packaging food comes in, or the shampoo we wash our hair with—or even the air we breathe.
Environmental toxins come in two specific categories—chemicals and metals. They are accumulated and trapped in the fatty tissue of the human body from medications, food preservatives, as well as exposure to pesticides, air pollutants, and other harmful toxins in the environment. These toxins come from a variety of sources, but initial exposure actually begins while a baby is still in the womb.
Some of the common symptoms that can indicate toxin overload and affect an athlete’s ability to train and focus, and most importantly, play on game day are: fatigue, lethargy, weakness, depression, headaches, brain fog, memory problems, concentration difficulties, generalized muscle aches, and irritability.
In an unhealthy liver, toxins are unable to be detoxified at the speed they are brought to the liver. In these cases, toxins build up and recirculate in the blood, contributing to long term poor health—and most importantly for athletes, impaired performance. These unneutralized, fat soluble toxins can be stored in body tissues such as fat, the brain, and the nervous system, causing systemic symptoms.
The success of a metabolic detoxification program can be maximized by using well-researched nutrients, vitamins and herbs to balance and support the body’s detoxification pathways. The gastrointestinal tract is the first pass detoxification barrier against large chemical compounds that are foreign to the human body. Probiotics and rice proteins along with medium-chained triglycerides will help in this area.
The liver is the next toxin treatment center. Nutrients that can help regulate liver processes include L-cysteine, magnesium, glucuronic acid, glycine, glutathione and sulfate. Antioxidants also support the clearance of reactive intermediary compounds. A comprehensive vitamin profile, including vitamins A, C, and E, and broad spectrum of B vitamins also help to neutralize these reactive compounds. These supplements, when coupled with detoxification-friendly dietary intake, enable athletes to safely and efficiently remove toxins.