by Darrel Crain, DC
Where did the bees go?
Toxicopathy is a new word to me, but one I believe we will all be hearing about more and more. According to Dorland"s Medical Dictionary (1993) toxicopathy means "any disease caused by a poison." The same book defines poison as "any substance taken into the body by ingestion, inhalation, injection or absorption that interferes with normal physiological functions."
The mysterious disappearance of bees around the world in the last year or two is an alarming indication that we have reached new levels of poisoning on a global scale. Colony Collapse Disorder is the name given to this new toxicopathy for bees. Some scientists say the answer to this mystery is blowing in the wind, in the pollen of genetically modified crops that are designed to be toxic to insects. Let us hope Einstein was wrong in his prediction, "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left."
The worldwide low sperm count in human males is another troubling toxicopathy only recently recognized. The drop has been so steep and sudden that some scientists wonder if a human fertility crisis is in the making. Hormone-disrupting chemicals from insecticides and plastic food packaging are high on the list of suspected poisons contributing to the problem.
"All things are poisons," Paracelsus is often credited with saying, "for there is nothing without poisonous qualities...it is only the dose which makes a thing poison."
Paracelsus, sometimes called the father of modern pharmacology, was born in Switzerland in 1493, a contemporary of other radical thinkers such as Leonardo da Vinci, Martin Luther and Nicholas Copernicus. He was attacked by medical authorities of the day for his rejection of their faith in the ancient Greek theories of balancing the four humors (liquids) in the body that called for such risky procedures as bloodletting. Ironically, his theories about the importance of spiritual healing remain a controversial subject for medical authorities to this day.
His "dose is everything" theory of poison recently passed the test here in California when a woman drank so much water it killed her during a contest to win a small prize. For the woman, the water itself proved toxic, but for most of us the real threat is the remarkable cocktail of additional stuff the water may be carrying. Lead, arsenic, PCBs, pesticides, radioactive nucleotides and mercury are quite common in the world"s water supply these days, not to mention the poisons added on purpose, such as fluoride and chlorine. And not just in the water either, these bad boys are coming at us from all directions including from electric power generation, factory farming, manufacturing, and medical procedures.
Paracelsus' understanding of toxicity has proven incomplete because of factors he did not comprehend. For starters, certain substances are so incredibly poisonous that even the tiniest exposure has a toxic effect, such as radioactive elements. Then there is the synergistic effect, in which two substances radically increase one another's toxicity, such as mercury and aluminum. The human race has produced and dispersed such an incredible volume and variety of poisons in a historically brief period that scientists are unsure which ones are reacting with each other or which ones should be blamed for specific disorders.
There is little disagreement, however, that environmental toxins have become a primary burden for all animals on the planet, limiting the ability of us all to make normal, healthy cells and thus maintain health. The toxic load that accumulates in the body derails the immune response and favors genetic mutation and cancer.
Far from being all gloom and doom though, this information tells us that we may still have considerable control over important factors to keep ourselves healthy. In an increasingly toxic environment, clearing poisons from the body is essential. The three most important ways the body is equipped to eliminate toxins are exercise, exercise and exercise. Byproducts from our own energy production become toxic inside the body unless we stay in motion.
We can also nutritionally enhance our cellular efficiency at clearing toxins. Some of us seem to be more sensitive to environmental toxicity than others. For example, many autistic children are deficient in a cellular process called methylation, required to remove toxic metals from the body. Boosting energy pathways with specific nutrients is one element of the biomedical approach that is allowing thousands of kids to experience significant recovery from autism.
As more disorders are recognized as environmentally induced diseases, or toxicopathies, healthcare will eventually be forced to shift its emphasis. People"s natural systems have varying abilities to clear toxins based on levels of exposure, lifestyle and genetics.
At an estimated rate of consumption of 25 million pills per hour in the United States, medical suppression of symptoms may prove be a shortsighted solution. It is a striking fact that every vaccine and every drug, whether prescription or over-the-counter, fits the definition of poison precisely. They are all substances that interfere with normal cellular function. Due diligence to fully understand the risk versus benefit for all these interventions seems more important than ever.
The most obvious thing we can do is to avoid toxins whenever possible, including buying organically produced foods and monitoring the nature of everything that goes in the body. One major challenge for us humans is that polluting the body can often be great fun, even when we know it isn"t good for us.
"The one conclusive argument that has at all times discouraged people from drinking a poison is not that it kills but rather that it tastes bad," wrote Friedrich Nietzsche.
Which reminds me of the time my son John helped himself to a second large piece of cake off the table when he was two years old. "Hey, that"s too much," I snapped. He looked over at me and said happily, "I love too much!"
Dr. Darrel Crain is a Family Chiropractor and Natural Health Writer practicing in San Diego, California. He is the President of the CCA San Diego County District and can be reached at 619-445-0100