In our lives, we have toxins all around, from the air that we breathe, the products that we use and the food we consume. What does that have to do with histamine intolerance though? And what exactly, is low-tox living and how can it help histamine intolerance?
Chemicals increase our toxic load and by understanding where we can reduce chemical exposure we can effectively manage histamine intolerance in the long run. Chemicals in our environment can impact our gut microbiome and our bodies’ internal detox processes. So what is it all about?
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What is low-tox living?
Low-tox living refers to a lifestyle approach focused on reducing exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins in everyday life. Low-tox living involves making conscious choices to minimize or eliminate the use of toxic substances wherever possible. Also known as non-toxic living or toxin-free living, although it is not actually possible to live completely toxin free! The main areas of concern are personal care products, cleaning supplies, household items and even the food we consume.
The underlying philosophy of low-tox living rests upon the understanding that numerous conventional products and materials harbour chemicals that can pose detrimental effects on our well-being. These hidden chemicals lurk in cosmetics, pesticides, plastics, furniture, and even the very air we breathe. By embracing a low-tox living approach, we strive to create a healthier environment for ourselves and those we love as well as the planet.
Toxic load, the gut and histamine
Previously I have explored the fascinating world of the gut microbiome—a bustling community of microbes residing in our gastrointestinal tract. These microorganisms are responsible for a multitude of functions, such as metabolizing nutrients, bolstering our immunity, and safeguarding us from harmful invaders. The gut microbiome is vulnerable to damage from external factors, including environmental toxins. When the microbiome is disrupted by toxins, it can reduce essential functions, damage the gut lining, increase inflammation in the body, as well as initiate an immune response. Dysbiosis or an imbalance of bacteria in the gut can also stimulate the immune system to release histamine as an immune response.
Living a low-tox lifestyle is about reducing the toxic burden on the body:
Certain chemicals and toxins found in everyday products and environmental factors can trigger histamine release or interfere with the body’s ability to break down histamine. By adopting a low-tox approach, individuals with histamine intolerance can minimize exposure to these potential triggers, and reduce the risk of symptom flare-ups.
What types of toxins affect the gut microbiome?
There are various types of toxins, often many found in beauty and home care products. Here are some common toxins that can adversely affect the microbiome:
Found in personal care products like antibacterial soap, mouthwash, toothpaste, and deodorant. Triclosan can be absorbed through the skin and gastrointestinal tract. It alters the composition of gut microbes, impairing their immune-regulating activities and potentially increasing the risk of allergic diseases like eczema.
These chemicals, commonly used in agriculture and found on conventionally grown produce or used in residential yards, not only kill insects but also harm beneficial gut bacteria. Decreased levels of beneficial microbes have been associated with disrupted immune and gastrointestinal function. for example, glyphosate has been found to damage the gut lining.
BPA (Bisphenol A):
BPA is present in hard plastic water bottles and the linings of canned foods. It can disrupt the normal gut flora and interfere with the body’s hormonal system by mimicking estrogen, leading to imbalances and potential health issues.
Heavy metals like mercury, cadmium, lead, and arsenic, often present as contaminants in soil and drinking water due to industrial pollution, can reduce the levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This reduction in beneficial microbes weakens protection against intestinal inflammation and may contribute to inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders.
Being aware of these toxins and taking steps to minimize exposure, can help you preserve the health of your gut microbiome and promote overall well-being.
Living a low-tox life to improve histamine intolerance
What does it look like to start to incorporate a low-tox way of living? The first step is being mindful of the products that you use for cleaning the house, washing, gardening, on your hair, body, and cosmetics as well as the ingestion of chemicals in your food.
Here are some key principles and practices associated with low-tox living:
1. Choose natural and organic products:
Aim for personal care and household products that are made from natural, organic, and non-toxic ingredients. Aim to use organic skincare, hair care, and cleaning products that are free from harmful chemicals. Avoiding where possible parabens, phthalates, sulphates, and synthetic fragrances. Here are some of my favourite places to get low-tox personal care:
2. Avoid synthetic pesticides and herbicides:
Minimise or eliminate the use of chemical-based pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides in and around the home. Aim to use organic pest control, integrated pest management, and natural repellents.
3. Select non-toxic building materials:
When constructing or renovating a home, choose materials that are free from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other harmful chemicals. This can include using low-VOC paints, formaldehyde-free furniture, and eco-friendly flooring options.
4. Filter air and water:
Install air purifiers and water filters to reduce exposure to pollutants, chemicals, and contaminants. These filters can help remove allergens, VOCs, heavy metals, and other impurities from the air and water in your living space.
5. Eat organic and whole foods:
Prioritizing organic and locally sourced low histamine foods that are free from pesticides, hormones, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Consume a balanced diet with low-histamine fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. The dirty dozen and clean fifteen are good sources of information on pesticides and organic foods. Buy organic or pesticide-free food where your budget allows. Get great organic products at Goodness Me.
6. Use sustainable cleaning practices:
Embrace environmentally friendly cleaning practices by using non-toxic cleaning agents and natural-based cleaners. This helps minimize the release of harmful chemicals into the environment.
7. Reduce plastic usage:
Minimise the use of single-use plastics and opt for reusable alternatives, such as glass or stainless steel containers, cloth bags, and silicone food wraps. Plastic containers and packaging can contain harmful chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, which can leach into food and beverages. Beeswax or silicone wraps can be used instead of plastic wrap. I get my natural home products at Biome.
You don’t have to do everything at once, but by replacing products with low-tox alternatives as they wear out or are used up you can improve your environment and toxic load and shift some of the load on your internal detox systems and gut bacteria. By adopting a low-tox lifestyle, you can reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins found in everyday products, particularly beauty and home care products. This minimises the burden on your gut and reduces symptoms associated with histamine intolerance.
It is important to remember that histamine intolerance is a complex condition, and low toxic living is just one aspect of its management. It’s crucial to combine it with other strategies, such as dietary modifications, stress management and deeper gut microbiome restoration and working closely with a practitioner who understands histamine intolerance. By embracing a gradual transition to low-tox living, you can create a healthier living environment and take steps to live with freedom with histamine intolerance.
Struggling to get answers about your histamine intolerance symptoms?
Watch my free Masterclass – The 5 Steps to Healing from Histamine Intolerance.
You will learn my 5-Step plan, the exact same method I used to recover from histamine intolerance. These 5 steps everyone with histamine intolerance must know to resolve all those confusing symptoms and get back to eating foods you love without fear!