Chapter II – Intoxication and stress

The concept of INTOXICATION is at the basis of the fasting theory formulated by the American hygienic school which had considerable diffusion in the last century.

The hypothesis is that the human organism, in the course of its existence, comes into contact with a multeplicity of exogenous or endogenous substances that over time, tend to accumulate in the cells and can cause pathological events, triggering degenerative or carcinogenic mechanisms. Some tissues or organs are more prone to the accumulation of toxins: this is the case of adipose tissue which tends to concentrate a large number of lipophilic chemical substances inside its cells, which are preferably associated with fat molecules.

The efficiency of liver and kidney detoxification mechanisms allows  to minimize the effects of toxic substances while preserving health for a long time.

However, the influx of toxins may generate diseases, either  because of an abnormal load of toxicity absorbed, or because of the inefficiency of the detoxification mechanisms, or  because of particular toxins that electively affect the immune system,  whose main function is to protect against the aggression of external pathogens and to control the proper proliferation of the body’s cells.

On the contrary, in most cases the disease can be due to the aggression of toxic substances that weaken the body’s defense systems, rather than to actual  etiological factors.

The concept of “toxin” is partly filtered in official medicine under various aspects such as the notion of RISK FACTOR which is nothing more than a  pre-existing toxicity condition, predisposing to the development of the disease.

Some toxicity factors can be measured in the blood by common laboratory tests: for instance azotemia, creatininemia and uricemia measure the nitrogen load and the purifying capacity of the kidney, while the cholesterol and triglycerides increase show an altered lipid metabolism, etc..

One of the main endogenous toxicity factors is STRESS.

The neuro-hormonal mechanisms that characterize this reaction of adaptation to environmental factors that tend to alter the internal equilibrium, foresee that the stress reaction has a limited duration for    adaptation to the above mentioned environmental factors..

The excessive prolongation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activation can generate imbalances ranging from permanent psychic and behavioral alterations (anxiety, depression), to metabolic disorders,  such as diabetes and obesity, to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and myocardial infarction.

In this regard, it is well known that acute myocardial infarction, in young people with intact coronaries and in the absence of risk factors, is a lifestyle event, absolutely unpredictable with the standard methods of investigation and difficult to prevent.

Stress can also have consequences on  minor pathologies such as flu syndromes, colds, rheumatism, making easier their development or prolonged their course; consequently during a phase of chronic intense stress repeated flu episodes can happen.

The main cause  of this phenomenon is the poor functioning of the immune system due to the action of corticosteroids whose production considerably increases under stress.

Among the exogenous factors of intoxication there are numerous examples, some of which are supported by recent studies on the mechanisms of carcinogenesis and degenerative diseases.

In our everyday life we come into contact with countless toxins of different typologies, through different routes of intake, the main ones being food, drugs and environmental toxins.

A classic example of food-related toxins is constituted by the foreign chemicals contained in them such as dyes, preservatives and various additives or by chemical contaminants derived from the production or processing cycle of the foods themselves and from all substances of abuse, such as alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

All these substances, once absorbed, are captured by the hepatic filter and through detoxification reactions are degraded to inactive compounds or modified in such a way as to be eliminated by the kidney. The resulting oxidative processes generate OXYGEN-FREE RADICALS or reactive oxygen species (ROS), highly reactive chemical compounds that can cause serious damage to cell membranes and mitochondria, triggering inflammatory reactions. Free radicals are also produced in normal cellular energy processes and other metabolic reactions.

To cope with the aggression of free radicals, the body implements the intervention of specific enzymatic systems and antioxidant vitamins that limit their toxic effect.

The  ENDOCRINE INTERFERENTS are specific toxins widespread in the environment whose toxic effects have only recently begun to be evaluated.  They are composed by chemical compounds of various kinds that once introduced in the human body through the food chain, interact with the delicate neuro-hormonal mechanisms, generating hormone-dependent neoplasm or poly-endocrine dysfunctions such as thyroid dysfunctions,  dysfunction to the gonads (causing male and female sterility), adrenal dysfunctions, etc. These endocrine interferents  are often represented by compounds used in agriculture (pesticides, fungicides),  in animal husbandry or environmental contaminants of industrial origin  (such as dioxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), additives and preservatives from the food industry or substances used in the preparation of cosmetics.

The ACIDIFICATION of the blood is another mechanism of exogenous toxicity. It usually occurs due to an excessive intake of animal proteins or other acidic chemical substances (drugs), whose catabolism generates acidity and shifts the blood pH down.

In order to compensate the low pH and the acid excess,  the body must use its endogenous buffers, mainly the bicarbonates contained in the bones, thus causing a progressive depletion of the bone itself and exposing it to the risk of fractures.

Epidemiological studies show that osteoporosis has a significant correlation with the consumption of animal proteins typical of Western countries and with low physical activity.

Finally, OBESITY can be considered a particular form of toxicity.

The constant and continuous accumulation of triglycerides in adipocytes is a pathological factor as it affects the effectiveness of the action of insulin which allows the removal of excess circulating glucose in the blood, establishing a slow and progressive insulin resistance.

As a result, the body is no longer able to adequately control glycemic levels and we go towards full-blown diabetes.

At the hormonal level, obesity causes an increased production of leptin by the adipose cell with the aim of reducing the stimulus of hunger at the hypothalamic level.

But leptin also has the capability to take inflammation under control and therefore this condition,  facilitates the onset of inflammatory diseases. Furthermore, higher incidence of some neoplastic diseases, such as colon and breast cancers have been confirmed in the obese subjects in  recent epidemiological studies,  confirming the specific capability of adipocytes to absorb exogenous toxic substances such as pesticides, heavy metals, environmental contaminants and poisons which can cause carcinogenic effects.

The most recent studies on aging seem to perfectly confirm the hypothesis of cellular toxicity at the basis of the mechanisms responsible for senescence. Indeed, unequivocal evidence seems to emerge of high toxicity to the metabolic pathway of glycolysis, which has always been considered the basis of cellular energy metabolism and therefore absolutely physiological.

These studies (HIPKISS 2006) show that glycolysis represents a “dirty” metabolic pathway as it generates toxic metabolites such as methylglyoxal that damage proteins and cell membranes through the mechanism of protein glycation and the production of AGEs (Advanced Glycosylation End Products).

These mechanisms of intoxication, as we will see in detail, are precisely the targets of the action of fasting.




From “Manual of Therapeutic Fasting

By Marco Mattorre