Many foods look better than they taste.

Our immune system protects us from foreign invaders – viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Unfortunately, toxins in our foods also contribute to the destruction and deterioration of our immune system.

Toxins and the Immune System One of the most controllable aspects of our health is our immune system. When the immune system is challenged, we see the risk of disease or the severity of the disease increase. This has been evident with the pandemic when high-risk patients enter a hospital.

Toxin exposure from both inside and outside our bodies contributes to immune system degradation. As toxins accumulate in our bodies, endocrine (hormone balance) is disrupted, inflammation increases and our overall health can be jeopardized. Of course, it does not happen overnight, but when do we stop doing something that we know little about regarding our health?

Gut Health and Immune System Our gut has a protective barrier that only microscopically to allow digested nutrients to pass into the bloodstream. These digested particles pass through the immune system.

Foods contaminated with toxins can compromise the journey of the nutrients to the bloodstream. The interior area of the gastrointestinal tract is about 150 times more than the surface area of your skin on the outside of your body. It is a long voyage from the beginning of the intestinal tract to the end. More toxins create more opportunities to challenge the immune system.

Preservatives and Immune System Many food additives in the United States were approved years ago. There is no requirement for the FDA to review and retest periodically. TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) and PFAS (perfluorooctanoic acid) are two preservatives used in the food processing industry.

TBHQ is found in vegetable oils and processed foods. Snack crackers, noodles, fast foods, frozen foods, and more. PFAS is usually found in fast food containers/wrappers, microwave popcorn, pizza boxes, candy wrappers, nonstick cookware, water-resistance clothing, and more.

Health issues associated with preservatives are chronic inflammation, immunosuppression, immune-stimulation, hypersensitivity, and autoimmunity. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that TBHQ is in over 1,200 processed foods. PFAS migrates from the container or wrapper to foods.

Animal Hormones and Immune System The FDA-approved steroid hormone drugs for use in the beef cattle and sheep industry decades ago. Natural estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and synthetics versions are used daily to increase animal growth rate, reduce the amount of feed, increase milk production, reduce waiting time, and increase profits.

Synthetic hormones like zeranol, trenbolone acetate, and melengestrol acetate are found in animal products. Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) encourages milk production and increases IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) in our bodies. Scientists believe many of these synthetic hormones challenge our immune system and open the doors for cancers and endocrine health issues. As a result, the European Union, Japan, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have banned rBGH.

Antibiotics and Immune System Antibiotics help our bodies fight bacterial infection; however, they are useless in fighting viruses. Antibiotics destroy gut flora and weaken the immune system. Our bodies can become resistant to antibiotics when taken often.

Over-prescription of antibiotics is a significant health concern. It is estimated that over one-third of prescriptions for antibiotics are not prescribed appropriately. Typical side effects are diarrhea, nausea, yeast infection, and vomiting. When I hear a person is taking antibiotics to treat a health issue, I always ask if they take probiotics and prebiotics. The usual answer is – what are they? I tell them to ask their doctors about timing a probiotic into their treatments to rebuild the gut microbiome.

Artificial Colors and Flavors and Immune System We love to eat foods that look, smell, and taste good. Artificial colors and flavors are used in thousands of foods we eat daily. Food dyes are manufactured from coal tar and other petroleum products.

The FDA’s nine synthetic dyes for use in food are Blue 1, Blue 2, Citrus Red 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6. I read labels every time I buy foods in packages, cans, or jars. Unfortunately, it is rare to find a single synthetic color or flavor – many times; they are mixed.

Artificial colors and flavors are possibly the riskiest toxins you face daily. Scientists believe that these synthetic products increase inflammation, cause cancer, increase hypersensitivity, negatively affect the liver, increase intestinal permeability (leads directly to challenging the immune system), and many more severe health concerns.

Pesticides and Immune System Arthritis, osteoporosis, celiac disease, hepatitis, hypersensitivity, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and other illnesses appear to have direct links to pesticides because of immunosuppression or overactivity (autoimmunity). When the body cannot fight off a foreign invader, the risk of infection goes undetected until the disease has a firm foothold in our bodies.

Pesticides are created in laboratories. They must be stable, have a good shelf life, and be easy to distribute. I remember as a kid living in Panama, two or three times a week, a jeep would drive through the neighborhood (on base), and a DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) fog would be distributed into the air around our homes. As kids, we used to run in and out of the fog and think nothing of it. That is not what we face today.

Organophosphates, pyrethroids, and carbamates are synthetically produced and used in our environment and affect the nervous system. Organic farming uses biopesticides such as rotenone, copper sulfate, horticultural oils, and Bt toxin. Although natural in origin, many of these are produced in laboratories. Therefore, it is best to avoid as many pesticides as possible, regardless of the source.


Reading labels should be the norm. If you do not know what you are eating, why do you continue to eat foods that can jeopardize your health? Yes, they look good, smell great, and taste fantastic. Take ice cream, for example; the texture, smoothness, and lushness are increased with carrageenan. When I find that ingredient, I place the container back on the shelf.

Carrageenan is naturally derived from Irish moss (red seaweed) and is found in nut milks, meat products, and more. However, mixed opinions as to its safety abound. It has been linked to certain diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, tendonitis, chronic cholecystitis (gallbladder), and colon cancer.

Why actively increase the risk of disease by eating or drinking foods with toxins? Yes, a single beverage or food item may not be an issue. Your immune system can handle it. However, a never-ending intake and accumulation of toxins in the body will eventually create a problem.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –



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