Is Botox Making You Sick?

Many of my clients have numerous, seemingly random and unrelated, health concerns ranging from mild to severe. Some are already aware of the potential dangers of certain substances that affect nerve function (such as aluminum, lead and mercury) and are making an effort to eat foods grown without pesticides.

Although my initial health questionnaire asks clients to list current medications, most don’t include botulinum neurotoxin products (such as Botox, Dysport and Xeomin). This is because my clients think of them as simply cosmetic.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Botulinum neurotoxins are the most potent poisons known.

What Is It?

Botulinum neurotoxins (there are 7 types) are spores produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Foodborne botulism is the most commonly known human illness from the family of botulinum neurotoxins.

The same bacterium is used to produce Botox and other similar pharmaceutical products. These are injected primarily for clinical and cosmetic use.

How It Works

Simply put, botulinum neurotoxins block nerve function. More specifically, they prevent the release of acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter found in motor and brain nerve cells throughout the body), which then partially or completely paralyzes the muscles exposed to the neurotoxin.

Botulinum neurotoxin products can spread from the injection site. Nerves are connected along pathways, and when botulinum neurotoxins spread along these pathways the symptoms depend on what nerves have been affected and the extent of the damage.

This is why symptoms can range from mild to severe and can seem random and unrelated.

Studies Show

One study showed that after botulinum toxin was injected under the skin of animal research subjects it leached into the bloodstream, and then moved through the body and into the brain.

Three days after injection into the face, botulinum toxin was found in the brain stem, and cell activity was abnormal at both the injection site and in areas throughout the body.

In another study, researchers found that the botulinum neurotoxin travelled throughout the bodies of the animal research subjects, and there was atrophy (wastage) in the muscles far away from the injection site.

Safe? Not!

Since 2009, medical practitioners authorized to inject botulinum neurotoxin products have been required to inform potential clients that the products have a black box warning because of:

  • a rare but potentially life-threatening complication when the effects of the toxin spread far beyond the injection site
  • a risk of contracting botulism
  • a risk of autoimmune reactions as well as several other potential adverse effects

Even with this requirement, some of those that administer Botox don’t convey this information.

Adverse Reactions

The patient medication guides for botulinum neurotoxin products state that an adverse reaction can happen right after injection and up to several weeks later.

When people suspect their symptoms are related to the injection and they report the adverse reaction to their medical practitioner they’re often told their symptoms “can’t possibly be related to the injections” and that their practitioner has “never heard of that before,” even though the symptoms are listed as possible adverse effects in the medication literature!

If you’ve been getting botulinum neurotoxin injections and have so far seemed fine, consider yourself fortunate but understand that this doesn’t mean your body isn’t being compromised in some way. I have clients who initially seemed fine but developed mysterious “out of the blue” autoimmune and/or other conditions. Just because you haven’t had a noticeable reaction doesn’t mean that you aren’t being affected or that you won’t have a severe adverse reaction with future injections.