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Botox – Everyone’s Doing It and It’s safe!!

by Emma Lane(more info)

listed in clinical practice, originally published in issue 293 - March 2024

 

I was recently talking with a lady in her late twenties – she looked vibrant and young, however she had a list of health problems that she wanted my help with resolving. When I asked her if she was taking any medicines or supplements, she replied no. I always ask about vaccinations, surgeries, accidents and the like however her reply on this question was interesting as she told me about her regular injections of Botox – roughly every 3-4 months (4x times a year) which she had been getting religiously for around five years. I was a little taken aback as this lady was only in her late twenties!

When I queried her reasons for such consistent expensive practices from such a young age her reply was intriguing, “it’s safe and everyone is doing it” 

I generally advise people not to inject anything into their bodies unless it is fully researched and found to give proven health benefits without any side effects.

The anti-ageing market is worth billions and the popularity of Botox as an aesthetic aid cannot be denied; Botox also has some applications in the medical sector.

Therefore, because everyone is doing it! I decided to take a closer look to see if it is safe?

 

Botox

https://www.pexels.com/photo/dermatologist-injecting-botox-on-client-s-forehead-7581583/

Dermatologist Injecting Botox on Client's Forehead

 

Mechanism of Botox

Botox is another term for botulinum toxins, which are proteins produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum and yes, this is the same toxin that causes botulism – a type of food poisoning. 

There are specific purification standards that drug manufacturers have to meet in order to incorporate these proteins into their products, but the fact remains that this drug is sourced from a known serious toxin.

 Botox works by smoothing out the lines on your face that show your emotional map (your facial expressions are the emotions that you experience and are expressed on your face, therefore your face is your emotional roadmap – it tells your story). 

When injected with Botox these proteins, which are recognised as neurotoxins, go into the skin and other tissues, and block nerve transmissions to the muscles. This causes the muscles to relax, reducing the appearance of wrinkles. What is often overlooked, however, is that since this muscle relaxation is caused by a neurotoxin, it can also lead to loss of muscle control and paralysis.

Is Botox safe?

We are told it is, but to what degree is that true?

The assumption is that Botox only impacts the site of injection: however the very real risk with this substance is that it’s able to travel beyond the injection site, infecting other parts of the body. 

What is very concerning is the impact Botox’s has on the nervous system. 

Botulinum is known as one of the deadliest neurotoxins. 

Research actually shows that the opposite is true, to the popular view that Botox is completely safe. Following a Botox injection, Botulinum may be transported via the nerves back to the central nervous system. This means that a highly potent neurotoxin is being injected just centimetres from our brain.

Another interesting fact is that this toxin can travel from the injection site, therefore it may induce paralysation and loss of muscle control throughout the body in different tissues. 

You may find it interesting to look on the manufacturer’s website www.botox.com/ for the potential side effects

Here are some examples I took from their website:

  • Bleeding behind the eye;
  • Problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing (may be life-threatening);
  • Loss of bladder control;
  • Wheezing/asthma;
  • Bronchitis and upper respiratory tract infections;
  • Change or loss of voice;
  • Drooping eyelids;
  • Headache;
  • Overall muscle weakness;
  • Itching;
  • Rash;
  • Welts;
  • Dizziness;
  • Vision loss /Double vision.

While some of these symptoms are due directly to the outcomes at the injection site, the manufacturer notes that others are due to the spread of toxic effects throughout the body.

Other potential risks

In addition to the dangerous risks listed on the Botox website, studies show that the following are also associated with Botox injections:

  • Necrotizing fasciitis;
  • Severe dysphagia;
  • Severe velopharyngeal insufficiency;
  • Brachial plexopathy;
  • Aspiration pneumonia;
  • Crisis of myasthenia;
  • Generalized paralysis;
  • Impairment of speech and chewing;
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome;
  • Unilateral facial madarosis and alopecia;
  • Palatal palsy.

Social Disconnection!

There are also studies that show that Botox injections can change how the brain responds to emotional stimuli, which is a little concerning!

When you feel an emotion, it shows on your face – this is how people communicate with one another without speaking. For example, when your friend is worried, you can tell by their facial expression. Research shows that the connection between facial expression and emotional state is interconnected, meaning that your brain picks up on what the muscles in your face are doing.

When you smile you feel happier, lighter (give it a try and sense how you feel) This happens because your brain is receiving the signal that you’re happy.

Obviously when someone has Botox injected into their face, this could cause problems. Research shows that due to the paralysis of facial muscles, certain areas of the brain cannot pick up the emotional cues. In one study, Botox treatment reduced activity in the amygdala and impaired its coupling with the brain stem, which is responsible for the production of autonomic emotional states.

In another study, researchers found that Botox injections directly weakened participants’ amygdala activity in the presence of angry faces. So, your own emotional processing is negatively affected, but it will also impact your ability to understand other people’s emotions. 

When we’re communicating, we unconsciously mimic the facial expressions of the people with us as a way of deepening our understanding and empathy, however research shows that Botox injections can dampen emotional perception and, therefore, weaken our ability to feel empathy for another person.

These studies show that Botox may interfere with our ability to pick up on subtle facial expressions from the people around us. This could create significant problems as most people subconsciously assess their company by their subtle facial expressions and body language. Without the ability to pick up on these delicate cues, life could become very isolating.

Anti or Accelerated Ageing?

For the most part people chose to use Botox to try and keep their youthful looks and because – well everyone else is doing it!!! Well maybe it’s true in the short term, it will eliminate those pesky emotional lines, but what about in the long term?

A study on Drosophila flies found that even small doses of botulinum toxin can instigate accelerated ageing by increasing oxidative stress and DNA damage and upregulating several markers for cellular ageing.  

Obviously, this can directly impact the health of the skin as oxidative stress and inflammation can cause damage to the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the skin (the layer that acts as a scaffolding to hold the skin tight and firm) and stimulate skin ageing through these intrinsic pathways. 

Simply this means, that injecting this toxin into the skin may improve the look and feel in the short term, but when the initial effect wears off, the skin will be in a worse situation than when it started. 

Conclusion

Unfortunately, in today’s western society, youth is seen as something to envy and chase and the mass marketing in the anti-ageing sector is very enticing. Whilst you may be told by the people administering these injections that they are safe, please keep in mind that their source of information and training comes from the manufacturers who want to sell this product and make a profit. So, in order to make an informed choice for yourself, please do a little research. As you’ve seen above you don’t have to dig too much and I have listed the various research papers and sources below.

You may want to rethink your anti-ageing practices, therefore rather than Botox, support your skin and health internally and externally by eating nutritious clean foods and avoiding processed inflammatory foods, taking care of the microbiome in your gut, drinking clean filtered water, moving daily and most importantly as an anti-ageing practice, sleeping between the hours of 10pm and 6am. Take a look at some of my previous articles to gain more insight.  https://www.positivehealth.com/author/emma-lane

Resources

  • Wang, Tong, et al. “Control of autophagosome axonal retrograde flux by presynaptic activity unveiled using botulinum neurotoxin type a.” Journal of Neuroscience 35.15: 6179-6194. 2015.
  • https://www.citizen.org/article/petition-requesting-regulatory-action-concerning-the-spread-of-botulinum-toxin-botox-myobloc-to-other-parts-of-the-body/
  • https://www.botox.com/ -Accessed- 28/12/23
  • https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150416094051.htmhttps://medlin gov/botox.html  
  • Nigam, Pramod Kumar, and Anjana Nigam. “Botulinum toxin.” Indian Journal of Dermatology 55.1: 8. 2010.
  • Burguera, Juan Andrés, Teresa Villaroya, and Mario López-Alemany. “Polyradiculoneuritis after botulinum toxin therapy for cervical dystonia.” Clinical neuropharmacology 23.4 : 226-228. 2000.
  • Kowing, Dianne. “Madarosis and facial alopecia presumed secondary to botulinum a toxin injections.” Optometry and vision science 82.7: 579-582. 2005.
  • Fooladvand, Farnoosh, et al. “Toxic potential of botulinum toxin type A on senescence in a Drosophila melanogaster model.” Toxicology Reports 8: 1576-1582. 2021.
  • Farage, M. A., et al. “Intrinsic and extrinsic factors in skin ageing: a review.” International journal of cosmetic science 30.2 : 87-95. 2008.
  • Borodic, Gary. “Myasthenic crisis after botulinum toxin.” The Lancet 352.9143: 1832. 1998.
  • Bakheit, A. M., C. D. Ward, and D. L. McLellan. “Generalised botulism-like syndrome after intramuscular injections of botulinum toxin type A: a report of two cases.” Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 62.2 : 198. 1997.
  • Müller‐Vahl, Kirsten R., et al. “Mitochondriopathy, blepharospasm, and treatment with botulinum toxin.” Muscle & Nerve: Official Journal of the American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine 23.4: 647-648. 2000.
  • Yiannakopoulou, Eugenia. “Serious and long-term adverse events associated with the therapeutic and cosmetic use of botulinum toxin.” Pharmacology 95.1-2: 65-69. 2015.
  • Vieregge, P., and D. Kömpf. “Brachial plexopathy after botulinum toxin administration for cervical dystonia.” Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 56.12: 1338. 1993.
  • Latimer, P. R., et al. “Necrotising fasciitis as a complication of botulinum toxin injection.” Eye 12.1: 51-53.

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About Emma Lane

Emma Lane ND Dip NT CMTA C.H.E.K IV HLC3 PEA RSA – Founder and Director of the Lane Wellness Group – has more than 30 years’ experience in the industry, working as a Naturopath, Naturopathic Nutritionist and Functional Medicine Practitioner. She is a registered practitioner of ISEAI (The International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness). Emma has two busy practices in the north of England and central London and is also the Founder and Director of Integrative Health Education and PCI Europe. Emma regularly lectures around the world and is passionate about sharing her knowledge with other practitioners. She works closely with Dr Omar Amin, a world-renowned professor of parasitology. Emma is qualified to practise across a wide range of natural health sciences including Naturopathy, Naturopathic Nutrition, Functional Medicine, FSM (frequency specific microcurrent) Neuro-linguistic Programming, Timeline Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Auricular Acupuncture, Functional Corrective Exercise, Sound Therapy and Energy Healing. For further information please contact Emma on Tel: 01924 242 851 and via Energize, Mind, Body;    Holistics Online,    Parasite Testing,    Integrative Health Education ,   Lane Wellness Group

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