Effective Techniques For Fighting Toxins.
By Walter J. Crinnion ND, author of Clean, Green and Lean: Get Rid of the Toxins That Make You Fat
As much as there is an eclectic variety of Americans in terms of race, religion, and politics, there is one thing we all have in common: we all have a huge number of chemical toxicants flowing through our bloodstream. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been publishing ongoing studies in an effort to identify and quantify the toxicant burden of the average U.S. resident and the results are discouraging. In their fourth report,1 they found 104 compounds ubiquitously (out of 212 that were tested for) in all of the thousands of residents who participated. Some of these toxicants are persistent, meaning that they stay in the body for a long time, either because they are highly fat-soluble or because they bind tightly to body tissues (such as heavy metals). Of the 104 toxicants present in everyone, 63 were persistent toxicants (of which 49 were polychlorinated biphenyls and brominated flame retardants). The other 41 toxicants are non-persistent and are rapidly cleared from the body because of their water solubility. While numerically most of the toxicants are persistent, if one adds up the total micrograms (volume) of toxicants, 99% of those in the urine are non-persistent.
Toxicants cause damage by poisoning/damaging the mitochondrial function in each cell of the body. Mitochondria use our carbohydrates and fats to produce energy in the form of ATP to keep organs and tissues functioning properly. Several major illnesses are based in mitochondrial dysfunction, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity, adult-onset diabetes, and the immune system imbalances presenting as increased reactivity to allergens and chemicals, reduced ability to fight infections (leading to chronic infections), and auto immunity. Decreased brain function, mood problems, and other neurologic problems can also be present.
Fortunately, we can minimize these problems by reducing the amount of toxins we consume in our diets, put on our bodies, and inhale in our indoor air. Through avoidance, these toxins should be completely gone within a week or two.
Many persistent and non-persistent toxicants can be recycled from the urine if it is acidic, traveling back into the bloodstream and delaying their departure. Alkalinizing the urine to a pH of 7.5 can dramatically increase the excretion of toxicants from the body2 by using an alkalinizing agent. I use Thorne Research's Buffered C Powder.
Persistent compounds are very slow to leave the body because they are highly fat-soluble, and our body is designed to hold on to fats and not let them leave. These fat-recycling mechanisms cannot differentiate between healthy fat such as vitamin E and omega-3 oils versus toxic DDT or any of the PCBs. Fortunately, there are some natural compounds that can help carry these fat-soluble persistent pollutants out of the body, thereby bypassing the recycling mechanisms: green and black teas, chlorophyll, and rice bran fiber.
The polyphenol compounds in Oolong (black) tea have been shown to increase the amount of fatsoluble compounds that are passed out of the bowel in humans.3 An animal study with matcha green tea resulted in a four-fold increase in PCB excretion.4 Rice bran fiber (RBF) has also been shown to have a high binding ability with PCBs and other toxins, including the combustion byproduct benzo(a)pyrene in a laboratory setting5 with dramatic increases in fecal excretion of these toxicants in animal models.6 7 8 9 10 Chlorophyll, from seaweeds, vegetables, and chlorella also increase the fecal excretion of persistent toxicants up to six-fold in animal models.11 12 13 In the studies, animals that were given the chlorophyll had lower total body burden of these persistent toxicants at the end of the study than their counterparts.14
Although it is highly concerning that we are exposed to so many health-threatening environmental toxins, don't become discouraged. Between avoidance techniques and proper supplementation, the burden of environmental toxicants on one's mitochondria, immune system, and brain can be dramatically reduced.
1 www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/ (accessed 4/9/2013).
2 J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 2004;42(1):1-26. PMID: 15083932.
3 Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006;60(11):1330-6.
4 Fukuoka Igaku Zasshi 1997;88:162-8.
5 J Nutr Biochem 2005;16:50-8.
6 J Nutr 2004;134:135-42.
7 Chemosphere 2005;61:374-82.
8 Fukuoka Igaku Zasshi 1995;86:212-7.
9 Fukuoka Igaku Zasshi 1993;84:273-81.
10 Fukuoka Igaku Zasshi 2003;94:118-25.
11 Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2002;66:2306-2313.
12 J Nutr 1999;129:1731-6.
13 Fukuoka Igaku Zaashi 1999;90:171-83.
14 Environ Health Perspect 2001;109:289-94.