Patients with high toxin burden are advised to add appropriate detoxification protocols to their weight loss program to mitigate the effects of increased toxin release.
During the industrial boom after World War II, thousands of synthetic chemicals were introduced into commercial use as pest and disease control, crop production, and industry. Unfortunately, these chemicals had unforeseen effects on human health and the environment. Some of the most well-known persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and p,p'-dichlorophenyldichloroethylene (DDE), the pesticide DDT, and dioxins. (http://www.epa.gov/oia/toxics/pop.html and http://www.chem.unep.ch/pops/)
PCBs, HCB, and DDE are everywhere. We cannot escape them, and what’s worst we absorb and store them in fat. Your hips and thighs could be full of these toxins. When you lose weight, these toxins get released from the fatty tissue. Your total weight lost determines your plasma level of POPs. A change in body mass index greater than 14 kg/m2, like someone who goes on a significant fast or has bariatric surgery, can lead to a sharp jump in POPs levels. Elevated levels of POPs can affect endocrine, thyroid, nervous, and immune systems, as well as impair your liver’s ability to detoxify. So what can you do?
- First, lower your exposure. High fat animal products such as dairy products, processed foods, farm raised salmon, and meats are major contributors of PCBs and dioxins. Lower toxin levels are found in vegans and vegetarians.
- Second, test your levels prior to weight loss. The CDC published the National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, which provides an ongoing evaluation of 148 chemicals in the U.S. population. This means that you can test your levels and compare your results against a national standard. Our office does this testing routinely.
- Include detoxification measures while you’re losing weight. Some people may find weight loss easier if they detoxify first. There are more than 600 studies on detoxification techniques. Most include saunas, supplements, massages, dietary inclusions (such as fiber) and restrictions (such as high fat foods and farm raised salmon). Many of these steps can be included easily into weight loss programs and provide significant reductions of toxins. Again, testing is important because it lets you know what your risks are prior to losing weight. Those patients with higher levels of toxins are advised to add appropriate detoxification protocols to their weight loss program to mitigate POPs increases during weight loss.