Detoxification of Environmental Pollutants

Welcome back to the GPL-Blog.  This month we’ve been discussing how we are exposed to thousands of environmental chemicals on a daily basis, and how GPL can help you determine your toxic load.  We have now expanded our GPL-TOX Profile to measure a patient’s exposure to over 300 chemicals.  We are also the only CLIA-certified lab that performs a test for glyphosate.  Today I’m going to discuss how to prevent exposure to some of these compounds, what treatments have been effective for detoxification, and I’ll give an example of how these treatments can reduce the toxic stress on the body.

The first step to reducing the amount of toxins in your body is to reduce the amount entering your body in the first place.  One of the most important changes people can make is to switch to eating only organic foods.  Most conventional crops are exposed to larger and larger doses of pesticides and herbicides, and by switching to organic you will prevent exposure to hundreds of different organophosphates, 2-,4Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2-,4,D), and pyrethroid insecticides. 

The second step is to install some type of high-quality water filtration system in your home.  A lot of the chemicals that we test for have contaminated many public water supplies.   Your options are pitcher filters, faucet filters, reverse osmosis filters, and under-the-counter filters.  The most commonly used and the least expensive are the pitcher filters.  These are easy to use and do remove some chemicals.  Many of these pitcher filters do not remove pesticides, pharmaceutical residues, herbicides, and industrial toxicants.  They do remove mercury, copper, and cadmium.  However, in today’s environment we really need more than that.  Reverse osmosis filters are more expensive, but they do remove a large number of contaminants.  However, they produce a lot of wastewater (50% of all water that goes through the system) and they do not remove organic chemicals, herbicides, or pesticides.  There are several higher quality faucet filters available that do remove pesticides and drug residues.  Finally we have the under-the-counter filters.  These unfortunately are the most expensive, but they are also the best at removing the chemicals that are polluting our water supply.

The third step is to change the products you use on yourself.  Instead of using a plastic cup or water bottle, switch to glass or metal.  Make sure your shampoo, soaps, lotions, and other beauty products are free of phthalates and parabens.  Restrict the use of harsh chemicals for cleaning. Favor gentle cleaning agents such as vinegar, baking soda, citric acid, and antimicrobial oils (tee tree oil). Limit your exposure to cigarette smoke which contains xylene, benzene, and hundreds of other chemicals.  Avoid the use of pesticides and herbicides on the lawn. Make sure you wear shoes when playing in a park because many parks are sprayed with pesticides and herbicides.  Limit the amount of time you or your children spend on playing surfaces produced from ground up tires.  These are just several of the recommendation that could help limit your exposure.  Just be mindful when you are doing anything about what chemicals you could be exposing yourself to. 

Our fourth recommendation is infrared sauna therapy and exercise.  Studies have shown that many of these toxicants are best eliminated through sweat.  Now I suggest that anyone who starts a sauna regimen or exercise regimen do so under a medical practitioner’s care.  I also recommend infrared sauna over conventional sauna because it reaches deeper into the body.  Infrared sauna is useful because it increases the circulation in all of your blood vessels and causes your body to start to release many of the chemicals stored in body fat.  Some of the many chemicals released would be MTBE/ETBE, xylene, vinyl chloride, organophosphates and 2-,4-D.    

There are two particular supplements that people are using to improve detoxification.  The first is glutathione, or its precursor N-acetyl cysteine.  Glutathione is one of the main phase two conjugates that the body covalently bonds to toxicants in order to eliminate them. Certain factors could deplete your glutathione.  These include illness, stress, mutations, diet, or exposure to toxicants.  If you are constantly exposed to toxicants your stores of glutathione could be depleted.  You can check your glutathione levels with the Organic Acids Test that we provide here at GPL.  The second supplement is vitamin B3 (Niacin).  Now I know a lot of people don’t like the flushing experience after taking Niacin.  However, this flushing is from the blood vessels expanding, which is useful in the detoxification process.  At least 50 mg of nicotinic acid is required to induce flushing. Nicotinamide, while identical to nicotinic acid in vitamin activity varies in its pharmacological activity and is not associated with vasodilation. Vasodilatation greatly increases the chances of hypotension which is also be accelerated by the sauna. This type of therapy should only be done under close supervision by a physician. Certain medications are contraindicated while on this therapy (statins in particular can cause serious reactions). Niacin is excreted as methylated pyridones which requires adequate S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). Caution should be used in patients with impaired methylation. The depletion of SAM is thought to be responsible for most of niacin’s adverse affects. Niacin and nicotinamide may also make allergies worse by increasing histamine.

In our work with doctors who have ordered GPL-TOX and our Glyphosate Test, we have started to gather some results for patients that had high environmental toxicant levels.  Here is a result from one patient’s Glyphosate Test (see figure 1):

Figure 1

This patient reported eating an organic diet, but has a high amount of glyphosate.  This patient lives in the Midwest, where it seems glyphosate has contaminated some water supplies.  This patient installed a water filtration system, did several months of infrared sauna treatment, and was then re-tested (see figure 2):

Figure 2

As you can see from these results, this patient was able to decrease the amount of glyphosate in her body by more than half. 

Here are some results from a second patient’s GPL-TOX test.  This patient had high amounts of vinyl chloride and benzene (see figure 3):

Figure 3

This patient started an exercise and infrared sauna regimen.   One important note to remember is to wipe off the sweat regularly, because you don’t want the toxins to reabsorb back into the body.  This patient also started to take regular doses of glutathione.  After three months, we saw drastic results (see figure 4): 

Figure 4

Figure 4

As you can see, this patient went from very high amounts of vinyl chloride and benzene to non-detectable amounts.

The take away from this month’s blog articles is that testing for environmental toxicants is very important because these chemicals can lead to the formation of many chronic diseases. We are exposed to thousands of toxins every day.  The scientists here at GPL have developed tests to measure the most commonly occurring exposures.  With this information and the information obtained through the Organic Acids Test, we can better determine what the underlying cause of many chronic problems is and form plans to solve them.  I hope this was helpful.  Please share your questions, trials, and triumphs with us at