Guidelines on the Identification of Exposure and Detoxification of Environmental Toxins

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Toxic body burden is the lifelong accumulation of chemicals to which we are exposed through our food, air, and environment.  The Environmental Working Group (EWG) have identified over 200 toxic compounds that may be present in the blood of humans. 

A comprehensive and cost-effective tool, Toxic Effects CORE by Genova Diagnostics, narrows down the areas of toxic burden that could be related to chronic, intractable symptoms of exposure to certain environmental toxins.  This test is valuable to determine the total toxic body burden of the main categories of environmental toxins, which include:

  • Alkylphenols
  • Chrlorinated Pesticides
  • Organophosphates
  • Phthalates and Parabens
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Volatile Solvents

Once the Toxic Effects CORE test results are determined, you can begin to develop a detoxification strategy with the assistance of your health care professional. 

This article provides some guidelines to identify the exposure sources of the six environmental toxin categories in your life and the proactive nutrition and supplement strategies for their detoxification and clearance.

Guidelines on the Identification of Exposure and Detoxification of Environmental Toxins

Alkylphenols

Identify exposure sources and remove them to reduce harm from Alkylphenols: 

  • Avoid polycarbonate containers that contain Bisphenol A (BPA), which usually have a #7 or a #3 on the bottom
  • When possible, opt for glass, porcelain, or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids
  • Avoid handling store receipts, which have been found to be a source of BPA
  • Use baby bottles that are BPA free
  • Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers as it will increase release and exposure. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from overuse at high temperatures
  • Look for BPA-free cans and containers and reduce your use of canned foods overall
  • To minimize 4-nonylphenol exposure, do not heat food in plastic cling-type materials

Enhance the detoxification and clearance of Alkylphenols:

  • Sauna therapy is effective in clearing alkylphenols
  • BPA is cleared with glucuronidation by the liver.  Consume foods and supplements that support glucuronidation :
    • N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC)
    • Calcium D-Glucurate
    • Alpha Lipoic Acid
    • Milk Thistle

Chrlorinated Pesticides

Avoid foods that contain high levels of Chlorinated pesticides:

  • Non-organic butter which is high in Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB)
  • Farmed Atlantic salmon and certain lake-caught fish which is high in DDE, dieldrin, HCB, and Mirex
  • Non-organic greens (spinach, collards) which are high in DDE
  • Non-organic cheeses (cream cheese, cheddar, American) which are high in DDE, dieldrin, and HCB
  • Non-organic fatty meats (lamb, ground beef) which are high in DDE and HCB

Enhance the detoxification and clearance of Chlorinated pesticides:

  • Chlorophyll and chlorophyll-containing foods are effective at increasing the excretion of chlorinated pesticides  1 
  • Sauna therapy and colonic irrigations have been used to reduce the presence of PCBs and chlorinated pesticides
  • Daily use of rice bran fiber (RBF) has been used to increase the clearance of PCBs  2
  • White and green teas have been shown to increase the excretion of fat soluble toxins  3 

Organophosphates

Identify exposure sources and remove them to reduce harm from Organophosphates:

  • Individuals in occupations that administer organophosphates should wear protective clothing, removing and washing clothes upon entering home and cleansing skin with warm water and soap
  • Do not use organophosphate products on residential gardens or lawns

Enhance the detoxification and clearance of Organophosphates:

  • Prevent organophosphate damage, especially in the brain, by consuming foods or supplements rich in Docosahexanoic acid (DHA)  4
  • Consume antioxidants to protect from organophosphate induced oxidative stress:  5
    • Vitamin E
    • Vitamin C
    • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • Consume amino acids to assist in the stimulation of detoxification of organophosphates:  6
    • Taurine
    • Glycine
    • N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC)

Phthalates and Parabens

Identify exposure sources and remove them to reduce harm from Phthalates and Parabens:

  • Avoid ingested, topical, and airborne phthalate and paraben sources to reduce elevated levels. Exposure to plastics, paints, and cosmetics that are not labeled as “phthalate-free and paraben-free” should be reduced in the home, at work, and in personal grooming
  • Diethyl phthalate makes plastics more flexible and appears in many common household products including food packaging, tools, toothbrushes, toys, aftershave lotions, aspirin, bath products, cosmetics, detergents, eye shadows, hairsprays, insecticides, mosquito repellants, nail extenders, nail polish, nail polish removers, skin care products, hairstyling products, and auto parts

Enhance the detoxification and clearance of Phthalates and Parabens:

  • Saunas can enhance removal of phthalates in sweat.  7 
  • Supplementation with niacin can assist removal of phthalates, especially when combined with sauna therapy
  • Supplement with the glutathione precursor, N-acetyl L-cysteine (NAC)

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Identify exposure sources and remove them to reduce harm from Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs):

  • Avoid eating Atlantic (farmed) salmon; substitute with wild caught Alaskan salmon
  • Avoid commercial varieties of butter and margarine; substitute with organic butter or organic raw butter

Enhance the detoxification and clearance of Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs):

  • Chlorophyll and chlorophyll-containing foods are effective at increasing the excretion of chlorinated pesticides  8 
  • Sauna therapy and colonic irrigations have been used to reduce the presence of PCBs and chlorinated pesticides
  • Consume foods and supplements containing:
    • Glucuronic acid
    • Calcium D-glucarate
    • Glycine
    • Glutathione
    • Taurine
    • Glycine
    • Glutamine
    • N-Acetyl L-cysteine (NAC)
  • use of rice bran fiber (RBF) has been used to increase the clearance of PCBs  9

Volatile Solvents

Identify exposure sources and remove them to reduce harm from Volatile Solvents:

  • Discontinue the use of household cleaning products or personal hygiene preparations containing volatile solvents
  • Avoid the use of indoor air fresheners
  • Avoid breathing household cleaning products and begin transitioning to non-toxic cleaners
  • Avoid heating or eating foods in Styrofoam containers (especially hot drinks)

Enhance the detoxification and clearance of Volatile Solvents:

  • Stimulate detoxification pathways by consuming
    • Alpha Lipoic Acid