Testing Toxic Body Burden to Create a Targeted Detoxification Strategy

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The lifelong accumulation of toxic chemicals that we are exposed to through food, air, and the environment is defined as the toxic body burden.  This continuous exposure can lead to chronic health conditions and serious diseases. 

Because we are constantly being exposed to these toxic chemicals, even with proactive mitigating behaviors, it is necessary to continuously engage in detoxification practices by making sure the detoxification systems of the body are working unimpeded.  Detoxification should not be a “once in awhile practice”, but instead should be performed daily and part of a continuous and practical lifestyle.  The body subconsciously and naturally detoxifies continuously through Phase I and II detoxification systems which never stops.    

Before starting a detoxification program or protocol, it may be useful to first determine the toxic burden on your body and physiology.  This can be accomplished through medical tests conducted by professional medical laboratories that are ordered by your health care professional.

These toxic body burden tests provide a complete and comprehensive analysis and determination of the toxic burden on your body.  The results of these tests can provide you with vital information to create a targeted and strategic detoxification program or protocol. 

These test are commonly fall into three categories:

  • Detoxification Pathways (Phase I and II) and Genomics
  • Environmental Toxic Chemicals
  • Toxic Metals

Detoxification Pathways (Phase I and II) and Genomics

This category tests and evaluates single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with increased risk of impaired detoxification capacity especially when exposed to environmental toxins. It also evaluates the two detoxification pathways:

Phase I: Cytochrome P-450

Phase II: Conjugation of Toxins and Elimination

  • Methylation (catechol-O-methyltransferase)
  • Acetylation (N-acetyl transferase)
  • Glutathione Conjugation (glutathione s-transferase)
  • Oxidative Protection (superoxide dismutase)

Environmental Toxic Chemicals

This category tests the various environmental toxins that burden the body.  The environmental toxins that are usually tested include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • 1,3 Butadiene
    • 1-Bromopropane (1-BP)
    • 2, 4-Dicholorophenoxyacetic (2,4-D)
    • Acrylamide
    • Acrylonitrile
    • Benzene
    • Bisphenol A (BPA)
    • Chlorinated Pesticides
    • Diphenyl Phosphate
    • Ethylene Oxide
    • MTBE and ETBE
    • Organophosphates
    • Parabens
    • Perchlorate
    • Phthalates
    • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
    • Propylene Oxide
    • Pyrethrins
    • Styrene
    • Vinyl Chloride
    • Volatile Solvents
    • Xylenes

Toxic Metals

We are constantly being exposed to toxic metals which can have damaging effects on the body.  These test determine the levels of aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury and other toxic metals in the body.


Two companies that provide toxic body burden tests are Genova Diagnostics and The Great Plains Laboratory, Inc.  The tests that they provide are as follows:

Genova Diagnostics

Genomic Testing

DetoxiGenomic® Profile

This test evaluates SNPs associated with increased risk of impaired detoxification capacity especially when exposed to environmental toxins. It also identifies individuals potentially susceptible to adverse drug reactions.

Environmental Toxic Chemicals Testing

Bisphenol A (BPA) Profile – Urine

The Bisphenol A Profile can help identify exposure to the common endocrine disruptors BPA, triclosan, and 4-nonylphenol.

Chlorinated Pesticides Profile – Serum 

The Chlorinated Pesticides Profile can help identify when a patient has been exposed to certain pesticides and insecticides, and how high a body burden of chlorinated pesticides the patient is carrying. This panel looks at the most commonly found chlorinated pesticides, which have national reference ranges, that have been documented to cause adverse health problems. Levels are given both in parts per million (PPM) and as lipid-adjusted amounts so the clinician can best estimate the total body burden of these compounds.

Organophosphates Profile – Urine 

The Organophosphates Profile is a urine test that identifies a patient’s prolonged exposed to organophosphate pesticides. The Organophosphates Profile uncovers exposure to these pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides to determine if avoidance and detoxification are needed for optimal health.

Organophosphate pesticides/insecticides are nerve agents that inactivate an important enzyme which is essential to nerve function. This can cause neurodevelopment disorders in small children and fetuses. Though organophosphates degrade rapidly when exposed to sunlight, air, and soil, chronic toxicity can still occur as these chemicals are used on food crops, orchards, and food storage centers.

Phthalates & Parabens Profile – Urine 

The Phthalates & Parabens Profile can help identify everyday exposures to toxins from the use of items such as personal care products and plastic food containers. Environmental toxins should be evaluated as a “first step” to help patients get back on the road to wellness.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) Profile 

The Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) Profile can help identify which of the most toxic PCBs a patient has been exposed to and the body burden of the patient. We look at the most commonly found PCBs, which have national reference ranges, that have been documented to cause adverse health problems. Levels are given both in parts per million (PPM) and as lipid-adjusted amounts so the clinician can best estimate the total body burden of these compounds.

Once PCBs enter the body, they are absorbed by our fat cells and stored. Since PCBs are not water-soluble, they are not excreted from the body and accumulate over a person’s lifetime, increasing that person’s body burden of PCBs. Polychlorinated biphenyl testing can help you determine the extent of this PCB burden.

Volatile Solvents Profile – Whole Blood 

The Volatile Solvents Profile can help identify a patient’s prolonged exposure to the most commonly found volatile solvents that have been shown to cause serious health problems.

Overexposure or chronic exposure to volatile solvents damages the central nervous system and causes chemical-driven liver and kidney damage. Benzene, in particular, has a severe toxic effect on the hematological system and is a recognized human carcinogen. Other solvents contribute to atrophy of skeletal muscles, loss of coordination, vision problems, and depression of the central nervous system.

Toxic Effects CORE 

Toxic body burden is the lifelong accumulation of chemicals to which we are exposed through our food, air, and environment. This accumulation is not without consequences, and chronic health conditions like autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as cancer and even diabetes, have been associated with ongoing exposure to environmental toxins.

Research suggests that this exposure begins very early in life. Once thought to be protected by the placental barrier, even infants have shown signs of in-utero toxic exposure. In fact, a 2005 Environmental Working Group (EWG) investigation found over 200 toxic compounds (in aggregate) in the cord blood of 10 newborns.

Toxic Metals Testing

 

Toxic Element Clearance Profile

The Toxic Element Clearance Profile is a toxic exposure test which measures urinary excretion of a diverse range of potentially harmful elements. Both well-known toxics such as lead and mercury, and new technology toxins such as niobium are assessed in this toxic element test.

The Toxic Element Clearance Profile offers an advanced, comprehensive assessment of toxic and potentially toxic elements excreted in the urine. In addition to measuring classic elemental toxins, this profile includes elements used in medical, aerospace, nuclear, and high-tech electronic industries. Use of these potential toxins is increasing because of their growing commercial, industrial, and medical applications.

Toxic Metals – Whole Blood 

Increased exposure to toxic elements is generally reflected by levels in whole blood. This test shows levels of aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. The Genova Diagnostics Toxic Metals Profile shows levels of aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.

The Great Plains Laboratory, Inc.

GPL-TOX: Toxic Non-Metal Chemical Profile

The Great Plains Laboratory has created GPL-TOX, a toxic non-metal chemical profile that screens for the presence of 172 different toxic chemicals including organophosphate pesticides, phthalates, benzene, xylene, vinyl chloride, pyrethroid insecticides, acrylamide, perchlorate, diphenyl phosphate, ethylene oxide, acrylonitrile, and more.

Glyphosate Test

This tests for glyphosate in the body through a urine test.

Metals Urine Test

Heavy metals toxicity caused by increasing levels of pollution and use of chemicals in industry is a growing threat to our health and development of our children. High levels of toxic metals deposited in body tissues and subsequently in the brain, may cause significant developmental and neurological damage.

Metals Whole Blood Test

Whole blood element analysis is a diagnostic method that assists in determining deficiencies, excesses and imbalances of essential elements as well as recent or ongoing exposure to specific toxic elements. Whole blood analysis measures total element levels that circulate extracellularly (serum/plasma) as well as intracellularly (function within blood cells). Therefore, additional testing of blood fractions or other tissues may be necessary for differential diagnosis of specific imbalances, or to assess specific dysfunctions of assimilation, transport, retention or excretion of elements.

Metals Fecal Test

Analysis of elements in feces provides indirect information about the potential for toxic metal burden. For many toxic metals, fecal (biliary) excretion is the primary natural route of elimination from the body. Fecal elemental analysis also provides a direct indication of dietary exposure to toxic metals. Specimen collection is convenient for the patient and only requires a single-step procedure.

Informational References:

Following are the links to the pages for each test from Genova Diagnostics and The Great Plains Laboratory Inc.:

Genova Diagnostics

Genomic Testing

Environmental Toxic Chemicals Testing

Toxic Metals Testing

The Great Plains Laboratory Inc.

Environmental Toxic Chemicals Testing

Toxic Metals Testing

Genova Diagnostics Videos

Detoxigenomics Profile - Report Review

The Exposome: Assessing and Measuring the Body Burden of Environmental Toxins 09-2013

Addressing the Impact of Environmental Toxins in Womens Health

Toxic Effects: Everyday Exposures

Our Toxic World and Human Disease 03-2013

Nutritional Support for Environmental Toxin Exposure

The Great Plains Laboratory, Inc. Videos

New Important Chemicals Being Tested by GPL-TOX” by Dr. Matthew Pratt-Hyatt

Toxic Chemicals and the Increasing Rates of Chronic Illnesses” by Dr. William Shaw Ph.D.

Heavy Metal Testing and Therapy - Various Options for Detoxification Intervention” by Dr. Woeller

Heavy Metals and Integrative Medicine - Various Treatment Approaches and Practical Testing Options” by Dr. Woeller

Treatment Protocols for Metal Toxicity” by Dr. Kurt Woeller

Toxic Chemicals and the Increasing Rates of Chronic Illnesses” by Dr. William Shaw Ph.D.