Fact: Umbilical cord blood from newborn infants can contain up to 300 toxic chemicals. And the average adult is exposed to more than 500 toxins every day. So referring to our environment as a “toxic soup” is no exaggeration.
Industrial and technological growth has resulted in a modern world that assaults us with pollution from every possible direction—in multiple forms.
But that doesn’t mean we’re doomed. Because knowing your enemy is the first step to defending yourself against it.
Environmental toxins are an existential threat
There’s no way I could call every environmental toxin out by name. But let’s take a quick glance at the “hall of shame”—starting with a few of the most recent headline-makers:
- Chlorpyrifos is a widely used and highly neurotoxic organophosphate pesticide. Its purpose is to defend industrial crops against insects and mites. And, well… it certainly does its job.
Chlorpyrifos is the main smoking gun behind bee colony collapse, which poses its own serious threat to the future of humanity. But that’s not all…
Research also suggests that a pregnant woman’s exposure to organophosphates like chlorpyrifos—even at very low levels—can have a direct impact on her fetus by altering brain function and thyroid levels of unborn children well into adulthood.
The threat is severe enough that experts are calling for a complete ban on organophosphates—not just chlorpyrifos, but the entire class of pesticides.1 (But I won’t hold my breath.)
- Glyphosate is the generic name for Monsanto’s infamous chemical weed killer Roundup®. Industrial farming operations now use this toxin in more than 160 countries, applying more than 1.4 billion pounds per year. It’s the most commonly used herbicide in the world, with a whopping $6.5 billion in annual sales.2Yet numerous scientific reports link glyphosate to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, gastrointestinal issues, autism, reproductive problems, heart disease…and more.
- BPA, or bisphenol A (not to mention its equally toxic replacements bisphenol S (BPS) and diphenyl sulfone), and phthalates are toxins found in plastic. Such toxins are linked to hormonal imbalance, early puberty, and reduced fertility, and may even increase your risk for diabetes, obesity, and neurological and immune system impairments.
- Per- or polyfluoroalkyl substances are toxins used to make oil- and grease-repellent coatings for packaging. (Most notably, Teflon.) Exposure to these chemicals may lead to kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia, and ulcerative colitis.
- Parabens and asbestos-containing talc are found in cosmetics, both of which are considered carcinogens and could lead to cancer.
- PCBs, dioxins, and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are found in our waterways—all of which have a negative effect on overall health and may even contribute to metabolic disorders, such as obesity and diabetes.
This list goes on and on and on… And believe it or not, the news only gets worse.
Back in 2015, the National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark completed a four-year research project looking at the safety of various chemicals commonly found in foods—from pesticides to heavy metals. Ultimately, researchers found that these chemicals might have an “additive effect.”3
In other words, chemical exposures add up—and so do their negative effects. These combinations, or “chemical cocktails,” can do major damage to your health. And when you’re exposed to over 500 toxins per day, how could they not?
Yet as the “powers-that-be” in this country assess the potential risk associated with various toxins, they continually fail to take this additive effect into account. And with agribusiness juggernauts like Monsanto lobbying for more power, it’s really no wonder.
The solution: Spit out the chemical soup
Don’t get me wrong. I know it’s not realistic to tell you to avoid all toxins. Obviously, you can’t live in a bubble. But I tell my patients to avoid them the best they can. And that’s how I live my own life.
You can start with a few simple steps:
- Eat fresh, whole foods (nothing from cans, or plastic packaging).
- Avoid plastic bottles, cups, plates, cookware, and food storage—in favor of truly non-toxic materials like glass, wood, and stainless steel.
- Shop for organic, pesticide-free, non-GMO fruits and vegetables.
- Opt for organic (or, even better, heritage) meats that are raised without hormones.
- Make careful choices with household and personal care products. The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) is a valuable public resource when it comes to weeding dangerous chemicals out of your home.
I also recommend doing regular detoxes—and no, these don’t have to be complicated. With my A-List Diet detox, you’re really only looking at a one-week commitment. I recommend this cleanse twice per year to help you eliminate accumulated toxins. For a step-by-step guide on how to safely and effectively detox, I recommend checking out my latest book, The A-List Diet. (You can snag a copy from www.Amazon.com or www.AListDietBook.com.)
To get the most out of your cleanse, you should also supplement with a comprehensive detox support formula, like DetoxLogic. I designed this formula to address all the critical phases of toxin elimination, from liver and elimination support to antioxidant defense. For more information about DetoxLogic, visit www.NuLogicNutritionals.com or call 1-877-899-9219.
This all-in-one product will help you “clean house” with minimal fuss. And in today’s world, it’s just what the doctor ordered.
But it’s not just about cleaning up what you’re putting into and onto your body. You also need to be aware of your environment…
Air pollution isn’t just a seasonal problem
It’s scary, but true: Even levels of air pollution that fall well within the supposedly “safe” range can kill you. In fact, short-term exposure to ozone and fine particulate matter may have played a role in nearly a quarter billion deaths.
Ground-level ozone—not to be confused with the protective ozone layer in the stratosphere—is a gas formed when pollutants interact in the sun and still air. It’s the main component of smog. When inhaled, it can trigger chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, asthma, and other breathing difficulties.
Meanwhile, fine particulate matter (PM) is an airborne mix of liquid and tiny particles—either visible, like soot and dust, or invisible. When you see haze, these pollutants are the cause. And when inhaled, PM can lodge deeper into your lungs, causing very serious health problems.
These are the pollutants at play when summertime air quality alerts are issued. But these mere warnings aren’t enough. Because researchers recently discovered that, for every 10-unit increase in either ozone or PM, there was also a significant uptick in death rates.4
To make matters worse, you may not even be safe in your own home. Yes, things like cigarette smoke and paint fumes are major contributors. But the most common sources of indoor air pollution aren’t always so obvious—or even detectable.
For instance, if you ever get your clothes dry cleaned, you’re breathing in a dangerous chemical called perchloroethylene, known to cause cell damage in lab animals. And if you ever use moth balls, toilet cleaners, or household disinfectants, you’re likely being exposed to paradichlorobenzene, another cell-damaging chemical.
Even your shower and your washing machine expose you to dangerous toxins. The chlorine in your water turns into chloroform once it’s heated—so you’re breathing in the steam and absorbing it into your skin.
And a new study shows that other factors can also increase the number of airborne pollutants within your home. Researchers found that the smallest, most dangerous particles come from dust, fungal spores, auto emissions, and byproducts of combustion. Which means that even burning a candle or frying food could prove dangerous.
The solution: Stay informed and breathe easier with some key natural supplements
First, the obvious: The government provides daily updates on current air pollution levels across the country. You can stay in the know by visiting
www.AirNow.gov and monitoring the Air Quality Index (AQI) for your area.
As the spring and summer heat up, you definitely want to pay close attention to these warnings. On “code orange” and “code red” days, it might be a good idea to opt for indoor exercise instead of an evening walk through the neighborhood.
And to ensure that your indoor air is as pure as possible, stick to nontoxic cleaning products. If you’re frying foods in oil, turn on the exhaust fan. And consider investing in a good High Efficiancy Particulate Air (HEPA) filter that can trap those tiny airborne particles.
But of course, that’s just a start. As I said earlier, it’s nearly impossible to purge your environment of these pollutants completely. So to really keep your bases covered, I recommend adding a few key supplements to the detox routine I suggested on page 3.
Research has found that people with the most exposure to pollution not only have the lowest scores on lung function tests—they also have the lowest levels of vitamin E in their blood.5 Which means that increasing vitamin E levels may help offset the damage pollution can cause in the lungs.
Considering everything vitamin E is good for, it certainly can’t hurt to get more of this essential nutrient—especially when the AQI is high.
I recommend 800 IU of vitamin E daily. Just be sure to look for a full spectrum product. Most common forms of vitamin E are alpha tocopherol. But this is actually the synthetic form— and that’s not what you want.
Shop for a supplement with high levels of gamma tocopherol, along with all of the other antioxidant-rich tocopherols and tocotrienols instead. (There are four of each, for a total of eight.) And while you’re at it, fill up on vitamin-E rich foods like almonds, tomatoes, cabbage, spinach, asparagus, and avocados.
Research also shows that treatment with B vitamins can help reverse the negative effects air pollution has on heart rate, white blood cells, and lymphocytes.6
I recommend supplementing with the following daily:
- 5 mg of folic acid
- 100 mg of vitamin B6
- 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12
These three nutrients work together in the body to combat numerous threats to your heart health—including air pollution.
But in addition to the toxic chemical soup we all face every day, there are also two more dangerous environmental pollutants you may have never even considered as a threat.
I’m talking about light pollution and noise pollution. And while they may seem like harmless nuisances, I can assure you their effects on your health are very real. Let’s start by taking a closer look at the hazards of artificial light…
Light pollution steals your sleep and triggers disease
As part of a recent study, researchers interviewed nearly 16,000 people over the course of eight years to collect data on sleep habits and quality. They mapped this data according to the amount of nighttime light exposure each interviewee receives, according to the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program.
Unsurprisingly, people living in cities that boast half a million residents or more were subject to three to six times the nighttime light exposure than country-dwellers. And given the critical role that melatonin—a hormone released by your pineal gland in response to darkness—plays in sleep cycle regulation, it comes as no surprise that this intense light exposure came with serious consequences.
For one thing, city-dwellers were six percent more likely to get less than six hours of sleep every night. (And to be dissatisfied with their sleep quality.) They also slept less on average per night, were more likely to experience night-waking, and reported more fatigue, excessive sleepiness, and impaired functioning.7
But the truth is, even if you don’t live in a big, bustling city, chances are that you’re still exposed to too much of the wrong kind of light at the wrong time.
One of the biggest sleep disruptors is blue light—from your television, computer, tablet, or phone. Blue light sends a signal to your pineal gland, instructing it to stop generating melatonin. In turn, this keeps your brain awake and active, setting the stage for a night of tossing and turning.
And as I’m always reminding you, the dangers of sleep deprivation go well beyond a groggy morning. Chronic sleep loss sets the stage for everything from obesity and diabetes to cancer and heart disease.
The solution: Total blackout
Luckily, sleep disruption is a fairly simple problem to remedy: Invest in a sleep mask or blackout shades for your bedroom. And be sure that there aren’t any inside light sources that could be interfering with melatonin release.
Obviously, that includes more than just bedside lamps. Eliminating exposure to electronics is particularly important before bedtime.
At the very least, you should be dimming your electronics before bed. While you’re at it, dim or switch off your alarm clock light, too—especially if it’s blue light, which is more disruptive than yellow or red.
Another thing you might want to consider is avoiding shopping in the evening hours. Many stores have now switched to using blue LED lights to keep things brighter. Surprisingly, this can also interfere with your natural body clock—disrupting sleep and even triggering anxiety in some people.
If all else fails—and especially if you’re stuck sleeping during the day due to shift work—don’t hesitate to supplement with melatonin. I recommend a starting dose of 3 mg (and never more than 15 mg) at bedtime. Feel free to experiment over time in order to find the dosage that works best for you.
Noise pollution triples the risk to your heart
Then comes noise pollution. Some preliminary research made its debut at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in 2018. And it’s very bad news for anyone with chronic exposure to loud noise.
Scientists looked at the link between noise exposure and major cardiovascular events—like heart attack and stroke—in a group of nearly 500 people, with an average age of 56.
All subjects underwent PET and CT imaging of their brains and blood vessel networks. Researchers used these pictures to look at activity in the amygdala—a part of the brain that plays a key role in your body’s stress management and emotional response.
Researchers also examined the subjects’ medical records to assess for heart risk, and gauged their levels of noise exposure using the Department of Transportation’s Aviation and Highway Noise Map.
At the outset of the study, none of the subjects had heart disease. But in the five years after initial testing, 40 went on to suffer a heart attack or stroke.
As it turns out, people with the highest noise pollution exposure were three times more likely to end up on the wrong side of those statistics. And this is after researchers accounted for other obvious heart risk factors—including air and environmental pollution, smoking, and diabetes.8
PET and CT imaging offered at least one explanation for this deadly trend: Subjects with the highest levels of noise exposure also showed higher activity in the amygdala—as well as greater inflammation within their arteries.
And when you think about it, none of this is surprising. Excessive activation of your body’s stress response sets off a lethal domino effect that drives blood vessel inflammation, and paves the way straight to heart disease.
The solution: Targeted adrenal support
Given the role that your body’s stress response plays in this phenomenon, there’s plenty you can do to prepare your body to fight against the threat of excessive loud noise.
In fact, the same strategies you’d typically use to combat adrenal burnout would come in handy here. I first detailed my adrenal protocol back in the April 2013, and have revisited it numerous times since—most recently in the April 2016 issue of Logical Health Alternatives (“URGENT WARNING: That sluggish, ‘tired-all-the-time’ feeling may be putting you on the fast track to deadly disease”). So if you missed it, I urge you to go back to my archives and read it now.
The recommendations in that article apply to anyone suffering from a shortage of peace and quiet—literally or figuratively. So if your world is louder than you’d like it to be, I suggest integrating those recommendations into your daily routine.
Of course, keeping a set of earplugs by your bedside certainly doesn’t hurt either.
In this modern, industrial world, you can never be sure exactly where danger lurks. And it can be overwhelming not knowing what you’re really breathing, seeing, hearing, or eating. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for the latest research, so you can better protect the health of you and your loved ones. Stay tuned right here to my newsletter and my daily e-letter, Reality Health Check, as I continue to bring you all the latest so you can lead a happier, healthier life.
- Organophosphate exposures during pregnancy and child neurodevelopment: Recommendations for essential policy reforms. PLOS Medicine, 2018; 15 (10): e1002671.
- “Introducing Glyphosate, the world’s biggest selling herbicide.” Friends of the Earth Europe, June, 2013
- “Food chemicals may have harmful ‘cocktail’ effect,” FoodNavigator.com, 3/27/15.
- “Association of Short-term Exposure to Air Pollution With Mortality in Older Adults.” JAMA. 2017;318(24):2446-2456.
- “Link between vitamin E, exposure to air pollution.” ScienceDaily, 15 May 2015.
- “B vitamins attenuate the epigenetic effects of ambient fine particles in a pilot human intervention trial.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Mar 28;114(13):3503-3508.
- “Can’t sleep? Street lights may be keeping you awake.” Science Daily, 1 March 2016.
- “Chronic exposure to excess noise may increase risk for heart disease, stroke.” Science Daily, 5 November 2018.