Bonnie Camo MD, Natural Medicine & Homeopathy, Trebisacce, Italy
Is there a link between the American epidemic of obesity and chemical pollution of our air, water and earth? There are several known mechanisms by which toxic pollutants cause obesity.
Environmental toxins include chemicals and heavy metals. The heavy metals that cause the most health problems are lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, nickel, and aluminum. Chemical toxins include solvents and cleaning agents, prescription drugs, pesticides and food additives.
Organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) stored in body fat are released when body fat is used as fuel during a weight loss diet. These chemicals cause a decrease in thyroid hormone levels, lowering the metabolic rate and preventing further weight loss. Toxins also damage the mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses in cells, interfering with their ability to burn fat and create energy.
A recent study conducted by the Mercer University School of Medicine examined whether pesticide exposure played a role in worldwide childhood obesity. The researchers observed nearly 6,800 subjects aged 6 to 19. Individual exposure was determined through the use of urine tests for pesticide residues. The results showed that obese subjects had high urinary concentrations of 2,5-dichlorophenol (2,5-DCP), one of the most widely-used pesticides in the world. Children who were exposed to high levels of PCBs and DDE (a product of DDT) in breast milk, averaged twelve pounds heavier at puberty.
Genetically modified foods, hyped by MonSatan as requiring less pesticides, actually require more pesticides than normal crops. Weeds have become resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup ready GM crops, so farmers are having to apply more herbicides, and even more dangerous ones, like 2,4D, an ingredient in Agent Orange. So the GMOs in almost all processed foods, damaging enough in themselves, are also loaded with obesity-causing pesticides.
Toxins also interfere with appetite-controlling substances in the brain, like leptin and alpha-MSH, causing hunger to increase. Fatty liver is the most common liver disease in America, affecting one in five. It is not caused by alcohol, drugs or viral hepatitis, but by excess sugar. Sugar, white flour and high fructose corn syrup are converted to triglycerides (fat) in liver cells. A fatty liver is unable to perform its job of detoxifying the body.
Antibiotics have also been identified as being a promoter for obesity as well as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Antibiotics may succeed in destroying harmful bacteria, as intended, but they also destroy good and necessary gut bacteria. These friendly flora are responsible for regulating overall health, including weight management.
We can avoid toxins that cause obesity by eating organic foods, thus avoiding pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs. Drink filtered water rather than water in plastic bottles (that will end up in a landfill or floating in the sea forever) and avoid the harmful effects of plastic ingredients like phthalates. Use HEPA filters to remove dust, molds and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) from the air, and shower filters to remove chlorine. Fill your house with houseplants that help clean the air. Reduce heavy metal exposure by avoiding aluminum pans and deodorants, mercury-laden large fish like tuna and swordfish, lead paint, and tobacco, a major source of cadmium.
Encourage elimination of toxins by drinking plenty of water, and working up a sweat by exercise, steam baths or saunas. Stretching exercise like yoga improves the flow of lymph and helps flush out toxins. Eat detoxifying foods like cruciferous vegetables, dandelion greens, garlic, and berries. Drink green tea and herbal teas containing dandelion, ginger, licorice or cinnamon. High sulfur foods like organic eggs, whey protein, onions and broccoli provide sulfur amino acids needed for detoxification. Season your food with herbs like cilantro, which helps remove heavy metals, and rosemary, containing carnosol which raises detoxification enzymes. Most fruits and vegetables tend to alkalinize the urine, which makes it easier to remove toxins.
Supplements that aid detoxification include a daily high potency multivitamin/mineral, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, milk thistle – an herb which benefits the liver, probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, N-acetyl cysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, and L-carnitine. Zinc may be low in a vegetarian diet and may be supplemented to help displace heavy metals. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), also called organic sulfur, is another aid in removing harmful heavy metals.