Dr. Abshire on Toxins and Detoxification

Dr. Abshire has over 13 years of experience working in Occupational & Environmental Medicine. She treats patients with various occupational injuries including inhalation exposures and other toxic exposures that occur on the job. She is a member of the local medical society’s SSVMS, Public & Environmental Health Committee. She represented the CMA, California Medical Association, testifying in front of the California Air Resources Board to help pass the 2009 Clean Air Act regarding Diesel exhaust. During her presentation at the press conference and in front of the board she stated “We can no longer afford to separate the problems in healthcare from the problems in the environment causing them.” 

We are living in a very toxic world. Any pollutants that enter and are not excreted are called our body burden. It makes sense to minimize exposures and support our own bodies detoxification systems. Our bodies are able to eliminate a certain amount of toxins, and some of us are better at it than others. We can eliminate toxins by metabolizing them and then excreting them through bladder and bowel. We can also eliminate some by exhaling- such as with alcohol. When we sweat, we eliminate them directly through the skin which is an excellent way to detoxify.

Minimizing Exposures

Reducing Risks from Pesticides - Peel or wash non-organic fruits and vegetables, and buy organic when possible, especially the dirty dozen. See www.EWG.orgAvoid using pesticides or mosquito repellents, especially DEET on children. Check shampoos, lotions, and cosmetics for toxic ingredients, see www.EWG.org, and the skin deep link. Use non-toxic methods , such as trapping, to rid pests from your home. Do not use pesticides on your pets, use brushes and other methods.

Reducing Risks from Lead -Test childrens' blood for lead if they live in a house built before 1960. Avoid contact with lead paint, and avoid products labeled containing lead, candles, hair dye, pottery etc. Run tap for 1-2 minutes before drinking and especially if mixing baby formula, if house built before 1986. Always use cold water for drinking or baby formulas, hot water will contain higher levels of lead.

Reducing Risks from Mercury - Consume minimal amounts of fish that may be high in mercury. Often bigger fish, such as Tuna, king mackerel, shark, and swordfish have higher mercury levels. For a guide to mercury contamination in fish, go to the National Resources Defense Council website www.nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/guide.asp, also www.ewg.orghas a calculator for safe amount of tuna. Use digital rather than mercury thermometers; Call your city for safe and proper disposal

Reducing Risks from Toxic Household and Car Products - Avoid using cleaning products such as antibacterial soaps, bleach, ammonia, or air fresheners. Use cleaning products that contain nontoxic ingredients or make your own using baking soda or vinegar. See websites: www.wagescooperatives.org/prod_screen_eng.pdf, www.seventhgeneration.com, www.dld123.com, www.ecocycle.com, http://es.epa.gov/techinfo/fact/safe-fs.html. Choose a car seat at the Ecology Centers date base at www.healthycar.org

Reducing Risks from other Chemicals and Heavy Metals - Avoid breathing the off gassing of new carpets, mattresses, and building materials, and of course traffic exhaust when possible. Buy and build nontoxic whenever possible. Mattresses are now required to have fire retardants added, but you can get naturally fire retardant mattresses, and if you are allergic to wool, you can buy non-toxic mattresses with a doctor's prescription. Avoid contact with batteries, and dispose of properly. Please note: some “Green”products, such as furniture or carpets made from recycled plastic bottles etc. are not really green to your body when you count the toxic off gassing. Take only necessary medications, and read the ingredients of over the counter preparations. Buy or make safe skin products. Also, eat anti-biotic and hormone free, free range meats or poultry when possible. Hormones in animals and many petro-chemical fertilizers and petro-chemical pesticides have estrogen like effects. Antibiotics in cattle can select for more ferocious strains. That is where the deadly e-coli came from. For more information see www.EWG.org, www.foodnews.organd www.cosmeticsdatabase.comI also recommend reading The Omnivore's Dilemna, and In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan.

Support your bodies own Detox systems

Drink lots of clean water and eat lots of fiber, psyllium, an important pre-biotic, it feeds the good bacteria. Keep everything moving as elimination through your bladder and bowel is a key part of your detox system.Take pro-biotics. Eat foods high in antioxidants . Consider taking antioxidants daily and a multivitamin for insurance. Usually extra Vit D and Omega 3's are indicated due to epidemic deficiencies. Sweat daily, mostly from exercise however sauna use is excellent. Try to breath clean air; outdoors is often cleaner than indoors, when you are exercising. Eat balanced, colorful meals including a protein source, try for 10 fruits and vegies per day, include a dark, green leafy vegetable, at least one cruciferous vegetable, 1 bright orange vegetable and a citrus fruit or vegetable every day. Eat lots of legumes. When you eat this way you are supporting your Phase I and Phase II detox systems in your liver, and helping elimination through bowel and bladder.

Please note- when you fast, you use your stored fat for energy. Fat is where you store your toxins as most of them are fat soluble. You will release the stored toxins into the bloodstream. If you do not have adequate nutrient and protein intake, such as you lack with fasting, you will not be able to detoxify and eliminate toxins with the phase I and phase II pathways in the liver. Therefore, these mostly fat soluble substances will tend to go into the brain, our most fatty organ. It is more difficult to get toxins out of the brain. As we are not living on top of a pristine mountain with access to clean air and water, and we all have a body burden of toxins, I advise against fasting and rapid weight loss.

Other Options- Cilantro helps release toxins. Alpha Lipoic Acid, supports release of toxins. Chlorella, a natural marine algae, taken orally, helps bind and carry out heavy metals. Consider supplementing with NAC, which supports Phase II, and/or Silymarin, from Milk Thistle, which promotes balanced production of NAC for Phase II reactions, and also affects Phase I liver detox pathways. Use caution with Silymarin if you are on medications that are metabolized by the same Phase I enzymes. Intravenous NAC protects the liver from damage and is used to reduce the need for a liver transplant from Tylenol poisoning. I.V. NAC is mainstream medicine.

Catechins, a class of flavonoids, found in Green Tea induces some Phase II activity, and induces Phase I in a way that stops over production by a toxin when a toxin was present, but helped produce it when needed when a toxin was not present. A full spectrum of catechins was necessary for this to occur. Different catechin molecules provide different Cytochrome P450 enzymes up or down regulations.

This shows the wisdom of natural medicines gently tickling many pathways, instead of the stronger drug mechanism of blocking one pathway. Drugs tend to hang onto a receptor and cause more side effects. An added benefit is that natural botanical molecules breakdown and don’t end up in our water supply. I am not against drugs. I am just against leaving out the preventive tools.

More on Green Tea; It has been shown to block cancer cells survival in 9 different ways. A normal cell won’t die when exposed in a solution, but a cancer cell will commit suicide. Green Tea also shows preventive, anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic potential. It is a strong anti-oxidant and binds directly to toxic substances. It also promotes optimal gut microflora, pH and healthy bowel function.

Ellagic acid in Pomegranate and Strawberries promotes balanced detoxification in 3 ways. It induces Phase II activities at the gene level. It modulates Phase I activities, so that some enzymes are not over induced. It binds directly to some toxic pollutants rendering them non-toxic and promoting their excretion. Elagic acid can also bind directly to DNA, protecting from carcinogenic mutations.

Traditional medicine has long used Artichoke to protect the liver. Several compounds have been identified. In cultured liver cells, artichoke extract protected by antioxidant activity against a chemical injury, and also decreased the loss of glutathione in the cell. Glutathione is what NAC raises.

Lecithinprovides choline. If you are allergic to soy, lecithin is not an option. Choline is not officially a B vitamin, but it is very important in detoxification. It is found in eggs and many other foods, however deficiencies of choline are common. Choline is also a component of an important neurotransmitter.

Also, Get plenty of sleep, relax, and detoxify toxic thoughts.You not only are what you eat, but also what you drink, what you breathe, what you absorb, and what you think. 

Limit electronic emission exposure. Here is a link from EWG   o.k. www.EWG.org -  look up your cell phone

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