By Dr. Scott E. Rosenthal
Do you remember when your mom yelled at you for licking the perfluorinated compounds off the pizza box or microwave popcorn bag? I used to dread it when I opened my lunchbox only to see a tuna and mercury sandwich with a big red apple dressed in a pesticide glaze. Red dye #3 cherries and nitrite-laden lunchmeat would have been preferred. If I skipped lunch, I would be comforted to know that my toxic body burden could still be thoroughly increased by simply breathing the air! There is no escaping the many toxins and heavy metals that enter our body. The world and those in it are contaminated. This was never so evident then when scientists found the insecticide DDT (banned in the U.S. years ago) in the tissues of arctic penguins thousands of miles away from the closest sprayer. The hundreds of toxins and metals that we are exposed every day are not innocent, but can cause problems ranging from infertility, learning disabilities and autism to cancer, arthritis and allergies.
Just to name a few, there is the likely human carcinogen (any substance or agent that tends to produce a cancer) Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) found in microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, Teflon, some shampoo, dental floss, and denture cleaners. Toxic Flame Retardants (PBDEs) found in consumer electronic plastics, furniture, and mattresses have made their way into fish, meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables, infant formula, blood, breast milk, and umbilical cord blood. PBDEs are known to contribute to deficits in learning and memory. They affect thyroid levels in laboratory animals and in wildlife, and may cause birth defects. Pesticides on our fruits and vegetables may impair children's brain development and are linked to a higher incidence of childhood brain cancer. Mercury, one of the many heavy metals contaminating us, is in the air from the combustion of diesel, jet fuel and heating oil, coal-burning power plants, manufacturers, oil refineries, medical waste disposal facilities and dental offices. It is in most (if not all) of the fish we eat. Human exposure to mercury can result in many chronic health effects, especially fetal development during pregnancy. Additionally, it has been linked to nervous system, kidney and liver damage and impaired childhood development. Many experts believe that mercury plays a large role in the cause of autism. The list of toxins and heavy metals is long and our ability to avoid them is limited. So what can we do? The best approach is to remove as many of the sources as possible and aid our bodies in a continual cleansing process.
Below is a list of five important strategies to safely reduce your body’s toxic and heavy metal burden.
1. You are what you eat or you are what you eat eats!
Buy organic food (produced without the use of harmful chemical pesticides). Some of the heaviest residue laden foods are peaches, strawberries, apples, spinach, nectarines, celery, pears, cherries, potatoes, bell peppers, raspberries, and grapes (imported). Always wash produce well before preparing.
Organic products are more important as you climb the food chain. Dairy, eggs and meat should be from organic sources. Not only will you avoid the many pesticides used in animal feed, but you can also avoid the antibiotics and hormones used in the industry.
When buying seafood, make safer choices such as wild salmon, Pacific cod, Alaskan black cod, Atlantic herring, tilapia, and sardines. Avoid more contaminated fish such as tuna, swordfish, Atlantic salmon and king mackerel.
If it has artificial ingredients, please avoid it! If it clogs your intestines (white flour products, etc.), greatly limit it!
Great detoxifying foods include broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts, onions, garlic, artichokes, beets and red and green vegetables. Eat roughage such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. I HIGHLY recommend eating a raw salad with dark green lettuce (romaine, green leaf…) as often as you can. Top with chickpeas or other legumes (beans) and sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds to add protein and more fiber. Daily is not too often. Eat a full salad dinner twice weekly and have side salads on the other days. The nutritional value is tremendous and the fiber will help move fecal matter and toxins from the bowel. The best grains are whole grains (kamut, amaranth, rye, oats, etc.). Organic whole grain cereals, pasta, breads and brown rice cost more, but are cheaper when you consider their superior health benefits. When we are talking fiber, it is more healthful to eat the box than the white rice inside.
Some of the more dedicated sources of organic products are The Country Health Store in Elsmere, Newark Natural Foods, The Harvest Market in Hockessin and Nature’s Way stores.
2. Natural Cellular Defense (zeolite)
One of the most efficient detoxifying agents is called Zeolite (naturally occurring crystalline aluminosilicate minerals). It is found throughout the world and was formed millions of years ago after lava reacted with water. Zeolite has a honeycomb structure with an overall negative charge. This combination gives zeolite its powerful detoxification ability. Once in the body, it traps positively charged toxins and metals that can be later removed by the body’s natural excretion process. Forty percent of the zeolite is active in the digestive tract and excreted through fecal matter. Sixty percent can be measured as being absorbed in the bloodstream and is excreted through the kidneys and through urine. It’s clinically proven to remove mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic and other heavy metals. Zeolite also helps the immune system and reduces the unhealthy acidic state that most people have resulting from the American diet.
The supplement containing zeolite is called Natural Cellular Defense and is in a liquid solution. It is very easy to take and listed by the FDA as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe which is recognized to be safe for use in food and food additives).
How Much Should You Take Per Day?
Initial dose: 10 drops three times a day for ten days. Maintenance dose: 3 drops three times a day. It is best taken in an eight-ounce glass of water to help insure adequate hydration throughout the day.
This single cell algae plant grown in fresh water, packs a huge range of health benefits. Chlorella can aid the body in the breakdown of persistent hydrocarbon and heavy metals such as DDT, PCB, mercury, cadmium and lead. Like zeolite, it has a positive affect on the immune system response and helps decrease the acidic state of the body. Chlorella improves the digestive system and helps decrease constipation. Unlike zeolite, chlorella’s cleansing ability is only in the intestines.
How Much Should You Take Per Day?
Three grams per day (15 small tablets) is a good maintenance dosage. Some experts recommend that a person take 5-7 grams per day. It is better to start taking chlorella in lower doses and build up to 3-7 grams per day based on your body’s tolerance.
4. Drink up… cheers!
Cleansing the body is impossible without adequate water intake. Below are some core recommendations for healthy water consumption:
a. Drink one quart of bottled spring or filtered water per day for every 50 pounds of body weight. Drinks such as coffee, non-herbal tea, and soda do not count towards one’s hydration requirements.
b. Drink water bottled in clear polyethylene or glass containers.
c. Warning: the cloudy plastic (PVC) containers from your grocery store transfer many chemicals into the water. The five-gallon containers and the ones in the clear bottles (polyethylene) are a better plastic and will not give the water a bad plastic chemical taste.
d. The best home purification device is a reverse osmosis filter ($800-1200). Less expensive carbon filters are still far better than tap water. Since harmful gases are produced by hot tap water when showering, I also highly recommend using a carbon shower filter.
e. Avoid distilled water! Besides having the wrong ionization, pH, polarization and oxidation potentials, it will drain your body of minerals.
f. Water mineral treatments improve the ability of water to hydrate the body, add electrolytes that aid in cleansing the body and help reduce acid levels. Consider the product called Xtreme X2O made by Xooma Worldwide.
5. Sweating and Exercise
Exercise is vital for the cleansing process. It not only increases the removal of toxins through the lungs and skin, but aids in the movement of fecal matter through the intestinal tract.
Remember the old saying, “If your dog is fat, you’re not exercising enough”. Walking Fido is great, but any aerobic activity that brings about a good sweat is a good bet. I find that yoga (especially when practiced in heated rooms) is excellent for the cleansing process. The sweating combined with the many movements that wring out the muscles and organs cleanses our body in the same way a sponge would be cleaned by twisting and squeezing. The heated classes at Yoga U in Wilmington are fantastic (I may be biased since I substitute teach there). For yoga classes near you, visit the Greater Wilmington Yoga Association’s website, www.gwyoga.org. Walking, biking or using fitness machines also work well. When patients ask me what they should do regarding an exercise program, I always ask the same question “what do you like and what will you do?”
It is particularly important to follow the water suggestions when performing regular exercise.
The importance of aiding the body in the elimination of toxins and heavy metals is as equally important to our health and well being as it is overlooked by America. These suggestions are to be incorporated into your lifestyle in order to help create greater health and wellness. This information is safe for the average person to use. If you have health concerns or you are unsure about how to safely exercise, have unusual responses to using any of the above suggestions or know that you have been exposed to toxic substances, please consult your health care professional prior to using or continuing these strategies. Please share this information with all people breathing the same air, drinking the same water and eating the same foods that you do!
Dr. Scott E. Rosenthal is a dedicated expert in the field of health and wellness. He is a Doctor of Chiropractic, has a B.S. in Nutrition and is a Registered Yoga Teacher. In addition to practicing in Wilmington, DE, he writes and speaks regularly to help people live a happier, healthier life. His entertaining presentations are filled with easy-to-use strategies. To contact Dr. Rosenthal call 302-999-0633 or visit RosenthalChiropractic.com.