Integrative Nutrition Blog

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Protect Yourself from Harmful Chemicals

Nov 16, 2022 | Inflammation & Autoimmune Disease

We are literally surrounded by chemicals, there is truly no escaping it. Our bodies have extremely efficient mechanisms to help us remove or detoxify ourselves from these harmful chemicals. However, sometimes we can get overburdened when we are exposed to too many chemicals over a long period of time. Today we are discussing a few chemicals to watch out for and how you can help and support your body’s detoxification process.

There are over 85,000 chemicals registered in the US today and 1000s more hit the market every year. Less than 1/3 of these chemicals have publicly available safety data and less than 2% of these chemicals are assessed for their effect on children’s health and development. Lack of oversight of chemicals and health has truly become a public health crisis. Rates of cancer are increasing at an alarming rate. Autoimmune diseases are everywhere. Infertility rates are on the rise, and we have an obesity crisis on our hands. All of these issues may be linked to the environmental exposures we face on a daily basis.


  1. Glyphosate. Chemical companies have worked long and hard to develop effective pesticides to protect our commodity crops with little regard to how they actually affect human health. One of the most effective pesticides on the market today is Glyphosate. Glyphosate is the most heavily used pesticide worldwide with over 250 million pounds used in the US every year. Glyphosate has recently been under a lot of scrutinies for its carcinogenic effects. Several other studies have found it to be inflammatory. It up regulates C-Reactive Protein (CRP) and multiple inflammatory cytokines. It has also been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier and cause brain inflammation. Glyphosate has also been shown to cause lung inflammation in combination with exposure to local polysaccharides, which is a common airborne contaminant in farming. This pesticide has also been shown to cause dysbiosis in animals and trigger leaky gut.
  2. Endocrine disrupting chemicals. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are another class of chemicals that can cause a lot of harm to our bodies. These chemicals interfere with hormone signaling in the body it can affect the immune system. In a 2012 review article, these chemicals can either dampen or over-excite the immune system. They can trigger inflammation in the body and they can deplete our glutathione stores, which is our most potent antioxidant in the body. EDCs can also affect our estrogen production, which can be a huge problem not only from an inflammation standpoint, but from a fertility and general health and wellness standpoint. The most common EDCs include phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyls, BPA, flame retardants, parabens, and even glyphosate.

How Can We Protect Ourselves?

Remove and Reduce Exposure

The first step is to remove and reduce your exposure to these chemicals. Glyphosate cannot be sprayed on organic crops, so aim for organic or at least the Dirty Dozen for organic options. Reduce or eliminate your gluten consumption. Wheat is a major commodity crop and glyphosate is all over that. Switch to cleaner products that don’t contain EDCs personally that includes personal care products and cleaning products. Reduce or eliminate your use of plastics such as glass or stainless steel for food storage.

Focus on Whole Foods

The second step is to help your body process these toxins. eating whole foods is key here but there are certain detox superfoods to focus on.

Types of Foods
  • Broccoli. Broccoli contains sulforaphane, which is a potent antioxidant and is efficient at neutralizing toxins. This compound has also been shown to slow down cancerous tumor growth. The best way to eat broccoli is to lightly cook it until it is bright green.
  • Citrus fruits. Citrus fruits contain vitamin C, and are a great antioxidant to support detoxification from both workplace toxins and emotional stress. Orange-colored fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds can also help support these needs.
  • Leafy green vegetables. Leafy green vegetables contain folate, which is particularly important for those with methylation issues or who are experiencing hormonal imbalances or heavy metal exposures.
Support Natural Detoxification Pathways

The last way to protect yourself is to support your body’s natural detoxification process. The best way to do this is through sweat. Sweat is one of the most effective ways to get rid of toxins. You can use an infrared sauna, a sauna blanket a hot bath, or exercise. The goal here is to be dripping in sweat in order to help your body to release these toxins in circulation.

Chemicals are everywhere, but that doesn’t mean your body has to suffer because of them. There are plenty of things that you can do to protect yourself using both diet and lifestyle to support your body’s detoxification process and to reduce your exposure to these chemicals.  If you need more help managing detoxification or anything related to diet and nutrition, please contact me for a free discovery call. I would love to chat with you.

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