This is an interesting article by Mark Hyman MD which is below. Mark is a Family Physician who is also an expert in Functional Medicine. He discusses how toxins and heavy metals are probably a major cause of obesity. Maybe we all should be looking at measuring for heavy metals as a part of our Health Care screening.
Are Toxins Making You Sick and Fat?
Environmental toxins could be poisoning your metabolism causing spikes in your insulin and blood sugar that lead to insulin resistance, weight gain, and eventually diabetes.
This whole problem of diabesity would be significantly reduced if we simply limited our toxic exposures. Unfortunately, most of us are swimming in a sea of toxins.
Over the last few years, scientists have uncovered an unexpected finding: Toxins make you fat and cause diabetes. This should be headline news, but it isn’t because there are no drugs to treat it.
The most recent example of how toxins make us fat is the dramatic increase in obesity in babies … yes, babies! In 2006, scientists at Harvard School of Public Health found that rates of obesity in infants under 6 months old had risen 73 percent since 1980.
This epidemic of obesity in 6-month-olds is not related to lack of exercise or diet considering they are only drinking breast milk or formula. It is not because they don’t exercise enough or eat junk food.
Babies live on breast milk or formula and love. They don’t say, “Hey mom, take me out for a 1200-calorie McDonald’s breakfast or a giant tub of buttered popcorn.” And you can’t point to watching too much television as a risk factor.
So What’s the Cause?
It appears it may be the load of environmental toxins in their little bodies. The toxins make them fat.
Mounting evidence points to a unique and unappreciated trigger for obesity — exposure to small traces of environmental chemicals in the environment. The average newborn has 287 chemicals in his or her umbilical cord blood, 217 of which are neurotoxic.
The chemicals these infants are exposed to include pesticides, phthalates, bisphenol-A, flame retardants, and heavy metals such mercury, lead, and arsenic. These compounds have a broad range of negative effects on human biology. They damage the nervous system, increase your risk of cancer, and now it has been shown they contribute to obesity.
This is not a fringe idea of radical environmentalists. The National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Academy of Sciences recently convened to examine this new phenomenon of obesogens — toxins that cause obesity.
It’s Not Just About Calories Anymore
The old idea that weight gain is simply a matter of calories in, calories out is falling apart. New evidence proves that weight gain can occur in the absence of excess calorie intake.
For example, in a recent study rats given toxic chemicals gained weight and increased their fat storage without increased caloric intake or increased exercise. In six months, these rats were 20 percent heavier and had 36 percent more body fat than rats unexposed to chemicals.
The key message here is that toxins interfere with and slow down metabolism and contribute to weight gain and diabetes. Larger population studies published in a recent paper in Environmental Health, have confirmed this finding. In the study, higher levels of organochlorine pesticides were found in those who suffered from diabetes.
The Danger of Heavy Metals
Heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and arsenic also cause diabesity. A recent paper in the Journal of American Medical Association documented how arsenic exposure increases the risk of diabetes.
This opens a whole new area of potential treatment for diabetes and obesity. A comprehensive detoxification program for petrochemical and heavy metal toxins can be an effective addition to the treatment of diabesity.
In fact, I’ve seen how powerful eliminating toxins is over and over again in my practice. Take my patient, Joe, for example. This truck driver was your average middle class American. He was a good man who had been exposed to too many toxins in his diet, in his lifestyle, and in his environment.
He was so toxic that his liver was inflamed and was beginning to scar. When he finally came to see me, I advised Joe to change his diet so he could control his insulin and blood sugar.
I also recommended that he introduce some special foods like broccoli, garlic, and artichokes to boost his detoxification system. I added some special nutrients like NAC, alpha lipoic acid, selenium, and herbs like milk thistle to further support his fatty liver.
After three months, Joe felt better, his weight dropped over 20 pounds, and his liver began to heal. By simply removing the toxins from his diet and supporting his detoxification system with a few supplements, we helped him make a miraculous recovery.
The same thing can happen for you but only IF you properly assess what toxins are affecting you and potentially causing diabesity and take the necessary steps to eliminate them from your body.
To your good health, Mark Hyman, M.D.
How the Pima Indians went from slender and healthy to 80% diabetic and a life expectancy of only 46 years in one generation
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