• Fighting the Fat — Is There an Unseen Enemy?
Posted by Joseph F. McWherter, MD on September 2, 2013
In my previous blog, I spoke about the obesity epidemic that is currently striking the United States. In this blog I will talk about what — besides overindulgence and non-exercise — is the behind the increase in obesity in the last few decades.
For more than five decades we have tended to overeat, shun exercise, work too hard, and worry too much. But even with these unhealthy habits, obesity during the 1950s through the 1980s seemed less of issue than today. What changes have occurred which may account for rampant obesity unresponsive to previous treatments?
DEHP, BPA Linked To Potential Health Problems In Children
Reuters (8/19, Pittman) reports that research published online in Pediatrics indicated that teens who have high urinary levels of Di-2-ethylhexylphthalate (DEHP) may have a higher risk of having insulin resistance. The study included more than 760 adolescents. A separate study published in Pediatrics indicated that while bisphenol A (BPA) was not associated with insulin resistance, it was linked to a higher risk of obesity and a higher waist circumference-to-height ratio.
Based on the DHEP/BPA article, we may now be witnessing a new etiology for obesity which is linked to our exposure (which can begin in childhood) of specific environmental agents. These agents act as endocrine disruptors, resulting in unwanted fat accumulation. A lifetime of gradual accumulation of these metabolic toxins would explain why many of us who monitor our food consumption and engage in routine exercise still gain weight without apparent explanation. Science has allocated a special designation for these fat causing molecules – obseogens.
Obesogens – Unseen to the Eye
Obesogens is the term coined for chemicals which cause us to produce more fat cells, thus leading to weight gain. During our lifetime exposure to environmental toxins, obesogens gradually accumulate in our body, disrupting our ability to metabolize fats.
Examples of obesogens include:
- Bisphenol A (BPA) and xenoestrogens: Foreign estrogens found in commercial and industrial products. They accumulate from the leaching of certain plastics and use of particular detergents,
- Organotins: Organic pollutants used in PVC, fungicides, pesticides, slimcides, wood preservatives, and marine anti-fouling agents, and
- Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and phthalates(DHEP): Xenoestrogenic agents which act to soften plastics like PVC.
The deceptive but lethal role of obesogens is that they are ubiquitous; therefore, we cannot totally escape them in our modern industrial society. Daily exposure results in the accumulation of low tissue levels within your body. Studies have shown that human blood levels of these toxins, when mimicked in animal models, causes excess fat accumulation and obesity.
Being hidden from detection yet ever present in the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the clothes we wear, allows obesogens to sabotage our metabolic system and induce insulin resistance. What follows is obesity and increased levels of chronic inflammation.
What can be done to minimize the effects of obesogens? Ridding the body of these toxins requires mobilization or releasing them from fat storage cells, followed by passage through the liver for detoxification, and finally transportation out of the body using the bowel, kidneys, and especially the skin.
In addition to proper food selection and exercise, a successful diet plan must address the detrimental effects of obesogens by:
- Balancing of hormones disrupted by obesogens – especially control of insulin resistance and reduction of xenoestrogen effects
- Mobilization of the obesogens with frequent use of either infrared and steam saunas, soaking in warm water with proper combinations of essential oils and bath salts, or exercising in a warm environment (hot yoga). Be sure to immediately rinse the skin to clear the toxins.
- Detoxification of the circulating obesogens using specific orthomolecular formulations for liver support – isothiocyanates and anti-inflammatory herbal preparations.(e.g. Intest Restore)
- Avoidance of further exposure to obesogens. For example, avoid eating foods stored in soft plastic containers. Be certain of your food sources, especially with respect to pesticide use.
If you are frustrated because despite regular exercise and avoidance of unhealthy foods you still struggle, perhaps obesogens are behind your lack of weight loss. Try to avoid obesogen exposure to the best of your ability, eat right for your estrogen and insulin, and consult with a nutritionist at Energy Health Centre for assistance in health support through good nutritional and lifestyle choices. Live the matrix way of life!