We used to think diabetes was caused by body fat, sugar, and inactivity. You might be surprised how large of a role environmental toxicants play. Get started on reversing type 2 diabetes, or reversing prediabetes, with this incredibly helpful cleanse for diabetics today.
For years, it seemed that many had assumed that diabetes was simply caused by obesity and inactivity. Recent data, though, has shown that environmental toxicants may play a larger role than just about any other controllable factor when it comes to causing diabetes.
My patients are often shocked to learn that obesity is merely a risk factor when it comes to diabetes, especially when a person has a high burden of environmental toxicants.
Body fat has often been regarded as a large risk factor for diabetes, even independent of body weight. New evidence is even showing that fat itself is less of a danger, rather the toxins that are commonly stored within fat are what is causing damage to our bodies.
A recent study I read talked about the positioning of children in areas of high-pollution, and that they were chemically predisposed to contracting diabetes due to the air around them (1). This is shocking stuff, because it takes what we thought of as the cause of diabetes and basically turns it on its head. It’s no longer simply about what’s going on in our bodies, but the factors outside our bodies as well.
How common is diabetes?
Diabetes is just about one of the most common diseases there is in the United States and the numbers are only growing. A recent study, from 2015, suggested that over half of Americans have either diabetes or prediabetes (2). Since then, we can only assume that this number has grown. This is truly shocking, and suggests that diabetes might just be one of the biggest health issues of our time.
Having experience in this field, I can also tell you that people with thyroid or adrenal issues are especially prone to developing diabetes. When you’re especially at risk for diabetes or prediabetes, it is so much more important that you learn about the steps you can take to reversing type 2 diabetes today. It’s so important, so why not start now?
Which toxins are the worst?
Let’s get right into it, shall we? When we think about the toxins that we want to avoid there are going to be four major ones that we talk about. I’m going to break them down, one by one, and will tell you where you can find them. Then, we will talk about how you can go about flushing them out of your system.
Where can I find phthalates?
You can primarily find phthalates in:
- Food containers
- Food stored in plastics
What do phthalates do?
Basically, they act as “endocrine disruptors” to our body. This means that they alter the way our bodies respond to its own regulatory hormones. Ironically enough, the cosmetics that we use to look more alluring, attractive or even healthy do a lot of work to block our more “natural hormonal cosmetics”: testosterone and estrogen.
The problem with phthalates is that they have a way of building up for a long time in the body (3), so it makes it all the more difficult to get rid of them if you have been bringing them in for a long period of time.
How do you avoid phthalates?
There are two distinct ways that can help you avoid phthalates in your day-to-day life:
- Focus on natural cosmetics and skin care. My personal favourites are from Anne Marie Gianni (4) - it’s all food-based, so it’s so clean you could (literally) eat it!
- Avoid plastics in the kitchen and in your food storage. Try and use glass storage containers, mason jars or wax paper. Not only are they sturdier and better for the environment, they are better for your body, too.
Bottom Line: Because we can find phthalates in cosmetics, food containers and other plastics, that means that they might be incredibly common in your day-to-day life. Discover where you might be finding phthalates, and cut them out right away.
2. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Where can I find PAHs?
PAHs are known carcinogens (5). They can be found in coal, tar, oil and other petroleum products. They can also form on things that burn: smoke meats, cured meats, charbroiled meat, and can come from tobacco smoke.
When you fill your car with gas, and you smell a strong odor, that’s you being exposed to plenty of PAH. So, when you are going to fill your car up, make sure you take a big step back when the hose is running. This way, you can avoid that odor and you can avoid those PAHs.
What do PAHs do?
There are two things that PAHS can do:
- Cause cancer
- Disrupt the insulin receptors found in your liver and pancreas (6)
Obviously, whenever we hear the term “cancer” we should know that we want to be miles away from whatever is being linked to that awful disease. PAHs, though, can also have a detrimental effect on the insulin receptors in our liver and pancreas. This can obviously affect those with diabetes, prediabetes or who are going down the wrong path.
How do you avoid PAHs?
Here are some things you can do to avoid PAHs:
- Please don’t smoke (always a good piece of advice)
- Try not to charbroil or prepare your meat over charcoal at all, but if you do it should be no more than one or two times per month. If and when you do, always include antioxidants like rosemary, turmeric and ginger in your cooking.
- Avoid gasoline products, and only use them in well-ventilated areas only.
Bottom Line: PAHs are incredibly dangerous to our health, in general and especially for those who have diabetes, prediabetes or are predisposed to either. If we want to lead our best life, we have to take action steps to be vigilant and cut out PAHs entirely.
3. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
Where can I find PCBs?
PCBs were primarily made during 1929 - 1979, but were then banned. However, they are still all over the place in the environment (7). They recycle in the environment, specifically because they can be found in:
- Pigments and dyes
- Old appliances
We can also find them in our food. Fish are especially at risk for collecting PCBs. Overall, there is definitely a reason why PCBs were banned: they are bad for your health. Yet, we can still find them in our environment.
What do PCBs do?
The initial problem with PCBs is just how long they can stay in our bodies - 20 to 30 years, and sometimes even longer. They act as endocrine disruptors (8), and they are known triggers of both diabetes and cancers.
How do you avoid PCBs?
What you really want to think about is focusing on “small seafood.” This means focusing on fish that has been farmed on a small-scale, as opposed to larger farmed fish. A handy trick is known that the size of a fish’s mouth is related to how many PCBs are within it - so, by this logic, sardines are absolutely awesome. Shrimp and shellfish are also safe, as less of a PCB-prone contaminant.
Bottom Line: If you want to avoid PCBs in your diet, you need to be conscious of how often you can find them in farmed and large fish. Avoid both, and you’ll be able to avoid PCBs with ease.
Where can I find arsenic?
When we think about arsenic, we should be thinking about it as water. Did you know that 10% of municipal water in the United States (9) has been found to be contaminated with arsenic? Many areas might not be in direct danger of contamination, but it is still a danger nonetheless.
What does arsenic do?
When we get arsenic into our systems, it does the following:
- It blocks our thyroid hormones
- Raises the risk for diabetes by harming the pancreas’ beta cells (the same cells which make insulin)
- It makes it harder for our bodies to detoxify
All in all, this leads to a vicious cycle where you are unable to detoxify the toxins which are clearly continuing to build up in your body.
How do you avoid arsenic?
First and foremost, you should really want to get to testing your drinking water. Doctor’s Data (10) has some very helpful and comprehensive water testing kits to let you know what’s really going on in your taps.
At the same time, you should look into reusable bottles with your water. This is important, especially for later on, because of how important staying hydrated is for diabetic cleanses. Skip the plastic compounds, and use a reusable container with reverse osmosis water.
You are also going to want to avoid alcohol. Wine, for instance, is especially high in arsenic. Older wines, in particular, are going to be higher in arsenic - they might be better when you ask a wine expert, but they are definitely not better for our health.
Key Insight: When it comes to reversing type 2 diabetes, we need to keep in mind how important a role hydration is going to play. If we can find arsenic in municipal waters, we should be using a purifying system (like reverse osmosis) alongside reusable containers to help give our bodies what they need all of the time.
How do you get rid of all these toxins?
Now that we have talked about some of the environmental toxins which could be plaguing our bodies, we need to understand how to stop them.
The first step is to “pre-tox,” which means that we need to start by avoiding everything that we have mentioned beforehand.
Once we’ve done that, we can move onto the detox:
- The solution to pollution is dilution - aka hydrate, hydrate, hydrate - 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. As I mentioned before, purified water is going to be best (so we can avoid all of that nasty arsenic).
- Fiber - You’ll definitely want to go high fiber, as well, with at least 30 - 40 grams of fiber per day. Resistant starches (11), in particular, are especially powerful when it comes to detoxifying the body.
- Sweat - At least three or more times per week you are going to want to break a sweat or two. Out here in the desert that is more than doable, but in your neck of the woods you are going to want to exercise and maybe even visit the sauna.
Test For Success
There is also value in testing when it comes to reversing type 2 diabetes. So, if you have either:
- Blood sugar issues
- Thyroid disease
It is definitely worth your time to dig deeper into these issues, and to learn a little bit more about your body. There are even some clues that you can see from routine blood tests, such as:
- An ALT Test - If you are a woman and your ALT is over 20, you might have some cause for concern. It’s a sign that you might carrying some sort of chemical burden - such as cadmium, lead, mercury or PCBs.
- Bilirubin Scores - If your scores are over 0.8, you might have reason to be suspicious about PCBs being in your system.
If either of these are off, there are definitely more detailed tests that you can pursue. Detailed toxicology tests can help us determine what your toxic burden is, and how it can be best treated moving forward. The toxic burden often informs the detox program.
Do you know how your adrenals are functioning?
Has your blood sugar been an issue? Are you worried that you might be headed down the wrong track when it comes to diabetes. The first step is to check your adrenal function with the adrenal quiz today. It will give you a better idea of where you stand with your health, and the steps you can take to living your best life today.