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Toxin Exposure is Endemic

Headshot of Dr. Meena Malhtra in her lab coat

Meena T. Malhotra, M.D.

The neighborhoods where people live play a major role in their wellness and well-being. Neighborhoods closer to major roadways, industrial and agricultural operations may influence an individual’s daily toxicant exposure level. Higher toxin exposure increases the risk for developing lung, breast, blood and colorectal cancer and other chronic diseases affecting respiratory, metabolic and cardiovascular systems.

Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, manganese and copper, PFAS and PFOS (fluorinated hydrocarbons, or “forever chemicals”) organic solvents, phthalates, pesticides and insecticides all play a role in the pathogenesis and development of chronic diseases like fatty liver, diabetes and thyroid disorders. BPA from plastics is ubiquitous, with more than 90 percent of Americans having traces in their bodies. Detoxification is a therapeutic treatment that prioritizes the avoidance of toxicant exposures as much as possible while implementing lifestyle modifications to enhance biotransformation pathways and elimination processes.

Use a filtration system such as reverse osmosis to remove forever chemicals. Avoid Teflon and similar non-stick cookware; instead, using cast iron, stainless steel or clay pots is another way to cut down exposure to these endocrine disruptors.

Optimizing our individual nutritional status, ensuring adequate fiber and water intake, eating more phytonutrient-dense and diverse foods, and supporting liver function through targeted, nutrient-dense diets, helps improve the elimination of toxic burden. Foods like cruciferous vegetables, berries, soy, garlic and turmeric support the biotransformation of PCBs (endocrine disruptors). Polyphenols found in berries, nuts and seeds affect Cytochrome P450, which plays a key role in the metabolism of drugs and xenobiotics. This process supports the biotransformation processes—particularly of estrogen.

Probiotics, especially lactobacillus strains like rhamonus, casei and plantarum, have been shown to have a potential protective effect against the toxicity from heavy metals. Phytonutrients like sulforaphane, curcumin, quercetin and resveratrol have been reported to stimulate the expression of endogenous detoxification enzymes.

A comprehensive systematic approach is needed to periodically detoxify the body to minimize the environmental impact on pathogenesis of chronic disease.

Meena T. Malhotra, M.D., is the medical director of Heal n Cure, located at 2420 Ravine Way. Ste. 400, in Glenview. For more information, call 847-686-4444 or visit