A Review of Dr. Joseph Pizzorno’s
Excellent Guide: The Toxin Solution
“Detoxification” has become, deservedly, a hot topic in medicine.With the slow, but growing realization that our environment has becomemore and more toxic over the past several generations, comes the wake-up call that this toxicity is having profound effects on our health. We are just beginning to realize that many chronic illnesses are both directly and indirectly connected to the unregulated proliferation of chemicals and EMF(Electro Magnetic Frequencies) and to heavy metals as well. Mold toxicity may be the most obvious of these, partly because we can now measure it with some degree of accuracy, and treat it successfully. The growing epidemic of stealth infections, headed by Lyme disease and its coinfections, adds another dimension to this burden of toxicity as we kill these microbes and release the toxins they harbor as well.
I am repeatedly asked whether my referral practice of unusually sensitive and toxic patients is skewing my perspective on how prevalent these conditions have become. Yes, the nature of my practice does force me to be more aware of this, but at the same time I am certain that I am not the only one seeing this phenomenon.
When I entered medical practice, an astonishing 48 years ago (my how the time flies when you are having fun!) I am not sure that I saw any cases of mold toxicity or Lyme. If I did, I missed those diagnoses. It is not that these are new to humanity: the Old Testament discusses mold toxicity and how to treat a moldy residence. Many experts have come to the conclusion that the new epidemics are the result of several factors:
1) The oil crisis of the 1970s changed the way in which buildings were constructed. To cut down on energy consumption buildings which were somewhat open and ventilated (in a good way) were closed up, with large amounts of insulation, and were at risk for developing mold growth if water intrusion into the building occurred.
2) New chemicals, not before seen on our planet, were introduced to the tune of 70,000 in the past 50 years, of which only 500 were adequately tested for their safety in human beings.
3) The introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s forced the microbes(bacteria, fungi and viruses) to adapt to these threats to their environment and they did so far more capably and rapidly than anyone could predict. They became more virulent and we continue to lose our ability to destroy them as fast as they adapt to what we are throwing at them. We have also learned, to our dismay, that they microbes are far more complicated than we had realized, and that they are capable of communicating with themselves and other species every nuance they discover to circumvent our advances.
4) Given these changing conditions, we are seeing a marked increase in what is referred to as toxic load: We are now bombarded with toxins that we need to process with our organs of elimination—-notably our liver, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, lymphatics, lungs and skin—and we are increasingly unable to keep up with that load. That means that exposure to mold toxin, for example, might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Perhaps your liver was just managing to keep up with your exposures, but one blast of mold toxin at home or work tipped the balance into systemic toxicity and results in illness. Once illness sets in, now you are faced with not only the mold toxicity, (which is nasty enough in and of itself), but all of the underlying toxicities of chemicals and heavy metals that preceded it.
Most of you have read my book, “Toxic” which goes over some of this information in more detail.
To expand on this information, I have had the pleasure of recently reading Dr. Joseph Pizzorno’s new book, The Toxin Solution: How Hidden Poisons in the Air, Water, Food and Products We Use Are Destroying Our Health—–And What We Can Do To Fix It,” published by Harper One, 2017.
Dr. Pizzorno, who is a naturopathic physician, is internationally recognized as a teacher and pioneer in the realization of how important a role toxicity plays in compromising our health.He has taken his decades of experience and put it together in this very readable and usable volume which I encourage you all to read. He begins by documenting and clarifying some of the most common toxins in our environment and making it clear that we must be aware of this to make healthy choices. He then provides a variety of detoxification programs in which he lays out what we need to put into our bodies (foods and supplements) and remove from our bodies (potentially toxic foods, chemicals, and what are referred to as Health and Beauty Aids.) You will be unpleasantly surprised to discover that many of the products and foods you are using may not be ideal for health. More important, Dr. Pizzorno provides us with a road map of what can reverse this. He lays out his program in two week increments. To make them more do-able he makes it clear that doing even the basic protocol several times a year may be of great value. So let’s review his basics:
I The Two-Week Jumpstart Diet: Dr. Pizzorno starts by giving us lists of foods that are healthy choices and unhealthy choices. Using the information from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) which has a lot of excellent information on all aspects of toxicity, he notes the following 14 foods, (organic is a must and makes a huge difference) constitute their “Dirty Dozen + 2” which are known to have the heaviest doses of agricultural pesticides: Apples, Strawberries, Grapes, Celery, Peaches, Spinach, Sweet Bell Peppers, Nectarines (imported) Cucumbers, Tomatoes,Snap peas (imported), Potatoes, Hot peppers, Kale and collard greens. In addition to these, he urges that for two weeks you stop consuming processed foods, gluten-containing foods, dairy products, beef and chicken, farmed fish, soy products, refined foods and sweeteners, alcohol and recreational drugs, salt, and water that has not been purified or proven to be clean.
Wow! Some of you may have a head start on this, but beginning with this list is a good place to begin. So, you ask, what CAN I do? His recommendations are to drink at least 4 quarts of clean water daily, take a high-quality probiotic, multivitamin and mineral supplement, increase the fiber in your diet, eat a half-pound of brassica-family foods each day (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) eat most of your vegetables from the “Clean 15” below, eat real, unprocessed foods, use turmeric to spice and use oils carefully. The Clean 15 include avocado, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwi fruit, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe (domestic), cauliflower and sweet potatoes—with an emphasis on organic produce and being careful not to cook these at too high temperatures…..he recommends baking, braising or steaming.
II Next, the Two-Week Gut Protocol followed by
III The Two-Week Liver Detox Protocol followed by
IV The Two-Week Kidney Detox Protocol
I find Dr. Pizzorno’s recommendations carefully laid out, with excellent dietary examples given for each component of treatment. He goes to great length to emphasize that everyone needs to individualize their own program and to work with a health professional to do this properly. He cautions that if, at any stage, the release of toxins outstrips the body’s ability to remove those toxins, patients will get worse and need to proceed carefully.
I have begun to recommend this program to many of my patients, especially those that have already demonstrated an ability to detoxify successfully. For those who are unusually toxic or sensitive, ONLY work with a health care professional and you may need to add each component of these programs slowly, one-at-a-time to be able to make steady progress. As many of you have discovered, detoxification is not as simple as it sounds, and you can only work at the pace your body allows. If you attempt to push it, you are likely to get worse and experience at setback and this is not in your best interest.
Having expressed the need for caution, I still find his programs to be well thought out and accessible. My wife and I plan to start this as soon as I get back from teaching in Denver next weekend with Bob Miller, and we will share our experiences in a future newsletter.
For those of you who are professionals or want more information I also recommend the textbook written by the late Dr. Walter Crinnion and Dr. Pizzorno, Clinical Environmental Medicine published by Elsevier, 2019.
While the information about our toxic environment is frightening, I want to end by emphasizing that this book is about what you can do about your exposures. As such, I view it as a book of hope. Dr. Pizzorno provides many clinical examples of patients he successfully treated with this information and I am hoping that this will be helpful for all of you as you continue your journey towards healing.
With prayers for a future, cleaner, healthier world,