Weight Gain and Chemicals in Your Environment

Big Belly

Summer is near and many of us are hoping to lose weight, and we all know there are more important reasons for losing weight than just a looking good in our swimsuit. Increased body fat has been linked to various diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cancer, even sleep apnea and osteoarthritis. New research is now indicating that the surest way to a fit and trim body may necessitate a metabolic detoxification program! Scientific evidence now shows that certain environmental chemicals can block your hormones and disrupt your body's normal metabolic function. These toxic chemicals are known as "endocrine-disruptors". This list of chemicals includes very commonly occurring environmental toxins such as: PCBs, DDT, dioxin, pesticides, and plasticizers, like BPA. Dr. Bruce Blumberg, professor and researcher at the University of California in Irvine calls these chemicals "obesogens.",-hormone like chemicals that cause obesity. Dr. Blumberg stated, "Despite what we've heard, diet and exercise alone are insufficient to explain the obesity epidemic."

The EPA has estimated there are over 10,000 different chemical ingredients found in cosmetics, food and consumer products. In 2000 just the major American companies dumped 7.1 billion pounds of 650 different industrial chemicals into our air and water. Of the more than 75,000 chemicals licensed for commercial use, probably more than 1,000 of them are specific endocrine disruptors. According to Frederick vom Saal's research at the University of Missouri-Columbia, endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in our environment are causing us to get fat. His research discovered that these endocrine disrupting chemicals found in plastics and foods can change gene function, altering your metabolic system and predispose you to obesity. These man-made chemicals are mistaken by your body for naturally occurring hormones, which regulate the production and storage of fat cells. These chemicals therefore can your alter metabolic rate, so that your body hoards calories rather than burning them! "People who have abnormal metabolic systems have to live extremely different lifestyles in order to not be obese because their systems are malfunctioning," according to vom Saal.

Commonly occurring endocrine-disrupting chemicals linked to weight gain include:

  • Bisphenol A (BPA) comes from plastic water bottles, baby bottles, the linings of metal food and soft-drink containers, and dental sealants. Our exposure primarily comes from BPA leaching into our food and liquids from their containers. Studies show low doses of BPA during early development causes greater obesity later in life.
  • Phthalates are ubiquitous plasticizers found in PVC tubing, plastics, cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, lotions, lubricants, paint, pesticides, fragrances and much more. Studies link phthalates with increased abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and possibly type II diabetes.
  • Atrazine is a very common herbicide that contaminates our drinking water and as residue in our food. Research findings suggest that low doses of atrazine may contribute to the development of insulin resistance and obesity, especially with a high-fat diet.
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is found in non-stick cookware, grease-proof food packaging, and stain-proof coating on clothing and carpeting. Several studies show that PFOA exposure results in reduced birth weight followed by obesity after puberty.

The explosion of obesity in our society since 1980 has now been directly related to our massive exposure to chemicals in foods, cosmetics, personal care products and home cleaning products. Do you want to make that change in your life that leads to better health and a trim body? Live a dedicated green, "natural" lifestyle and consume organic foods to minimize your exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals. Make sure that you are only utilizing quality safe green products in your home and on your body. Also there are more advanced metabolic therapies that can enhance your ability to minimize the effect of these chemicals and even help you remove them from your body. Specific laboratory testing, that I routinely do in my clinic, can help you determine if these chemicals are possibly leading to your weight gain or taking a toll on your health causing you chronic pain, fatigue and depression. A doctor must be trained in utilizing and properly interpreting these biomarkers to make them useful to a patient's recovery.

Author Dr. Greg Fors

About Dr. Greg Fors

Dr. Greg Fors, D.C. is a Board-certified Neurologist (IBCN), certified in Applied Herbal Sciences (NWHSU) and acupuncture. As the director of the virtual Pain and Brain Healing Center, he specializes in a functional medicine approach to fibromyalgia, fatigue, brain fog, digestive disorders, depression and anxiety. He is a sought after international lecturer for various post-graduate departments and state associations. Dr. Fors is the author of the highly acclaimed book, “Why We Hurt” available through booksellers everywhere.

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