Polluted Environment: Toxins and Their Effects – Part 3

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM; Carrie Lam, MD

Read Part 1 | Part 2

Ways to Reduce or Eliminate Effects of Toxic Exposure Due to a Polluted Environment

Foods with additives that lead to a polluted environmentWe live in a polluted environment and all of the very serious illnesses that come because of the toxins we’re exposed to daily. Many, if not most, symptoms related to toxic chemical exposure are the same as those experienced by people suffering from AFS. Thus, many of the suggested foods, herbs, and supplements that are beneficial for toxic exposure will also be beneficial for AFS symptoms.


A significant body of research indicates nutrition is an excellent vehicle to fight exposure to toxic substances in a polluted environment. Research also shows proper nutrition to be a powerful way to reduce disease risk from these toxic substances. The World Health Organization has reported unhealthy diets to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.

The interrelationship of nutrition and toxin exposure in risk of disease is affected by foods that modulate the effects of toxins and foods that can be both beneficial and sources of toxins themselves. Nutrition appears to be the best method of prevention of toxin-instigated diseases.

One strong suggestion is not to eat any foods containing ingredients you can’t pronounce. Read the label. If the list of ingredients is long or complex, it is probably made up of chemicals more than actual food.

Drinking water helps flush contaminants from your body. Adding lemons, limes, or cucumbers can add variety to your drinking water and reduce the risk of polluted environment symptoms.

Buy certified organic foods. These may cost a little more, but you’re much more certain to consume fewer toxins from these foods. The USDA Organic Seal is one to be trusted. You can’t be certain of many claims producers and growers place on their foods unless they have this seal.

Artichokes and asparagus are high in the prebiotic inulin that helps promote probiotics in the gut. This may help improve overall gut health, strengthening the immune system and improving the absorption of nutrients.

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are high in fiber, promoting gut, liver, and kidney health by supporting excretion of toxins through bowel movements. These foods also contain the phytochemical sulforaphane that may inhibit pre-cancerous cells from impacting other cells in the body.

Fruits like oranges contain high levels of vitamin C, an antioxidant, that aids in the production of glutathione. Glutathione is important in helping the liver in its detoxification processes.

Sweet potatoes are high in B vitamins. Vitamins B6, B12, and folate all aid in normal digestion, cell functions, and metabolism.

Zinc is found in high amounts in lentils and beans. Your body needs this mineral to support metabolic processes, especially in the liver.

Oats are rich in soluble fiber, slowing the rate at which you absorb foods. The fiber helps support gut health, stimulating the excretion of bile from the liver. Decreasing the amount of bile that is reabsorbed into the intestines, your body can get rid of the toxic waste and increase development of short-chain fatty acids. This will improve gut health through the increased growth of beneficial bacteria that help with digestion and elimination.

reduce the effects of a polluted environment with natural solutionsApples are high in pectin, a type of fiber that binds to cholesterol and heavy metals in the body. It also aids in the elimination of toxins and cleanses the intestines.

Avocados lower cholesterol and block toxins that attack arteries. They also contain glutathione, which inhibits many carcinogens and helps the liver detoxify synthetic chemicals.

Blueberries naturally fight infections through a blocking action on bacteria in the urinary tract. They also help block toxins from crossing the blood-brain barrier.

Anticancer and antioxidant compounds are found in cabbage. It also helps the liver break down excess hormones. Cabbage also improves the liver’s ability to detoxify.

Celery and celery seeds are rich in anti-inflammatory substances. They also contain compounds that help in detoxifying cancer cells from the body.

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil contain Omega-3 fatty acids, essential for cleansing the body.

Fresh garlic helps cleanse bacteria, intestinal parasites, and viruses from the body. It has anticancer and antioxidant properties, also. Garlic also contains allicin and selenium which are both antioxidants.

Beets, carrots, and red onions contain flavonoids and beta-carotene, both strong antioxidants.

Eggs, brown rice, and whole grains contain B-complex vitamins that improve liver function and promote decongestion of the liver.

Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, and turnips contain glucosinolates that help the liver produce enzymes for its detox efforts.

Beef liver supplies selenium and boosts glutathione production. It does this better than supplements. Liver from grass-fed cows ensures the bioavailability of the selenium produced.


Artichoke leaf helps in regeneration of the liver, helping increase blood flow to that organ. It is also said to stimulate bile flow. When taking artichoke leaf, be aware if may cause gas and worsen the effects of gallstones. Allergic reactions have been reported. Symptoms of allergy to this herb include rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, and wheezing. Consult your healthcare professional if this reaction occurs.

Silymarin is a bioflavonoid found in milk thistle. Some research suggests it helps stabilize the membranes of liver cells and prevents viruses and other polluted environment toxic compounds from entering. It also supports regeneration and protection of the liver. Silymarin may cause diarrhea, nausea, and belly bloat. Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding should avoid taking silymarin.

Turmeric helps stimulate liver secretions and bile flow. It may irritate gastric mucosa. Other side effects of turmeric include stomach upset. Very high doses may lead to abnormal heart rhythm.

Milk thistle is said to help stimulate the production of glutathione.

Cascara sagrada, or sacred bark, is one of the more potent colon cleansing herbs. It is rich in a compound called anthraquinone that causes contraction of the walls of the intestine, resulting in healthy bowel activity. The benefit is that it is said to help protect your body from GMO damage.

Find relief from a polluted environment with herbsStomach upset may come from using cascara sagrada. Severe allergic reactions have been reported. Diarrhea, loose stools, and rectal bleeding have been reported less frequently. Be sure to contact your healthcare professional if any side effects occur.

Wild Burdock root is an aggressive diuretic that helps the body get rid of hard to reach toxins such as residue from GMOs, pesticides, and herbicide chemicals. It is said to help the body rid itself of parasites, bacteria, heavy metals, and other toxins.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid wild burdock root due to lack of research into its effects on these populations. It may slow blood clotting. People with bleeding issues may find them worsening with the use of this substance.

Allergic reactions have been reported. Burdock root has been shown to lower blood sugar. People who are diabetic should consult their healthcare professional before taking it. Because of its effects on blood clotting, burdock root should be stopped at least two weeks prior to any surgical procedure.


Omega-3 fatty acids from fish are reported to be excellent at protecting your body from inflammation brought on by a polluted environment. The ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids must be kept at an optimum level. Omega-6 fatty acids can actually increase the inflammation properties of some organic pollutants.

Psyllium husk is particularly helpful in colon cleansing to flush the intestines. It also helps rid the body of GMOs, allowing healthy bacteria to increase and regulate the digestive system. Taken with a lot of water, psyllium husk produces a gel-like substance that can scrub the intestinal walls, cleansing them of toxic buildup caused by a polluted environment.

Taking this supplement may lead to abdominal fullness and bloating. Severe side effects may include chest tightness, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or vomiting. If any of these side effects occur, you should consult with your healthcare professional.

Organic Sulphur/MSM supports the liver in its powerful detoxification efforts. It also aids in energy production, cell oxygenation, and supports the immune system. Nausea, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, and headache are sometimes reported when using this supplement. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid MSM because there isn’t enough research into its effects in this population.

Probiotics are always useful in protecting your body from the effects of GMOs. They help the body keep your body free of toxins. Gas and bloating are the most common side effects. Too much stimulation of the immune system may be a more serious side effect in some people.

B vitamins are cofactors for many enzyme systems and help in the liver’s detoxification processes. Unless you take large amounts, side effects are uncommon. Dizziness, frequent urination, and abdominal pain may occur with overdoses of B vitamins.

polluted environment symptoms reduced with vitamins Vitamin C fights free radical formation. This vitamin works very well with vitamin E, also, as an antioxidant. High doses of vitamin C may cause side or back pain. These are infrequent but do require the attention of a healthcare professional. Some minor side effects have been reported also.

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant and helps in the production of glutathione. Selenium may be unsafe when taken in large doses or for long periods of time. There is a possibility that long-term use of selenium could lead to the development of diabetes. High doses can lead to nausea, vomiting, loss of energy and irritability.


We can’t help being exposed to polluted environment toxins daily in our world, but avoiding as many of these toxins as possible is the first step to gaining or regaining health that may have been detrimentally affected by them.

Understanding the effects of these environmental toxins and learning how you can reverse these effects puts you on the right path to cleansing your body. Consuming the foods and supplements that will support your body’s natural detoxification efforts is the wise thing to do.

Extreme caution is advised when introducing these foods and supplements in advanced stages of toxicity and adrenal fatigue. When the body is weak and congested, any amount of detoxification can lead to a crash if not properly observed.

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© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

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