Chemical toxicity and sensitivity - A study of 210 patients treated with sweating regimes
The underlying principles of treating chemical toxicity and chemical sensitivity are as follows:
1. Reduce chemical exposure (clean up your environment, eat organic food);
2. Improve your ability to detoxify chemicals by taking nutritional supplements (vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids - see Nutritional Supplements), high dose B12 and magnesium, and eating a high protein diet (amino acids are used to make fat soluble compounds water soluble so they can be excreted - see Stone Age Diet In fact, more often I now prescribe the ketogenic diet - please see Ketogenic diet - the practical details and My book The PK Cookbook - Go Paleo-ketogenic and get the best of both worlds. );
3. Reduce the load of chemicals already accumulated in the body - see below. This also improves the MCS suggesting that many sufferers are reacting allergically to chemicals constantly present in their bodies.
4. For those who are also chemically sensitivity, consider desensitisation using EPD or neutralisation;
Chemical sensitivity usually results from chemical toxicity. So people who are chemically sensitive are likely to be chemically toxic. The treatment of the two conditions is similar. The first and most important treatment is avoidance of further exposures, next one needs to reduce the body burden of chemicals.
The following is a study done to look at reducing body burdens by sweating, massage, niacin, vitamin C and lots of water! This was published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (1996) 6, 141-148 by Professor William Rea.
Detoxing through sweating - a study
210 patients with chemical sensitivity who had not improved with environmental control were studied. With his detox regime Prof Rea improved symptom scores in 86% with the commonest symptoms being fatigue, headache, foggy brain and poor balance. His regime required nutritional supplements (similar to my standard regime) but 2-8 grams daily of vitamin C.
Then patients were made to sweat either through exercise (5-60mins), dry heat sauna (75 mins) or both in 2-3 sessions daily.
Blood supply to skin and fat was increased using vitamin B3 as niacin, up to 3,000mgs (or whatever the patient could tolerate -niacin makes you flush).
Body massage to physically mobilise chemicals from fat. On average patients received 45 minutes massage daily (lovely!) in 2-3 sessions. Interestingly, this often resulted in the sudden release of odour when a tight muscle was massaged!
2-4 litres of spring water drunk daily to flush out toxins and replace the fluid lost in sweat.
Length of treatment varied from 10 to 150 days, with an average of 26 days.
After this intensive regime was done, patients continued to improve doing modified regimes at home 3 times weekly.
Blood levels of toxic chemicals declined in 63%. (Actually, the results would have been much better if fat biopsies had been done since the levels in fat are 1,000 times higher than in blood).
On average patients lost 4.7lbs of fat.
Interestingly the patients most likely to have chemical overload were those who were poor sweaters! Progress could also be monitored by testing for balance - patients were asked to stand on their toes with their arms outstretched and shut their eyes - for 57% their ability to do this improved with the program. However, nearly all the patients (95%) had an initial worsening of their symptoms because as chemicals were mobilised out of their fat into the blood stream this created toxic levels in the blood to which the patients reacted. Other common problems induced by detoxing were: increased liver enzymes (presumably toxins poisoning the liver - it might be sensible to take milk thistle), muscular aches, tummy symptoms (bloating, gas, diarrhoea, nausea) and cardiovascular (oedema, tachycardia). Two patients developed hyperthermia - both knew they had poor temperature control since severe viral infections in childhood.
So this regime clearly works, but we have no such unit in UK and so we have to do our best with what we have got! The above regime was necessarily intense because this was an in patient unit, but patients continued to do a modified regime at home and continued to improve.
Far Infra Red Saunaing is more gentle
The majority of patients I see suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and simply would not tolerate the above interventions. For these people I recommend Far Infra Red saunaing using a DIY FIR blanket, see Detoxing - Far Infrared Sauna (FIRS) handout. Using this technique it is only the subcutaneous fat which is warmed, with the idea being to mobilise the chemicals from the subcutaneous fat onto the lipid layer on the surface of the skin where they can then be washed off. Inevitably some chemicals will be mobilised into the bloodstream with the potential to make that person feel ill, but this would be much less than if a traditional sauna was used and the core temperature of the patient heated. So Far Infra Red is as effective as, but less likely to produce initial worsening compared to traditional saunas.
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