It was interesting to read a journal article this week that proposed a new approach to a mystery that I have seen in my clinic on a number of occasions. Frustrated patients have presented to me with excess body weight that cannot be explained by a simple energy in/energy out model, nor a lack of physical exercise. Having ruled out thyroid dysfunction and other related conditions and implemented nutritional and lifestyle protocols, these stubborn kilos can be perplexing.
A number of research articles are now pointing to toxicity as part of the problem. The link between exposure to toxins and weight gain is not new but the mechanism of action is now being viewed from a novel angle that is particularly interesting. Heres the basics of how it works.
Many environmental toxins are fat soluble, meaning that they can be dissolved in fat, and it might just be that our bodies are producing more fat cells to store more toxins. By storing these toxins the body is able to protect organs such as the liver from possible damage.
Its an intriguing idea and might also explain the plateaus that many people experience when undertaking a weight loss regime.
With an initial weight loss stored toxins are released into the system triggering the bodies defence mechanisms...the creation of more fat cells. So while the weight loss regime may be working effectively the body is fighting back to protect itself by producing more fat.
So what are these toxins?
The main players in the toxicity theory of weight gain are POPs - Persistent Organic Pollutants and Semi Persistent Organic Pollutants. These chemical substances posses qualities that make them resistant to environmental degradation and therefore persist in the environment for a long period of time. Examples of POPs include insecticides, pesticides and industrial contaminants. While many POPs are now banned in Australia in line with The Stockholm Convention on POPs the lingering presence of their use will persist for some time.
Insecticides and Pesticides
Semi POPs -
Phthalates (found in cosmetics, skincare, shampoo, conditioner, air fresheners and detergents)
BPA (found in food and drink packaging)
What does this mean for my patients?
While what I have presented here is the simplification of a complex theory, detoxification support through nutritional and herbal medicine as well as lifestyle choices should be included when supporting my patients weight loss. Among a range of considerations this approach may be the key to frustrating, stubborn, unshiftable, disheartening weight loss issues.