Environmental Toxins with Dr. Joe Pizzorno: Rational Wellness Podcast 231

Dr. Joe Pizzorno speaks about the Environmental Toxins with Dr. Ben Weitz at the Functional Medicine Discussion Group meeting on October 28, 2021.

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Podcast Highlights

2:53  GGT (gamma-glutamyltransferase) is an inexpensive lab test that used to be run to monitor for hepatitis, but it is a good way to monitor for toxins. GGT is the enzyme that recycles glutathione, so our bodies will elevate GGT to recycle glutathione faster as a way to protect us against a toxic load.  The normal range is 10 to 50, depending upon the lab and for women the range should be a bit lower, and the average of the people they surveyed was 30, but a GGT of 30 carries with it an eight fold risk of diabetes. And one third of the US population has arsenic levels that are high enough to cause disease.

5:31  When Dr. Pizzorno was in private practice in the 1970s he did not see many patients with diabetes because it was not that prevalent. Now, diabetes is very prevalent and the primary cause is not sugar but toxins, though high fructose corn syrup might be a contributor. 

11:03  Unimportant molecules.  Dr. Pizzorno gave a lecture at the IFM annual meeting this year and his thesis was that we decided that food contained about 42 or 43 vitamins and minerals and everything else was unimportant.  But now we know that there are perhaps 50,000 phytonutrients that are actually very important, but when you grow foods chemically, you have less of these unimportant molecules, these phytonutrients.  Arsenic contributes to up to one third of all cancers and the consumption of floratin has decreased dramatically and floratin is a phytonutrient that helps protect the DNA from the arsenic damage that leads to cancer. 

14:09  The arsenic gets into the water both naturally and from industrial sources such as arsenic in treated wood and from arsenic compounds in pesticides and arsenic until recently was fed to the chickens both to kill parasites and to make the chickens plumper. 

16:33  Testing for heavy metals and metalloids like arsenic.  Serum testing is accurate but it doesn’t tell you what’s in the bones or stored in other tissues in the body. The best way to measure heavy metals that may be stored in the body are to do a chelation challenge by having the patient take 500 mg DMSA and 300 mg DMPS and then collect urine for 6 hours.

20:25  Rice.  Rice has been shown to contain arsenic and people who eat rice have twice as much arsenic as people who don’t.  You should wash the rice thoroughly to remove arsenic and if you cook it for a minute and then throw out the water and then resume cooking, you can get rid of the majority of the arsenic. 

21:13  Besides arsenic, the other most problematic heavy metals are lead, mercury, and cadmium.  Dr. Pizzorno stated that while chemical toxins are a problem as well, these four metals are causing the majority of the disease in the country.  Did you know that there is a correlation between your arsenic levels and getting shingles?  Half of the myocardial infarctions in the US are from arsenic and lead. 

25:03  The upper limit for GGT should be between 15 and 20.  Disease correlations start around 20.

28:09  To reduce arsenic levels, you want to reduce exposure. One way is to filter the water in your house.  A whole house filter is best. If not, then filter the water you use for drinking and cooking. There’s a filter called ZeroWater that gets rid of most of the arsenic. Reverse osmosis and ion exchange both work well.  Berkey water filters do not get rid of arsenic.

29:39  Arsenic toxicity is difficult to diagnose without testing, but one clinical sign is a brownish pigmentation on the palms of the hands. 

30:52  To reduce arsenic, you should rinse your rice thoroughly in water and you can also cook it for one minute, pour the water off, and then resume cooking, which works well. 

31:27  Competing Minerals, Fiber, and DMSA. Besides avoiding arsenic exposure, the best strategies for promoting detoxification of heavy metals like arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and lead include supporting methylation, taking competing minerals such as calcium for lead and selenium for mercury, oral chelators like DMSA which can be taken 250 mg every third day, and increasing fiber intake.  Taking 500 mg NAC will increase red blood cell glutathione by about 30%.  Patients who have trouble metabolizing sulfur may have trouble taking too large a dosage of NAC, though for most people taking 2000-3000 mg of NAC per day has been shown to be safe.  For those who have trouble with sulfur, it would be better to give liposomal glutathione.

37:59  There are also problems with environmental toxins other than metals and one of the most significant are the bisphenols. While bisphenol A (BPA) is being used a lot less frequently, bisphenol S, F, AF, and Z are being used in its place and bisphenol S is the most toxic of these and it can affect fertility among other affects.


Dr. Joe Pizzorno is a transformational leader in natural medicine, one of the founding members of the Functional Medicine movement, and the founding president of Bastyr University, which was the first accredited institution in the field of natural medicine.  He is a Naturopathic Doctor, researcher, and educator, who has written or co-authored more than 12 books including, The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, which has now sold over two million copies, and The Toxin Solution, and his textbook Clinical Environmental Medicine, his two newest books.  Here’s the website to learn more about his The Toxin Solution book: http://www.thetoxinsolution.com/  You can also learn more about Dr. Pizzorno from his website: http://drpizzorno.com/ 

Dr. Ben Weitz is available for nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss and also athletic performance, as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111. Dr. Weitz is also available for video or phone consultations.


Podcast Transcript

Dr. Weitz:                            Hey, this is Dr. Ben Weitz, host of the Rational Wellness Podcast. I talk to the leading health and nutrition experts and researchers in the field, to bring you the latest in cutting edge health information. Subscribe to the Rational Wellness Podcast for weekly updates. And to learn more, check out my website, drweitz.com. Thanks for joining me, and let’s jump into the podcast. Hello, I’m Dr. Ben Weitz and thank you for joining our functional medicine discussion group meeting tonight. And we are very honored to be joined by Dr. Joe Pizzorno who’ll be speaking with us about environmental toxins. I hope you’ll consider joining some of our other upcoming meetings, including November 18th, with Dr. Peter Bongiorno on an integrative approach to depression and anxiety. I encourage everybody to participate in discussion by typing questions into the chat box, and if you are not aware, we have a closed Facebook page, the Functional Medicine Discussion Group of Santa Monica, so you should join so we can continue the conversation.

I am recording this event and I’ll post it on my YouTube page, include it in my weekly Rational Wellness Podcast. And if you have not listened to it, please check out the Rational Wellness Podcast and subscribe on Apple Podcasts. And if you enjoy listening to this, please go to Apple Podcasts and give me a ratings and review. And now I want to thank our sponsor for this evening, Integrative Therapeutics. And so Integrative Therapeutics is one of the few professional brands of supplements that we carry in our office, and they have a number of products that can be helpful in detoxifying toxins.

Dr. Joseph Pizzorno is one of the most important naturopathic doctors, educators, researchers, and one of the founding members of the Functional Medicine movement. Dr. Pizzorno has written or co-authored more than 12 books, including The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, which has now sold over two million copies. And I dare say, almost everybody who’s involved in the world of natural medicine has a copy of that book in their bookshelf. The Textbook of Natural Medicine, Natural Medicine for the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer, The Toxin Solution, Clinical Environmental Medicine, and his newest book written with his wife, Lara Pizzorno, Healthy Bones Healthy You. And now we’re honored to be joined by Dr. Pizzorno. Unfortunately, I didn’t record the first couple of minutes of the discussion so we’re going to jump right into this conversation with Dr. Joe Pizzorno.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Think about the GGT, which is so interesting. It was one of the enzymes we used to be as a standard measure for hepatitis. Because when the liver gets damaged, it starts leaking liver enzymes and high liver enzymes lead to hepatitis of some sort. So we stopped doing GGT because it just wasn’t as good and not necessary.  But the technology is all there, it’s a cheap test. What’s interesting about it, when you think about clicking an enzyme into the blood, what’s that enzyme doing?  Well, that enzyme recycles glutathione, and so our smart bodies when we’re supposed to toxic load starts recycling glutathione faster as a way to protect ourselves from the toxic load.  So it’s a nice indirect measure.  So not only does it directly correlate with toxic load, it also directly correlates with many diseases, particularly diabetes but also risk of death.  So the normal range depending on the lab is 10 to 60 or 10 to 50, just in that range, and women tend to be a little lower than men.  Anyway, so anything in that range is considered okay.  So the average for this particular group of people was about 30. Now, you might say, “Well, that’s fine.” But a GGT of 30 carries with it an eight fold increased risk for diabetes.  So as you might expect, I found a lot of insulin resistance in this particular group of people.  By the way, they’re mainly supposedly healthy men aged about 30 to 50.  Most of them were in that group, but we have some office workers and some women. So not people expected to have a lot of disease.  So I’m trying to figure out, why they have these high GGTs.  And I started talking to them.  One of the things we did was not to give people the advice, but then they fly us out into the field to meet with them.  So had one to one interactions with the real people we’re working with, not just numbers from a laboratory.  So it was a really good experience.  So I learned that a big chunk of them were working in the oil fields as a way to subsidize the family farms which weren’t commercially viable anymore because of mega farming.  So what do you think they were doing on their farms to compete with the mega farmers?

Speaker 3:                         Herbicides and pesticides.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      All those herbicides and pesticides I heard?

Speaker 3:                         Yes.

Dr. Pizzorno:                     I had this group of people were clearly going the direction of diabetes because of all these herbicides and pesticides. So I said, “Well, that’s interesting.” About five years ago I started diving into the research, just looking at, well, what are the correlations with these various environmental toxins and incidence of disease? And the first one I looked at was diabetes, because… I see some more gray hairs in here like myself, but when I was in private practice, way back in the 70s, you didn’t see a diabetic patient.  So obviously, I’m a bright guy, I was fully booked all the time.  I didn’t see my first diabetic patient until I was in practice for six months of full-time practice.  They just weren’t that common.  And now 10% of people are diabetic and one third will become diabetic. What happened?  Well, we didn’t change our genetics, and you might say, “Well, how about people eat too much sugar.”  Yes, people eat too much sugar.  It’s no correlation between sugar consumption and the diabetes epidemic. Although maybe the high fructose corn syrup might contribute.  I’m looking at that as another environmental toxin I should consider. But what does correlate with diabetes is the level herbicides, the level of pesticides, the level of bisphenols, the levels of pthalates, and things like that. So then a group of Bastyr grads to help me answer the question, if we can determine how much a particular toxin is increasing risk of disease, we know what portion of that toxin is in the general population, can we figure out what percent of that disease is due to that toxin? And we did that.  And by way, we weren’t making it up. That’s the standard Public Health math we used for figuring that all out.  We did all the standard stuff, it’s all referenced and best as I could tell 90% of the diabetes epidemic was due to environmental toxins.  And that’s why the researchers call them diabetogens.

Dr. Weitz:                           Which were the most significant diabetogens?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      No big surprises here. PCBs, phthalates, arsenic.  Is everybody aware that one third of the US population has arsenic levels that are high enough to cause disease?  One third.

Dr. Weitz:                           Wow.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      And that’s the whole population. You can probably assume most people in your offices are going to have too much arsenic.  First off, the basic idea number one is, wow, we have an incredibly toxic environment and it is really poisoning people.  It is the primary cause of chronic disease right now.  Well, by way might be saying, “Wait a minute, we all know obese people have way more diabetes than non obese people.”  Very true.  Here’s the kicker, this work done by Becky Lee in South Korea.  If you look at the amount of environmental diabetogens in their fat stores, and then you compare them to diabetes, it turns out those obese people with low levels obesogens don’t have an increased risk for diabetes.  It’s not the fat, it’s what’s in the fat that’s causing trouble.  Some people even hypothesized that some people are unconsciously overweight as a way of diluting these environmental toxins.  Because not all they calling them diabetogens, they’re calling them obesogens.  So for example, as a backdrop correlation between Bisphenol A levels and a person’s body waste, both men and women. Its just stuff everybody knows, or is it interesting? I need feedback.

Speaker 4:                          I’m very interested.

Speaker 3:                          Yeah, we’re just listening to you, so we’re enjoying it.

Dr. Weitz:                           By the way, I don’t know if this is appropriate time, but what’s the best way to test for heavy metals like arsenic?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Okay, so let me talk about arsenic for a second and I’ll answer that question at the end, and give you an inducement for following me for a few seconds. Okay, so-

Dr. Weitz:                           We’ll follow you as long as you want to speak to us.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Thanks.  Anyway, so one of the things I was wondering about is, everybody’s getting really excited about lead toxicity.  They did that quite some time ago and the good news is, we’ve decreased the body load of lead.  So congratulations to us, but nobody’s paying attention to arsenic.  And turns out, looks like arsenic is actually worse than lead.  So I’m working on a project right now in Flint, Michigan, where I wanted to bring natural medicine to an underserved population.  I was tired of all the politics and so, I don’t know about the politics, what I do know is how to help people be healthy.  And there’s a group of people that everybody knows about needs help because there’s a lead problem I said, “Let me go and see if I can help out.”  So here’s what’s really fascinating.  They have a bigger arsenic problem than they have lead problem, and nobody knows it.

So we got a sample from the state of the actual measurements of the drinking water people are drinking, 43% of them were above 10 micrograms of arsenic per liter of water. That’s the standard threshold, is 10. And by the way, I’m giving a lecture tomorrow on the latest research on arsenic for AIHM, that’s Academy of Integrated Health Medicines can start tomorrow, but you haven’t done it so you just consider it, and the lecture tomorrow on the latest arsenic research. I’m going to be making a really strong case that it has to be seven. But just using 10 as a cut off, 43% we’re above that cut off. So I was wondering, if there’s so much arsenic and 35% of the US population is about 10 micrograms per liter of urine, which is the arsenic cutoff, if it’s that much, why aren’t people paying more attention to it? So I’m curious, did any of you hear my lecture on unimportant molecules at this year’s IFM? I’m just curious if anybody heard that lecture.

Speaker 3:                          No.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Okay. I’m not hearing anybody who heard it.

Dr. Weitz:                           I did.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Let me tell you what my thesis was. So my thesis was that the research we did a hundred years ago to determine what nutrients were necessary for health, was limited to the research techniques and technology that was available at the time, and our understanding of physiology and of medicine. So we pretty much had to do primarily animal studies and we had to look at what made them die or live or not suffer some really severe disease, and to figure out these vitamins and minerals necessary for health, amino acids and fats and things like that.  Add them all together it’s about 43 molecules or 42 molecules.  Somebody correct my math on that one, I’ll go with 42 for now.  Okay, yeah and sometimes there’s obligate needs and add two, or three, or four, maybe even five, but it’s a small number. The next question is then, well, have you ever thought, how many molecules are there in food? We started looking at how many molecules in food, and it looks like around 50,000. So we decided that 0.1% of the food supply was important and everything else was unimportant.

Now, guess what happens when you grow foods chemically.  Now they call it conventional growing, let’s call it what it is, it’s chemically growing foods.  When you grow foods chemically, you can manage to almost maintain the vitamins and known minerals but when you then look at those other molecules, they’re either dramatically lower or they’re gone.  So I think, well, that’s interesting.  So one of the fun things about being associated with Bastyr is I sometimes get students say, “Hey, Dr. Pizzorno, can I work with you on something?”  So I said, “Yeah, I’ve got this idea.”  So I’m wondering, it looks like we’re seeing more arsenic toxicity now than we did in the past, and I’m also noticing that we have less flavonoids in the diet than we had in the past.  Would you look and see if there’s any use of flavonoids in protectants from arsenic?  And guess what, she did.  So it’s a situation, not only are we adding toxins to the environment, we’re removing many of our protective mechanisms without realizing.  So for example, I’ve got the study that shows one quarter or one third of all cancers are due to… Is or are, whichever, arsenic.  It turns out, the more arsenic a person has, the more cancer they have.  One quarter to one third of the major cancers that kill people are arsenic.  And guess what?  One of the flavonoids called floratin does, it helps protect the DNA from the arsenic damage that leads to cancer.  And if you look at the dietary consumption of that, it’s decreased dramatically.  The same thing with tomatoes where they grew tomatoes chemically, and they grow tomatoes organically, and organic tomatoes had 10 times as much of the floratin than the chemically grown tomatoes. They had just enough of the flavonoids to keep enough of their color, people recognize they were ripe food enough of the taste, but all the other stuff is gone. Okay, so that’s my thesis for today.

Dr. Weitz:                           So now, where’s the arsenic? Where’s it coming from? How’s it getting into the water?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      So there are two primary sources.  There was a third in the past, but they since have stopped.  Number one is, it naturally occurs in many water supplies.  So it turns out we humans are actually pretty good to get rid of arsenic. Half-life of arsenic in the body is only two to four days.  So as we evolved as a species, we came across arsenic and we’re good getting rid of it.. The problem is, we’re sitting one place and that one place has arsenic in the water, guess what? Now you overload the systems, now you start seeing all this disease pop up. So traditionally, the water supply is primary, but there’s two problems that have also happened. Number one is, we have had a fair amount of industrial exposure, and that to some degree continues to happen but it’s been decreased, but we have intentionally put arsenic compounds throughout our environment. So remember those old wooden climbing toys? They use arsenic compounds to keep them from rotting.  Remember that gypsy moth problem, when they’re spraying the environment, guess what they’re spraying the environment with?  It was an arsenical compound.  So we have intentionally put in a lot of our arsenical compounds into the environment.  So the environment is really quite contaminated.

Dr. Weitz:                           Right. And they used to feed it to chickens as well, right?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      They used to feed it to chickens. And actually I was just looking at some research on that, and it does looks like the arsenic levels of chicken have gone down. Now they’re not gone, but from…, and I’m not going at the farmers as they say, I saw one study say it was 50% lower now than it was 2015.

Dr. Weitz:                           Now why would they feed arsenic to chickens?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Maybe have a farmer here who can tell us more about it. But my understanding is they give it to them to kill off the parasites and also makes them plumper?

Speaker 5:                          How is bottled water?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      I don’t have any information on that. Can’t answer that. So what do people think about my idea?  I mean it looks to me like we’re having so much disease.  I mean, realize we have the highest burden of chronic disease in every age group ever in human history, looks to me like it’s not just the environmental toxins. We’ve removed a bunch of protective mechanisms, which make these environmental toxins even more important, because when use natural medicines, if their systems are already poisoned, it’s hard for natural medicines to work. I’m sorry, I’ll stop talking. What people think?

Dr. Weitz:                           What it’s the best way to test for heavy metals like arsenic?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      So arsenic is not a heavy metal, it’s technically called a metalloid. With that, all you need to do is get… The standard the first morning urine, but they have to be in the normal environment. So you can’t have, for example I live in Seattle, you can’t have somebody who’s working on a farm in Eastern Washington where there’s arsenic contamination, decides to come to the big city to see this naturopathic doctor, and while he’s here they go for a movie and go for dinner, et cetera, et cetera, by the time he sees me, he’s been here for two or three days. Well, most of the arsenic’s gone.  So it’s got to be in the real environment. You use toenail arsenic, it’s a little trickier, that’s all.

Dr. Weitz:                           So what do you think about serum testing for metals?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      So the current standard accepted by conventional medicine is that blood and urine are accurate measures for heavy metal testing. And they are accurate for acute testing and I don’t think anybody disagrees with that. Where this community disagrees is yeah, that’s great tell us what’s in the blood, but it doesn’t tell us necessarily what’s in the bones, what’s in the deep tissue. So and everybody knows that for example, there’s way more lead in the bone than in the blood. And the kidneys are really good at getting rid of cadmium, but they can’t take cadmium out of blood, it just sticks right there in the kidneys at times higher. Half-life of cadmium in the blood is a couple of days, half-life cadmium in the kidneys is like 16 years.

Dr. Weitz:                           So is urine a better way to capture?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      There’s a better way of doing this with challenge testing. So you get people a chelating agent and collect the urine for several hours and see what happens. And just to be clear, it’s more accurate, but it has plenty of error in it. I actually did a study where I actually counted the number fillings in people’s mouths, measured the blood levels of mercury, measured urinary levels of mercury, game challenge testing and to see which correlate best. Because you expect the best test would be the one that correlated with the amount of mercury in their mouth the best. And what I’ll tell you is that the only one that correlated very well was the challenge testing. But the R value is 0.35. So it wasn’t very good, but was better than the blood or the unchallenged urine.

Dr. Weitz:                            So we used to do that DMSA and then collect six hour urine, but of course DMSA now is a prescription.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      That’s what I’ve done. I’ve done that in thousands of people. Again, 500 milligrams of DMSA and 300 milligrams of DMPS orally. Now the first one urine tells you the current exposure, given that this cocktail and they collect urine for six hours and determine what the body load is. And I found it’s worked for me really well over the years, and it’s directly correlates with clinical outcomes as well. Doesn’t mean it’s a great test. It doesn’t mean it’s perfect, just the best that seems to be available right now.

Dr. Weitz:                            But given the difficulty with getting DMSA, especially since those of us who are not medical doctors can’t write prescriptions, so what’s the second best alternative and then also-

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Just do the first morning urine, but just recognize you want to make your standards a little lower. Remember the standards not that lead anymore, I don’t know about the other ones exactly but the way the lead standard was set was the 95% rule. And that was, if you’re within 95% of the population, your level’s fine, if you’re the top 5% it’s toxic. You know what that level was when they said it, it was 60. So as research became available the number went from 60, to 50, to 40, to 30, and now it’s 10 and it’s down to five for children and they’re considering making it down to five for adults. So there’s no safe level of lead. So just cut your level levels down.

Dr. Weitz:                           Right. 

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Ben, you keep asking great questions, but please give other people a chance to talk. I want to hear what people think about what I’m saying.

Dr. Wasserman:                 What about rice, doctor? A lot of the world consumes a lot of rice and with the brown rice versus the whole around it causing with the arsenic ingestion.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Yeah. So if you look at the research on rice consumption, people consume rice, have about twice as much arsenic to people who don’t. Now the good news is that if you wash it properly, there’s techniques, you can look for on the internet. If you wash it, you can actually get rid of… You just cook for like a minute and then throw out the water and start cooking again, you can get rid of the majority of the arsenic that way. So there’s techniques available on the internet.

Dr. Wasserman:                  Thank you.

Speaker 3:                           Good one, thank you.

Speaker 4:                           There’s a lot of arsenic in the water in Sedona, Arizona we discovered, so we put a whole house water filter on our second house there.

Speaker 3:                           Smart, very smart.

Speaker 5:                           Besides arsenic what’s the next one, two or three minerals or metalloids that are dangerous?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      So you catch me at a good time because just before this lecture, this talk, I was finishing my lecture for Australia, where my lecture this year for them is going to be four worst metal toxins. So if you look at the EPA, they have a center there that looks at what are the worst toxins in the country and they’ll list them in order, and four of the top seven are metals.  Arsenic number one, lead, mercury and cadmium.  So those things by themselves… The chemical toxins are a problem too, no question about that, but those four by themselves are causing most majority of disease in the country as nearest as I can tell. By the way, that’s the first time I’ve said that. Maybe because I just finished reviewing all the research. And what I’m finding was stunning. Okay, for example, herpes zoster, shingles. Did you know there’s a direct correlation with the probability of getting shingles in the level of arsenic in a person’s body?

Speaker 3:                           Oh, wow.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      I had never seen that before. Anyway, so I’m just finding this correlation after correlation. 15% of MIs, according one study I literally read this morning, 15% of MIs are from arsenic.

Speaker 4:                          What’s an MI?  [A MI is a myocardial infarction, aka, heart attack]

Dr. Pizzorno:                      And by the way, one third are from lead. So right there, half of your MIs the, MIs that kill people, half of them are from arsenic and lead as near as I can tell from the research.  Now maybe I’m wrong a little bit, but I’ll tell you not by much because I’m not making the numbers up. I’m just looking at those two studies and that study says 15% and that study says 33%. Pretty easy to add it up.

Dr. Weitz:                           So somebody asked about hair mineral analysis for heavy metals. Hair versus urine versus serum?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      So the hair ought to be good. There’s a couple of problems with it. Number one is, some people have a big problem getting rid of methyl mercury. And a primary way that one gets rid of methyl mercury is through the hair. I’m starting to research deeply so I’m just repeating what I’ve heard from people I trust. So apparently in autism, one of the things happens to these kids is they have trouble getting rid of mercury. So it doesn’t doesn’t show up on their hair. My own experience with that is I don’t use it as my primary diagnostic tool, but I find it useful to monitor what’s happening. And that’s why I really like GGT. Because with GGT, you can just monitor how well it’s going. Maybe it’s not perfect measure of what exactly is happening, but the good measure becomes the total picture. And you want the total picture to improve.  So I’m actually happy myself. When I first was aware of this research on GGT, I was testing on people in Canada, I did on myself too, and mine was 27. At the time I thought look, 27 is fine. But then as I looked more and more research, I realize it’s actually higher than I want it to be. So I started getting more serious about avoiding toxins and I did it again three years ago, I was down to 26, and I just did a couple months ago, I was down to 17. So that tells me that all this effort I’m going to in terms of avoiding these toxins is working it show up on my blood work. It’s got to be good for me.

Speaker 5:                          What does GGT stand for?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase.  I may have missed one symbol there somewhere.

Speaker 3:                          That’d be great if you could spell that out or type it in the chat so we could research that.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      May I say, just go to the internet and just put in GGTP.

Speaker 3:                          Oh, okay. Got you.

Dr. Weitz:                           Somebody asked if you could report what you think is the upper limit for the GGT?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Yeah, that’s a very, very good question. I’ve been trying to figure that out. Right now my guess is between 15 and 20. I don’t think I want it too low because that would imply to me your body’s not able to get the job done. And I see the disease correlations all started around 20. So I’m thinking between 15 and 20 but that might change as more research becomes available.

Dr. Weitz:                           By the way, since we’re talking about liver enzymes, what do you think is the optimal level for ALT and AST?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Good question. I don’t know the answer to that yet. It’s okay, but yes, both ALT and AST are useful, not as good as GGTP, it’s definitely more reactive, but they are useful. Also uric acid, uric acid goes up with PFAS exposure.

Dr. Weitz:                           So I’m assuming there’s probably a high likelihood that there’s going to be a correlation with non alcoholic fatty liver as well and toxins, right?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      I’ve been in medicine for literally over 50 years. So I’m seeing diseases now we never saw before. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, we never saw that before. ADHD, we never saw that before. I mean, all these diseases we’re having, we never saw them before. You all know about that. I mean, everybody knows about type two diabetes in children, but for people like me, it’s almost a disease we didn’t have before. Okay, anybody want to say anything, anyone want to ask a question, where would you like to go from here?

Speaker 5:                          Exactly what does these toxic minerals do in the body that causes the disease? I missed that.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Great question. So there are a number of ways in which they cause trouble. And it depends upon which particular one. So we look at arsenic for example, it directly damages the DNA and it poisons the beta cells in the pancreas so pancreas can’t produce insulin as easily and it poisons some of the cell signaling mechanisms that the cells use to tell it wants to let sugar into the cells. So arsenic correlation about 25% of diabetes as near as I can tell, maybe as low as 20%, but that’s the rate 20-25% of diabetes due to arsenic. And those look like the three primary mechanisms.

Speaker 5:                          And what about the relation to cancer incidence?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      What I’m aware of at this point is the DNA damage. That’s very clear. But as I’ve studied cancer more thoroughly, and I’m actually working with state group right now, we’re looking at all the natural medicines for cancer. As I said it more thoroughly, more and more, it’s just a mitochondria. So mitochondria, they’re screening up more than it’s the DNA. Not that the DNA is not important, but there’s something, it may just be the mitochondrial DNA damage is the one that’s most important. But there’s something pretty important there yet. And I don’t know how arsenic fits into that. I would not be surprised. I would bet you that’s exactly the arsenic causing trouble, I just haven’t seen that research yet.

Dr. Weitz:                           So what are the best ways to reduce arsenic? What would be your recommendations?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Avoidance.

Dr. Weitz:                           So how do we avoid it?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      So you can get a filter in your house. And so a whole house filter is the best way to do it. If you can’t do that, you can filter from your drinking and cooking water. There’s a product called ZeroWater. I have no commercial relationship with them. I found out about them because I was visiting some friends of mine in the mountains, they have a cabin in the mountains, and I always just really disliked the taste of their water. And they both got cancer, by the way, interestingly, and they got this filter called ZeroWater and all the bad case was gone. So I went look into research and sure enough, it gets rid of everything including arsenic.

Speaker 3:                          Good to know.

Dr. Weitz:                           What about reverse osmosis?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Reverse osmosis works. Carbon block filters will get rid of some of it, but not all of it. I don’t recommend it because I don’t think they are [inaudible 00:29:01] enough for it. Reverse osmosis works, there’s ion exchange that works as well.

Speaker 6:                          How about Berkey Water Filters.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      In this particular study, they did not get rid of the arsenic. Now, maybe they fixed something since then, I don’t know but this particular study, ZeroWater was the only one of the eight that they tested actually got rid of the arsenic. And not surprising because arsenic’s to get rid of. It takes-

Speaker 5:                          So we don’t know if bottled water in restaurants for example is any better, right? You don’t have the research?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      No idea, I haven’t looked at that. Interesting question though.

Speaker 4:                         And it depends on where the bottler got the water from.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Exactly.

Dr. Weitz:                          So somebody asked, what would make you see clinically, what would be some of the clinical signs and symptoms you might see if the person has high arsenic?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      See, that’s the big challenge. It’s not obvious. Looking back on my practice, I’m really pissed off because I remember seeing some patients who had it. So one of the early signs is some pigmentation that inexplicably pigmentation on the hands. I’ve had patients come to me with that not knowing-

Dr. Weitz:                           What kind of pigmentation?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      It’s kind of a brownish pigmentation. It looks like a really early sign of excess arsenic. Now everybody knows about the really severe ones, because you can get peripheral neuropathy and such, then you get this really peripheral rash. But just these brownish unexpected discolorations on the palms of the hands had a really strong correlation with arsenic, kind of interesting. So what I say is, I wrote an editorial in IMCJ about three years ago, where I recommended that the standard of care for all primary care practice, everybody should have their blood measured for lead and everybody should have their urine measured for arsenic. 

Dr. Weitz:                           Rice tends to be high in arsenic. Do you do you have any recommendations with regard to that?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Right, so wash the rice. You got to wash the arsenic off.

Dr. Weitz:                           Will it wash off?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Yes, most of it will wash off. So there’s a protocol on the internet with research supporting that. As I recall, you cook for cook it for like a minute, throw away the water and cook again the rest of the normal amount of time.

Dr. Weitz:                           Interesting.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Now [inaudible 00:31:18] rice find only throwing away the arsenic, if there’s any other soluble minerals on that skin, they’re going to go too.

Dr. Weitz:                           Right. So besides avoiding ingesting arsenic, how do we get rid of arsenic from our bodies? What your favorite arsenic detox?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      It’s through methylation.  So support methylation, that speeds it up.  So for example, if you have somebody who has high homocysteine levels, well guess what? They’re to be more susceptible to arsenic toxicity. So get the methylation going well, so avoidance is what you got to do, make sure methylation is working well, and N-Acetyl Cysteine will help decrease some inflammatory activity. But those two things that–do just to stop the exposure and just get what’s left out.

Dr. Weitz:                           Is that the same recommendation you would make for other heavy metals like mercury?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      No, [inaudible 00:32:08]. Half-life of arsenic is only two to four days. Mercury, depends on your age, 30 to 90 days. Lead, about two years in the blood, about seven years in the bone. Cadmium, couple few days in the blood, 16 years half-life in the bone and the kidneys. So you got to work to get rid of those things.

Dr. Weitz:                           Okay. So what would be your recommendations for patients who have high levels of mercury or lead?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      So there’s two things. One is, you want promote the competing minerals. So lead after calcium for example, Mercury goes after selenium for example. So just look at what else competing minerals and make sure they’re at high levels. And then you want to make sure that they’re stopping their exposure. And if you want to get aggressive at it, what I use is fiber plus DMSA. Oral DMSA, I do 250 milligrams every third day, and it’s really good at getting rid of lead and mercury. A lot of people that works great.

Dr. Weitz:                           What about binders?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      I think there’s other binders that should be usable, but when I started looking for the research on them it’s hard to find. I just looked at a study on chlorella and mercury in mice, and that was pretty impressive. But they’re giving them 5% of their dietary consumption with chlorella. I don’t think a patient want to consume 5% chlorella.

Dr. Weitz:                           Other popular binders include activated charcoal, zeolite, modified citrus pectin. What do you think about some of these other binders?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      So here’s the key factor. Our bodies, let’s say our smart bodies secrete 1% of the bioload of mercury into the gut, through the liver every day. But then through intrahepatic recirculation, reabsorb 99% of what we just dumped. Okay, so why would our smart bodies do something so stupid? Well, because those systems evolve, when we’re consuming 150 grams of fiber a day. Now we consume 15 to 20 grams of fiber a day. Not enough fiber there to bind the crap that will dump it into the stools.  So I would expect virtually any kind of fiber is going to help.

Dr. Weitz:                           Okay.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Now of course some are more effective than others, certain kinds of minerals and such. I find getting lost in minutia not that critical. The big factor is, people need to eat more fiber and fiber should come from the diet. Pills are great, for sure, should come from the diet. Remember those foods rich in fiber have all these other flavonoids and things that protect our bodies from damage.

Dr. Weitz:                           You mentioned NAC, what would be the dosage for NAC and what about liposomal glutathione instead of NAC?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      So the NAC about 500 milligrams of NAC will increase red blood cell glutathione by about 30%. So that does work. Now we do have some people who have trouble assisting into glutathione and they are the people who are very susceptible to environmental toxins. So those people getting things like liposomal glutathione where it’s already pre formed, it’s a good idea.

Dr. Weitz:                           But if you’re going to use NAC would you recommend 500 milligrams three times a day or once a day or more [crosstalk 00:35:22].

Dr. Pizzorno:                      As part of my healthy aging strategy, I take five hundred milligrams of NAC every night.

Dr. Weitz:                           What about somebody with heavy metal toxicity?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      So you can increase it.  There’s some long term-

I’m sorry, turn off the microphone. There’s the long term research on NAC is particularly used and people with cystic fibrosis. So the typical dose is 2000 to 3000 milligrams a day, and there have been multi year studies. They don’t seem to have trouble. Now having said that, I have seen some patients who have suffered metabolism problems run into when you give them NAC plus DMSA. And probably it was easy to recognize them because I did it to myself. So even though I was taking very reasonable dosages, my body’s always had trouble metabolizing sulfur compounds. So for example, garlic makes me sick. Now I’m Italian nature but garlic makes me sick. So I have a lot of trouble metabolizing sulfur compounds, so I overload myself by taking too much NAC and DMSA. That won’t happen very often, but you have to be aware it when it does happen. And by the way, taking molybdenum, which is a trace mineral will help, which is required for those enzymes that work better will help. So I’ve been taking molybdenum, and after taking molybdenum for about a year, I noticed I’m not susceptible to suffer overload.

Dr. Weitz:                           Okay. What about strategies to stimulate bile flow since a lot of these toxins end up in the bile before they get excreted? Such as bitter herbs.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Right? [inaudible 00:37:01] and things like that. So let me be very honest. I’m aware of the research of those herbs for increasing cholesterol excretion.  I’m not aware of the research of increasing environmental toxins.  Now, almost anything that increases excretion of cholesterol should get rid of toxins as well, but I haven’t seen research that says that, so I don’t know if it is true. [inaudible 00:37:23] but I don’t know.

Dr. Weitz:                           What about infrared sauna?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      So the best I can tell from sauna is from talking to Dr. Steven [inaudible 00:37:31] who’s brilliant in this area, what counts as sweating. So whether it’s infrared saunas, Swedish sauna, running, doesn’t matter what it is, you just got to be sweating. You’ve got to be taking the sweat away from the body. And research is clear, sweat is full of toxins. What was so amazed about the research he did is he said, there’s toxins in the sweat that aren’t even in the blood or the urine. They’re so hard for the body to get rid of, they’re just stuffed into the sweat. It helps them to stay and not cause so much trouble.

Dr. Weitz:                           Now what about environmental toxins other than metals? What do you think is some of the most significant ones that we should be concerned about?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Now, the big one I’m concerned about right now are the bisphenols. So you see all the study about bisphenol A3, good idea. But what they’ve done is they just substitute the other bisphenols. So bisphenol S, bisphenol F, bisphenol AF, and bisphenol Z, the ones I’ve written about the most, well, they’re just as toxic. Okay, they just have different kinds of toxicity, and particularly bisphenol S. If you have a male who’s infertile, you better look at his bisphenol S levels. Cause it turns out there’s a pretty strong correlation with bisphenol S levels and male infertility.

Dr. Weitz:                            Wow, is bisphenol S actually measured? Is that in any of the panels?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      No, that’s a frustrating part. We’re putting pressure on the labs to measure all the bisphenols. But they have not been able to do so so far, I don’t know why. Now, I’ve got a suspicion. My suspicion is that the plastic tubing in their equipment is probably contaminated. Now this is total speculation on my part, but my background happened to be analytical chemistry. So I’m thinking, why aren’t they analyzing that? Because I could see how you do it. I said, “Oh, I bet their equipment’s contaminated already.”

Dr. Weitz:                           Interesting.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      We’ll see what happens. I did not accuse them of that everybody, I’m just speculating why might that be happening. Maybe the promise is overlapping with another molecule. It makes it too hard to differentiate. I don’t know.

Dr. Weitz:                           Dr. Rabar who’s on the line, he does a lot of testing for environmental toxins through Vibrant America. Sam, do they include bisphenol s? Okay, well, at least he was on the phone.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      By way, if you find somebody who’s doing those other bisphenols please let us know because the environment medicine community really wants them.

Dr. Weitz:                           Right, yeah. We started using Vibrant America. They have a really good combination. You can do an environmental toxins, heavy metal toxins and mycotoxins and they’ll do all three of those panels for 400 bucks.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Okay. Somebody said, let’s hear about the new book and have you come back, please. Oh, thank you. It erased before I saw the rest of it. So my wife Lara has been quite an instruction for me in many ways. Of course, all men know about that. But anyway, so every woman in her family died from complications of osteoporosis. So we assumed that since we’re living so much more healthfully than all the rest of them, that she would not have a problem. So in her early forties there was an inexpensive test available being shown at one of the conventions that showed bone ankle density.  So we looked at it, she was osteopenic. We were so surprised.  So then we went and got a more sophisticated DEXA test, and sure enough, she was osteopenic.  And so we said, “Okay, we better start doing something about that.”  So at that point, I applied my body knowledge on what to do about it and she kept losing bone.

Now remember, this was a while ago. And so at that point, I thought I was being really brave giving her 1500 units of vitamin D a day. But none of the things I was doing, giving her 2000 units of calcium, we made sure her hormones were balanced properly, we did everything we could think of. And then at one convention, there was the first testing available for DNA SNPs related to the VDR receptor sites. So it turns out Lara had every abnormal VDR receptor site that had tests for. So it turns out that in order to have vitamin D levels up to where they really needed to be, should take 14,000 units of vitamin D a day for two years before we got her vitamin D levels up. So we had her DEXAs going down, down, down, down, Ah, vitamin D three receptor sites her DEXAs started going back up. And then once she was doing some research, and what else you could do, she ran across a company called AlgaeCal. So Pardon me, I’m not paid by them but Lara is. She’s their science writer. Anyway, so she found this company and she said, “Well, I like the idea of all these trace minerals that you get in AlgaeCal.” She started taking that product, and she was going to hop up and then she shot up. And now, 30 years later, Lara has normal bones.  She now does not have osteoporosis and dying like her mother and her grandmother did, but she doesn’t have osteopenia anymore. So basically, that book is about her journey by figuring this out. Now the interesting thing for me was that whenever Lara would find some biochemical pathway that was important for bone health I said, “Well wait, well that biochemical pathway is important for the kidneys. That one’s important for the heart, that one’s important for the brain.” I was realizing everything necessary for the bones to work healthfully is necessary for the whole body. Which why we ended up naming it, Healthy Bones Healthy You, because is true. If you do what’s necessary for the bones, everything else starts working properly. Working better, I should say.

Speaker 5:                          I hate to ask a question of the subject at the moment, but do you see any relationship in the data about Parkinson’s with any of these toxins?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Oh, of course. [inaudible 00:43:31]. So there’s two kinds of data I’ve seen. Unfortunately I haven’t looked at it deeply enough because I haven’t had a Parkinson’s patient lately, so I just haven’t doven into it. And so I saw two patterns. One is a direct correlation between neurotoxic pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s, no question about it. So if anybody’s living near, I hate to say it folks, if you’re living on a golf course, have your levels checked. That’s a little worried. You do a lot of travel, a lot of travel on airplanes, better check your levels. Had some friends of mine who are literally international globetrotters, they had the highest levels organophosphate pesticides I’ve seen anywhere. So now there’s another thing, and turns out if people who, when they’re detoxifying the organophosphates go through phase one too fast and phase two too slowly, they have an even more toxic reaction to the pesticides. So it looks there’s both the exposure component and a susceptibility component to it. And I haven’t finished going through the research figure that out yet. But there’s-

Speaker 5:                          About the airplane, I missed the airplanes. Why the airplanes?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Airplanes?

Speaker 5:                          You said that flying a lot on airplanes, why-

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Oh, I’m sorry. People flying on airplanes. Well, so I’ll tell you this from personal experience. They heavily spray those airplanes for arachnoids and rodents and things like that. And particularly flying internationally like I was flying, those things are always sprayed before they get to a location or when they leave one country to another.

Speaker 5:                          And golf courses for all the pesticides, correct doctor?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Yeah. All the pesticides being used.

Speaker 4:                          Wow, thank you so much. Gosh.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      So it looks like you’re mostly all still here. Do you like these ideas? Am I going wrong in some direction?

Dr. Weitz:                           Oh no, absolutely. We’re all very aware of the role of toxins and we just want more details as to exactly which ones to focus on, how do we-

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Start with arsenic. Seriously folks. Now [inaudible 00:45:42] where I get my book, clinical Environmental Medicine, gets you a lot of information about arsenic. But the good news is, once you detect it, all you got to do is stop the exposure and the body will take care of it. And one of the things I’ve noticed in my book for consumers I wrote called The Toxin Solution. I differentiate between persistent toxins and non-persistent toxins. So persistent toxins are those that have really long half-lives. They’re hard to get rid out of the body. Like perfluronates, they’re two to four year half-life to get those things out of the body. So yeah, great, you stopped using Teflon stuff, but stuff is still in the body, if you want to get rid of it. Anyway, so got those persistent ones, the PCBs half-lives 10 to 20 years. Really hard to get rid of lead long it years. Then you have the non persistence. The phthalates, arsenic, bisphenol A, things like the various kinds of solvents and things like that. Most of them have short half-lives, hours to days. To stop the exposure, get rid of them. To engage your patient to religiously stop their exposure to everything possible, they will feel better within two weeks. And that gets them engaged for the months to years-long process to do the rest of the job.

Dr. Weitz:                            Any clinical pearls for getting rid of lead?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      DMSA is still the best that I know. So actually, DMSA is actually better for lead than it is for mercury. And so what I find with my patients, I see mercury toxicity way more lead toxicity, but I may have to reconsider that. But anyway, it takes out the lead as well as the mercury. So you see mercury levels go down, the lead levels go down too. Works great. And very rare adverse events. I only see adverse events for people with [inaudible 00:47:23] sensitive, and that’s very, very rare.

Dr. Weitz:                           Have you found benefits to using EDTA for lead?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      I haven’t. Jerry Gordon did an interesting job digging up some research showing that five grams orally a day of EDTA was good at getting rid of lead from the body. And it was some pretty interesting research. That was on lead exposed people so that can skew the research, but it was pretty interesting.

Dr. Weitz:                           And any clinical pearls about Mercury? Because that’s a really common one.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      So you got to watch with the fish that you eat. The amount of mercury in fish is in general proportion to the size of the fish. So the smaller the fish, the better. And of course, cold water since it’s higher omega threes, and should be healthier. But yeah, eat small fish because there’s no question direct correlation between amount of fish eating and none of the mercury in the brain are shown in the urine and blood, but also deficits in psychomoter tests. Okay, so no question about it. More fish people eat, the more psychoneuro test deficits.

Dr. Weitz:                           But how many people are eating fish in place of other animal proteins because they think it’s healthier and the fish has plastic and-

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Smaller wild cod fish doesn’t. But it’s going to be hard for the world to sustain that. And unfortunately farm fish, not as bad as cows, corn-fed cows, but farm fish is not very good either. It’s got a very high toxic load as well.

Dr. Weitz:                           And if you eat out at restaurants, there’s very few restaurants that serve wild fish and there’s a lot of restaurants-

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Order wild fish salmon and order farm salmon right next to each other, eat them next to each other, and you know immediately which is which.

Dr. Weitz:                           Right. I know in LA a lot of restaurants are selling this Scottish wild salmon which is actually farmed.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Well, and even if it’s wild caught, because the Ireland salmon is so polluted, it pollutes the Scottish salmon as well. So even the salmon wild caught is as bad as the salmon farm in the US.

Dr. Weitz:                           My understanding is the Scottish salmon that’s being sold, it’s in pens in the ocean and they’re saying that it’s wild because it they’re big pens or something like that.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Yeah. Well, if they fed them the right food that’s fine, but it turns out the primary driver of the high toxic load in the fish is actually what they’re fed.

Dr. Weitz:                           Right, of course.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      [crosstalk 00:50:03].

Speaker 3:                          I have a question.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Sure.

Speaker 3:                          Can I ask a question?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Yeah.

Speaker 3:                          I’ve read a lot about detox baths that use Epsom salts, baking soda, bentonite, do those do anything?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      That’s a good question and I actually have not looked into that research. Now I am a person who likes soaking in a magnesium bath. I think it’s good for me, but I haven’t actually looked at the Iron exchange with environmental toxins. Good question, I will look into that.

Speaker 3:                          Okay, thank you.

Dr. Weitz:                           What is the toxicity of farmed trout?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Well again, it depends entirely upon what they’re fed. They’re fed healthy food they’re okay. But if they’re fed the processed mass produced food them no, they’re not going to be okay.

Dr. Weitz:                           Right. Any thoughts on charcoal hemo filtration?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      It ought to be pretty effective. But now I’m not necessarily saying the whole procedure is totally validated, but conceptually I could see how it could work. That’s all I can say at this point.

Dr. Weitz:                           Somebody asked about homocysteine as a possible marker for arsenic toxicity.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      So the thing with homocysteine, as the homocysteine levels go up, and that’s indication of impaired methylation capability. So if you have an impaired methylation capability, it makes arsenic more toxic. When arsenic is detoxified, it goes through a two step process. It’s first methylated, just like arsenous acid anyway, it’s called methyl arsenic one methyl arsenic, which is actually way more toxic than inorganic arsenic, then goes through a second methylation stage and a second methyl, which makes it like four times less toxic than metal arsenic. Some people have a fast first phase, sound familiar? And a slow second phase. And those people actually get toxicity to arsenic more easily. Now, it’s only about 1% of population as near as I can tell has that. I’m not sure I’m confident about the GenX yet, but I saw that pattern and actually just had a patient with that pattern. So it’s going to be every interesting to see what happens.

Dr. Weitz:                           Somebody asked about homocysteine being too low, as far as I know, the lower the better for homocysteine.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      It’s a very good question. So I wrote an editorial on homocysteine entitled Homocysteine Friend Or Foe about six years ago, and actually looked at that question. And it turns out you can have too low homocysteine. When we think about it, we think about homocysteine as being evil molecule. Remember, the body produces all homocystine in the body, it’s not an evil molecule, body has a purpose for it. It becomes an evil molecule when we screw things up. So we think about, what does homocysteine do? Well, it’s a storage site for cystine, to go into good glutathione production as we need it. It transports methyl groups around. So homocysteine is actually a very useful molecule. So it turns out, we get below around four with some neurological dysfunction that starts showing up. So I look at homocysteine, I would guess the ideal is probably between six and eight would be my best guess at this point. But that’s subject to changes as I see more research.

Dr. Weitz:                           So when you say support methylation, for a lot of people that just means give methyl B vitamins and of story, but there’s more to it, right?

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Yes. So if you had a chance to listen to my lecture on unimportant molecules, there’s a fascinating. Now I have to give an hour and a half lecture tomorrow morning. I may be run out of voice. One more thing, I’m going to have to call it quits.

Dr. Weitz:                           That’s okay. We’re honored for you to have joined us this evening.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Oh, you’re very kind. I actually just forgot your question. Sorry, it’s getting late for me. What was your question again?

Dr. Weitz:                           It was just about some of the details about how to deal with methylation issues besides simply recommending-

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Oh, thank you. [crosstalk 00:53:58]. So everybody’s aware of the MTHFR polymorphisms and how the that’s really unfortunate because folic acid can’t be metabolized for these people. So they have more higher homocystine and direct correlations with cancer and heart disease and dementia. I mean, the data is pretty clear. But here’s the kicker, there’s no folic acid in food, right? You have natural folates or what are they? They’re methylated folates. So they go right into the methylation function with homocysteine, they don’t need MTHFR. This whole MTHFR bugaboo that we’ve created, is only because we screw up our diet and lost one of the standard molecules from the diet which is folates. So good news is, have people eat real folates.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Could it be one of the reasons why all this research on fermented foods always seems to find a negative correlation with virtually every fermented food in every disease? Well guess what? Fermented foods have lots of natural folates. So I think I put people on a diet now is a high arsenic, but now people don’t have much folates in their diet, so now we’re dependent upon folic acid. And for those who can convert folic acid to the methylated folates, well okay. A substantial portion of population doesn’t do that very well if at all. Well okay for them, but how about everybody else? Well, if you get a natural diet, it doesn’t matter. I’m going so much back to the old time ways. Eat real food, just uncontaminated and your body is remarkable, things will work out pretty well.

Dr. Weitz:                           Eat real food.

Dr. Pizzorno:                      Eat real food, and make sure it’s not contaminated. Remember these new denatured molecules and all these halogenated hydrocarbons, we’ve never seen them. We don’t know what to do with them. They just poison us. And yes, lead and cadmium and mercury were around, but they’re buried pretty deep. We didn’t get much experience with them. Got some experience with mercury, so we’re fairly going to get rid of mercury. Remember we’re talking about half-lives in months rather half-lives in years, and actually we came across all the time. So try to avoid that. But without those toxins, our bodies work just great. But with those toxins, they screw things up because our body doesn’t know how to deal with them. Remember we’re intentionally designed to be difficult to break down by biological systems. So of course they saturate the environment, saturate us. DDT was banned almost 50 years ago. Every fetus today has DDT in him or her. Okay, and that DDT is causing neurological damage. Okay, I got to call quits.

Dr. Weitz:                            Thank you, Dr. Pizzorno, thank you so much.

Speaker 3:                           Thank you so much.

Speaker 6:                           Thank you.



Dr. Weitz:                            And thank you to everybody. Look forward to seeing you next month. Thank you for making it all the way through this episode of the Rational Wellness Podcast. And if you enjoyed this podcast, please go to Apple Podcasts and give us a five star ratings and review that way, more people will be able to find this Rational Wellness Podcast when they’re searching for health podcasts. And I wanted to let everybody know that I do now have a few openings for new nutritional consultations for patients at my Santa Monica weight sports chiropractic and nutrition clinic. So if you’re interested, please call my office 310-395-3111 and sign up for one of the few remaining slots for a comprehensive nutritional consultation with Dr. Ben Weitz. Thank you and see you next week.


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