by Michael Colgan, Ph.D.
Lipophilic means tending to mix with fats. Over the last 100 years, we have flooded our environment with thousands of lipophilic toxins, including pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals from building products, household products, furniture, carpets, and industrial waste (1).
The high levels and increasing contamination of human breast milk in the US and Canada provides ample evidence of widespread distribution of lipophilic toxins in our environment (2-4). I will take the example of just one of them–the much used flame retardants known as polybrominated biphenyls (PBDs).
In North America, levels of PBDs in breast milk are now among the highest in the world (4;5)—higher than levels found in Europe or Asia. To put it in perspective, PBDs in human breast milk in North America are much higher than the legal limit for any other form of milk.
Elevated PBDs in breast milk have been linked with lower birth weight and smaller heads in newborns (6). In a study conducted in the Netherlands, high blood PBD levels in mothers at the 35th week of pregnancy correlated with defective motor function, defective cognition, and disordered behavior of the child measured up until age six (7). In New York City, prenatal PBD exposure (as indicated by cord blood PBD levels) was linked with lower scores on tests of mental and physical development at the ages of 1 to 4 as well as age 6 (8). A recent controlled study in Spain (9) reported decreased attention and cognitive and motor scores in infants and children exposed to PBDs.
The evidence against PBDs is now so strong that the US Environmental Protection Agency is phasing them out. But, just like the insecticide DDT, PBDs will remain in the environment for our lifetime. Bald eagles in California still show high levels of DDT even though they were all born decades after the chemical was banned. Like DDT, PBDs can persist in the body for decades, slowly damaging the brain and shortening lifespan.
The ray of hope is the miracle of the human body. As a living, constantly renewing organism, it’s able to be cleansed of such harmful toxins and chemicals. Regular cleansing routines emphasizing a high intake of water and nutritional support–along with reductions in body fat–enable the body to excrete most toxins.
You clean your teeth daily in order to maintain them. Your health will benefit a great deal more if you also clean your body daily, from the inside out.
About Dr. Colgan
Dr. Michael Colgan is a world-renowned research scientist, leading expert in the inhibition of aging, and a member of the Isagenix Science Advisory Board. Dr. Colgan has provided nutrition, training and anti-aging programs to more than 11,000 athletes, including many Olympians. He is director of his eponymous Colgan Institute, a consulting, educational and research facility concerned with the effects of nutrition and exercise on athletic performance, along with prevention of chronic degenerative disease, and prevention of degeneration of the brain.
- Jandacek et al. Factors affecting the storage and excretion of toxic lipophilic xenobiotics. Lipids. 2001;36(12):1289-1305.
- Colgan. Save Your Brain. Vancouver: Science Books, 2008.
- Colgan. Nutrition for Champions, Vancouver: Science Books, 2007.
- Marchitti et al. Improving infant exposure and health risk estimates: Using serum data to predict polybrominated diphenyl ether concentrations in breast milk. Environ Sci Technol. 2013;47(9):4787-95.
- Giordano et al. Developmental Neurotoxicity: Some Old and New Issues. ISRN Toxicol. 2012; Published online June 24, 2012.
- Chao, et al. Levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in breast milk from central Taiwan and their relation to infant birth outcome and maternal menstruation effects. Environment International. 2007;33(2):239–245.
- Roze, et al. Prenatal exposure to organohalogens, including brominated flame retardants, influences motor, cognitive, and behavioral performance at school age. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2009;117(12):1953–1958.
- Herbstman et al. Prenatal exposure to PBDEs and neurodevelopment. Environmental Health Perspectives 2010;118(5):712–719.
- Gascon et al. Effects of pre and postnatal exposure to low levels of polybromodiphenyl ethers on neurodevelopment and thyroid hormone levels at 4 years of age. Environment International. 2011;37(3):605–611.