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Today’s episode is first in five parts of our interview with Dr. Joseph Pizzorno. Dr Pizzorno is the founder of Bastyr University and best selling author. He wrote the book , The Toxin Solution, which will be the center of this five part series.
Donny Osmond: Hi, I'm Donny Osmond, and welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way, hosted by my friends Daniel and Tana Amen. Now in this podcast, you're going to learn that the war for your health, is won between your ears. That's right, if you're ready to be sharper and have better memory, mood, energy, and focus, well then, stay with us.
Here are Daniel and Tana Amen.
Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome everybody. This is Dr. Daniel Amen, I am here with Tana. We are so honored and excited to have Dr. Joseph Pizzorno with us. I was blessed to be able to review his book, "The Toxin Solution." I'm asked all the time to review books, and I rarely can do it because of my schedule, but I'm working on my new book, "Memory Rescue," and toxins are just such an important part of why your brain deteriorates and how to get it back. So I just loved his book, virtually every paragraph is a gem to read.
Dr. Pizzorno is the founding president of Bastyr University, which is one of the premier naturopathic schools in the country. Actually, one of our own doctors, Dr. Kabran Chapek, graduated from there, and he's just a wonderful naturopathic physician.
Joseph, we just feel honored to have you with us today.
Tana Amen: Yes, thank you so much.
Dr Pizzorno: Well, thank you for the very, very kind introduction.
Dr Daniel Amen: We're going to do 5 podcasts. We're going to break it up into toxins in food, toxins in personal products, toxins in the environment, detoxification, and Dr. Pizzorno's greatest hits on what he has learned over his decade long career.
But Joseph, let's start with food, and what are some of the most important things you have learned about toxins in our food supply?
Dr Pizzorno: Well thank you for the kind introduction. I think, as you mentioned, and thank you so much for reading my book, the health problems people have have changed pretty dramatically. I've been involved in medicine now for almost half a century. First as a researcher in conventional medicine, then a student of naturopathic medicine, then as a clinician, then as founder of Bastyr University, and now doing a lot of research and teaching.
So it used to be people had a disease primarily because of nutritional deficiencies and excesses, but then it started to change, and I saw this really dramatically start about thirty years ago, when I started seeing patients come to me because they were toxic. They still had nutritional deficiencies and nutritional excesses, but now they had a lot of toxins, and as it turned out, as I dug into the research, where the toxins were coming from was food.
So when I say it comes from food, I want to say it's from two perspectives; One is, how our foods are now being grown, but second, the packaging material in which the foods are stored. So going back first to how foods are being grown. When we started looking at the use of these pesticides and herbicides that are now being so widely used on our foods, initially we thought it wasn't much trouble. When they looked into farmers who are around these a lot, they see more cancer in farmers, and in the later years [inaudible 00:03:35] but the researchers are all saying, "Well, it's just people with high exposure, [inaudible 00:03:40] population, doesn't have much effect on them."
But the problem is, when you look at the research that was being done on the toxins, they're looking at primarily people with high exposure, like poisoning or industrial exposure, and they were asserting that everybody else has [inaudible 00:03:57] exposure, it doesn't matter. When you look like at one single toxin, that might be true. The problem is, we're exposed every day to hundreds of toxins, and we're being exposed to these toxins through our whole lives. So then we start looking at it through that perspective, all of a sudden, all of this data shows up showing that most chronic disease today is primarily due to toxins, and it unfortunately starts in utero.
There've now been three studies that I've seen looking at children where they assess the toxic load of their mother while they were pregnant. Three studies have now shown, if you look at the children born to women in the top ten percent of chemical toxic exposure, compared to children born to women in the bottom ten percent of chemical exposure, and we use statistics to iron out the socio and economic differences, these kids have a seven point drop in IQ and a doubling of ADHD.
One of these studies looked at these children for seven years, and seven years later, they still haven't gotten their IQ back.
Tana Amen: Wow.
Dr Pizzorno: That's very disconcerting. So now the corporate researchers started looking at, "What is the impact to the general population, and is there any correlation with this increasing [inaudible 00:05:14] in older people?"
In one study it's now certain that the average person in North America has a 14 point lower IQ than we had a hundred years ago.
Tana Amen: Wow.
Dr Daniel Amen: Wow.
Dr Pizzorno: That's pretty disconcerting, and I'm not making this up, this is what's in medical research.
So we need to start looking at, "what are these toxins, why are they causing problems, where are they coming from?" Now we know that, not only does the research show that people at the top in exposure have a lot more disease than people with the lower levels of exposure, but the problems are getting worse. The good news is that way back in the 70's, we banned lead in gasoline and paint, and that's good, because our lead levels went down. Remember all of our people in the Baby Boom generation who are now hitting the chronic disease problems, when they were growing up, they were making the [inaudible 00:06:07] a lot of lead in the environment. So as people lose bone as you get older, they're starting to lose the lead in that bone, let's just say the lead's coming out of the bone, of course it joins circulation, and poisoning your brains.
It's not just lead. It turns out that the primary storage place for mercury in the body, which comes from primarily so-called "silver fillings," which are actually 55% mercury, and from eating fish that is not as big, it turns out that the mercury is in the bone as well. So as people start losing bone during the perimenopausal, and let's say periandropausal times, both men and women were poisoned with these metal toxins, but it's not just the metal toxins.
So another good thing we did in the 70's was we banned DDT and we banned PCBs ... that's great. The problem is that these chemicals, basically they're called pesticides, these chemicals were designed to be not only pesticides in terms of killing insects, they are also designed to be difficult to break down, so once they're sprayed on the foods, when the sun came out, it wouldn't automatically wipe them out. So they have very long half lives, not just for the environment, but also against our bodies. Take a look at the research, look at the amount of PCB, DDT, and there's a breakdown product in DDT called DDE, which is just as toxic, if you look at the level of these things, the older the person gets, the more that's in their bodies. It's not just that they were exposed more as children, but they're being constantly exposed.
Then we look at the half life, that is, how long does it take for the body to burn off one half of the toxin, it's a pretty standard method by which toxicologists look at how toxic the chemical is. We looked at the half life of things like DDT and PCBs, which are very neurotoxic, the half life is 2-25 years.
Tana Amen: Whoa.
Dr Pizzorno: I'm not saying [inaudible 00:07:58] or days or months, I'm saying years. So what's going on is these things cause all kinds of trouble. So for example, one of the things I've been doing, I got a nice advance for my work at the Toxic Solution, and perhaps foolishly I spent the whole advance hiring researchers to work with me to dig into the research. What has the research told us? So one of the things we're trying to do is we're trying to figure out what percent of these chronic diseases is due to toxins. We're finding these numbers that are astounding. For example, looking at children with ADHD, you would assert based on the research, that one in every four kids with ADHD has it because of the DDT in the body.
You say, "wait a minute, it was banned 40 years ago." Yes, it was banned 40 years ago, but it's still in the environment, still getting into our bodies, it gets in our bodies through the foods that we eat. They are a significant source because the whole environment is so contaminated.
Tana Amen: Oh my gosh.
Dr Pizzorno: I just talked a lot. [crosstalk 00:08:57]
Tana Amen: No it's great. My head is spinning with a ton of questions, as I'm sure a lot of people who are listening, theirs are too, because I get a lot of these questions on our community, which I answer a lot of myself, and so through the rest of these podcasts, I want to make sure that we address some of those things, because you just opened up a whole lot of stuff. One of them being the pregnant women who were studied, because I know I took a class and they actually tested cord blood on newborns, and found that they had a ridiculous number of toxins in their bodies, and they just entered the world. One thing that I learned also was that, the best way for a women to drop her toxic load or reduce it, was to breastfeed, which is really scary when you think about that. Now that doesn't mean people shouldn't be breastfeeding, they need to be breastfeeding because they're so many benefits to breastfeeding, but it really gets us thinking about this idea of responsibility, of taking responsibility for ourselves and the next generation in setting up the proper environment, and the first step is knowing and knowing what to do.
Dr Pizzorno: I'm glad you said that. I think it's absolutely critical that we help women before they get pregnant to prepare their bodies for babies. Because in our current toxic environment, these children are experiencing a severe disservice from us as a society, as a community. You mentioned for example breastfeeding. So we recommend to women that they eat fish, we recommend that they eat low-mercury fish, and the reason we recommend that they eat fish is because fish is high in omega 3 fatty acids, and fatty acid levels in a pregnant woman has a big impact on a child's IQ.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Pizzorno: So that's good. The problem is, the more fish women eat, even if they're avoiding the high mercury fish, they're getting what are called the persistent organic pollutants, particularly the PCBs, that's the [crosstalk 00:10:51] by females, because they are so high in the environment. So these PCBs, they concentrate in fat tissue, and they concentrate in fatty liquids, like breast milk.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Pizzorno: It turns out, PCBs are a very significant cause of breast cancer in women, and it could be that one reason that women who breastfeed have less breast cancer is because they gave the PCBs out of the body, so it's not being as damaging to the breast, and the PCBs are going to the babies, and they cause ADHD and decrease their IQ.
Tana Amen: That's amazing.
Dr Daniel Amen: So we only have a few more minutes, and I know when I read the book, "The Toxin Solution," I was horrified. There is a lot of hope, there's actually a lot of very specific directions that, prescriptions that you give people. So, in two minutes, what can people do to avoid toxins in their food?
Dr Pizzorno: Right. So the best way to get toxins out of your body, is to not let them get in in the first place. That comes down to some very straightforward things; number 1 is people should only eat organically grown foods. Now if they can't afford eating only organically grown foods, the Environmental Working Group has put together a nice website, www.o ...[crosstalk 00:12:09]
Tana Amen: It's ewg.org
Dr Pizzorno: Okay. And they show you which foods called the "dirty dozen," are the most toxic, which should only be eaten when they're organically grown or not eaten at all, and then you have what's called the "clean fifteen," which are foods with the lowest level of chemical toxins, whereas it's not as critical that they be organic. So number one is eat organic foods.
Number two, almost as important, is to not eat food that's been stored in plastic, or if you have to eat food that's been stored in plastic, as soon as you get it home, wash it and put it into glass.
So there's one study I mention in the book, where they look at Bisphenol A levels in homemade food vs. store bought food. They looked at soups, lentil soup. They found the store bought food had twelve times as much Bisphenol A in it when stored in cans like we typically get; we get our soups in cans. That Bisphenol A has all kinds of health problems, so [crosstalk 00:13:06]
Tana Amen: Right, and that lines most cans unless it says BPA free, it's actually the lining on a lot of cans.
Dr Pizzorno: Exactly. And not only that, [crosstalk 00:13:16] now people are using Bisphenol S, Bisphenol Z, and why would we think they're going to be any safer? These chemicals are designed to be difficult to break down, so basically they're toxic.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: So it's not only what the food eats that you eat, it's also what the food is stored in that you end up eating, so if you get healthy, uncured ham, that's in a plastic container, that actually would not be healthy.
Tana Amen: Well, and a lot of foods that are hot are served in plastic, and that's even worse.
Dr Pizzorno: Yes.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, fast food's almost always in plasticized containers.
Dr Pizzorno: Lots of chemicals in fast foods.
And then when we get home and we prepare it, so if you want to use a coated pan, that's fine, but be very careful not to let it get very hot, because as soon as that Teflon coated pan starts getting very hot, it starts releasing what are called the perfluoronated hydrocarbons, and those things are toxic as well.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: Alright, stay with us. Next, I know this has horrified many people, but there's a hopeful message, which means you can take control of your health if you take control of the toxins in the environment. When we say you're in a war for the health of your brain, we're not kidding, and we're going to look at personal products next. We're going to stay with Dr. Joseph Pizzorno on the Brain Warrior's Way.
Donny Osmond: Thanks for listening to today's show, the "Brain Warrior's Way." Why don't you head over to brainwarriorswaypodcast.com, that's brainwarriorswaypodcast.com, where Daniel and Tana have a gift for you just for subscribing to the show. And when you post your review on iTunes, you'll be entered into a drawing where you can win a VIP visit to one of the Amen clinics.
I'm Donny Osmond, and I invite you to step up your Brain Game by joining us in the next episode.