Detoxification from Environmental Chemicals

Dr. Adrienne Sprouse

Dr. Adrienne Sprouse

What is Detoxification?

Detoxification is the process of removing substances considered toxic or poisonous to the human body.  Detoxification aims at the mobilization and excretion of the toxic properties of the substance by inducing chemical changes in the body.  The primary organs of detoxification are the liver, skin, bowels, and lungs.

Why is detoxification so important?

More than 80,000 chemicals are in commercial use in the United States today, and most were released to the market without any research regarding their long-term, low-dose effects on human health.  There is no government agency that evaluates or regulates the release of these chemicals.  Short-term exposure to toxic chemicals can cause a wide variety of symptoms including headache, burning eyes, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, disorientation, etc.  Long-term exposure can lead to lung disease, heart disease, hypertension, mental illness, cancer, diabetes, and stroke.

The Centers for Disease Control have confirmed that Americans are carrying many toxic chemicals in their bodies.  In its fourth NHANES report (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), more than 200 chemicals were identified in the blood and urine of a representative sample of 2,500 Americans.

What chemicals are Americans carrying in their bodies?

The NHANES report identifies:   disinfection byproducts; cotinine (a metabolite of nicotine); fungicides; herbicides; pesticides; heavy metals; phthalates (plasticizers); phytoestrogens, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (fire retardants); polychlorinated biphenyls (plasticizers); poly aromatic hydrocarbons; volatile organic compounds…to name a few.

Each of these chemicals can damage human health.  When more than one chemical is present in the body, even more damage can occur because these chemicals can act synergistically and their clearance can be delayed because they compete for the same clearance pathways through the liver.

Where are these toxic chemicals found?

They are in the foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and products that we use.  We are exposed to these chemicals by eating non-organic foods, drinking water and other beverages in plastic bottles, medications, exposure to printers or high-volume photocopiers at home and work, new building materials, synthetic carpeting, gas stoves, fragrances, cosmetics, cleaning products, building exterminations, lawn care, dry-cleaned clothes, mold contaminated buildings…the list is extensive.

How do these chemicals enter our bodies?

Environmental chemicals enter the body through the air we breathe, the foods we eat, the water we drink, through maternal-fetal transmission, and through the implantation of medical devices.  Once in our bodies, these chemicals enter the bloodstream and circulate to every organ, often causing multi-system dysfunction.

How can we lower our exposure to toxic chemicals?

Informed choices about the products that we use in our personal lives, the air quality in our homes and workplaces, the foods we eat,  and the water we drink are all important.  Choose organic foods.  Drink filtered water from glass rather than plastic bottles. Read labels on personal care products.  Avoid all aerosol sprays.

How do I clear the chemicals that are already there?

The clearance of many of these chemicals can be accomplished by enhancing the liver’s detoxification pathways.   Certain nutrients serve as enzyme cofactors in the liver.  A physician skilled in detoxification can best determine the specific nutritional program needed, either intravenous and/or oral, that would best detoxify each person.

Medical sauna detoxification is an adjunct to nutritional support.  It is designed to move the chemicals out of their fat stores and into the bloodstream where these toxic chemicals can circulate to the liver to be transformed and cleared.

Is detoxification for heavy metals different?

Although some heavy metals can be cleared through the medical sauna, chelation is also effective. A prescription for a chelating medication is required.  The chelating medicine binds to heavy metals, forms a complex, and then pulls these heavy metals out of the body to be eliminated through the urine.

Detoxification requires the skill of a physician trained in this medical process. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine is an excellent resource to locate a doctor and may be reached at

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