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How Toxins Make You Fat: 4 Steps to Get Rid of Toxic Weight

How Toxins Make You Fat: 4 Steps to Get Rid of Toxic Weight

Scientists recently uncovered a surprising and disturbing fact: environmental toxins make you fat and cause diabetes(1). Inside the body, these chemicals monkey with our ability to balance blood sugar and metabolize cholesterol. Over time, the changes can lead to insulin resistance. This discovery should be headline news but no one is talking about it. Why? Because there are no drugs to treat it. In the quest to conquer the two biggest epidemics of our time—diabetes and obesity—we’ve got to turn our attention to the heavy burden environmental toxins put on our bodies.

Until conventional medicine catches up, you’ve got to optimize your body’s ability to rid itself of toxins. If your body’s detoxification tools aren’t up to snuff, waste will build up. Overtime, the damage is similar to what happens when trash collectors go on strike and don’t pick up the garbage off the streets. The waste piles high, making the neighborhood smell bad and creating a breeding ground for illness.

Don’t let the word detoxification turn you off. You may think it sounds like a New-age idea or something from celebs in Hollywood on the heels of an alcohol or drug binge, but detoxification is a normal, every day function. It’s the body’s way of breaking down and eliminating anything that doesn’t belong. And, these days, there are a lot of things our bodies come into contact with that don’t belong.

We live in an environment steeped in chemicals that our bodies were not designed to process. For a disturbing look at the chemicals that breach the boundaries of our bodies, look no further than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals .  In the latest report, scientists at the CDC found that nearly every person they tested was packing a host of nasty chemicals, including flame retardants stored in fatty tissue and Bisphenol A (2), a hormone-like substance found in plastics, excreted in urine.  Even babies are contaminated. The average newborn has 287 chemicals in her umbilical cord blood, 217 of which are neurotoxic (poisonous to nerves or nerve cells) (3).

Take Out The Trash

While it’s true that we live in a toxic world, it’s important to remember that there is a lot you can do to enhance your body’s natural ability to detox. The body has four main exit routes for toxins: pee, poop, perspiration and pranayama (Sanskrit for breath). I call these the quadruple “P.” Every moment of every day your body is relying on the quadruple “P” to mobilize, transform, and excrete toxins. Here is a quick primer on how to make the most of each strategy:

Pee: The kidneys are responsible for flushing waste from the blood. Make sure you give them what they need by drinking plenty of water. Humans are predominately composed of water (about 66 percent by weight for men, about 60 percent for women). Drink plenty of clean water, at least eight 8-ounce glasses of filtered water a day. One of the first signs of dehydration is the color of your urine. Your urine should be mostly clear (clear enough to read a newspaper through) or with only a slight tinge of yellow. (If you take vitamins, keep in mind that some nutrients, especially riboflavin, causes your urine to turn bright yellow.) But, if your urine is dark yellow or has a strong odor, chances are you aren’t drinking enough.

And, of course, you’ll want to make sure you’re not upending your actions by dousing your body with more chemicals. In many communities, tap water is not safe to drink and bottled water isn’t much better. The best option is to filter your own water and carry it with you in stainless steel bottles. If possible, install a reverse osmosis filter in your house, at least for your drinking water or use a carbon filter (like Brita).

Poop: One or two well formed bowel movements every day is one of the best ways to give toxins a one-way ticket out of your body. If that goal seems high you’re not alone. As many as 20 percent of people struggle with constipation and, unfortunately, the problem can get more onerous with aging(4). But bowel function is something you have a lot of control over. For starters, up your fiber intake. Fiber cleans out the colon by making our stool heftier and easier to expel.

Secondly, drink plenty of water. The body is very good at conserving water. Sometimes it’s almost too good. When the walls of the colon suck too much moisture out of stool, it dries and hardens, which can lead to pebble-like poop and constipation. Drinking more water and other liquids during the day (aim for eight 8-ounce glasses) can make your BMs softer and easier to expel(5). And, if you still can’t get going, then you need some help and this can include taking two tablespoons of ground flax seeds, taking acidophilus and extra magnesium capsules in the form of magnesium citrate.

Perspiration: Your skin is your single largest organ of elimination. Make sure you’re maximizing the detox-potential of your pores by working up a sweat at least three times a week. Of course, heart-thumping exercise that gets the body sweating for 20 minutes, three times a week is ideal, since it confers other health benefits. But, if that is not an option, consider using a sauna, steam or detox bath to trigger the body’s natural ability to detoxify itself through sweat.

People have long gravitated toward heat as a means of cleansing the physical and emotional body. In particular, people in Scandinavian countries have used saunas for hundreds of years. Some research indicates that sauna therapy increases excretion of heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, and fat-soluble chemicals—PCBs, PBBs, and HCBs). Taking saunas or steam baths also helps reduce stress and balance the autonomic nervous system(6). (Sauna temperatures should be no higher than 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit for those with environmental illness or a history of increased toxic exposure).  On a purely physical note, sauna therapy can improve circulation, help with weight loss, balance blood sugar and improve detoxification. While the exact mechanism is not clear, it is likely due to its effects on calming the nervous system, relaxing the muscles, and increasing vasodilation.  If you don’t have access to a sauna, you can use my favorite technique to heat up and sweat, the UltraBath.

Pranayama: The lungs are the unsung heroes of the body’s detox squad. With each breath, they bring in fresh oxygen and help transport it throughout the body. Unfortunately, the air we breathe is not always clean. Every day the lungs filter out carcinogens in gas fumes, allergens from pets and plants, and spores of mold. Restricted or shallow breathing can diminish the power of the lungs by preventing oxygen from reaching all of your tissues. Breathing deeply and fully will oxygenate your brain, body, and spirit, transforming your health in the process.

One of the best ways to harness the power of the lungs to heal and detoxify is to learn how to belly breathe. Start by putting your hand on your belly. Breathe out, squeezing the air out of your lungs with your stomach muscles. As you breathe in, relax your stomach muscles and, after filling your lungs, try to push your hand off your belly with your breath, filling the lower part of your lungs. Continue to breathe in and out slowly through your nose. Each in and out breath should last to the count of three. Do this for five minutes a day.

If you are struggling to lose weight despite eating well and exercising your butt off, toxins may be interfering with your body’s metabolism. Consider applying the rules of the quadruple “P” to your life. For more on how toxins undermine your health, including a “Toxicity Quiz” to measure your exposure, see The Blood Sugar Solution  to get a free sneak peak.

Now I’d like to hear from you…

What do you think of environmental toxins?

Do you experience the effects of them in your health?

What are you doing to rid your diet of these toxins?

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below.

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD


(1) Jones OA, Maguire ML, Griffin JL. Environmental pollution and diabetes: a neglected association. Lancet. 2008 Jan 26;371(9609):287-8.

(2) Lang IA, et al. Association of urinary bisphenol A concentration with medical disorders and loratory abnormalities in adults. JAMA. 2008 Sep 17;300(11):1303-10.

(3) Environmental Working Group “Study Finds Industrial Pollution Begins in the Womb” (

(4) McCallum, J.D., Ong, S., M Mercer-Jones. (2009) Chronic Constipation in Adults: Clinical Review, British Medical Journal. 338:b831

(5) National Institutes of Health (

(6) Crinnion, WJ (2011) Sauna as a Valuable Clinical Tool for Cardiovascular, Autoimmune, Toxicant-induced and other Chronic Health Problems, Alternative Medicine Review 16(3): 215-225

Mark Hyman MD is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

Comments (80)

  • I will try the 4 P’s. Im trying to eat well – whole foods, no processed foods. Exercising but Im just gaining weight. I have hypothyroidism and am taking nature throid. What are your thoughts on what causes hyperthyroidism/ hypothyroidism? Initially i was hyper. Then had the radioactive iodine tx and now i struggle with hypothyroidism. Ive think Ive heard thyroid problems occur with metal toxicity. Thoughts?

  • Thanks for the awesome detox info. My understanding is that far infrared sauna is best as long as you get one has a low EMF rating and also that the wood doesnt offgas chemicals. Is there a concern with steam saunas in that the chlorine in the water changes into formeldehyde which can cause brain inflammation? Maybe you could clarify further. thanks

  • yes. I found both your article on wheat and this one on toxins. My husband and I have been concerned the past couple years and have slowly eliminated all processed foods and trying to avoid GMO foods. It’s difficult! Besides our inviromental toxins in the air, we have to concern ourselves with all the toxins in our water and even fresh foods.
    Is there any hope that we eventually can force the FDA to clean up what they “allow” to be present in our food and water?
    We have used reverse osmosis water for over a year now, and read an article last week that said that RO water has no minerals and that without the minerals in the water we would become dehydrated as our bodies would not absorb the water without the minerals. So we have gone to filtered water that leaves the minerals present.
    For the past 2 years I have made my own bread from flour with the least amount of processing and no additives. But now since reading your article on wheat am resigned to give it up. Is there anywhere wheat that has not been altered to be found?
    Thank you

  • Thank you, the good adviсes. You didn’t mention about liver in this post but it’s also one of the detoxification factory in our body. What is your advice about it mobilization?

  • I’ve been getting rid of lead. Chelation (EDTA) worked well, but made me depressed. It also removes zinc which I have a hard time getting into my body. So, I’ve used supplements (chorella, alpha lipoic acid, and glutathione in particular) and Toxex, a homeopathic medicine, along with good diet, lots of water, etc. This method is slower, but it works. Why is it that the brain releases toxins so slowly? It feels like thats the last area that still needs work.

  • One of the “toxins” many people consume every day comes in the form of palmitic acid they ingest whenever they eat foods containing saturated fats (meats, cheeses, dairy).

    Palmitic acid has been shown to increase insulin resistance, kill beta cells in the pancreas, and turn the switch off that tells you when you’re full.

    On the other hand, palmitoleic acid has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity by suppressing inflammation…. as well as inhibit the destruction of beta cells caused by saturates.

    So a couple of steps you might add to the list would be to: reduce intake of saturated fats in your diet, and take a supplement rich in palmitoleic acid.

    I’ll add the disclaimer that we’ve developed a supplement called Cardia 7 with ultrapurified Omega 7 (palmitoleic acid), and we’ve taken great pains to remove the palmitic acid. Hence more of the good and less of the bad.

    But it will do little good if people continue to eat foods that are literally killing them.

  • Dr. Hyman and team,
    thankyou for such valuable information, I love receiving these emails, I have lost over 60lbs and am now not in the diabetic range at all, my doctor is over the moon, my key was keep my blood glucose readings at very good levels, also I had a very large brain tumour removed in June and it is like I have been given my old self back, we eat well, lots of fruit and vegetables, I make a large ratatouille with added chick peas so I have a multiple vegetable choice. At present I am reducing my anti seizure drug so I am not driving, just trying to be responsable.

    Once again thank you for all your valuable information it is much appreciated.

  • Hi Dr Hyman

    I’ve been reading your newsletter for a while and have done your UltraCleanse diet. I’ve been wanting to write to you and today I couldn’t resist.

    I am the author of a book called “Toxic Free” and have been writing about how toxic chemicals affect our health since 1984.

    I totally agree with you that toxic chemical exposure contributes to weight gain and diabetes and that we ALL need to detox our bodies.

    I think most people still don’t know that EVERYONE now has a store of toxic chemicals in their bodies that needs to be removed if they want to be healthy.

    To have bodies that are toxic-free and healthy we need to:
    1) not put toxic chemicals in our bodies in the first place, and
    2) remove the toxic chemicals that are there

    There are many nontoxic products that can be used to reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals in our daily life. I’ve been writing about them for three decades. I have a lot of free information on my website at .

    Plus my book “Toxic Free” is an excellent quick start guide.

    We can all be free of the harmful effects of toxic chemicals and live happy, healthy lives.

    Debra Lynn Dadd

  • I have mercury toxicity, lead poisoning plus several other heavy metals. I take a compounded natural thyroid medication. We eat organic if possible and drink filtered water. Lots of gut issues from taking too many antibiotics. I am eating cultured vegetables,lots of fresh vegetables, no sugar and only sour fruits right now. How about colonics? I had a series of 3 which helped. Have used Bentonite clay baths for the heavy metals and detoxing. Still feel pretty rough. You were great on Dr. Oz, by the way.

  • I have been filtering my water since 1976. The counter-top models like Pur and Brita have such small capacity that I can taste they are depleted in other people’s houses. Replacing the cartridge often enough is a big profit for the company that sold you the device. You need to install (or hire a plumber) a permanent housing with a 12″ or larger “Carbon block” filter cartridge. These will supply years of drinking water for $20 or $30 cartridge.

    I also use an Oreck electro-static air filter. This removes all particles from the air and emits a trace amount of residual ozone, like nature’s natural air cleaning. When we get sinus infections, I kick the ozone up to prevent adventitious bacterial infections and so avoid antibiotics – ozone is a topical disinfectant for the lungs. Note that high doses of ozone are aging and even poisonous, so use with care as any medicine.

  • I am now using lemons each day, (until they run out this month), about two as I can’t have lemons later in the day. I also use Dandyblend beverage with Dandilion and Chicory root extracts, Gluten free rye and barley extracts and beet juice extract. It has the taste of coffee but is caffiene free and detoxes the blood and organs. I was using a lot of cups at first but my body now has slowed down in its cravings for it so now after my breakfast and lunch meals, as I can’t use it later in the day or I will be up all night, more than I am now. I take two garlic capsules, three times per day and now I am adding about a half inch piece of cayene pepper, cut up from the 2010 garden season. Unfortunately, I was up from 1:00 am last night with mid and left chest pain, as I have Chronic pancreatitis and other organ failures, but the cayene is used for detox also. I just can’t use a lot in my meals. I also frozen greens and beet greens last summer/fall and I use that in the blend with purifired water and green food powder in the morning. I am very limited on funds so I can’t buy the whole food nutrition I want, but one step at a time.

  • I’m the 45 year old woman who always writes in about my experiences with epilepsy over the past 10 years. Well, here I am again to say that once I abandoned the medical industry’s’ mythologies and hype and began pursuing some substantive medical advice like the kind Dr. Hyman gives, I discovered that water, food, sleep and breath were the foundations of health. Just by increasing my water consumption, growing and eating my own good food, sleeping more and breathing better, my seizures decreased phenomenally. Another helpful tool in maintaining my balance point, has been a hot sauna twice a week at the YMCA. It helps my nervous system calm down, my adrenals relax, and my mind empty, no dilantin for me, just good health practices. I now consider Epilepsy a friend who walks with me keeping me vigilant about my health practices. She doesn’t need to blow her winds when I maintain my balance point. I just finished writing my book about my journey with chronic illness. It’s called SEIZED. Besides being a great portrait of the medical industry’s failures at healing illness, it is a great odyssey story of an individual’s journey through tragedy into personal transformation. Illness is not all bad and can teach us a lot. Look for it in stores soon.

  • What can cause someone to rarely if ever sweat? Even if I get very exerted or very hot, I only sweat minimally in a few small areas, such as under my hair at the occiput, and under my breasts. Never all over. What happens instead is that I get sick, lightheaded, and overheated. Is there anything I can do to teach my body to sweat?

  • I too enjoy getting the e-mails with invaluable information. I was healthy and skinny(108-110 pounds) until well into my 50’s and then gained 20 lbs. Finally found to have a large tumor on my thyroid, and had my entire thyroid removed. Had weight gain of 40 the time I went through everything. After the thyroid removal I started having terrible stomach issues – so diagnosed with food sensitivies to yeast, gluten, wheat, dairy among other things. Cutting out all the above things I lost 30 of the 40 pounds gained and felt human again. After several years and not getting rid of the yeast in my gut, I started gaining weight again. This time – new dr. – and was tested for metals, which yielded very high levels of lead and mercury. My functional dr. has me on Captomer for 4 days twice in the month, while on the other days taking regular supplements. I will be tested again soon, but just keep gaining weight even staying off the allergy causing foods. I’ve recently tried using coconut flour and coconut oil to make snacks after eliminating all flour and sugar. I use Stevia instead of sugar in receipes. – mostly make coconut blueberry muffins. I use almond milk as a milk substute in my homemade squash soup. I am going to start going in the steam at my club after reading todays article, and make sure I keep up with enough water.

  • Thank you for your interesting article on environmental toxins. I have environmental illness and am allergic to all chemicals and especially perfume. I went to the doctor and he said there is nothing he can do for me…. I use all natural products from shampoo, dish soaps,hand & body creams, etc. I am fine until I come near a person wearing perfume then my body reacts, hard to breath, runny nose, cold sweat and then getting dizzy.
    Is there anything that I can take or do to get rid of this problem or lessen it. I find myself confined to my house, and doing things alone. Thank you.

  • My husband’s system got poisoned from a metal on metal hip implant. It has now been removed, but the long term effects of the chromium and cobalt ions (sky high readings) in his system have yet to be discovered. So far there has been deterioration of the muscles and bone surrounding the old implant and massive lesions filled with what looked like used machine oil. We’ve asked the surgeon about chelation therapy or another means of ridding the body of the chromium and cobalt, but he knows nothing about it. What do you suggest? We have a Sunlighten Solo sauna, but my husband can’t maneuver into it.

  • Carol –You could also try sprouting the Einkorn wheat, drying it & making your own flour. Sprouted flour is much healthier than regular flour. Of course, you can also buy the Einkorn flour already milled . There are also web sites that sell sprouted flour.

  • Dear AJA39,

    Check out BioRay, (google it, they have a website),
    they have a lot of chelation tools available. They have Liver Life and other things that might help your husband. Some of the products are drops that you add to water.
    You may want to contact a toxicologist too. There are chelating creams that smell awful but may help him too. TD-DMPS is one. We used it on our son. It smells like rotten eggs but it helped him, so we used it. Our son showed high levels of mercury, lead, arsenic, antimony and cadmium. He used to scratch at his skin until it would bleed. After TD-DMPS his levels were much better. I believe it helped him. He has Asperger’s. He no longer scratches at his skin at all. Good luck to you with your husband!
    Has your doctor mentioned dialysis? just a thought. I hope he gets better!

  • I’m so glad I discovered the single most complete food you can eat is also the most detoxifying for your body. That’s why I’m surprised your article doesn’t mention WHEATGRASS! It has the highest concentration of natural detox nutrients you’ll find anywhere and best of all your body assimilates it into the bloodstream in just minutes since chlorophyll is so similar to hemoglobin.
    If you want to experience the cleansing, healing & energizing effect of this incredible live & natural elixir, do at least one ounce of fresh cut wheatgrass juice every day at least 1hr before or 2hrs after you eat to get the full benefit.
    So why doesn’t everyone drink it? Many find it tastes strange & bitter, but if it’s grown & cut at the right time it’s actually good & sweet plus you can always take a shot of your favorite juice w/ it (I like pineapple). It isn’t cheap ($2-$3/ounce) but you can get that down below 20¢/ounce if you commit to growing & juicing your own. There are easy in-home growing methods that are well worth the effort when you realize how clear and energized it makes you.
    I have a friend who rid herself of stage 4 breast cancer on a diet of wheatgrass juice and sprouts. When modern medicine failed her, she found the pure power of nature to be her cure. I love the renewed sense of health and vitality I have at age 44. When you properly fuel your body the way God intends, you reap the benefits of living the way God intends.

  • My company is based on using Diatomaceous Earth to get rid of heavy metals and toxins. It a simple solution to a growning problem. Most of our food have become toxic so this simple solution is needed. I ship food grade from canada which is purer. It is FDA frass, USDA and listed in the food codex. Don’t care were you get it. It cheap and effective for both pet and humans.

    Janelle Diters

  • The Ultrabath is a very hot bath (as hot as you can stand) with 1 cup of Epsom Salts and 1 cup baking soda added. You can add some lavendar oil if you’d like for aroma and relaxation. Stay in the bath for 20 minutes. I admit, I feel drained afterward, but I do it right before bed,a d it really helps you sleep. I also keep a glass of Ice water beside me so I can drink and not dehydrate. It’s easy and it feels good.

  • It appears that we sometimes get conflicting information from the “latest” reasearch. For example, Dr. Sears states that ingesting organic read meat and eggs is very good for you. However, the latest issue of “Life Extension”, March, 2012 contains an article on “The Dangers of Excess Iron”, p 58. Page 61 identifies that “older adults” should “limit their intake of red meat, etc. I am 70 years old and have been ingesting vegetable juice most mornings. I make juice from celery, spinach, tomato and beets. I also eat read meat and eggas for breakfast two to three time per week. Am I setting mysel up for ailments, such as, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other cogninitive decline?

    • Ricardo, the more you read the less you know it seems when it comes to health matters. Lots of conflicting info pervades the Internet.

      I’m not a health professional but am fairly well read about diet, cleansing, exercise and such (but the first sentence is my disclaimer). This the first I’ve heard that eating three portions of meat per week may present an iron problem.

      My suggestion is to eat grass fed meat and free range chicken eggs. This improves the quality of the fat and protein in these foods, although it wouldn’t change the iron content.

    • Ricardo I sugest you read Dr Aman,s book Change your brain change your life. You’ll get a great understanding of how the brain operates a good eyeopener, Enjoy

  • I think you should drop the Baha’i Sankirt suggestions in your scientific/medical writings. This report in in English. Therefore, type the word “breath” instead of the Persian New Age religious word “pranayama.” What are you selling? Medical or religion? Also, this report offers no information that isn’t available on a thousand other sites; without the New Age mind games. I’m gonna remove my email from your list and stop searching your site. I’m tired of New Age being pushed upon me by the health field.

  • way back at the beginning of my family’s journey with my youngest son’s autism I heard a “detox Dr” Igor Tabrizian MD speak about the role of fat in storage of toxic substances in the body . When excretory processes can’t cope and toxins keep coming from our dirty environment (PCBs, Pesticides, Mercury, lead etc)……body fat is the least damaging place to store them (unfortunately -the brain is 2/3 fat and the blood brain barrier is not fully functioning till age 2…….mercury=autism eg).

    Good news-the reverse is also true. With help-chelation (in Australia we’re not as reticent about IV chelation as USA-we follow the European model), glutathione/B12/EFAs etc supplementation and avoiding dairy/grains/refined sugars………the weight and toxicity falls off and the brain fog clears (as well as the “behavioural” symptoms of autism).

    Inflammation due to toxic environment underlies most of today’s epidemics. BTW Alzheimers and autism are the same disease process (dr Bill Walsh/Pfeiffer, Dr Russell Blaylock/ Neurosurgeon,neurologist, and Dr Stephanie Senefff-role of sulphate in the body)

    • hi there, i know this is a really late response and i hope you get this – which doctor did you see in australia to detox the mercury?

      Thanks 🙂

  • Dr. Hyman, I eat really healthy for the most part, I do not eat red me at – maybe once a year just for a little iron. I do not add sugar to my meals or drinks, but do eat graham crackers and corn mujffins once in a while for a treat, but want to stop all and any sugar products. Drinking water is my hardest to accomplish, because I am never thirsty and I do get dehydrated. But that is my goal to accomplish. Thanks Patty

  • Dr. Hyman, As a nutritional counselor one of my first pieces of advice for clients is to make them aware of the entire toxin issue. The toxins in our foods, our personal care items, and what we use to clean our homes all add up. I love your “P’s”! I also love what you are doing to help educate people. There is a lot we need to pay attention to these days and that wasn’t always the case. I grew up on a farm in the 50’s – it was organic before we ever knew that there was such a thing! The times have sure changed!

    Thanks for all you do! I’m so happy to be walking the same path!

  • Your articles are most informative, and are helping me to become ever more aware of environmental toxins. We all need to make the healthy choices in our diets and lifestyle and we can change from a society of self-destructive to one driven to better ourselves.

  • Wow!!! It is about time someone hits the nail on the head!!! For about the past year I have been assisting my body in detoxifying. I hit a point in my life I was having constant muscle spasams(toxic build up), no energy, grossly over weight, brain fog(I am a programmer so I am sensitive to brain fog) and just a general yuckie feeling. My big thing was my weight gotta do something. Cut back on what I eat, when I eat and how much I eat. Oh an the magic pills tried them all. Nothing…. Ah ha the magic shot!! Tried lost a little… Then nothing. Remember I am eating pretty good. But those darn sugar cravings would hit at the worst moments. I called that falling off the skittles wagon. I was a walking toxic waste barrel.
    I have caught a lot of ridicule at work so I stopped talking about it. I have supported my body through yeast fungal detox, chemical detox, parasites detox, and heavy metals detox. It is kind of like peeling an onion. I am cycling through for my second pass. They say the first pass is the roughest. Yeast detox to me is the roughest.
    My benefits… In the beginning I wondered why am I doing this. The first benefit was the muscle spasams were not as intense. But the weight was still there. I got myself regular (very important for detoxing). To think I thought once a week was ok and once every two weeks was a little constipated. The sugar cravings stopped completely. A little more energy. Brain fog clearing (as long as I am not detoxing heavy metal). After I passed through the first round of detoxifying the weight started to fall off. Just all of the sudden. I have seen and experienced enough I want to continue. As it was explained to me our bodies are amazing healing machines.

  • If you detox aggressively I believe you will create more problems for yourself.
    Moderation, moderation, moderation.
    If your a meat eater for 20+ years you BETTER NOT become a vegan quickly. The human body will be shocked by the change.
    Alcoholics have to recieve treatment to withdraw from alcoholism or they WILL DIE.

  • You will need to drink much more than 64 oz of water per day, especially if you are taking a fiber supplement or doing saunas, but also if you drink coffe, tea, sodas, and alcohol– all of which are diuretics. Prescription drugs and acid-forming foods also cause the body to use a lot of water. Even in a state of mild dehydration, the cleansing process at the cellular level is greatly hindered. As cells try to retain water, fewer toxins and waste products are transported out.

    Adding a pinch of Himalayan salt to the diet daily will increase your body’s ability to hold water. Achieving proper hydration is by far the most important mechanism for detoxifying the body and Dr. Hyman’s recommended intake is far too low, in my opinion. Optimal hydration is the key for all of the 4 “P’s” he mentions to be effective.

  • @ Bobbi You wrote: “I’ve recently tried using coconut flour and coconut oil to make snacks after eliminating all flour and sugar. I use Stevia instead of sugar in receipes. – mostly make coconut blueberry muffins. I use almond milk as a milk substute in my homemade squash soup. ”

    Bobbi, please share your recipes with coconut flour & oil for blueberry muffins, etc. Which almond milk in your soup? Thanks. I have similiar diet restrictions- milk, eggs, gluten, dairy, yeast.

    Thnks, Dr Hyman. I’m working on the four areas of detox….

  • this is for Michelle (2-20-12) I too am Hypothyroid. Thirty plus years ago I too was diagnosed w/hyperhypothyroidism and treated it w/radioactive odine and then eventually became hypo. Fast forward thirty years…. the only way to deal with the weight gain and sluggishness of the disease is wholesome eating, plenty of water (to combat dry skin) also the first two help w/poop. And finally, I’ve added exercise and walking. I’ve lost 19 lbs. this past year, have plenty of energy and stamina to keep up w/ my grandsons. And the best compliment: I was asked if I was my 38 yr, old daughter’sister 🙂 Just pick up a Leslie Sansone walking DVD and try it. E-mail after 1 week, you’ll be hooked. ps not advertising for the product, I use them they’re great! You also get the other 2 “P’sP accomplished when walking for fitness!

  • i have exactly everything u descride dont sweat enough lungs in poor condition poop one time every other day …but now just started walking walk uphill too sauna ocasionally..maybe i go to thailand for 2 months where its hot i bet id sweat ok thx for calling this to my attention sam


  • Dear Ruth,
    I too don’t love ‘new age’ references, however I am compelled to reply to your comment. Baha’i, Sanskrit and pranayama are three separate things, culturally exclusive of each other. The Baha’i faith does originate in Iran (then called Persia). I am not sure but seem to recall that Sanskrit and pranayama are originally from the area of India and are not Persian.

    It seems in the article the breathing could of been labeled in more neutral terms but is valuable never the less.

    Peace to all

  • Hello all,

    Regular detoxification has been a foundational element of my wellness routine. I have done many different kinds of cleanses and detox programs, and I have found organic, spray-dried spirulina to be one of the best detoxifiers. It is very cost effective and easy to use, especially compared to wheatgrass juice and other products. It is great at chelating heavy metals and removing fat soluble toxins and is incredibly nourishing and easy to absorb, as well.

    Other than spirulina, I have also used bowel cleansers and liver cleansing products like Trumans CAC Colon and Liver Cleanser and have done the traditional gallbladder cleanse, sometimes called the “liver flush”.

    Along with eating a very clean diet and using clean body care and home cleaning products, these products and routines have kept me happy and healthy for many years.

  • This message is for anyone who is experiencing heavy metals toxicity, and especially for JENNY (Feb. 22th) who says she has mercury toxicity, lead poisoning plus several other heavy metals. Please check out information on BLACKWATER at Blackwater is a fulvic and humic formula that contains natural electrolytes, antioxidants, a pH of 8 and over 77 trace minerals. Among its many benefits, blackwater helps to increase metabolism, blood oxygenation and cell rejuvenation; it is also a natural energy booster, and helps to detoxify and remove heavy metals. I started drinking blackwater a few weeks ago and I can feel things happening inside my body. I bought the concentrated version (one teaspoon a day in a glass or more of water); it also comes in a ready-to-drink version, although the latter is more expensive in the long run.

  • Please tell us about UltraBath … cannot find this through search of your website.

    Thank you for the breathing reminder!

  • I recently discovered I have candida, resulting in rosacea. I have a plan to buy Donna Gates THE BODY ECOLOGY DIET to cleanse and get my body in balance with probiotics.

    How do you feel about having a professional colonic? Is this necessary or can I cleanse with food and supplements?

  • My daughter was diagnosed with Sjogrens and Hashimoto’s, both autoimmune diseases. They occurred after a bout with Mono and then the stress of a tonsillectomy. I am a physician so I took her to a Rheumatologist.She was given several medications but still did poorly. I did research and discovered the link with diet and especially gluten. She has been gluten free, soda free and more organic foods. She is in college and has found a great support group.She is finally starting to feel better and i hope can cut back her medications.
    I am now convinced about the link of what we put in our bodies and how we feel. I am interested in the cleanse and detoxification process. Where can I get that information to share with patients and family.Also is the book The Blood Sugar Solution intended for a gluten free lifestyle? I am wondering about getting it for family members as well.

  • Again, Dr. Hyman, your information is so helpful. I really want to thank you for helping to educate me and my clients on the importance of detoxifying with food, supplementation and protein shakes. I love incorporating your suggestions into my programs. I always recommend your books and newsletter. God bless you!

    • Hi Jane,

      Here are directions for an UltraBath: 20 minutes of soaking in a hot bath with 2 cups of Epsom Salt + 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Embellish the relaxation effect by adding any or all of these: deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, candles, calming music etc.

      In good health!
      Nutrition Coaching Program

  • Dr. Hyman, I haven’t seen where you endorse the idea of Einkorn wheat for the small % of people who don’t have wheat complications. Do you have a position on this? Thanks.


    • Hi George,

      We tend to see most people react to wheat-including einkorn. However for those of you who are fortunate enough to not experience inflammation (hidden and overt) from the gliadin and glutenen, than we suggest the rotation of moderate amounts of this older variety through your weekly menu. Variety, moderation and balance are the keys to nutrition that sustains you through a lifetime. Eating a lot of any food is not recommended and because Western diets typically eat a lot of wheat, it is usually safer to eliminate it altogether as this grain has shown properties which can be addictive. Ever wonder how much is too much? Check out nutrition coaching to learn more about your unique dietary needs:

  • Great info about detoxing! I am a believer of reading labels, as a first defense. WHY IS THERE SODIUM IN MILK? I only found one product w/o it here, locally. WHY IS THERE HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP in just about anything?
    Why are these products being served to children at schools across the country?? WHY ARE ANTIBIOTICS being fed to farmed fish?….we need to lobby our congressional reps and make this mandatory “preventative” topics and make the public aware of ingrediants in common foods served to our kids at daycares and schools.

  • Hi Dr. Hyman!
    I totally agree that toxins are at the root of illness. That is why I chose to connect with Nature’s Pearl. They are located right here in the United States in Advance, NC. Not only do they have a 100% Whole Food Muscadine Grape Seed supplement, but they have a 100% TOXIC FREE and organic skin/body care line…which is safe for use on infants! The Muscadine Grape has the highest ORAC rating of any fruit on earth and the antioxidant/anti-inflammatory properties are incredible. In fact, Nature’s Pearl funded a study at Wake Forest University in NC and it was shown that Nature’s Pearl inhibited the growth of 7 different human cancer cells between 60-92%. I encourage you to learn more about this product and all of the medical research at as well as I would be honored if you would research about this and then let me know your opinion :-). Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

  • Great blog about detoxing! We believe in physically and spiritually detoxing the body at our company AWAREmed Health and Resource Center in Myrtle Beach, SC. Pranayama is en excellent way to start with getting the toxins out of your body. Doing this will also calm your nerves and make you feel more relaxed. Please check out our website and discover all the options we have to make you an overall healthier person.

  • My experience how illness happens(simply put) the immune system is damaged/overpowered=inflammation sets in=massive disruption= normal function prevented due to inflammation=serious issues. Organic coffee enemas are a great way to help the liver cleanse. Have several baths that trigger cleansing, apple cider vinegar, epsom salt bath alone*just caution if you have high blood pressure), epsom salt-peroxide-gingerroot (makes you sweat & helps with pain), epsom salt-essential oil (food grade) usually lemon and another nourishing bath is a lil organic cold pressed coconut oil in bath water. Every year when the gov produces sprays-chemtrails my sinuses get really bad-my nose will just literally drip when I bend over- I use Antronex (natural alternative to benadryl), use indoor air cleaner, limit outdoor exposure for at least a month after and rinse the nares regularly. Buy organic non-gmo foods whenever possible or clean regular grown food as much as feasible before preparing. Eat ONLY grass fed meats & products- THIS IS A MUST – if you eat animal products= everything else is just garbage and making you sick/fat from all the stuff the animal couldn’t digest it was given and now your eating it. Juice at least every three days (variety) cleansing recipes (lots of carrots, apples, celery, parsley, zucchini, coconut, ginger etc). Have several juice recipes for cleansing one in particular that assists the lymphatic system. Avoid all commercially processed foods including eating out at restaurants & esp. fast food places. I do not say this lightly….”LET (REAL) FOOD BE THY MEDICINE”. After working in western medicine for 25 yrs (ICU-RN) …western medicine had lil to nothing to offer for what followed my surgery. Naturopathic – functional medicine saved my life… literally!! Halted my kidneys from shutting down plus a bunch more stuff..with FOOD-AMAZINGLY! My reason for sharing this….so that no one else has to take the long road to optimal health & suffer as I have the last three years. Hope this helps someone. See your functional medicine doctor or naturopathic doctor ASAP your body is telling you what’s wrong and what it needs you just have to know what to look for & listen. Stay well…

  • Last Valentine’s Day I was diagnosed with a DVT in my right leg that spanned my entire leg. They put me on warfarin and although it is eliminating the blood clot, I am having trouble eliminating the food I eat. My system seems to have really slowed down. I drink water and tea and have increased the amount of grains in my diet. I am developing some serious belly fat around my upper abdomen. I was reading about garcinia cambogia, and wanted to see if that would help with the belly fat but I’m not sure if it’s safe to take with warfarin. Can you suggest anything that would help with the accumulation of waste in my system? Thank you so much. I’m learning a lot from all your posts on Facebook.

  • Massage Therapy! Regular massage has many benefits including techniques specific to help detox. One of these modalities includes lymphatic massage/drainage which helps to boost the immune system.

  • I love your articles Dr Hyman! I refer to them a lot when I am doing research for my readers. It has taken several years to at least get SOMEwhere on this path to a healthier lifestyle for us but oh my goodness, it is so worth it! We are taking the muscadine grape seed extract for both detoxification and for inflammatory stuff that we have dealt with the past 20 years among other natural things, like getting rid of white sugar and flour, eating less processed foods… I admit, we still eat a few McNuggets at times, but it is a journey we are on and we both feel better in our mid-forties than we did in our thirties so that’s a big plus! 🙂

    Thank you again for a great website!

  • A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    There’s no doubt that that you ought to publish more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo matter but typically people do not speak about such issues.
    To the next! Many thanks!!

  • Hi I am suffering from heavy metals and chemicals due to chemicals which leaked from my breast implants. I m v swollen and need d right chelation supplements. Pls help me

  • I have been heavily exposed to mold for about 2 months. When I exercise, I feel a little faint, as if my poisoned blood is getting more poison to my brain and lungs and organs.
    Should I run, to work up a sweat, even though it feels pretty bad, in order to detoxify and help get the mold out of my body?
    Or will the increased blood flow, which has poisons, just hurt my organs more?

    • Hi Roger,
      Thank you for your interest In Dr. Hyman’s work. Unfortunately he cannot provide you personalized medical advice in this forum. In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • What do you think of environmental toxins?

    : Environmental toxins such can be dangerous if not handled properly.

    Do you experience the effects of them in your health?

    : Well smoking is a “them” at the moment and yes I do experience the effects of them in my health.

    What are you doing to rid your diet of these toxins?

    : Exercizing every day!

  • Toxins exist even in products which we count as harmless. Be careful what you eat. This article is really useful! Belvedere Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

  • Thank you for sharing this article, its a very interesting read. It’s very concerning that environmental toxins make you fat and cause diabetes. Water is great for you and has many beneficial to your body.

  • I’m looking for your 3 dat fat flush recipe. I was told it was on your website and it was free could you help me find it or let me know which book it’s in. My Dr told me to come to your website and find it. She also said it was on Dr. Oz website as well and I can’t find it. Thank you for your help Tina

  • Hey all, one of the biggest, yet very discreet toxin intakes i have encountered is in the food that is bought in pre packaged form in shops. As you may already know the soy plant is very popular among health foods and is considered a stable source of food for vegitarians, however. The soy plant is actually a toxic plant. The reason it is used in so many foods and even as an emulsifer (471)(found in many chocolates, buiscutd and breads.) Is because it’s toxic nature stops bacteria from breeding in the food. This is a well and good for companies who have to send their packaged food over long distances and require it to be an increased shelf life. Although this is not good for the consumer. I myself did a test on this and cut soy completely from my diet, being very careful to read labels on everything i bought.
    Then I felt amazing. A clarity seemed to seep frommy body.
    I then started to eat soy again. Immediately this clarity subsided and my blocked nose returned. So now I have decided soy is the culprit in flogging up my body. Thus I have stopped again and my clarity has.returned.
    If anyone is looking to lose weight or clean themselves I recommend practising the Tibetan rites (Google on how to) they are a great way to sweat for 20 minutes every day. Also stretch your whole body and give it a small cardio and strength workout.
    Then also cut soy out of your diet. Next eat plenty of whole foods. No sugar or alcohol. (Is it really worth the hangover?)
    Also it is worth investing seriously into a reverse osmosis filter or even a water distilled. However be sure to add nutrients to the filtered or distilled water in the form of Himalayan salt, or Celtic sea salt. Or any other type of mineral tonic can be used also. (Because after filtration or distillation the water is mineral less.)
    An imprortant thing is also to measure the ph of your water and ensure it is slightly alkaline (between 8 and 9).
    I also recommend daily relaxation exersices. (See meditation on Google)
    Note: this is advice given from my personal research and experience. Before following such advice do your own research and go from there. I am only expanding on what the doc above has said. This advice is not meant to cure any illness as there are many varibiles involved in a disease and isolating the cause is an entirely personal journey. I can only give my experience to hopefully add to the greater picture. I also cherish the perspectives and experiences of others.
    Thanks and may you be well 🙂
    (P.s. excuse any spelligb mistakes as phone writing is quite a challenge.)