How Environmental Toxins in Our Water, Air, and Products Wreak Havoc on Our Immune System with Dr. Aly Cohen

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On most days, many of us go about our routine rarely thinking twice about the ingredients in our shampoos and conditioners, hand soaps, lotions, laundry detergent, or even the water we feed our pets. It wasn’t until her dog fell extremely sick with a mysterious illness that Dr. Aly Cohen started to wonder if there was something toxic in her dog’s environment. This quest led her on a life-long journey to uncover the toxins all around us. 

On today’s Broken Brain Podcast, our host Dhru talks to Dr. Aly Cohen, a rheumatologist, integrative medicine specialist, and environmental health expert. Her medical practice, Integrative Rheumatology Associates P.C., focuses on both traditional Western medical management of rheumatologic and other ailments, as well as integrative options for total wellness. Her recent text, Integrative Environmental Medicine, was published through Oxford University Press, and her consumer book, Non-Toxic: Guide to Living Healthy in a Chemical World, will be out in September 2020. 

In this episode, Dhru and Dr. Cohen discuss all things environmental toxins. From the water you drink, to the shampoo you use, to your cookware, toxins can be hidden in many places. Though it can feel overwhelming to switch out all of the areas where toxins lurk, Dr. Cohen assures us that making small swaps here and there can add up and have a major impact on our overall health.

In this episode, we dive into:

  • Dr. Cohen’s background that piqued her interest in environmental toxins (1:05)
  • The history on how environmental toxins came to be an issue (7:50)
  • A dive into endocrine disruptors (12:33)
  • The issue with certain food washes (21:55)
  • How to shape your diet to best support detoxification (26:50)
  • A look at water quality (30:41)
  • Different types of filters for drinking clean water (36:40)
  • How there’s a disconnect between health education and environmental toxins (43:50)
  • The effect of environmental toxins on the brain and other organ systems (49:02)
  • A discussion of air pollution (55:38)
  • Resources to find clean products (1:06:30)
  • Populations and ages that are more vulnerable to chemical exposure (1:09:49)
  • A lasting message from Dr. Cohen (1:16:55)
  • Dr. Cohen discusses her website on resources on environmental health (1:21:51)
  • Where to learn more about Dr. Aly Cohen (1:28:18)

Please note: This podcast was recorded prior to social isolation. Stay safe!

For more on Dr. Cohen, you can follow her on Instagram @thesmarthuman, on Twitter @TheSmartHuman, on Facebook @thesmarthuman, through her environmental health website, or her personal practice website

Also mentioned during this episode were environmental health resources Green Science Policy and the Environmental Working Group.

Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD


Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.


If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

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