Maggie Ward (00:00):
Once foods are sprayed, the natural compounds they make, these phytochemicals that work as antioxidants and are really important for our detox pathways are not nearly as prevalent because they don’t make as many of those phytonutrients when plants are sprayed with these chemicals.
Dr. Mark Hyman(00:20):
Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy. I’m Dr. Mark Hyman, and that’s Farmacy with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y, a place for conversations that matter. If you suspect you may be experiencing illness from the load of toxins in our environment, and you’re not getting answers, you better listen to this podcast because it’s with none other than my nutrition director here at the Ultra Wellness Center, Maggie Ward, who’s worked for 12 years now.
Maggie Ward (00:43):
Dr. Mark Hyman(00:44):
Something must be going right here.
Maggie Ward (00:45):
Dr. Mark Hyman(00:46):
She’s an incredible nutritionist. More than that, she’s got a master’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University. She’s focusing on whole foods nutrition. It’s been really the anchor for our nutrition program here at the Ultra Wellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts for well over a decade. She’s worked before in New York. She’s worked in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and doing HIV work and working with children and adults and cooking classes. She’s also counseled and worked with so many families using this functional medicine approach to really get to the issues around food is medicine.
Dr. Mark Hyman(01:17):
Here at the Ultra Wellness Center, I think we’re the first place in the country, maybe in the world, where you could not get a doctor’s appointment without also getting a nutrition appointment, because if food is medicine, how can I practice medicine without a nutritionist is basically my view. Today, we’re going to be talking about detoxification and toxicity and the burden of toxins overall. Now, it doesn’t relate to a specific condition because toxins can cause a whole range of problems.
Maggie Ward (01:44):
A lot. Right.
Dr. Mark Hyman(01:44):
We’re going to get into the details of it. But first, I want to welcome you to The Doctor’s Farmacy, Maggie.
Maggie Ward (01:50):
Thank you. I’m happy to be here, and I’m excited about this topic. It’s a really important one, and one we see really impacting so many of the people we see here.
Dr. Mark Hyman(01:59):
It’s really true. I mean, the two things that are just kind of blank spots in medical education are Buddhist medicine, believe it or not-
Maggie Ward (02:08):
Dr. Mark Hyman(02:09):
… and the whole issue of toxins in health. When I was in medical school, we learned about acute toxicity. Took a drug overdose if you got an acute exposure to a pesticide or heavy metals, but we learned nothing about chronic low grade toxicity from the 80,000 plus chemicals that have been brought into our environment since the turn of the last century, including pesticides, plastics, phthalates, BPA, flame retardants, herbicides, glyphosate. I mean, you name it. We are just inundated with chemicals.
Dr. Mark Hyman(02:48):
I remember when I was researching a book many, many years ago, I found this study that looked at fat biopsies, so people got liposuction.
Maggie Ward (02:58):
Fats since they’re stored.
Dr. Mark Hyman(02:59):
Yeah, or they got liposuction, or they had a breast reconstruction or mastectomy. They would send the tissue to go be analyzed, and they found that every single person in the study was a toxic waste dump. They had things like DDT, which isn’t even out there anymore in the marketplace, and PCBs and heavy metals and dioxin and all these PCBs, I mean, just nasty stuff that is stored in all of us. There was a study on babies, and this was really shocking part of the Environmental Working Group where I’m on the board.
Dr. Mark Hyman(03:36):
They found that in the newborn study… Essentially, they took umbilical cord blood before the baby even took the first breath, and in the baby’s umbilical cord blood, there were 287 known toxins, 211 of which I think are neurotoxic, including mercury, lead, arsenic, pesticides, flame retardants, PCBs, DDT, dioxin, you name it, were in the baby’s blood before they took their first breath. In medicine, we never really learned how do you diagnose someone who’s got a toxic overload? How do you know if it’s contributing to their health issues?
Maggie Ward (04:11):
There’s not a way to test for it, right?
Dr. Mark Hyman(04:13):
There are ways. We just never learned it in medicine. You can do a fat [inaudible 00:04:17].
Maggie Ward (04:16):
Right, there are ways.
Dr. Mark Hyman(04:18):
We do that at the Ultra Wellness Center. We look for toxins. We look for your own body’s detoxification system. We’re going to get into all that today. Really, a lot of it is focused on food, which is why we’re having you on here, which is food is a big regulator of our detox system.
Maggie Ward (04:32):
Dr. Mark Hyman(04:32):
It’s also a way we can overload our detox system if we don’t eat smart. In fact, the environmental toxic issue is how I got into functional medicine.
Maggie Ward (04:43):
Dr. Mark Hyman(04:45):
Years ago, gosh, probably 20 to 26 years ago, I lived in China, and I got mercury poisoning from living in China. Plus, I had mercury fillings. Plus, I ate a lot of fish, so the combination of the pollution and all the rest of it caused me to have mercury toxicity, and I just had no idea. I went to doctor after doctor. I had neurologic symptoms. I had muscle damage. I had autoimmune issues. I had chronic diarrhea and irritable bowel.
Dr. Mark Hyman(05:15):
I had severe brain fog and fatigue and memory issues, and couldn’t sleep. I mean, it was just a mess. I went to doctor after doctor after doctor, Harvard, Columbia, here, there, everywhere, and got no answers other than take this pill. Take this drug to suppress the symptoms.
Maggie Ward (05:33):
Dr. Mark Hyman(05:34):
Yeah, you’re depressed, whatever.
Maggie Ward (05:36):
Which you probably are because you’re sick.
Dr. Mark Hyman(05:37):
I was, but the depression was caused by the mercury. I finally saw this naturopath, and he’s like, “You should check for heavy metals.” I did and I was shocked. I’ve probably done 10,000, 20,000 mercury tests over my lifetime with patients, probably more, and mine was in the top 10 that I’ve seen out of all the patients.
Maggie Ward (05:56):
Dr. Mark Hyman(05:57):
I learned how to really detoxify.
Maggie Ward (06:00):
Dr. Mark Hyman(06:00):
We’re going to get into it today. But first of all, tell us about how prevalent these toxins are. What are some of the things that we should be thinking about, and how do these toxins impact our health? What are the kinds of conditions that are common that we see related to toxicity that we often mistake is something else?
Maggie Ward (06:23):
I mean, like we were saying before, it can be anything. You can get toxicity and have any type of condition. I think what is probably most common are neurological, and that is a spectrum too where you can see brain fog. I think that’s a very common description of what a lot of folks feel, but it can go all the way up into things like Parkinson’s, which with Parkinson’s, in conventional medicine, we don’t know really how to address that, so when we’re seeing neurological things, that’s one of the things that a good health history tunes us into of like, “This is something…”
Maggie Ward (06:54):
We’re probably thinking some toxins are involved here. That’s probably the most common thing, but autoimmune conditions… I mean, for so many people, toxicity is one of the main puzzle pieces that we’re thinking about.
Dr. Mark Hyman(07:09):
Maggie Ward (07:10):
I mean, it’s food allergies. Its toxins. It’s infections. Those are the big ones.
Dr. Mark Hyman(07:15):
Maggie Ward (07:16):
Metals always have been a big one. I know you’ve been checking for mercury and lead forever, but now, we have more testing looking at different types of pesticides, different types of solvents, plastics. Like you said, they’re out there, and unfortunately, more and more prevalent. I think too the toxicity you’re talking about that is more recognized in conventional medicine, we look more at body burden. These things are-
Dr. Mark Hyman(07:42):
Well, there’s a total load of these things over your lifetime.
Maggie Ward (07:43):
Right, this is building up, and maybe not very high is someone’s blood sample when you check, but it’s being stored in fat tissue and in organs and things like that. Now, we have more testing look at different metabolites in the urine and things like that that would indicate that there’s toxins in there.
Dr. Mark Hyman(08:00):
It’s true. It affects a lot of different things. My friend, Joe Pizzorno, wrote a book. I think it’s called The Toxin Solution maybe. Maybe that’s not the title, Joe Pizzorno.
Maggie Ward (08:10):
I should know this. Sorry, Joe.
Dr. Mark Hyman(08:11):
Anyway, it’s a great book, but he really went into the scientific literature. This is not some, “Oh, you’re toxic, and you need to detox,” and it’s some fad little diet thing. No. No. No. This is really deep science about the role of environmental toxins in human health across everything from obesity and diabetes, which is a huge cause of that. We call these obesogens. Two autoimmune disease you mentioned, at low levels, these can be immunotoxins, and they’re often called autogens as opposed to obesogens. They cause autoimmune disease, and they cause neurologic issues whether it’s autism or Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s or various kinds of neuropathy.
Dr. Mark Hyman(08:57):
It can cause gut issues because it affects your… digest your food. It can cause hormonal issues, cancer, sex hormone issue. Environmental toxins are-
Maggie Ward (09:07):
Fertility. Fertility [crosstalk 00:09:08].
Dr. Mark Hyman(09:07):
… well recognized to be interfering with a lot of our cancers and being contributor to answers, unlike you said in infertility, so across a spectrum of diseases, whatever you show up in the doctor’s office with, the likelihood the toxins are on the checklist to think about is pretty high.
Maggie Ward (09:26):
We do that, right, in our packet that we have everyone fill out-
Dr. Mark Hyman(09:28):
We do it at the Ultra Wellness center.
Maggie Ward (09:30):
… at the Ultra Wellness Center.
Dr. Mark Hyman(09:31):
We do a very detailed toxin history.
Maggie Ward (09:32):
Right, what are you getting exposed? Do you have an exterminator come in? Do you get your clothes dry clean? How often are you eating fish? What type of fish are you eating? Just from a good health history, right, that really can key you in. I’m like, “Okay, this is somewhere we have to look at,” so just kind of being a detective, right, and having the time to spend with someone.
Maggie Ward (09:51):
I mean, just even here, the doctors spend so much time with the patients going through everything, but when I meet with them for their food, it’s usually the first time they’re telling what they’re eating, and I’m like, “So, you’re eating tuna. How often?” Twice a week? We should probably check you for mercury.
Dr. Mark Hyman(10:07):
Oh my gosh, I saw many stories. I remember this guys who’s really poor once, and all he did was eat tuna every day, and after many years, he was just mercury toxic and was chronically ill. It just remind me of this patient I had. She lived in the Bronx when she was a little kid. Her family was very poor, and she had cockroaches crawling all over her when she was a kid and mice and this and that. She just was so obsessed with getting rid of all that, so she moved to the suburbs in Long Island.
Dr. Mark Hyman(10:32):
She decided to have an exterminator come and spray in and out of her house every single month. She had a huge barrel of Atrazine, which is now banned, which is a toxin, in her garage or… She had so much nasty stuff in there, and she had really bad Parkinson’s at 50 years old. I’ve seen this over and over when I hear people’s stories. Farming is a dangerous profession, not because of farm machinery, because of the exposure to chemicals.
Maggie Ward (11:03):
Dr. Mark Hyman(11:03):
Glyphosate and all of the pesticides.
Maggie Ward (11:04):
[inaudible 00:11:04] a lot of them are out there.
Dr. Mark Hyman(11:04):
We know that farmers have the highest rates of Parkinson’s disease. It can make you overweight. It can make you have diabetes. It can cause heart disease. It can cause cancer. It can cause autoimmunity. It can cause neurologic issues. It can cause cognitive impairment. It can cause depression, chronic fatigue. I mean, you name it. I have chronic fatigue syndrome among other things, and so that was really a wake up call for me to really understand and study our body’s detoxification system.
Dr. Mark Hyman(11:32):
But in traditional medicine, what’s really done about this?
Maggie Ward (11:37):
Well, and that’s the tricky thing too. You’re talking about affecting the gut and gaining weight. I mean, your ability to detoxify starts going down, so you have this toxic burden, and it’s increasing, and then people’s guts are leaky, and they’re not eliminating as they should. That toxic burden becomes that much more of an issue. Really, a lot of it is obviously avoiding exposure where you can, which is tricky in this day and age, but also really ramping up the body’s ability to detoxify.
Maggie Ward (12:04):
Again, nutrition is a huge part of that.
Dr. Mark Hyman(12:07):
It’s so interesting in traditional medicine, because it’s just off the radar. I mean, food doctors understand that food… If you eat too much sugar, you get diabetes. If you don’t eat fiber, you get constipated. I mean, there’s some understanding. There’s zero when it comes to the role of environmental toxins is a focus for diagnosis or treatment. In functional medicine, we really focus on this extensively, and we do it through, like you said, a very detailed history and through various kinds of testing.
Dr. Mark Hyman(12:38):
We test a lot of things, both the load of toxins. We test our ability to detoxify, and we also look at genetics. Can you talk about some of the diagnostics that we use? There are different here at the Ultra Wellness Center and functional medicine.
Maggie Ward (12:51):
Genetics is a really important one. I mean, it’s never going to really give us a definitive diagnosis, but when people have and we get into it a little bit more with some of the food, certain genetic variations that compromise our ability to make something like glutathione, right? Glutathiones are most potent detox molecule, and there’s some of us, we make it, but some of us don’t make it very well given our genetics. That’s something called GSTM1.
Maggie Ward (13:16):
There’s these certain snips, and there are several in the detox category, several in the oxidative stress category, several methylation, and they’re all connected to detoxification.
Dr. Mark Hyman(13:25):
Basically, you’re talking about are slight variations in our genes that affect our ability to detox.
Maggie Ward (13:28):
Right. I think we see those people, right? We’re seeing the folks that are at a higher risk because of their genetics and not being able to detoxify. Even if we don’t know their toxic load, if I see some of these genetic variations, I am proactive and I put some more food or supplements that are more directed towards their genetics, which is really the way functional medicine, I think, is going. Genetic testing is really important. We do a lot of different heavy metal testing. You’re in toxic metal testing, which is the provoked urine test.
Maggie Ward (14:02):
That’s what really looks at the body burden, so there’s a chelating agent, which basically binds on to heavy metals and will pull them out of the body, because if you just try to look at metals in the urine, unless you just had a really high exposure, you’re not going to see it in the urine. This pulls out what might be stored for someone, so it’s looking at mercury and lead and arsenic and thallium. Mercury and lead are probably the ones we see most often.
Dr. Mark Hyman(14:28):
Checking your blood, is that okay?
Maggie Ward (14:30):
You can check your blood. I won’t get into this case study. I mean, we have folks that come back high in mercury and lead or arsenic. You can check blood levels, but bloods turning over every three months or so. If you have ongoing exposure or you happen to catch it when someone was getting a more acute exposure, you’ll see it, but many times, it’s not there, right?
Dr. Mark Hyman(14:50):
Right, so you have a normal blood test, but actually you’d be storing all these metals in your tissues, your organs, your liver, your brain, your kidneys, and the doctors will say, “Well, we checked your blood. It was fine,” and like the joke where the guy dropped his keys on the street. He’s looking into this lamppost, and a friend comes by and said, “What are you doing?” He said, “I’m looking for my keys.” He said, “Where did you drop them?”
Dr. Mark Hyman(15:11):
“Well, I dropped them down the street.” He said, “Why are you looking over here?” He goes, “Well, because the light’s better.”
Maggie Ward (15:15):
It’s all he can see.
Dr. Mark Hyman(15:16):
Well, that is not the right approach.
Maggie Ward (15:18):
Look in the shadows, right?
Dr. Mark Hyman(15:19):
Right. What happens in traditional medicine, we look at the blood test, because that’s what we do, but it’s actually not necessarily the most accurate view of what’s going on.
Maggie Ward (15:26):
Right. Including with nutritional testing, right, you’re not going to see a lot in the blood, so the functional testing we do with a lot of nutrients is very different. That’s a good example, heavy metals. We do now what’s known as a tri mercury test, which I think is excellent.
Dr. Mark Hyman(15:40):
Tell us about that.
Maggie Ward (15:40):
It’s looking at recent exposure, but it’s… They’re doing a blood test, but they break it down between methyl mercury and inorganic mercury. Methyl mercury is typically the form that we’re getting exposed to from environmental stuff like fish and food and if there’s coal burning areas, than inorganic mercury, if your amalgams, your silver fillings or maybe you’re still off gassing. You’re going to see the inorganic mercury be high. They’re checking-
Dr. Mark Hyman(16:07):
What you’re saying basically is that if you have what’s called silver fillings, which are really mercury fillings, they’re not silver. They’re over 50% Mercury. Over the course of your life, you’re chewing. You’re chewing gum. You’re grinding your teeth maybe, and the off-gas, and we know this is true. We can measure the mercury from your fillings, and when you see someone who has no fillings, they don’t have any of this inorganic mercury, [inaudible 00:16:30]. It’s high.
Maggie Ward (16:31):
They get them out, and then the inorganic mercury goes away.
Dr. Mark Hyman(16:34):
They get better after.
Maggie Ward (16:37):
Absolutely. This test has been really helpful for our practice over the last few years of trying to determine how much mercury that person is now getting exposed from their amalgams, and then they look at how well you’re excreting it. What are the levels in the urine, in the hair? You might correct me, but I think inorganic is usually coming out through the urine. Methylmercury comes out through the hair, so if you have some current exposure, and you’re also not seeing it get excreted, you can assume that person probably has a fairly high body burden.
Maggie Ward (17:05):
We do this constantly. A lot of it is just more nutritional supplements and food. Really support that person to detoxify. Obviously, get them to stop eating fish, or if they need to get their amalgams out, get those out, but the mercury goes down, and their clearance goes up. That’s been a really great test for mercury because that’s probably-
Dr. Mark Hyman(17:23):
That’s very good. The whole thing about the fillings… I just want to jump back on that, because you go to your dentist. They go, “It’s perfectly safe. It’s fine. There’s no studies on it,” and they don’t even consider it an issue, but the interesting fact is that most dentists don’t use the mercury fillings anymore. They use the white fillings, even though they say it’s fine. The other thing I often say to the patients that I have is, “Well, ask your doctor why is it okay to put the mercury in your mouth, but when they remove the filling, they can’t throw it in the garbage. It has to be regulated by the FDA as toxic waste.”
Dr. Mark Hyman(17:54):
It’s okay in your mouth, but it’s not okay to throw in the garbage. It was really interesting, because the FDA just came out with a statement on September 24th, which basically said that certain groups should not have fillings, and that there are higher risks from the off gassing and the vapor from mercury fillings including pregnant women, women who are wanting to get pregnant, nursing women and their infants, children before six years old, people who have neurologic issues like we talked about, mercury-related ones like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or MS, people with kidney issues and people who have allergy to mercury.
Dr. Mark Hyman(18:30):
That is fascinating to me, because this is reviewed 20 years of data, and finally, the FDA-
Maggie Ward (18:37):
Dr. Mark Hyman(18:38):
The FDA is not a progressive group, right? For them to say this, you know it’s got to be bad.
Maggie Ward (18:43):
It’s pretty bad.
Dr. Mark Hyman(18:44):
Now, it’s freaky for people because they’re going to go, “Well, do I have to get my fillings out? Do I turn to the dentist?” Just a word of caution, you do not want to go get your fillings out unless you do it with a dentist who follows specific guidelines that are designed to create a safe removal of amalgam, so you need a special dental dams. You don’t swallow them. You need a high speed suction. You need breathing oxygen. The dentist should be wearing a mask. There’s a whole of these precautions that need to be taken, and they’re usually done by biological dentists.
Dr. Mark Hyman(19:11):
There’s a website called iomt.org, which is a dentist toxicology group that is trained to do this properly, and you can find a dentist in your area. I think if you have any chronic issues, if you have high levels, you can do the tri test, which we do here at the Ultra Wellness Center. It’s really important to make sure that you are doing it properly. If you’re getting new filings, never get the silver fillings. This is shocking to me that the FDA is finally… In September-
Maggie Ward (19:39):
Shocking and sad, right? It’s taken this long but-
Dr. Mark Hyman(19:41):
Well, yeah because it’s so politically heated, because all of a sudden, you’ve got millions and millions of people with these silver fillings in, and you’re going to have a run on dentists, and people are going to freak out. There is this-
Maggie Ward (19:50):
It’s not a cheap procedure to take these out either, right?
Dr. Mark Hyman(19:53):
Maggie Ward (19:54):
It’s not easy for everyone even if you can find a dentist. I mean, and to your point about, I’ve had several patients over the years say, “I’ve had these in for 40 years, and we test them and they’re still off gassing.” It’s definitely a big issue for a lot of folks. That I probably is the most test. We do look at solvents and pesticides. The testing’s been a little bit harder for some of that. Some of the labs, we can get, like we did before, with COVID, I think there’s just been some issues, but we do use Great Plains quite a bit for looking at different metabolites, again, and pesticides and solvents.
Maggie Ward (20:34):
One of the labs that we used, Cyrex, who’s typically our food sensitivity testing company, they’d check for antibodies or immune reactions to toxins. You don’t necessarily have really high levels of these toxins, but small amounts can provoke the immune system for some people.
Dr. Mark Hyman(20:51):
Two autoimmune diseases.
Maggie Ward (20:52):
Yeah, so when someone’s got autoimmunity, and we’re suspecting toxins, if they’re coming back reactive to a lot of different… Again, they’re looking at benzene, which is a solvent, formaldehyde, different parabens and metals. When they’re showing reactive, we know, “Okay, we got to work with this person to help them detoxify, to calm down their immune system, because that’s definitely something that’s driving their inflammation.” That’s been a really helpful test, I think, too.
Dr. Mark Hyman(21:18):
I mean, it’s a little harder than for example, if your blood sugar is high, and you’re eating doughnuts and bagels and having soda every day, you know that’s why it’s happening. But if you have a chronic illness, you don’t 100% know if it’s the mercury or the pesticides or the chemicals, and so you have to design a way of living that is a low toxin lifestyle. I would like to go through a few cases of how we would approach these patients, but we really focus on, one, identifying the source, two, identifying the patient’s own burden of toxins, the patient’s ability to detoxify, and then we focus on how to upregulate the body’s own detox systems, and then remove the toxins.
Dr. Mark Hyman(22:04):
I remember one case of a woman. She had all these issues, and she really, really had lead levels. I’m like, “Where are the lead coming from?” She’s a very wealthy lady. I was like, “Where it’s coming from?” It was just hard to figure out. I finally started asking questions. “Well, what kind of glasses do you have, and what kind of plates do you have?” I remember walking once to buy wine glasses in our local kitchen shop, and there was the $5 wine glasses, and there were the $50 wine glasses.
Dr. Mark Hyman(22:32):
The Reidel crystal wine glasses were $50. I’m like, “Why are these so expensive for one glass?” It’s all because they’re made with lead, and they help the wine tastes better with the lead.
Maggie Ward (22:44):
Dr. Mark Hyman(22:45):
I’m like, “Okay then.”
Maggie Ward (22:46):
Pay for your toxins.
Dr. Mark Hyman(22:48):
She had always crystal pitchers and crystal glasses that were both lead. She had all these plates that were designer plates from Italy and France, and had these glaze. It was lead glaze. We got rid of all that stuff, and she stopped using it, and her lead levels came way down.
Maggie Ward (23:03):
That’s the thing though, right? It takes asking some questions and doing a little detective work to figure out. Once you get an exposure, you know there’s a high level. Where is it coming from, which again, you can’t always determine but many times you can? Again, I think the food quality, we’ll talk over that with the case studies, but obviously, you want to avoid foods that are sprayed and everything.
Maggie Ward (23:24):
Joe Pizzorno talks a lot about this is that once foods are sprayed, the natural compounds they make, these phytochemicals that work as antioxidants and are really important for our detox pathways are not nearly as prevalent because they don’t make as many of those phytonutrients when plants are sprayed with these chemicals. When you buy organic, local, sustainable food, you’re minimizing the toxins coming in, but you’re also now getting more medicine.
Dr. Mark Hyman(23:51):
You’re going to get double benefit.
Maggie Ward (23:51):
Dr. Mark Hyman(23:51):
You’re getting more of the chemicals that help you heal and detoxify, and less detox. The reason the wild organic foods have more of these protective chemicals is they work harder to stay alive.
Maggie Ward (24:03):
Right, they gotta protect themselves.
Dr. Mark Hyman(24:04):
They’re not getting all kinds of chemicals like pesticides and herbicides to make it easier for them to survive.
Maggie Ward (24:09):
Exactly. The chemicals they make to protect themselves from environmental insults like pests are good for us, so we want them being exposed to stuff because then the food quality is so much better. That’s, I think, the conundrum we’re in is that there’s more toxins, and our food is not protecting us like it used to be able to, or we gotta really search out. That’s a whole nother area we can talk about.
Dr. Mark Hyman(24:34):
Hey everybody, it’s Dr. Hyman. Thanks for tuning in to The Doctor’s Farmacy. I hope you’re loving this podcast. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and introduce to you all the experts that I know and I love and that I’ve learned so much from. I want to tell you about something else I’m doing, which is called Mark’s Picks. It’s my weekly newsletter. In it, I share my favorite stuff from foods to supplements to gadgets to tools to enhance your health. It’s all the cool stuff that I use and that my team uses to optimize and enhance our health.
Dr. Mark Hyman(25:02):
I’d love you to sign up for the weekly newsletter. I’ll only send it to you once a week on Fridays. Nothing else, I promise, and all you do is go to drhyman.com/pics to sign up. That’s drhyman.com/picks, P-I-C-K-S, and sign up for the newsletter, and I’ll share with you my favorite stuff that I use to enhance my health and get healthier and better and live younger longer. Now, back to this week’s episode.
Dr. Mark Hyman(25:30):
Tell us about this patient you had who had neuropathy and headaches and brain fog and irritable bowel.
Maggie Ward (25:36):
I picked him because a neurological case, which again, we see a lot of. He’s a 63-year-old man. He had the idiopathic small fiber neuropathy. Brain fog was a big thing and headaches.
Dr. Mark Hyman(25:46):
How about neuropathy effect?
Maggie Ward (25:47):
He had a lot of pain.
Dr. Mark Hyman(25:49):
Pain in his fingers, in his feet.
Maggie Ward (25:52):
Yeah, small fiber into your fingers, your hands, your toes for years, 10 years. He was someone that he did a lot of conventional medicine, but he had explored a lot already by the time he came to see us and seen a nutritionist, had done acupuncture quite a bit. That’s usually the folks we get are people that are out of what they can do. That was going on. He also had a lot of irritable bowel symptoms. That was for over 20 years. He had been doing what we call low FODMAP diet, which is taking out certain sugars and fibers that can cause bloating, but it’s usually because there’s significant dysbiosis and imbalances going on in the gut.
Maggie Ward (26:31):
He felt better from that, but my concern with him being on that diet was he was so limited in what he was eating. He’s about 15 pounds underweight, definitely looked malnourished. That was my concern with him being on that diet. When we did a history with him, this is actually a patient we had together, he had seven different fillings, silver fillings in his mouth. He had a lot of fish, tuna being the biggest one, a big sushi eater several times a week.
Maggie Ward (27:01):
It fascinates me that so many people don’t know that tuna is not what you should be eating.
Dr. Mark Hyman(27:06):
No. I mean, the government tells us pregnant women and kids shouldn’t eat tuna. Why is it okay for the rest of us?
Maggie Ward (27:12):
Exactly. That was definitely a bit of a red flag. He did a lot of travel with his work, international travel, including going to China. That was something.
Dr. Mark Hyman(27:22):
He’s like me.
Maggie Ward (27:23):
That was on our radar because of all those red flags, so we initially supported his digestion because he had a lot of reflux. He was taking medication for that, so different herbs like [inaudible 00:27:33], licorice and glutamine, which is a protein that helps support the gut, and gave him some digestive enzymes, because we always start in the gut. Even if there’s a toxin issue, you need to support the gut, and then I did support him further with the FODMAP diet because he was feeling better, but I really was focusing on getting more protein in him, more good fats, just getting in good calories with what he felt he could digest.
Maggie Ward (27:57):
When his results first came back, his urine toxic metals, which is that provoked urine test, his mercury was at 31. Anything over three is elevated. We can see levels a lot higher than 31.
Dr. Mark Hyman(28:09):
Mine was 187.
Maggie Ward (28:11):
I remember you told me that, which is incredible.
Dr. Mark Hyman(28:14):
I’ve had people 350, 400 few.
Maggie Ward (28:18):
31 you would think on the spectrum of what we see, not bad, but you don’t need much mercury to cause problems. That was there and-
Dr. Mark Hyman(28:25):
It’s the most toxic chemical known to humans other than plutonium.
Maggie Ward (28:30):
I know, and we put it in our mouth. We did the tri mercury test for him, which is looking at the two different forms of mercury, methyl and inorganic, both of them super, super high, above the 95th percentile. Remember, he’s a big fish eater, so his methyl mercury came back high, and then the inorganic was most likely from the amalgams. His blood mercury, so you’re just asking about that conventional blood work, you did have him check that through conventional blood work, and he was 24. The upper end of the range I want to say is 15, right?
Maggie Ward (29:01):
You don’t want to be even up to 15.
Dr. Mark Hyman(29:03):
My question is… When the doctors go, “Oh, his mercury level was normal,” I’m like, “Is there a normal level of mercury for a human being?” What’s the ideal level of mercury for him? It’s zero.
Maggie Ward (29:13):
Right, it should be undetectable.
Dr. Mark Hyman(29:16):
There is a normal level of blood sugar. It should be 70 to 90. That’s fine. If it’s zero, you’re dead, but mercury, it should be zero. There is no safe level of mercury. We know that even at very low levels, these toxins can be problematic.
Maggie Ward (29:29):
That’s a good point, because when we do run it through conventional labs, we do often see it around three, four or five, but should there be any in there? For that person, maybe that has a bigger impact than someone that can maybe detoxify it a little bit better.
Dr. Mark Hyman(29:40):
Maggie Ward (29:42):
That was quite high in the conventional testing. His stool, obviously, we did check his gut with everything going on. He had yeast levels. His nutrition profile was showing that he was very low in amino acids, which again, protein is really always where I start and focus with people, because it’s a very important part of the detox pathways.
Dr. Mark Hyman(29:59):
This is very common. I mean, I’ve seen my patients who often have mercury toxicity, very low amino acid. The reason is not because they’re not eating protein, but because they’re using up so many of these amino acids in the second phase of detoxification in the liver that require these amino acids.
Maggie Ward (30:13):
Right. Again, it’s multiple things. He’s not digesting well. He was actually on a pepcid. He was on something that lowers acid, which is affecting how you digest and absorb these amino acids. He wasn’t eating enough anyway. That was definitely part of it, so the absorption… His gut was compromised, and then his need for these amino acids are higher with all the toxins he has. This is why his nutritional status was so important. We did cyrex testing, the food sensitivity testing for him.
Maggie Ward (30:44):
He was off a lot of foods, again, with his diet, but he wasn’t very strict with gluten and dairy, which are the two things I told him to be more strict with, and both of those came back elevated for him. At the follow-up, you treated him first. You’re working on his gut, which is a really important place to start. We did something. You did the detox qube and DMSA. The detox qube is something that Quicksilver Scientific has put together that goes along with the tri mercury test.
Maggie Ward (31:12):
It has glutathione, liposomal glutathione, which is probably the most important detox molecule out there. We do make it, but again, our ability sometimes is compromised. Our need for it is higher. Glutathione is interesting because it’s a tri peptide, which means there is three amino acids, and if you take it just in its normal form, you’re going to break it down and you’re not going to absorb it. What they do is they put it in almost this fat molecule. That’s how I think of it so that it keeps it intact, so it can get absorbed.
Maggie Ward (31:44):
The detox qube has the liposomal glutathione. It has liposomal vitamin C, a good way to get a lot of vitamin C into the body, which is really important to have that antioxidant to support detox. The R-lipoic acid is in there, which is another important component, and then it has a binder. As you’re you’re ramping up these detox pathways of the liver and whatnot, that’s getting spit out into the digestive tract, and you want to bind that up and eliminate it. The binding aspect is there.
Maggie Ward (32:14):
It’s a form of silica, I believe.
Dr. Mark Hyman(32:18):
Maggie Ward (32:20):
Then there’s a supplement to go along with it. It has B vitamins, again, these polyphenols-
Dr. Mark Hyman(32:24):
Maggie Ward (32:25):
… and herbs-
Dr. Mark Hyman(32:25):
Maggie Ward (32:26):
… that all support the liver and the detox pathways. We have really good success with that, but you also did in combination with the DMSA, which is what they use for chelating.
Dr. Mark Hyman(32:36):
That’s FDA approved for chelating lead, but we could also chelate other metals too.
Maggie Ward (32:41):
Yep. What we found? That’s where we started. I worked on expanding his diet.
Dr. Mark Hyman(32:47):
We got rid of the source, right? We got him off the tuna. We got his fillings sorted out.
Maggie Ward (32:52):
Right, which we did from the beginning.
Dr. Mark Hyman(32:52):
You gotta to remove the source, and then you start to help the body detoxify, but also use food as medicine because this is a big thing for us to understand is that food actually has all these phytochemicals, these plant compounds that have all these properties, including up regulating our body’s own innate capacity to detoxify these chemicals. Tell us about how you use food as medicine in detoxification.
Maggie Ward (33:20):
This was a tricky thing with him, because again, he really felt like he couldn’t eat a lot. I mean, he’s eating rice cakes and things like that, that he felt he could digest easily, but I’m like, “There’s no nutrition in there,” so we have to get… I started to get him to eat some more green vegetables and just cook them really well and make vegetable broth, and just find ways to make the food more digestible, so he can get these compounds. We even did some green powders and things like that to his system until he could eat a little bit more food.
Maggie Ward (33:49):
He had dug himself into a bit of a hole, so getting him nourished was really important. The thing is he didn’t initially do well with the detox protocol, I think, because his gut was in bad shape. You had him hold the DMSA, and we just slowly built him up on the detox qube. Getting the gut sorted out is so important first-
Dr. Mark Hyman(34:11):
It is, for sure.
Maggie Ward (34:11):
… and that had a lot to do with his nutrition. Once he started expanding his diet, he was getting more protein, he was getting more good fats, we’re getting vegetables, which he didn’t really like but he got the message.
Dr. Mark Hyman(34:20):
For people listening who’s like, “I want to rev up my detox system in my liver and my body. How do I do that with… What are the top foods that you should be eating every day that are rubbing up your detox?” Look, whether you have a disease or not, whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with-
Maggie Ward (34:39):
We all need to do it.
Dr. Mark Hyman(34:39):
… high body burden of this or that or the other thing, you can guarantee that all of us are living in a toxic world and are exposed to a myriad of toxins every single day through the air, water, food. All the compounds are we’re in contact, whether it’s credit card receipts or BPA, whatever, plastic bottles, containers, we’re all exposed. In that context, we should all really be focused on how to upregulate our detox system.
Maggie Ward (35:03):
Dr. Mark Hyman(35:04):
At the Ultra Wellness Center, we really focus on food as medicine. What are those top foods that everybody should include every day to help their liver and body detoxify?
Maggie Ward (35:14):
All right, good, important point. The cruciferous vegetables probably are number one. There are so many compounds in there that we’ve identified.
Dr. Mark Hyman(35:23):
What are those?
Maggie Ward (35:25):
There’s quite a few, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale. Arugula is in that family.
Dr. Mark Hyman(35:31):
Maggie Ward (35:33):
A lot of really just the dark greens, and what they do-
Dr. Mark Hyman(35:36):
Maggie Ward (35:36):
I mean, they have a lot of compounds, but the liver has two phases of detoxification, and you really want to support both phases to have good detox, and the compounds like the sulforaphane, which is probably most rich, and broccoli sprouts support both those pathways. Sulfations are really important pathway that you want to support.
Dr. Mark Hyman(35:56):
Right, because that builds up glutathione with these natural glutathione.
Maggie Ward (35:56):
It does. It will upregulates two enzymes that the glutathione will then bind on to toxins so they become water soluble. That’s the tricky thing. If you don’t have good phase two detoxification in the liver, you get more toxins in the liver that can’t be excreted, so you need the second phase, and glutathione is a really important part of that. These vegetables, they’re bringing the sulfur that supports that but they’re activating the glutathione, so it makes these toxins water soluble so you pee them out.
Maggie Ward (36:25):
You can poop them out. That’s really important. That’s really top of the list. The [crosstalk 00:36:30].
Dr. Mark Hyman(36:30):
Every day, I focus on, “What am I going [inaudible 00:36:33]?” Every day, I have arugula, or I have kale, or I have broccoli. I have cabbage. I have collards. I have Brussels sprouts. I make sure-
Maggie Ward (36:39):
Dr. Mark Hyman(36:40):
Cauliflower. I make sure that I eat these things every day, because they are the basis of… I have that gene that makes it hard for me to detoxify for glutathione, so I’m really focused on that. What are the other foods you want to…
Maggie Ward (36:51):
I like the allium foods, which is the garlic family, your garlic, leeks, chives-
Dr. Mark Hyman(36:54):
Garlic, onions, leeks.
Maggie Ward (36:55):
… onions, scallions. Again, sometimes digestion wise, if that’s compromised, there are certain ones that can be a little bit more difficult initially, but there’s a lot in that family and when you cook them, that makes them more digestible. Those are really, really important. Spices and herbs, I think we overlook them a lot, and they are some of the richest sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants, they protect you from oxidative stress, which we’re all under.
Maggie Ward (37:20):
Just breathing in oxygen creates that, but oxidation is part of that phase one detox, and you want to counteract that oxidative stress. Antioxidants are really important too, so whenever you’re getting color and cinnamon and ginger and turmeric, they’re really rich in antioxidants, but they’re also working as detox molecules.
Dr. Mark Hyman(37:41):
I mean, so spices and herbs, sometimes, they’re antioxidants, but they also have detox properties like rosemary-
Maggie Ward (37:46):
Right, it’s a combination. Turmeric is great.
Dr. Mark Hyman(37:48):
… and ginger and turmeric and…
Maggie Ward (37:52):
Pomegranate is another one. We’re always trying to push pomegranate and berries. Anytime you’re getting dark pigmented skins is always a good thing.
Dr. Mark Hyman(38:00):
Maggie Ward (38:00):
You want that color. I mean, we teach our kids eat the rainbow. It’s so important.
Dr. Mark Hyman(38:04):
Maggie Ward (38:05):
Green tea and a lot of the teas like rooibos tea and burdock tea, dandelion tea. I have a lot of my patients… Not only are you bringing in these herbs, you’re staying hydrated. The food is really important, supporting the liver, moving the bowels and then sweating, so good hydration. We get people into saunas. We get them getting massages if they can.
Dr. Mark Hyman(38:28):
I call it the triple P, poop, pee and perspire.
Maggie Ward (38:32):
Yes, that’s a good way to put it.
Dr. Mark Hyman(38:34):
I think you’re right. I just want to loop back on some of the compounds because green tea also is so powerful. In Japan, they eat a lot of mercury fish, but they also have a lot of green tea-
Maggie Ward (38:43):
They have a lot of green tea.
Dr. Mark Hyman(38:43):
… and it may mitigate some of those effects, and it’s a great chelator and upregulator of glutathione, I mean, these catechins that are in green tea.
Maggie Ward (38:43):
Catechins, right, so green tea is excellent. I do encourage people to get their teas and get their fluids that way too.
Dr. Mark Hyman(38:58):
I also like lemon peel, limonene which is not-
Maggie Ward (39:00):
Dr. Mark Hyman(39:02):
I often will grate lemon peel from organic lemons, and put it in my salad, or put it in different dishes.
Maggie Ward (39:07):
The thing is all these things add a lot of flavor.
Dr. Mark Hyman(39:10):
It tastes good.
Maggie Ward (39:10):
When people say they don’t eat these foods, I’m like, “You know, they really enhance the culinary aspect of all this too, so they’re tasty, which I think is really important too.” The spices, the herbs-
Dr. Mark Hyman(39:22):
Maggie Ward (39:22):
Fiber is really important, because that’s the thing too. With this gentleman, that was tricky because he was on this lower fiber diet because of the yeast and what we call dysbiosis he was dealing with, but eventually, we had to really work to get some fiber up in his diet because when those toxins are coming out, you gotta bind them up, and you have to eliminate them through the stool. The fiber piece is really important, that soluble fiber which is the pectins inside a fruit.
Maggie Ward (39:48):
Ground-up black seeds and chia seeds are really, really good too.
Dr. Mark Hyman(39:52):
Artichokes are great also for detoxification. I love artichokes
Maggie Ward (39:53):
Artichokes are, yep. They’re a super food. I think artichokes, pomegranate, [crosstalk 00:39:59].
Dr. Mark Hyman(39:59):
There’s also fiber and prebiotic too in artichokes.
Maggie Ward (40:02):
Exactly. That’s the thing. It’s a process. He, we had to really build up slowly, so we got the gut sorted out, got him just more nourished, got some weight on him, got his protein up, and then we could branch into really doing a lot more of this stuff. That’s where the glutathione and things really made a huge difference for him.
Dr. Mark Hyman(40:19):
A huge difference. The protein you mentioned is so important, because often if you’re vegan, or if you’re not absorbing or your digestion is not great, you can build up the amino acids you need to detoxify. You need all these pathways to work, and they all require enzymes. Enzymes are catalysts that convert one molecule to another, and they’re dependent on all sorts of helpers, including all these compounds we talked about in food. These are facilitators of enzyme reactions, but there’s also a lot of nutrients that are needed.
Maggie Ward (40:46):
Right, so like the B vitamins. When you say cofactors or helpers, a lot of the B vitamins are supporting these enzymes. A lot of them provide methylation support. Methylation happens all over the body, but it’s a really important detox pathway too. When you’re taking methyl folate and methyl B12… Some people, again, have difficulty… The B vitamins they get in through their food, they’re not fully methylating them or what I say activating them. This is where a really good B complex can be really helpful that has methylcobalamin, which is B12 and methylfolate, because they will ramp up those methylation pathways.
Dr. Mark Hyman(41:21):
That’s one of the key pathways in the liver that is requiring those B vitamins. You also need other nutrients like magnesium-
Maggie Ward (41:27):
Magnesium is important. Absolutely.
Dr. Mark Hyman(41:29):
… and zinc and selenium.
Maggie Ward (41:29):
Right. They’re supporting all those enzymes. Selenium, I put in there it’s considered an antioxidant because it helps to activate glutathione. The best food source that people don’t know is Brazil nuts, but it’s pretty well known now. They say two to three Brazil nuts gives you your recommended amount of selenium. Selenium is really key, and a lot of the detox products that we carry will have some selenium in there for that reason. This is why the nuts and seeds I like so much.
Maggie Ward (41:59):
They’re great quality fats, which are essential. We need to eat them. They provide a lot of the zinc and the selenium and these minerals like magnesium that we need to support detox.
Dr. Mark Hyman(42:09):
Yeah, pumpkin seeds for zinc and selenium, and all kinds of nuts and beans for magnesium. You do need a whole array of compounds. If you Google phase one, phase two detoxification, and look at the kinds of nutrients that are involved, and the amino acids that are involved and the foods that are regulated, I mean, it’s fascinating when you look at this-
Maggie Ward (42:33):
Dr. Mark Hyman(42:33):
… and so in functional medicine, we become experts in detoxification.
Maggie Ward (42:37):
It really all comes down to food. I do think the supplementation really helps, but there are things in food I’m sure we don’t know about, and they work synergistically. All these nutrients are found in our food. Again, the quality makes such a big difference, because, again, if you’re getting them organic, they’ve not been sprayed, they have more of these phytonutrients that work as antioxidants.
Dr. Mark Hyman(43:00):
What happened with this guy? We retreated him. We did the food. We did the chelation, and we upregulate his detox system.
Maggie Ward (43:06):
He was doing a lot better. Again, it was a long road for him to be able to tolerate the detox because, again, I think his gut and his nutritional status were so compromised. We had to build him up for a while before he could really handle moving out the toxins. You don’t want to be moving out toxins if you’re not eliminating well and your gut is leaky, so we really focused on that, and then worked him up on the detox qube and such. But five years out, when we looked at some of his labs, his urine toxic metals, which had been 31 is now down to 15, so going definitely in the right direction.
Dr. Mark Hyman(43:38):
Maggie Ward (43:38):
Yep. The methylmercury from the fish was down in the 75th percentile, partly because he won’t give up some fish, but he has really cut back. Inorganic who is normal. He had good clearance of both, so when they looked in the urine and the hair, he was now clearing them well. His conventional blood work was at seven, which again, that’s not a good thing, but it was definitely from 24.
Dr. Mark Hyman(44:01):
He got better. His energy was better. He gained weight. His headaches got better. His neuropathy was improved, right?
Maggie Ward (44:05):
Right. He’s at least 50% better he says with the neuropathy and the headaches. Those are, I think, always his top things, but his energy is good. He’s got great weight. He’s like, “Thanks for making me eat more food.” His digestion is a lot better, like 75% better. He said if he goes off, he now knows it’s gluten, dairy, alcohol. Those are his three triggers. He’s like, “If I start going off and just have a little bit, I get setback.”
Dr. Mark Hyman(44:31):
That was a good feedback loop.
Maggie Ward (44:34):
Dr. Mark Hyman(44:34):
Maggie Ward (44:35):
Dr. Mark Hyman(44:35):
We also use other things with these people. We’re going to talk about the next case, some of the approaches. I mean, we used supplements that help boost the detox pathways. One of the main ones we like to use is something called an acetylcysteine, glutathione orally, lipoic acid. We use milk thistle, selenium. We use artichoke extracts and broccoli extracts. We really focus on this very intensively to push these pathways with B vitamins like you mentioned. I think one of the things we also focus on is how do we facilitate also other things, not just the pooping and peeing, but how do we get people sweating?
Dr. Mark Hyman(45:16):
Saunas can be very effective.
Maggie Ward (45:17):
Dr. Mark Hyman(45:18):
In fact, they’re one of the most effective ways to upregulate the detox system and get rid of these toxins because they’re fat soluble, and they’re hard to get rid of. They stored in the fat, a lot of them, so you need to sweat in order to get rid of them. People who exercise have lower toxin levels. People who sweat have lower toxin levels, so I’m trying to sweat every day.
Maggie Ward (45:35):
I think we all need to do that. We see a lot of folks that tell us they have a hard time sweating, and that’s always a key that they’re probably not great detoxifiers. Getting into saunas, Epsom salt baths are great. You get the magnesium sulfate coming into the skin, which is helpful, but people can get a little sweat up that way. Massage, yoga, some of that will obviously help circulation, but it helps the lymphatic system too, which is how you move toxins out as well. We really take a big lifestyle approach.
Maggie Ward (46:06):
Mercury, you can chelate that out to a certain extent, but solvents and plastics, sweating them is a great way to get them out, so it’s a really important piece topic.
Dr. Mark Hyman(46:17):
The other thing, we didn’t talk about it much, but we really also focus heavily on how to reduce exposures, not just from the one toxin we might know like mercury, but a whole range of things, and they’re everywhere. I’m on the board of the Environmental Working Group. We have all sorts of guides on how to reduce your exposure [inaudible 00:46:38], so how to reduce your exposure from fruits and vegetables. What are the lowest pesticide fruits and vegetable?
Maggie Ward (46:42):
Right, the Dirty Dozen.
Dr. Mark Hyman(46:44):
The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15? How do you reduce your exposure from household cleaning product, from personal care products-
Maggie Ward (46:50):
Dr. Mark Hyman(46:50):
… whether it’s makeup or shampoo or sunblock, whatever you’re using? What about animal products? How do we eat animal products that have low toxin levels? Fish, how do you eat lowest mercury fish? We go through all these sources of exposures, and we give people guides on how to reduce your overall toxic burden and upregulate all the pathways. That keeps you healthy for the long term.
Maggie Ward (47:14):
Exactly. It’s a team approach, because it takes a lot of time and a lot of education around this and resources to support people, so we have low mercury seafood lists, and here’s a clean list of cosmetics that don’t have some of these compounds in it that you want to be avoiding. Environmental Working Group, we give everyone their website. We have the little Dirty Dozen cards people can carry with them to avoid these highly sprayed produce. Actually, that was a lot of what we focused on with this second case.
Maggie Ward (47:45):
This was a 52-year-old woman who had a history of breast cancer back in 2017. She came to us more to prevent reoccurrence because she was… She had already had surgery, chemo radiation. She was on tamoxifen to help keep her estrogen levels low to prevent the reoccurrence of her estrogen sensitive cancer, but when we spoke with her, I mean, obviously, cancer we’re talking about, that’s a huge thing we see with toxicity since so many things are carcinogenic. When we did a health review for her health history, she had three to four silver fillings.
Maggie Ward (48:22):
Her diet was good, but it was low fat, and she was pescatarian, so she didn’t eat much animal protein which is okay. It depends on what’s going on for that person. She also had digestive issues. She had quite a bit of reflux. She had taken out gluten and dairy because of her digestion not being great, or she was low dairy but she had taken out gluten because she knew it made her digestion feel better, but she still had some reflux when she came to see us. Initially when she saw the physician here, she got DIM, diindolylmethane, which is one of the compounds that you get from indole-3-carbinol, which is from cruciferous vegetables.
Dr. Mark Hyman(49:00):
Form broccoli basically.
Maggie Ward (49:01):
Right, your broccoli. This is one of the compounds that we know is so important. Basically, it helps to metabolize estrogen to the forms that are less toxic.
Dr. Mark Hyman(49:09):
Maggie Ward (49:10):
She was given some DIM, and we gave her my community which is from a company, Host Defense, which is a bunch of different medicinal mushrooms which are very good for the immune system for folks that have something like cancer. She had some methylation support. I think she was on a B complex and things, so we continued her on that. I really focused, again, on protein. That’s where I tend to start with people especially more vegetarian base. We talked about clean fish. She had been eating tuna, so we talked about avoiding all the predatory fish.
Maggie Ward (49:41):
Swordfish is there, blue fish. You don’t want to eat fish that are eating other fish. We went more to salmon and some of the white fish. I think she was doing some seafood too. She did have some eggs. I got her on a good just protein supplement.
Dr. Mark Hyman(49:56):
Eggs also have sulfur. They have a other of nutrients.
Maggie Ward (49:58):
They do. They do. My only concern with the eggs is they’re up there on the likelihood of being a food sensitivity. But from a nutritional standpoint, they’re an incredible food. The yolk has choline and all these fat soluble vitamins that are so important too, so I definitely kept in eggs for her for that reason. I told her to do as little dairy as you possibly can, and to stop coffee because of her reflux. That first meeting besides protein and talking about quinoa and beans and being a good pescatarian was just trying to how do you increase these detox foods?
Maggie Ward (50:34):
I mean, up to 15 cups of vegetables sometimes for people is when I’m pushing for folks that can digest them. The leafy greens, especially when you’re cooking them and stuff, it’s the easy way to do it. We did some green powders too that she could add to her smoothies. When her first labs came back, the doctor I checked her for some of these other compounds, and she had elevations and two types of phthalates and two parabens.
Dr. Mark Hyman(50:57):
Phthalates are found in plastics, and parabens are in makeup and sunblocks.
Maggie Ward (50:58):
They’re in everything, right? I think they’re the biggest group of toxins that are out there, so you break them down into a lot of different things, but two of the phthalates were high, so cosmetics, detergents, plastics, some of the pesticides, perfumes. I mean, whenever you see the word perfume on something, you know there’s the phthalate in there, and I can’t believe people use these. They’re in everything. The parabens, they’re mostly… Actually, Environmental Working Group has a nice layout of different products that don’t have parabens, but they’re in body care for the most part.
Maggie Ward (51:32):
When they came back, that was between myself and the doctor, a lot of what we talked to her about of, again, removing the exposure, because these-
Dr. Mark Hyman(51:40):
These are also known as xenoestrogens.
Maggie Ward (51:41):
Dr. Mark Hyman(51:41):
They’re known as [crosstalk 00:51:42]. Her toxic are low levels.
Maggie Ward (51:44):
Given her breast cancer, definitely there’s a connection there.
Dr. Mark Hyman(51:47):
I mean, you don’t know if that particular paraben or phthalates is causing her cancer, but the assumption of functional medicine is you get rid of all the bad stuff. You optimize the good stuff. You give your body a chance to actually do a better job at fighting things.
Maggie Ward (52:01):
Exactly. You don’t want that stuff in there when you’re trying to prevent stuff. When she followed up with me, she had stopped her coffee and her reflux was gone. Sadly, people have to take out coffee, but sometimes it makes a difference. She was feeling a lot better with her energy, and she was pretty good when she came to see us. Again, we’re really just being more proactive, but when she started adding more protein and good fats, she’s like, “I just feel like I got better energy. I can think better,” and your blood sugar was doing a lot better.
Maggie Ward (52:26):
She wasn’t coming to us to lose weight, but she said her pants are fitting better.
Dr. Mark Hyman(52:30):
There you go.
Maggie Ward (52:30):
I always use that as a barometer. If you’re losing inches in that midsection, you’re losing the right type of weight, which if you’re carrying extra fat, that stores toxins, so you want to try to clear that out for that reason.
Dr. Mark Hyman(52:42):
This is just such a great case, and highlights the way in which we do things differently at the Ultra Wellness Center, how we think differently in functional medicine and address problems by really taking a broad view of what is the cause of the imbalance in the body. For many people, it’s toxic load, and it can affect everything. It can affect your gut and immune system and weight and brain, everything, but I think we use a very systematic approach of diagnosing your genetic risks of detox problems, your body load of metals and pesticides and toxins.
Dr. Mark Hyman(53:17):
We look at also how to upregulate all these pathways like we talked about with food and lifestyle, exercise, sweating, drinking lots of fluids, making sure you have fiber, pooping, very important, and then how do you reduce your load? The Environmental working Group, you got to ewg.org, and look at these guides and start to clean up your house. Make your home a safe zone, right?
Maggie Ward (53:37):
Right. It’s like, what are your cleaning products and things? I mean, because you can use vinegar and some basic stuff to clean really well. That stuff is not regulated. I mean, our food isn’t as regulated as it should be around toxins, but our body care and what we’re being exposed to there isn’t.
Dr. Mark Hyman(53:53):
Even building materials, the Cleveland clinic, we built our center for functional medicine, and I was insistent that we make sure we do it through the environmentally safe compounds, so there’s no off-gassing from furniture, no formaldehyde. The carpets don’t off gas. The lighting is better for you. The water is filtered. The air is filtered. We really made an effort to create a healing environment. I think that leads to much better health overall.
Maggie Ward (54:16):
Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, she also had some mercury and things like that, but based on her genetics, she had the GST1 deletion, so she needed some glutathione support, which when she saw the doctor follow up, they gave her liposomal glutathione along with an acetylcysteine which helps the glutathione work and make more glutathione. We gave her a product called OncoPLEX, which is a very rich source of sulforaphane, which again very important for that detox pathway.
Maggie Ward (54:44):
The doctor was like, “Okay, you got to get into sauna.” She had a sauna, but she wasn’t using very often. She’s like, “Sweat, sweat, sweat. Get these things out of your body.”
Dr. Mark Hyman(54:51):
Sweating is very powerful. For those of you out there listening who suffered from weird symptoms, who have various chronic illnesses, who aren’t sure what’s going on, you’re looking at your toxic load, looking at your toxin history, upregulating your detox system is so important. You can do a lot of that on your own through the things we talked about, but sometimes you needed to really see somebody, and that’s really what we’re here for at the Ultra Wellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. We have an incredible team of providers, nutritionists.
Dr. Mark Hyman(55:18):
We work with people from all over the world over now resume to promote consults, and we’re happy to help you. I certainly became an expert in detoxification when I was sick myself. I’d learned way too much about this topic, but it’s amazing how effective it’s been in treating so many of my patients from everything from obesity to diabetes, autoimmune disease to neurologic issues to dementia to autism. I mean, you just name it. It’s such a powerful… depression, allergies.
Dr. Mark Hyman(55:46):
I think what you shared Maggie was just so important. It’s giving hope where often people have no hope.
Maggie Ward (55:53):
Especially in the world we live in now, right, it’s unfortunately looking bleak with the way the environment’s going, so this is just something we all… Like you said, even if you’re not sick, you need to be thinking how do you support your body in detoxifying.
Dr. Mark Hyman(56:04):
Absolutely. Live clean and green. That’s what I say.
Maggie Ward (56:06):
Yeah, and good food.
Dr. Mark Hyman(56:08):
Good food. Well, thank you so much for joining us on The Doctor’s Farmacy, a special episode of the House Call. We’ve been listening to
Maggie Ward, our nutrition director here at the Ultra Wellness Center. We’ve been having a great discussion about toxins, toxic load and how to detoxify. If you think you might have an issue, or you’ve been helped by detoxification, please share your comments with us. We’d love to learn more about what you’re experiencing.
Dr. Mark Hyman(56:27):
If you love this podcast, please share with your friends and family on social media. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. We’ll see you next time on The Doctor’s Farmacy.