PEOPLE! Dr Mark Hyman (world renowned functional medicine doctor) has put together an amazing documentary series called “Broken brain”, and y’all need to check it out!
I watched episode two the other day, which is all about brain-gut health, as well as environmental toxins and stress and how they harm our bodies and brains. This series is a MUST see if you are interested in how to prevent brain issues like brain-fog, depression, anxiety, ADHD, dementia, and more. My favourite part of episode two was the interview with Joe Pizzorno (author of the Toxin solution book which is the most comprehensive and scientifically sound detox protocols I’ve ever read). In case you didn’t know, inflammation and toxins are now thought to be some of the biggest contributors to brain disease. Most depression is now thought to be not due to a chemical imbalance but rather due to brain inflammation, and it’s likely our treatments for depression will change in the coming years. Alzheimer’s dementia and other brain disorders are the same. This set of 10 case studies showed that a combination of important lifestyle changes (including healthy diet, exercise, smart supplementation, etc) improved dementia in a way NO pharmaceutical drug has ever been shown to do. This stuff is REA. And in recent news Pfizer stopped investing in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s drugs, partly because the possibility of a “magic bullet” pill is shrinking. I strongly believe lifestyle change is the only way to prevent and halt these burdensome diseases.
Having read Joe Pizzorno’s book, much of what he said wasn’t new to me, but I did learn something new about measuring toxin load in the body. There’ Firstly a blood test to measure GGT (a liver enzyme) can indicate what your toxin burden is. I learnt in medical school that GGT is the liver enzyme that is affected most by excess alcohol consumption and hepatitis, so this makes sense. It turns out though that the liver increases the levels of GGT in response to toxins because it helps recycle glutathione (the master antioxidant that our liver uses to detoxify). He says that a “normal” level is 10-60 but any level above 20 means you have a toxic burden, and the higher the number, the worse the load. Higher GGT levels also indicate a higher diabetes risk.(A level of 30-50 equals an eight-fold higher risk of diabetes!). See, this is what I love about functional medicine; it looks far deeper and catches things way before ‘conventional medicine’ does. Go to a normal doctor with a GGT of 50 and they will say “it’s normal, you’re fine”. Go to a functional medicine doc, and they will say “it looks like you have a high toxic burden, let’s help you to fix that so you feel better and prevent serious disease down the line”.
In the video, Joe also also talks about plastics and heavy metals being the biggest sources of toxin burden. Plastics especially are present in 99% of cosmetics, soaps, beauty products, food and drink containers. dental fillings, and more. How do we fix this problem? We need to put pressure on manufacturers to stop insidiously poisoning us AND our environment. To limit exposure in the meantime, choose low toxin/organic foods and beauty products, use glass containers as much as possible, filter your water and air, and try to wear natural rather than synthetic fabrics. We aren’t forever doomed by living in a toxic environment; we CAN do something.
I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series. This stuff is empowering and would really help many people take charge of their own health, which a lot of people WANT to do. Check out the next episodes while you can, or buy the whole set if you’ve missed it.