I talk a lot about toxin exposure and its effect on our health because it’s an important topic. Once toxins are ingested, if they are not properly eliminated through our seven channels of elimination—colon, liver, lungs, lymph, kidneys, skin, and blood—they get stored in the body, often in fat cells. A certain group of toxins known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are particularly known to be stored in fat cells where they exert a number of negative effects according to a recent review published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The most common POPs include PCBs, DDT, and dioxins, but they also include a wide range of toxins used in many different industries. According to the study, “POPs are environmentally and biologically persistent, which leads to their bioaccumulation and biomagnification up the food chain. Fatty foods of animal origin (e.g. meat, fish, dairy) are important vectors of several classes of POPs, including dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).”

The accumulation of POPs in fat tissue is thought to decrease their ability to transfer to other tissues. But when weight loss occurs, the toxins are released into circulation where they can again access different areas of the body before they are removed via bowel movements. While inside fat cells, POPs exert negative effects that interfere with the function of fat cells.

It used to be thought that fat tissue was merely a storage tissue, but this notion no longer holds true. In fact, fat tissue is considered to be an organ of its own, exerting metabolic and hormonal effects that play an important role in overall health. When toxins are stored in fat tissue, its function is altered. This can lead to poor health.

Because fatty animal-based foods are known to store these toxins, choose organic versions when possible to minimize your exposure. In addition, support the seven channels of elimination with regular cleansing and detoxification.