The link between toxins and poor health is not very well understood. We know there is a link, but we are only scratching the surface of knowledge about the harmful effects of these toxins and just how they exert damage. In my new book, Heart of Perfect Health, I devoted a chapter to this topic, though it could easily be its own book.

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), according to the Environmental Protection Agency, are toxic chemicals that adversely affect human health and the environment around the world. They can be transported by wind and water, so POPs generated in one country can affect distant locations across the world. In 2001, the United States along with 90 other countries signed a United Nations treaty—the Stockholm Convention—under which they agreed to reduce or eliminate the production, use, or release of 12 major POPs. Dioxins, DDT, and PCBs were among these.

Due to their persistent nature, however, these toxins are still found throughout the world. POPs are stored in fat and may be ingested in animal-based fatty foods. One researcher from the University of Bergen in Norway, Jerome Ruzzin, has been studying the effects of POPs for several years.

Ruzzin cautions against the long-term health effects of POPs, “A great number of studies are now showing that people with high concentrations of POPs in their body are developing metabolic syndrome. We are talking about normal people who live in normal environments. So this means that we are being exposed to far too high levels of POPs that may have a major impact on our health.”

He believes that current limits for these pollutants are too high, and recommends more regulation of these chemicals. “Food producers need to eliminate hazardous substances to a far greater extent than they do at present, and we consumers need more information about the kinds of chemicals we could be ingesting with their food products.”

If you carry excess fat, you may be storing these toxins. Losing weight will help to eliminate them, but realize that you must first mobilize the toxins from fat so that they may be released. This also means your levels of circulating toxins will go up as you lose weight so be sure to support the channels of elimination while you are losing weight. Also be sure your bowel elimination is regular; eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, take a fiber supplement to ensure you consume 35 grams of fiber daily, limit animal fats, and support your liver function with a liver detox or liver support supplement.