If you grew up in the ’60s or ’70s and were fat, chances are it was because you ate too much and didn’t exercise enough. Same with your kids. In the ’80s and ’90s, thanks to the ignorance of many self-proclaimed exercise gurus, the solution was refined with the idea that you were fat because you ate too much fat and did not do enough aerobic exercise. One of the strongest proponents of this approach was Covert Bailey – he even wrote a book called Smart Exercise, which promoted the idea that aerobic exercise was “smart” and anaerobic exercise such as weight training was “dumb.” Nice try.
Although exercising and eating well are certainly important factors for staying lean, and genetics must be taken into account, there is one more component that must be added to the lean and healthy equation. And that, if you ask Mark Schauss, is toxins.
For the past 28 years Dr. Mark Schauss, DB, has been studying medical
research concerning the effects of toxins on our health, and he’s written a book on the subject: Achieving Victory over a Toxic World. He also teaches our BioSignature CE: Lab Analysis Course, which shows how to interpret the extensive lab testing results available through BioSig practitioners. The first course was held February 11-13 at the Poliquin Strength Institute and sold out quickly. According to Schauss, the bottom line about the bulging bottoms of Americans today is that excessive exposure to toxins is a primary reason that obesity rates continue to escalate. So, what is a toxin?
Schauss defines a toxin in our bodies as “something from the outside...that our bodies view as being foreign and causes negative effects.” He says that over 7.1 billion pounds of 650 chemicals – 266 of which have been linked to birth defects – have been released into the air and water in the United States, according to a 2002 report by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Also, Schauss says that a study of non-industry workers, such as writers and teachers, revealed approximately 100 chemicals in their blood that did not exist 40 years ago.
It’s a self-evident truth that toxic chemicals are bad for our health, but what is not as apparent is that there is a connection between obesity and exposure to toxins. First, however, we need a working definition of obesity.
One definition of obesity is that it is an accumulation of excess fat in the body that can reduce life expectancy and increase the risk of developing health problems. Using bodyfat percentages, some health care professionals have proposed that obesity is defined as being 20 percent over one’s ideal bodyweight, or approximately 25 percent bodyfat for men and 30 percent bodyfat for women.
There is also the confusing body mass index (BMI) method of defining obesity, which involves dividing one’s mass by the square of one’s height (BMI = kilogram/meters2). When the BMI is determined, individuals can then place themselves into one of these six categories: underweight (<18.5), normal weight (18.5–24.9), overweight (25.0–29.9), class I obesity (30.0–34.9), class II obesity (35.0–39.9), and class III obesity (= 40.0).
Regardless of which definition of obesity you prefer, let’s look at how toxins can make you fat.
The Cold Facts about Obesity
Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories, and it follows that the term resting metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories when at rest. Schauss offers the example that if an individual ingests an average of 2,500 calories daily and their exercise program burns 625 calories, the remaining 1,875 calories would be burned through resting metabolism – as such, one’s resting metabolic rate plays an important role in body composition. Now let’s add toxins to the equation.
Schauss says that the hypothalamus affects thermogenesis, and research published in the March-April 2004 issue of the Journal of Neurotoxicology and Teratology suggests that toxins can affect the function of the hypothalamus. Further, Schauss believes that in the body’s attempt to reduce the adverse effects of toxins, a state of hypothermia occurs that causes the body’s internal temperature (and thus resting metabolism) to drop. In fact, Schauss says that there is a debate within the American Medical Association about redefining the average healthy body temperature as 98.0 degrees Fahrenheit, lowering it from 98.6 degrees. And it’s not because research suggests that 98 degrees is healthier but because increasingly fewer patients have a temperature of 98.6 during doctor’s visits. Although there are drugs that can be used to raise body temperature, Schauss says the risks of using them may outweigh the benefits.
Using these new variables, let’s do some more math.
If toxins lower an individual’s body temperature from 98.6 to 98 degrees, the resting metabolism would decrease by 7 percent. Using Schauss’s example, that means during a single day 131 of the 1,875 calories attributable to the resting metabolic state would remain unburned. Multiply 131 x 365 days in a year, and you get 47,815 extra calories. Using the formula that equates 3,500 calories to one pound, the result is a gain of 13.66 pounds in a year and 136 pounds in 10 years.
Taking another perspective, Schauss says that toxins can interfere with the body’s ability to produce energy from carbohydrates and can impair the endocrine system. Further, it appears that the effects of toxins are occurring even before birth, as Schauss says there has been a dramatic increase in the number of obese, breast-fed babies. Schauss comments that although the mothers of these children may eat at McDonalds, their nursing infants are obviously not eating Happy Meals and becoming fat as a result.
Schauss says that another way toxins foster obesity is by increasing estrogen and decreasing testosterone. An increase in estrogen can make it difficult to lose bodyfat, and a decrease in testosterone can decrease muscle mass, which will in turn lower metabolic rate (as muscle is an active, calorie-burning tissue). Hormonal imbalances can be determined by lab testing, or quickly and noninvasively with BioSignature Modulation. For example, the skinfold thickness in the triceps is an indicator of testosterone levels.
To Schauss, toxins are “the very cornerstone of why the world is getting fat.” He says that heavy metals and toxins such as phthalates, bisphenol A, benzene, toluene and xylene have been shown to upset hormonal balance. Just putting the blame on bad carbohydrates or a sedentary lifestyle “is only part of the story of obesity,” says Schauss.
From another perspective Schauss says that toxins can increase inflammatory responses. If an individual is obese already, exercising can be painful because of the swelling in the joints. There’s more. “When an obese person begins to exercise, they release toxins from their adipose tissue which increases the circulating toxins and increases the inflammatory responses.”
In addition to teaching BioSig methods
, Poliquin Performance is now working with Schauss to provide comprehensive lab tests that will determine what toxins are in the body and at what levels. In Schauss’s lab testing course
, some of the areas covered were Basic Blood Chemistry, Amino Acid Testing, Organic Acids, Mediated Response Testing (for allergies), and Toxicity Testing. Equipping yourself with this type of objective data vastly improves the effectiveness of any treatment protocols – after all, how can you treat a problem if you don’t know exactly what is causing the problem?
So, how do you treat the toxicity? The first step is to avoid making the problem worse, so you start by reducing an individual’s exposure to toxins. Many of these methods are discussed in Schauss’s book. The next step is to use lab and BioSig
results to determine which supplements to use to treat specific types of toxicity. One excellent product in the Poliquin Performance line to deal with many types of heavy-metal toxicity is Metallic Detox
. Another product that Schauss says gives a lot of bang for the buck in the area of detoxing many harmful chemicals from the body is Glycine
, which Polquin Performance offers in a sweet-tasting powdered form.