Toxic World. Navigating the Challenges.
Modernization, like with most things, is a two-edged sword. It is a great thing to have increased scientific break-throughs, but at the same time many of these are associated with great down-sides. For example, the concept of cryptocurrencies on the surface sound great, financial assets independent of countries and set existing currencies - which have since 1971 all been fiat currencies: which are currencies not backed by any commodity, but by the perceived say-so of various governments, which is itself a scary concept. Cryptocurrency engines however consume an enormous amount of energy in constant computer activity, which is a horrible environmental pollutant, for nothing more than an interesting financial concept. Then there are non-fungible assets.... which makes the Tulip craze in Holland in the 1600s seem like a very rational thing: at least you had a pretty tulip.
But returning to modernization creating a progressively more toxic world. This blog was stimulated by recent scientific investigation showing that Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QACs.... who knew that was a thing) used extensively in cleaning and disinfecting - especially in places where cleaning and disinfecting are crucial- such as hospitals, appear to result in antibiotic resistent bacteria.. on top of the prior knowledge, that ammonium hydroxide, what has been grouped in the category of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Two common groups of QACs that are associated with asthma are benzalkonium chlorides and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride.
After beginning our panic about QACs we were hit with the additional publication that the nonsugar sweetener sucralose-6-acetate (sounds delicious) trade name Splenda may cause cancer with the bonus of DNA damage. This set on the backdrop of a large meta-analysis publication that one of the most evil of the food entities is sugar.... So no sugar and no non-sugar sweeteners.
The importance of all these chemical-induced injuries affects all of us. One example is that one of the most common underlying conditions that GDD sufferers have is some form of Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome. But GDD is just one of a number of health diseases related to chemicals.
All of this does bring to all of our minds, maybe the return-to-nature movement is the way to go. The problem is the vast majority of us in a highly urbanized society cannot do this.
My general philosophy, which again is probably atleast 20,000 years old, so I didn't just come up with it is; follow the middle road. everything in moderation.
Here are my recommendations for living in the modern world:
Don't panic. The constant stress of worry itself creates a harmful high cytokine release state.
Try to eat as much 'natural foods' with limited added chemicals. Be thoughtful. Minimize eating foods that contain too many elements that sound like something from an Intro to Chemistry university course. So in small amounts natural sugar (probably less refined in best) although bad, may be less bad than the alternatives. Sugared soft drinks should be minimized, and although it is probably one of my not-so-good ideas, I prefer diet soft drinks, like diet coke... but in measured amounts.
Pay attention to current knowledge about food and other entities, that originate from reliable sources and hopeful reproduced from other sources. One of my favorite examples: kale. For the last few decades kale has been considered one of the healthy super foods, the problem is that kale concentrates sulfurous compounds, which in the pure state is a very good thing, but in a heavily polluted area (which is most places) it also concentrates Thallium and Cesium. So in looking at 24 hour urine reports from GDD sufferers (and others) if urine Thallium and Cesium are very high the first thing I tell them is: "stop eating kale". Then at a future date, some months later, we look again at these metals in their 24 hour urine to see if Thallium/Cesium is dropping.
If you learn that certain products may carry health risks, don't use them and use safer alternatives. So if you hear QACs may be dangerous, then try to use cleaners that don't contain this, but contain compounds like hydrogen peroxide. Pay attention to see if scientific studies show new or different findings. Avoid VOCs if you are sensitive: no painting or staining, and if it is imperative then use products that don't contain VOCs. Wear an N 95 or similar mask if you are exposed to these chemicals.
Maintain healthy activities that you like to do (and hence will continue to do). Walking, Tai Chi, dancing by yourself, tennis, etc.
In health care, minimize the amount of (repeat) investigations, especially when the modality has hazardous properties, CT, MRI, Nuclear Medicine.
Try to avoid living in areas with high air and water pollution levels, if you can.
Spend some time in nature. Be at least a little like John Muir.
So: No panic. Show wisdom-sense.
Richard Semelka, MD