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What are the Examples of Environmental Related Illness?

Written by Portland Clinic of Natural Health on September 21, 2023

The world we live in has drastically changed over the last century. From the air we breathe to the water we drink and the food we consume, environmental pollutants have infiltrated every aspect of our lives. As practitioners in the fields of naturopathic and functional medicine, we take a holistic approach to health, seeking to understand the root causes of illness and supporting the body's innate healing processes.

One area of concern that has come to the forefront is environmental related illness (ERI). These illnesses arise as a direct result of our interaction with polluted or toxic environments. Let's delve into some examples of ERI and understand them from a naturopathic and functional medicine perspective.

The Portland Clinic of Natural Health and Environmental Related Illness:

At the Portland Clinic of Natural Health, we have developed a specialized focus on Environmental Related Illness (ERI). Recognizing the increasing prevalence and intricacy of these conditions, our team of dedicated practitioners adopts a comprehensive, patient-centered approach to both diagnosis and treatment. With state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, we identify the specific environmental triggers contributing to each individual's health concerns.

Beyond merely addressing the symptoms, our therapies aim to detoxify, rejuvenate, and rebalance the body. We combine the time-tested remedies of traditional naturopathy with the latest research in environmental health. By fostering an environment of education and empowerment, we ensure our patients are well-informed and actively participating in their healing journey. Our commitment to holistic care and environmental health makes the Portland Clinic of Natural Health a leading destination for those battling ERIs and seeking a path to genuine wellness.

Chronic Respiratory Illnesses:

Sources: Air pollutants, smog, vehicle exhaust, industrial emissions, and indoor pollutants from mold or chemical off-gassing.

Manifestation: Chronic bronchitis, asthma, and other respiratory disorders.

Naturopathic Approach: Apart from avoidance and improving indoor air quality, botanical remedies such as butterbur or quercetin may be suggested for their anti-inflammatory properties.

(1)

Chemical Sensitivities:

Sources: Pesticides, herbicides, household cleaning agents, and synthetic materials.

Manifestation: Headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, and cognitive disturbances.

Naturopathic Medicine Approach: Detoxification support through methods like infrared saunas, dietary modifications, and supplementation (e.g., N-acetylcysteine, milk thistle) can be effective.

(2)

3. Heavy Metal Toxicity:

Sources: Lead (old paint, plumbing), mercury (certain fish, dental amalgams), and cadmium (cigarette smoke, industry).

Manifestation: Neurological disorders, kidney damage, and immune system disruption.

Naturopathic Medicine Approach: Chelation therapy, dietary strategies (e.g., consuming foods rich in cilantro or chlorella), and nutritional supplementation to support detoxification.

(3)

4. Endocrine Disruption:

Sources: Bisphenol A (BPA) from plastics, phthalates from cosmetics, and some pesticides.

Manifestation: Hormonal imbalances, fertility issues, and developmental disorders.

Naturopathic Medicine Approach: Identification and elimination of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, coupled with adaptogenic herbs and nutrients to support endocrine function.

(4)

5. Waterborne Diseases:

Sources: Contaminated drinking water due to industrial waste, untreated sewage, or agricultural runoff.

Manifestation: Gastrointestinal disorders, infections, and chronic conditions.

Naturopathic Approach: Promoting gut health through probiotics, herbal antimicrobials, and clean water sources.

(5)

6. Mycotoxin Illness:

Sources: Molds in water-damaged buildings or contaminated foods.

Manifestation: Chronic fatigue, respiratory issues, and neurocognitive problems.

Functional Medicine Approach: Addressing the mold source, promoting detoxification, and supporting immune function.

(6)

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it provides an insight into how the environment can impact our health. From a naturopathic and functional medicine perspective, the focus is on not just alleviating symptoms, but identifying and addressing the root causes. By understanding the environmental triggers and supporting the body's natural detoxification and healing processes, it is possible to mitigate and even reverse many of these environmentally related illnesses. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider when addressing these concerns, and prioritize living in harmony with our environment for optimal health and well-being.

Resources:

  1. Labaki WW, Han MK. Chronic respiratory diseases: a global view. Lancet Respir Med. 2020 Jun;8(6):531-533. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30157-0. PMID: 32526184; PMCID: PMC8034823.
  2. Zucco GM, Doty RL. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Brain Sci. 2021 Dec 29;12(1):46. doi: 10.3390/brainsci12010046. PMID: 35053790; PMCID: PMC8773480.
  3. Tchounwou PB, Yedjou CG, Patlolla AK, Sutton DJ. Heavy metal toxicity and the environment. Exp Suppl. 2012;101:133-64. doi: 10.1007/978-3-7643-8340-4_6. PMID: 22945569; PMCID: PMC4144270.
  4. Latini G, Knipp G, Mantovani A, Marcovecchio ML, Chiarelli F, Söder O. Endocrine disruptors and human health. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2010 Aug;10(9):846-55. doi: 10.2174/138955710791608271. PMID: 20482499.
  5. McClung RP, Roth DM, Vigar M, Roberts VA, Kahler AM, Cooley LA, Hilborn ED, Wade TJ, Fullerton KE, Yoder JS, Hill VR. Waterborne Disease Outbreaks Associated With Environmental and Undetermined Exposures to Water - United States, 2013-2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017 Nov 10;66(44):1222-1225. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6644a4. PMID: 29120997; PMCID: PMC5679586.
  6. Hamilton D. Understanding Mycotoxin-induced Illness: Part 1. Altern Ther Health Med. 2022 Jul;28(5):8-11. PMID: 36069791.

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