by Erin Holston Singh, N.D.
The storms provided an opportunity for me to soak up the volumes of knowledge that have been coming at me since I was in Cleveland in July. In early August, I attended the 23rd Annual
convention for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), which also happened to be the first joint convention with the American Holistic Medical Doctors Association (AHMA). In addition to the AANP and the AHMA, other holistic medical associations came together to bridge the discussion about what may fill the void in the face of allopathic medicine’s inevitable wane. The conference was part of a conscious discussion about our role as providers in a more functional dominant healthcare system; i.e. one that is more cost effective, less damaging and ultimately, completely sustainable, financially and environmentally. How exciting to be a part of naturopathic medicine at this critical juncture in history!The AANP conference always inspires me in many ways. The camaraderie created by just being with 600+ other holistic doctors is one thing, and then there are the lectures and multitudes of vendors, all with mountains of new information. Let me briefly share some of what I learned.For years I’ve been talking with my patients about the false sense of alarm created by cholesterol screening. I’ve repeatedly explained that while cholesterol can be a good measure of how much your body is attempting to create anti-oxidation (i.e. a need for protection against damaging free radicals), it is no clear indication for cardiovascular disease like the pharmaceutical companies would love to have us believe. One of the keynote speakers, Nortin Hadler, M.D., remarked, ‘While cholesterol may be a risk factor for Coronary Heart Disease, it’s not much of a risk factor.’ Hadler explains that the best data we have on using statins to prevent cardiovascular disease gives only a 2% relative risk reduction and that this essentially means it would take treating at least 50 men for five years to save one man from a fatal cardiovascular event. This lecture, centered around his most recent book, ‘Worried Sick: a Prescription for An Over-treated America’ delves into the common topics of allopathic medical practice, and discusses their inability to decrease our mortality, but a great ability to increase our morbidity, or suffering. It’s a book I’m relishing with great pleasure, since he has poured over the research to support the tenets I have been promoting for over 10 years.

The perfect segue from Dr. Hadler’s lecture was my venture into the Thorne Research booth, where employee Dr. Alan Miller was performing Pulse Wave Analyses on the passers-by. Pulse Wave Analysis is one non-invasive way to check for elasticity of the blood vessels, giving even more exact information than traditional blood pressure measurements about the health of one’s

Enquiring further, I learned about a compound that can accumulate in the blood due to a genetic enzyme deficiency (common in African Americans) and perhaps explains the resistant cases of
hypertension we’ve seen.

Another notable lecture covered which botanical agents have been proven to help clear fat-soluble toxins from the body. This talk also happened to be hilarious, as is usually expected with my
well-known colleague, Dr. Walter Crinnion. (Well-known for his work in environ-mental medicine, he has been a guest on The View on more than one occasion). Discussing which plants can help pull fat-soluble chemicals from the body, Dr. Crinnion covered the main alternatives to Olestra, the infamous food additive in fat-free Pringles discovered to help pull fat-soluble dioxins from the body. Olestra is infamous for ‘anal leakage’, a euphemism for an inability to hold one’s feces after having ingested this synthetic, calorie-free fat substitute. (Dr. Crinnion confessed to having prescribed Pringles on at least one occasion!).

One take-home message from this lecture was that intoxication with particular fat-soluble toxins reduces the capacity to lose weight! Toxins that get stored in our fat tissues disrupt the
‘powerhouse’ mechanism of our cells: the mitochondria. Since mitochondria make the molecules that supply all of our energy, if a toxin blocks that function, fatigue and weight gain are the natural consequence.

It goes like this: Worse than the natural consequences of aging is the accumulation of persistent environmental pollutants over time in older individuals. As we age, we increase the overall body burden of toxins in fat. This increased toxic burden leads to more and more mito-chondrial damage, which, in turn leads to a decreased capacity to break down fat (thermogenesis). With less thermogenesis, there is a reduction in the amount of fat lost and sub-sequently more weight gained. Dr. Crinnion explained how when we get into a fat break-down mode, as from dieting and in particular, yo-yo dieting, those persistent organic pollutants that hide in our fatty tissue come full force into the blood stream. Unfortunately, the dieting does NOT clear these toxins from the body, but only dramatically increases the toxic burden of these compounds on our bodies.

Where do these noxious, mitochondrial-disrupting, fat-soluble substances come from? See a list of FAT SOLUBLE TOXINS below.

It is critical to understand that, once again, individually tailored detoxification, in addition to dietary changes, is crucial to improving health, reducing symptoms, losing weight and living in a preventive, health-sustaining fashion. To see which herbs or teas you could consider ingesting on a regular basis to protect your system from the toxic deluge caused by dieting, see the BOTANICALS list below.


  • Dairy-(since fat-soluble toxins accumulate in fatty foods)
  • Farm-raised fish (#1 source of PCB’s, or Polychlorinated Biphenyls)
  • Automobile exhaust (benzo[a]pyrenes)
  • Smoke: tobacco, marijuana, wood, incense (benzo[a]pyrenes)
  • Non-organic foods (source of chlorinated pesticides)
  • Heavy metals (pollution, fish, amalgam fillings)
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE’s) in household flame retardants
  • Fluoridated water

Botanicals that help the body clear FAT-SOLUBLE TOXINS: