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Episode 29: Toxic Load & Weight Management

This episode, Dr. Damian Rodriguez, Health and Exercise Scientist for doTERRA, talks about how your toxic load could be affecting your weight. He'll discuss why this could be happening as well as give some tips about how you can use essential oils to combat this.


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Good afternoon. I'm health and exercise scientist Dr. Damian Rodriguez joining you here today from doTERRA's beautiful global campus in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

So while my current focus of research is actually essential oils, I've actually spent most of my life researching lifestyle behaviors and how they affect weight management. So I have a lifelong passion for this particular topic and the reason is that I was actually obese in childhood so as I sit here talking to you today, I actually weigh significantly less than I did when I was 11 years old.

So in my late teens after noticing the implications of excess weight on several of my family members, I decided that I wasn't gonna become another population health statistic and I wanted to become a subject matter expert. So I decided to focus my research time on nutrition and exercise science so I studied those two in undergrad and with my masters degree and then I focused my doctoral research specifically on obesity.

Weight Management and Toxins

So prior to joining doTERRA science, I actually worked in athletic strength conditioning and public health, focusing primarily on this weight management topic. So when we're discussing weight management we're generally focusing on two specific components, diet and exercise. And those are actually the foundation of the doTERRA lifestyle wellness pyramid. And for good reason. They're the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. But weight management isn't quite that simple.

Managing energy expenditure and balancing consumption isn't the entire puzzle and one of the main pieces of that puzzle, which is often ignored, not really discussed is actually toxic load. Toxic load also happens to be something that I've had a lot of opportunity to research since I joined doTERRA.

What is Toxic Load? 

So to understand the implications of toxic load on weight management, it's really important to first understand what exactly is toxic load. So a toxin is any substance that causes excess stress upon the body.

So we conventionally think of toxins as caustic or synthetic substances that are in the air we breathe, the food that we eat, the water we drink, maybe in cleaning products that we're using around the house, but a toxin can actually be any substance that causes excess stress. So if we're not healthy, even perfectly healthy whole food can actually have a toxic effect on the human organism. So toxic load then is the accumulation of these substances in the body systemically and the burden, the stress that they place upon the entire body.

How Are We Exposed to Toxins? 

So we have several different pathways for which we are exposed to toxins on a daily basis. The primary toxins within us are our lungs, our digestive tract and the skin. It's really important to minimize our exposure through designing our life around healthy lifestyle behaviors, but a lot of this exposure is completely out of our control. We can't really control a lot of our environment. Because of this it's really important that we support our natural detoxification processes.

Our Body’s Natural Detoxification Processes

So technically we have five detoxifying organs. We have the liver, the kidneys, the lungs, the lymph and the skin. So while we have five vital organs that are detoxifying, we're gonna focus primarily on the liver and the kidneys for this discussion.

Liver and Kidney Detoxification

So the liver is a metabolic powerhouse. It's the vital organ that is tasked with processing nutrients so they can be used throughout the body for various processes and also clearing substances that may be harmful to the human body. So the byproducts of this liver-focused process are then sent into the bloodstream where they are further filtered by the kidneys. They are then excreted usually in the form of urine.

Digestion and Detoxification

It's also very important to note the role of the digestive tract in this entire process. So you've probably heard the term gut microbiome. It's one of the hot areas of health science research right now. So the digestive tract is composed of trillions of different microorganisms which together form this natural ecosystem, this gut microbiome, these healthy bacteria inside your gut. So maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is really important for digestive efficiency, for producing enzymes, for metabolizing nutrients, all these things which have a very dramatic effect on the overall workload that the liver and kidneys have to process. So if you don't have a healthy gut microbiome, a lot of metabolic and neuromuscular functions just don't function properly.

Toxin Load and Weight Management

So let's discuss a little bit about how toxic load directly influences weight management. So toxic load has a direct impact on first and foremost our metabolism, but it also influences appetite and also our energy levels.

So the primary pathway through which toxic load influences our metabolism is through hormonal regulation so if you have increased toxic load, this may influence secretion and receptor function of insulin, ghrelin, leptin, cortisol and especially thyroid hormone.

So you've probably heard a lot about how thyroid has a very direct impact on weight management. If you have an unexplainable weight management issue, there's a very strong chance that it is due to thyroid dysfunction. I actually have an autoimmune disorder which directly impacts the function of my thyroid, so I know firsthand exactly how important it is for weight management. Just this past year I finally got my thyroid under control with the help of some of my friends at Prime Meridian Healthcare and also with some medication and within about a week I lost 20 pounds with absolutely no lifestyle behavioral changes whatsoever.

Toxic Load and Appetite

It's also really important to discuss how toxins may influence our appetite. The science is a really complex process involving all kinds of hormones and receptors which actually work together to manage our cravings, to manage what and how much we eat. So if you have excessive toxic load it can create all kinds of communication chaos between these hormones and these receptors which can alter our eating behaviors.

Toxic Load and Metabolism

Lastly, our body utilizes a lot of energy to manage our toxic load so kind of in short, the more that less toxic load, the less overall workload, metabolic workload. What this means is that we have more energy for activities that actually support health and weight management such as exercise.

Sweat and Toxic Load

So let's talk a little bit about exercise for a minute. There's a lot of debate in the health science world about how exercise actually does influence toxic load so let's quickly discuss what we do know. So you've probably heard that you can excrete toxins through sweat and we do. The issue with that is the amount is so minute that it's highly unlikely that it can really have a significant impact on your health.

So humans actually, we sweat to regulate body temperature, not to excrete waste products. So sweat is composed of 99% water, a small pinch of salt and very, very trace amounts of various toxins so to kinda create a mental picture, a normally healthy active human being can sweat up to two liters in a single day. Even that extreme level of perspiration probably contains less than one tenth of one nanogram of various toxins which is an almost immeasurable fraction of what the liver and kidneys process on a daily basis. So exercising more isn't going to directly minimize the toxins that are actually systemically in your body.

Exercise and Toxic Load

So what exercise actually does is it can again support those natural detoxifying properties and your vital organs which control toxic load. There's a ton of clinical research out there about how regular exercise can promote kidney health and how it can improve biomarkers of liver health.

Furthermore exercise, especially aerobic activity is very well known to protect against the metabolic dysfunction and inflammation which is one of the primary causes of vital organ damage. So you absolutely wanna have a regular exercise routine. You wanna make it a part of your life to regulate energy balance, to promote vital organ health, but don't be under the misconception that increasing your exercise is going to directly minimize your toxic load. It doesn't quite work that way.

Diet, Supplementation, and Toxic Load

So what is the most controllable factor is our diet. So diet is the primary controllable way to support our cleansing mechanisms to support a healthy gut microbiome and then therefore directly minimize toxic load. Unfortunately science has yet to discover this ideal diet and even if they did, because we all are individual and we all have very unique responses to nutritional input, that ideal diet probably wouldn't be ideal for you and even then it probably wouldn't be realistic for you to follow this "ideal diet". It just wouldn't be something that's sustainable.

So the reality is that most of us have nutritional deficiencies. The latest research suggests that about 98% of the general public has at least one significant nutritional deficiency. What this means is that all of us should be supplementing. All of us should be looking for high quality and highly bioavailable dietary supplements so that we have that very baseline to address these nutritional concerns. So I hope all of you out there are taking LLV on a daily basis because that is the foundation. That is how you're gonna set the base for overall health. Along with that we should all be looking for highly bioavailable supplements which address our own unique concern. So my daily supplement regimen is focused on three supplements. First Zendocrine® softgels, PB Assist+® and DigestZen® TerraZyme.

Zendocrine and Detoxification

So the first supplement that I think of when I hear the word detoxification is Zendocrine soft gels. There's a number of different essential oils that have been shown to be internally cleansing, support a digestive process and support function of the liver and kidneys, but it isn't quite that complex. You can do your own research and create your own blend and maybe put in the veggie capsule or put a few drops in a glass of water and chug it down every morning, but doTERRA being the innovative company that it is decided to create its own blend. So Zendocrine detoxification blend is actually a combination of the most efficacious oils for this purpose in one.

So the soft gel is simply this detoxification blend in an easy to use soft gel. So Zendocrine is a combination of Rosemary, Cilantro, Juniper berry, Tangerine and Geranium. All these essential oils have been shown in research to be internally cleansing and to support the digestive process. How I've noticed is the best way for me to take Zendocrine soft gels is I take one soft gel with each meal throughout the day and I've noticed an almost immediate improvement in my digestive comfort.

Probiotics and Detoxification

So next, you've probably heard the term probiotics and it's one of the hot areas in not only gut microbiome research, but in all of health science. And that reason is because probiotics have been shown to be very efficacious for supporting digestive health. So there is a way to get these probiotics through our normal diet and that's through fermented foods. So we can increase our consumption of fermented food such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, but the issue is that a lot of us have strong aversion to these fermented foods, myself included. I can't keep a lot of them down. So if that is the case, the obvious solution is a probiotic supplement.

So PB Assist+ is actually a proprietary combination of prebiotic fiber and six strains of probiotic microorganisms that was formulated specifically to address digestive health. So probiotics are generally taken with, in conjunction with a detoxifying cleanse, but PB Assist+ is safe enough that it can be taken for extended periods when your gut microbiome may be compromised. So if you're following doTERRA's 30 day cleanse protocol, what you would do is take one capsule with three meals a day for the first 10 days of the cleanse. Otherwise if you're just taking it to support the overall health of your gut microbiome, all you're gonna do is take one capsule regularly as needed. What I found works best for me is I take one capsule with all three meals of the day for about the first 10 days of every month. And in conjunction with Zendocrine, it has dramatically reduced my digestive discomfort and given me an overall feeling of much improved wellness.

Digestive Enzymes and Detoxification

Lastly, we wanna discuss enzymes. So enzymes are proteins which act as catalysts for a number of different biochemical functions, one of them as being detoxification. So digestive enzymes are readily available in whole natural foods. So if we're eating a very unprocessed whole raw food diet, we should get adequate amount of digestive enzymes just in our daily diet. Unfortunately, as food is processed and cooked, a lot of these enzymes are denatured, even completely destroyed. So what that means is that if we are consuming a lot of processed foods, we need an external source of digestive enzymes.

So DigestZen TerraZyme is a proprietary combination of 10 active whole food enzymes which are commonly deficient in what we refer to as the modern western diet. These are the enzymes which our processed food doesn't have. I've noticed that if I take one capsule with every meal in the day, that my digestive discomfort is almost completely gone.

One of my concerns over the last few years is that my largest meal of the day is immediately following my workout and so I was almost getting to the point where I didn't wanna exercise because I knew that the meal that followed the exercise would cause me so much digestive distress that I was thinking about that the entire time I was working out so it was negatively impacting my exercise regimen. Once I started taking DigestZen TerraZyme, that is almost completely eradicated so not only has my overall digestive health improved, but my exercise regimen has improved and I'm just noticing every single day improvements to my overall health.

A Lifestyle of Reducing Toxins

So as you can see, putting yourself in the environment where you are promoting overall health and minimizing toxic load is all about focusing on those lifestyle behaviors that are detailed in the doTERRA lifestyle wellness pyramid with a foundation being eating right and also exercise on a daily basis.

So if you design your lifestyle around the idea that you wanna minimize toxic load, both through exposure and minimizing and promoting those internal detoxifying mechanisms, inherently you're gonna see those results on the scale. That's the perfect way to put yourself in that perfect environment to promote successful weight management.

So thank you for the opportunity to talk about one of my areas of passion and research. Please follow all of us doTERRA scientists on the doTERRA science blog where we write about the latest in essential oil dietary supplement and lifestyle behavior research. Again, thank you for your time and I'll see you soon.

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