7 Facts About Pesticide Exposures: A Functional Medicine Toronto Guide

functional medicine guide to pesticide exposure

Functional medicine from Toronto can offer new insights into your health status – for example, how pesticides could impact your wellness.

The functional medicine approach to health emphasizes the patient’s originality; this means that environmental factors may be explored to determine if they’re causing your personal chronic symptoms. Some environmental factors may include the chemicals lurking around your home, food, and surroundings.

“Pesticides and other foreign substances in food products and drinking water along with toxic pollutants in the air pose an immediate threat to human health, whereas other contaminants gradually build up in the environment and in the human body, causing disease long after first exposure,” explains an article from Toxics.

The prevalence of pesticide exposures is a startling fact to learn. So how can we lessen our exposures to toxicities? And how do pesticides play a role in different aspects of health? The following list includes must-know points about these chemicals and their influence on short- and long-term health.

Key Points About Pesticides and Your Wellness

  1. “Pesticides are substances or mixtures of substances that are mainly used in agriculture or in public health protection programs in order to protect plants from pests, weeds or diseases, and humans from vector-borne diseases…,” describes a Frontiers in Public Health piece.
  2. Looking at only the second half of the previous century, pesticide use has amplified by roughly 11% annually.
  3. Examples of pesticides include herbicides and rodenticides. Residual amounts have been found in sport fields, pet products, water, and construction materials.
  4. Glyphosate, a type of herbicide, has been linked to the development of breast cancer. “A formal review of glyphosate … was published in 2020, finding some statistically significant links to some cancers like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” reports the Institute for Functional Medicine.
  5. Organophosphate pesticides are insecticides widely used in agriculture; 40% of these particular pesticides are used on fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that exposure to these pesticides could result in detrimental effects, such as cancers, nerve damage and possibly ADHD.
  6. The body can absorb these chemicals via inhalation, skin, or ingestion, at home or in the workplace; this ongoing exposure can increase cancer risks, trigger chronic illness, and possibly disrupt metabolic functioning. “The numerous negative health effects that have been associated with chemical pesticides include, among other effects, dermatological, gastrointestinal, neurological, carcinogenic, respiratory, reproductive, and endocrine effects,” confirms an article from Frontiers in Public Health.
  7. Pesticide exposures can lead to acute or chronic symptoms. These chemicals can impede bodily functions and cellular functioning over time. Some people may get health effects as soon as they’re exposed; others might have symptoms hours after the exposure. For some, they may not notice the effects for years until they’re finally diagnosed with specific health conditions.

Recommended Reading: Our Functional Medicine Toronto Clinic Discusses AMPK and its Pro-longevity Effects

Managing Your Risks to Chemical Exposures

Now that we’re aware of how pesticides can pose health risks, there are ways to reduce your contact with them. Here’s how:

  • Eat foods that encourage detoxification. Eat a “rainbow” of fruits and veggies because phytonutrient-rich foods could assist with detoxing the body from free radicals. Add foods from the Brassica family (i.e. cabbage, broccoli) and other leafy greens, orange carrots, and red beets to your meals.
  • Thoroughly wash produce before consumption: Place produce under running water to remove dirt and chemicals from any crevices.
  • Use non-pesticide products at home: If you’re gardening or using disinfectants, read your product labels carefully. Try to use non-pesticide ingredients, follow the instructions, and keep them away from kids and pets. If you’re going to use a pesticide, Health Canada recommends using one with a label that has a Pesticide Control Products number.

Do you suspect that chemicals are preventing you from achieving health goals? Chemical exposures may be individualistic and should be addressed appropriately. We suggest working alongside an integrative and functional medicine practitioner who can help tackle these concerns. This health care provider can provide functional medicine tests to measure particular chemicals in your body. Treatments can then be customized to personally encourage bodily repair through lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, nutraceuticals/oral supplements, and other tools.

About Our Clinical Services

At the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre, we get to know the patient as a person with individual health concerns. Our integrative approach to wellness allows you to explore various treatment modalities, such as Western medicine (allopathic medicine), Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, IV vitamin therapy, acupuncture, and others.

Our healthcare providers consider the uniqueness of each patient; with that, environmental surroundings, lifestyle factors, and your genetics may be considered for customizing treatments. The point is not only to relieve symptoms, but also to tackle the trigger behind your condition. Our clinical therapies and functional medicine testing might help with managing a wide variety of health concerns, including adrenal fatigue, abdominal pain, irregular periods, autoimmune illness, chronic symptoms, brain fog, acid reflux, chronic fatigue, infertility, and other issues.

Let’s address the root cause of your individual symptoms – functional medicine from our Toronto clinic could guide you towards optimal health. Click here to reach us for a virtual or in-person session.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. Consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.

 

References:

Damalas CA, Koutroubas SD. Farmers’ Exposure to Pesticides: Toxicity Types and Ways of Prevention. Toxics. 2016 Jan 8;4(1):1. doi: 10.3390/toxics4010001. PMID: 29051407; PMCID: PMC5606636.

Exposure to Pesticides, Herbicides, & Insecticides: Human Health Effects” from the Institute of Functional Medicine, viewed on October 1, 2022.

Kaushal J, Khatri M, Arya SK. A treatise on organophosphate pesticide pollution: current strategies and advancements in their environmental degradation and elimination. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2021;207:111483. doi:1016/j.ecoenv.2020.111483

Khan N, Kennedy A, Cotton J, Brumby S. A Pest to Mental Health? Exploring the Link between Exposure to Agrichemicals in Farmers and Mental Health. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Apr 12;16(8):1327. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16081327. PMID: 31013861; PMCID: PMC6517992.

Nicolopoulou-Stamati P, Maipas S, Kotampasi C, Stamatis P, Hens L. Chemical Pesticides and Human Health: The Urgent Need for a New Concept in Agriculture. Front Public Health. 2016 Jul 18;4:148. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2016.00148. PMID: 27486573; PMCID: PMC4947579.

Pesticides and Food: Healthy, Sensible Food Practices,” EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency, updated May 3, 2022, viewed on September 30, 2022.

Pesticides – Health Effects” from the Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety, updated October 1, 2022, viewed on October 2, 2022.

Tudi M, Daniel Ruan H, Wang L, Lyu J, Sadler R, Connell D, Chu C, Phung DT. Agriculture Development, Pesticide Application and Its Impact on the Environment. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jan 27;18(3):1112. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18031112. PMID: 33513796; PMCID: PMC7908628.