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How to Reduce the Risks That Environmental Toxicants Can Have on Heart Health

by Dr. Doug Cutler

John Warner, the American Heart Association president went into cardiac arrest during the heart attack he suffered in December of 2017, his heart stopping for several minutes until a team of rescuers brought him back to life.

“I always knew to take care of my heart – to eat right and exercise – and I tracked my risk factors, but I can do even better,” he said. “If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.”
Should the American Heart Association follow Mr. Warner’s advice by “doing better” in implementing “toxicant exposures” to their listed Cardiac Risk Factors?

The medical literature is very clear on the cardiovascular health consequences from exposures to air pollution, vehicle exhaust, toxic metals (lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium), PCBs, PAHs, pesticides, herbicides, plastics, PFOAs and volatile organic compounds. For example, we now know that air pollution is strongly related to cardiovascular events than elevated cholesterol is.

These environmental toxicants can wreak havoc on every system of the body by increasing ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) formation and activation of inflammatory mediators like IL-6, TNF-alpha, hs-CRP, fibrinogen and homocysteine. These inflammatory markers should be used in conjunction with other assessments of cardiovascular risk.

What can we do to eliminate and limit our exposure to environmental toxicants? Avoidance. Avoidance. Avoidance:
• Avoid all high mercury and/or farmed fish, herring and At lantic salmon fish oils
• Install a high quality water filter
• Install a high quality air filter, change air filters and dust frequently, use personal air filter in urban settings, use recirculation button in your car when driving
• Avoid wearing shoes in home
• Avoid new construction, new furniture and carpet
• Avoid chemical cleaners, fragrances and perfumes
• Avoid plastics
• Avoid pesticides/herbicides

What can we do to decrease our overall toxic burden and positively impact our cardiovascular health?
• Focus on real, organic foods
• Increase nutrient intake via Nutrient IVs/IMs/supplements
• Increase antioxidants, methyl donors, glutathione
• Decrease inflammation
• Saunas, cleansing, depuration, detoxification, chelation and colonics
• Visit with a Naturopathic Physician trained in Environmental Medicine

Dr. Doug Cutler is a Licensed Naturopathic Physician and practices at Cutler Integrative Medicine, 31350 Telegraph Rd, Suite 102, Bingham Farms, MI. For more information call 248-663-0165 or visit

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