As a clinician, I’ve always been more interested in the data that lab tests provide. Nothing provides more authority over choosing certain protocols than quantitative information about your biochemistry.. Lab tests are the reason why I don’t prescribe a ketogenic protocol to every client I work with (even though I’m The Keto Nutritionist). They’re also responsible for why I’ve nerded out on nutrigenomics the past couple of years.
In my private practice, I base as much as I can off various tests instead of going with my opinion.
Here’s why I bring it up:
One of the companies I use is Great Plains Lab. They are the world leader in providing diagnostics for metabolic, mitochondrial, and environmental factors in chronic illnesses.
They provide an in-depth analysis on various markers depending which of their tests you take.
Well, I just took—and received my results from—their GPL-TOX test.
What’s the GPL-TOX test?
It tests your body for its non-metal toxin profile from an extensive range of environmental toxins across 19 different markers.
And my results were shocking!
I had way more toxic markers in my analysis than I would’ve thought. I don’t even know what they’re from—and if I’m being honest, I’m not sure how to fix many of them. If fixing them is even possible.
Now, I wouldn’t say I eat a “perfect” diet. I don’t even know if eating a “perfect” diet is possible. But I eat healthier than the average person. Even the average wellness-focused person.
For example, I eat organic food whenever possible. I usually follow some kind of low carb protocol, but even when I don’t, I don’t go overboard with sugar or refined carbs. I stay away from most processed foods. I use supplements and nutrition drinks to fill any gaps in my nutrient profile. I home cook most of my meals. I drink spring or filtered water. I’m not a big alcohol drinker—at all. And I frequently take various tests to gauge my overall metabolic health.
Yet, despite all my healthy habits, I had way more toxic markers than I thought I would…
The GPL-TOX test analyses your toxin profile against 19 different markers. Out of those 19 markers, I had 9 markers in the “green,” which means I have low levels of the given toxins. I had 6 markers that were in the “yellow-orange” range, which means I have moderate levels of the toxins they test for. And I had 3 markets in the “red,” which means I have high levels of toxins they tested for. There was no data for one marker.
I want to show you a few examples of markers I had in the yellow-orange range and the red range. Then, I’ll explain what the markers mean and how this might have happened.
Great Plains considers the first three markers (marker #1, #4, and #8) I reveal below to be common. The last one (marker #15) is not as common, according to their data.
Also, Great Plains does an incredible job of diving into the science behind the first three markers mentioned here in this article.
Let’s dive in…
This marker is a common cause of non-metal toxin because it comes as a result of exposure to two types of gasoline additives (MTBE and ETBE) used as octane enhancers. We switched to using MTBE and ETBE as a gasoline additive after discovering lead was dangerous. But after review, we discovered that both MTBE and ETBE were toxic too.
We have been phasing out MTBE and ETBE since the early 2000s, but it’s still in the soil, which can contaminate water supplies.
This marker can cause a myriad of acute and chronic problems.
Acute symptoms include:
Whereas chronic symptoms include:
The (potential) solutions?
Sauna use may accelerate elimination. As well as niacin supplementation, glutathione (reduced) supplementation, and even ketogenesis.
Perhaps following a mostly ketogenic protocol is why I’m not as high in this marker as I otherwise would’ve been.
This next marker, Marker #4, tests for styrene.
It’s a man made chemical used for plastics, rubbers, and resins. It’s also found in car exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke. One of the most common exposure sources is using plastic food containers and styrofoam cups. Heating these containers—whether in the sun or with your microwave—is especially dangerous for your toxin levels.
This toxin can cause a host of acute symptoms, but only if you have a large styrene exposure (which usually only happens if you work with styrene — like manufacturing boats, tubs, and showers).
However, chronic ongoing exposure can also disrupt your health causing symptoms like:
The (potential) solutions?
Replace plastic and styrofoam containers for cooking, storing, reheating, eating, and drinking with glass, paper, or stainless steel products. You can also accelerate your elimination of styrene with sauna treatment and reduced glutathione supplementation.
Marker #8 was by far my worst result. It’s another common toxin, but that doesn’t mean it's ideal.
Marker #8 tests for the organophosphate flame retardant triphenyl phosphate (TPHP). TPHP is used in plastics, electronic equipment, nail polish, and resins. Women and children are more at risk for this (due to nail polish and children’s toys), but it also commonly contaminates water supplies. Other sources of exposure include PVC piping, rubber, polyurethane, textiles, pigments, and paints.
The main health risk is that TPHP can cause endocrine disruption, and reproductive and developmental problems. It’s also potentially carcinogenic.
Besides avoiding the common exposure sources, there isn’t much science to back up how to lower your levels. But spending 10-20 minutes daily in a sauna is never a bad idea — they’re excellent tools for getting rid of toxins.
According to Great Plains, this is the only uncommon marker I showed toxic levels for.
It tests for organophosphates — one of the most toxic groups of substances in the world, mostly found in pesticides. Marker 15 in particular indicates an exposure to insecticide. I live in a suburban area where almost ALL the lawns are sprayed with insecticide to kill mosquitoes and also ticks. We have a ton of golf courses around too. Organophosphates can be inhaled which makes this marker especially concerning to me.
Organophosphates inhibit cholinesterase enzymes, which can overstimulate your nerve cells.
Children exposed to these nasty toxins have more than double the risk of developing autism (particularly pervasive developmental disorder, or PDD). And exposure when pregnant can lead to shorter pregnancies and children with impaired reflexes.
To make matters worse…
In the U.S., about 340 million kilograms (or 749 million pounds!) of pesticides are used in agriculture each year. And while the name “insecticide” implies they kill insects, which they do, they can also kill mammals — including pets and humans.
The (potential) solutions?
You can reduce your exposure to organophosphates by…
And since lice shampoo, pet flea collars, and flea spray are also major sources of organophosphate, it’s recommended to avoid those too.
As with any toxin on this list, you can accelerate your body’s elimination of organophosphates by using a sauna as part of your daily wellness routine.
Whew! I didn’t mean to get so grim, but this is the reality of our modern world.
There are a couple of important lessons you can gather from this article:
Lesson #1: Even eating a perfect diet is no longer enough
We’re surrounded by toxins. They’re inescapable. They’re in the food we eat. The water we drink. The air we breathe. And sometimes they’re even invisible (such as EMFs).
The truth is, we live in a toxic world and we’re pretty powerless against it. Even if you lived off the grid, you’ll likely encounter toxins — whether you know it or not.
Lesson #2: Toxins derail your health
There’s no way around this. Now, your body can handle a decent amount of toxins before noticeable symptoms and decline happen. That’s a silver lining for your health.
But this also makes all the controllable aspects of your health—like your lifestyle, diet, exercise regimen, sleep hygiene, etc.—even more important. Positive lifestyle habits can be the difference between toxins sabotaging your quality of life or not.
Lesson #3: You can’t know what’s wrong with you without laboratory tests
Because of all the health-building habits I incorporate into my life, I had no idea I’d have as many toxic markers as I did. Which reinforces my point about laboratory tests:
You can do all the biohacking tips and tricks in the world, live the healthiest possible lifestyle, and still be riddled with toxic markers.
You’ll never know until you test your body, analyze the results, and, if possible, create a strategy to reduce your toxic load.
If this article shocked you as much as my results shocked me, you’re probably wondering how you can take a GPL-TOX test too.
Well, here’s some good news:
Since I’m a practitioner with Great Plains Lab, I can help you get a test.
Even better news?
It’s just a simple urine test, no need to stick needles in yourself or go through a more personal testing process.
If you’d like a GPL-TOX test, it only costs $229, which is a small price to pay for the insights it will provide.
If you’d like to order a GPL-TOX test through me, you must have an account on my practice portal: www.GetHealthie.com - let me know you are interested in this test and I’ll have one sent to you in the mail.
If you don’t already have an account on my portal , you can set one up here.
If you do have a GetHealthie account already, simply reach out to me there and I’ll order one for you. Then, you can administer the test yourself (it’s a simple urine collection), mail it back to Great Plains, and I’ll help you interpret your results.