Commonly used chemicals may cause high blood pressure

By Dr Sandra Cabot and naturopath Margaret Jasinska

New research has shown that exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) may be responsible for high blood pressure in middle aged women. PFAS chemicals are some of the most harmful toxins ever created because they are nicknamed “forever chemicals”. They never break down and they accumulate in our bodies, especially in the fatty parts and the liver.

In a large prospective study, scientists found a strong association between higher blood levels of PFAS chemicals and an increased risk of hypertension in middle aged women. Women with the highest PFAS concentrations had a 71 percent greater risk of developing hypertension. According to Sung Kyun Park, ScD, MPH, of the University of Michigan, “Our findings suggest that long-term exposure, even before midlife, may increase the risk of high blood pressure, and therefore, the benefit of reducing the population exposure to PFAS and potential prevention of high blood pressure and other health conditions would be enormous. PFAS are forever chemicals as well as everywhere chemicals”. Researchers have found these chemicals in the blood of people living in every continent.

I well remember a middle-aged female patient with uncontrollable high blood pressure even though she was taking concurrently five different blood pressure medications (anti-hypertensive drugs). I sent her to a health retreat for a 2-week detox and within one month her blood pressure was normal and she was only taking a low dose of one blood pressure medication. If the liver is overloaded blood pressure is much harder to control.

PFAS are forever chemicals as well as everywhere chemicals

PFAS are everywhere – they are used to prevent food sticking to pots and pans, to treat furniture and rugs and make rain repellent rain coats. They are also used in food wrap, sprays for shoes and leather, paint, floor wax and some shampoo.  The major brands containing PFCs include Teflon, Scotchgard, Stainmaster and Gore-Tex.   This means the chemicals are virtually indestructible, and some members of the PFAS family never degrade.

PFOA and PTFE are types of PFAS, and are used in the manufacture of Teflon. They are released into the air when Teflon cookware is heated to high temperatures.  If you use this kind of non-stick cookware, you will be breathing in toxin fumes, and they will enter your food. It is well known that if you keep a pet bird in the kitchen while heating a non-stick pan to high temperatures, the bird can die. These fumes are highly toxic to birds! The inner lining of most air fryers contains PFAS.

PFAS don’t just raise the risk of high blood pressure. Numerous studies have linked PFAS chemicals to an increased risk of the following conditions:

  • Increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer
  • Reduced immune response to vaccines
  • Increased cholesterol
  • Increased liver enzymes
  • Small reduction in infant birth weight
  • Increased risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women

What you can do to minimize exposure to PFCs

Here are some tips:

  • Do not use Teflon or other non-stick cookware in your home. Stainless steel is the healthiest cooking surface. To prevent food from sticking use a little water, olive oil, coconut oil or animal fat.
  • When purchasing furniture or carpet, do not have them treated to be stain resistant. This will prevent these chemicals emitting into your home.
  • Do not buy clothing that bears the Teflon label, or indicates it has been treated for water, dirt or stain repellency.
  • Minimise the amount of packaged and fast food in your diet. Often these containers are coated with PFAS to prevent grease from soaking through the packaging. PFAS are used in containers such as hot chip boxes, pizza boxes and microwave popcorn bags.
  • Do not heat food in a plastic container in a microwave oven.
  • Use a good quality water filter.
  • Do not buy personal care products that contain “fluoro” or “perfluoro” in the ingredients list. They are commonly found in nail polish, pressed powders, lotions and shaving cream.

What you can do to increase elimination of PFAS chemicals from the body

Support your liver function to be better with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

The liver breaks down toxic chemicals via the phase one and phase two detoxification pathways inside the liver cells. These liver pathways break down fat-soluble toxins into water soluble forms and only then can they be excreted from your body in water-soluble fluids such as the bile, sweat, saliva and urine. The bile is an important route the liver uses to eliminate toxic chemicals which are then carried out of the body via the bowel actions (faeces).

Do the Dr Cabot 15-day Cleanse

I see many people who get all enthusiastic to cleanse their body and improve their health and they do it beautifully – but they only do it once and then they think it will last a lifetime. They lose their focus and guess what happens?

  • The weight creeps back on
  • The fatigue and tired look recur
  • Their foggy brain comes back
  • The aches and pains come back

In six months or less they are back to toxic square one.

Why do we benefit from a cleanse every 4 months?

Use a regular cleanse to fit in with your body’s natural cycles.

Red blood cell cycle

The lifecycle of red blood cells is 120 days (4 months), this is an important cycle in the body as red blood cells carry fresh oxygen to your cells and remove the waste product of metabolism; carbon dioxide. Red blood cells are susceptible to damage from heavy metals and cannot protect themselves as well as other cells. Thus the 120-day cycle of your red blood cells is an opportune time to do a cleanse. It is ideal to do the Cleanse up to 3 times per year as the red blood cells are renewed, which helps toxic chemicals to be eliminated from the body before they can be stored in deeper tissues such as fat and bones and cause damage. It is beneficial to do the 15-Day Cleanse three times a year as it’s an excellent way to reset your body. Even if you do the 15-Day Cleanse only twice a year it is beneficial.

The sleep cycle

It is recognised that adequate and deep sleep is essential to chemically detoxify your brain. This was shown through research done by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Brain cleansing occurs during sleep because a plumbing system called the Glymphatic system opens up spaces in between the brain cells; this allows fluid to flow rapidly between the brain cells. This fluid removes toxic molecules which have accumulated in between the brain cells – it is equivalent to an internal brain wash. This is an amazing process whereby the spaces between brain cells increases by around 60 percent. We need sleep for many reasons and one of the most important is because it cleans up the brain.

This is one reason why helping your body to eliminate toxins at night during sleep is a good idea. Avoid excess alcohol, sugar and stimulants at night to facilitate the brain cleansing process.

The intestines contain a protective lining similar to the blood-brain barrier (BBB), and the factors that cause a leaky gut (such as toxins and unhealthy microbes) can also create a leaky BBB. A leaky BBB is usually associated with a leaky gut. The Gut Health powder is designed to reduce leaky gut and also contains an excellent probiotic. This powder is best taken at night within 2 hours of retiring.

Prevents you getting out of balance

A timely and regular cleanse will prevent your body getting too badly out of balance, which makes it harder to go back to a healthier state.

When talking of total body toxin accumulation, this can reach a critical mass (level) where the detoxification systems of the body become overloaded and no longer work efficiently. The high level of toxins causes weight gain (they become obesogens) and inflammation (they become inflamogens). We want to avoid getting to a critical mass state in our body when it comes to fat and toxin accumulation. A regular cleanse will prevent this and make it much easier for you to maintain the better level of health you achieved after your first cleanse.

Rejuvenate your body

The second time you do my 15-Day Cleanse, I also recommend you combine it with intermittent fasting. The easiest way to do this is to miss breakfast for 15 days. In other words, you could do the most common method of fasting; the 16:8 method. This means you fast for 16 hours of the day, and eat during the remaining 8-hour period. This doesn’t give you permission to feast during this time, rather it generally means having two main meals and avoiding snacks. Many people like to fast between 8pm and 12pm; in other words, they choose to skip breakfast and only eat lunch and dinner. During fasting no food is allowed, only black coffee, water, green tea, black tea and herbal teas. Or if preferred you can miss breakfast and lunch every second day; remember to drink plenty of water. Intermittent fasting is good to do regularly because it is an effective way to get your cells to self-cleanse. During fasting the levels of insulin in your body drop dramatically and this stimulates a process called ‘autophagy’ in your cells – basically this means that your cells get rid of all their old worn out parts and replace them with bright, shiny new parts.

Other simple techniques to eliminate toxic chemicals include drinking more water, having a regular sauna and exercise program that raises a sweat. We have been complacent with the use of these toxic chemicals and it is impacting on our internal body environment and also on our planet.

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances and Incident Hypertension in Multi-Racial/Ethnic Women: The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation | Hypertension (
Sleep initiated fluid flux drives metabolic clearance from the adult brain, Science, October 18, 2013.
Leaky Gut, Leaky Brain? Microorganisms. 2018 Oct 18;6(4).

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