6

votes

Do fats and liver concentrate toxins?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created October 10, 2011 at 5:05 AM

I've had several veggie and vegan friends ask me how I can consider eating liver and animal fats, when these are the very places that concentrate environmental toxins. I never know how to respond to this, because it seems true at face value. What do we do about toxins concentrating in organ and fat tissues?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 16, 2011
at 12:11 PM

Avoid processed foods, cooking in plastic, BPA-lined cans, etc... Don't fret so much though. Your vegan "friends" are overstating the toxin load of animal products, and understating the ability of our bodies to deal with toxins. If the human body was incapable of dealing with toxins (natural or man-made), we'd all be dead by age 30.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 16, 2011
at 10:54 AM

Yes, see my answer.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 16, 2011
at 10:18 AM

fat induced poisoning when one starts to lose weight is well known phenomena.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 16, 2011
at 10:18 AM

No, supplements + food should be your number one solution, not food alone.

F79dd33c17d9fbb55cc7e202dfa30e6e

(300)

on October 13, 2011
at 02:52 AM

I.E. How can I both eat animal products (organs, fat, meat, dairy) AND avoid toxins? Is it possible? Instinctively I think this is possible--that the stress vegetarianism puts on the body outweighs any toxins in the flesh or butter etc. But I have no proof of this beyond my own personal experience. Wish Lierre Keith was here to weigh in on this.

F79dd33c17d9fbb55cc7e202dfa30e6e

(300)

on October 13, 2011
at 02:45 AM

Avoid what, then? Fat and meat from animals feeding next to a superfund site? Or are solvents and plasticizers etc everywhere these days and impossible to avoid? How can I be sure my local dairy never had any contamination? Dya get what I'm asking here? I want to argue for conscious carnivory, but the veges seem to get me on this point of "animal products are more toxic than vegetables." What to say to this? Thanks for your well informed and articulated voice, here.

7dafa893d923856298eb59e7bfd0a583

(10)

on October 12, 2011
at 02:09 PM

Not necessarily, no, but it's the best we can do when eating animal products.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 12, 2011
at 01:21 PM

Milk could possible concentrate heavy metals as it has lots of protein and heavy metals like proteins. But when you consider that a dairy animal produces milk daily, it's a modest concentration of what is found in their food and water. Unlike a meat animal that would concentrate to a higher degree in their meat. I really think that the organic fat-soluble compounds are the one's to avoid the most. Plastisizers, perfluorinated compounds, halogenated compounds, all tend to get trapped in the body associated with the fat. It's hard to efficiently eliminate them, so the the best course is to avoid

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 12, 2011
at 01:17 PM

If you're always worried about toxins here and there, you're going to be a basket-case. We live in world full of toxins, natural and unnatural. Our bodies do an admirable job of dealing with toxins in my opinion. Radioactive toxins, after the meltdown in Japan, they were reporting detectable elevated levels of radioactivity in CA. They never really addressed if this was a significant amount of radioactivity though. It wasn't significant, even compared to the modest radioactivity of our own bodies (K-40).

F79dd33c17d9fbb55cc7e202dfa30e6e

(300)

on October 12, 2011
at 01:40 AM

Aha! Great answer. What about eating fat, then? High fat diets have been promoted as healing, but is it worth it if we are getting dosed with concentrated doses of toxins?

F79dd33c17d9fbb55cc7e202dfa30e6e

(300)

on October 12, 2011
at 01:18 AM

Thanks, Matt, very helpful! So, if radiation is now silently falling upon the lovely green fields where our favorite local cow is grazing, or heavy metals contaminate the water she drinks, are my vege friends correct that the milk or tallow or chops will accumulate & concentrate the toxins, making eating veg the 'safer' option for detoxing? I want to believe this isn't true bc I don't feel right without eating fat & meat, but I'm need some help with this one. How do we eat in a world full of toxins? How do we detox? Maybe this is a whole other question?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on October 11, 2011
at 03:51 PM

Majkinetor, supplements shouldn't be your number one solution for everything.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 11, 2011
at 02:14 PM

organic doesnt necessarily protect you.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 10, 2011
at 01:44 PM

Ascorbic acid cleans most toxins. Use it after the meal.

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8 Answers

5
B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on October 10, 2011
at 10:50 AM

3
Cdee7454bccdc4ac14ec23b9657eb573

on October 10, 2011
at 06:07 AM

I've been practicing medicine for three decades and I've never seen a clinical case of toxicity from usual amounts of fat and liver ingestion. Of course, that doesn't mean it can't happen....

Long-lived marine fish reportedly accumulate mercury and PCB's, so some advise to avoid those. Again, I've never seen a clinically significant case of such poisoning in a human. A half century ago there were some cases of mercury poisoning from fish consumption in coastal Japan cities. My understanding is that the water there was highly contaminated, before the days of environmental awareness.

-Steve

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 16, 2011
at 10:18 AM

fat induced poisoning when one starts to lose weight is well known phenomena.

2
Aa3a90ba6f6a6d488f28cfcdc4e05627

on October 11, 2011
at 03:32 PM

From Chris Masterjohn's Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease article:

Contrary to the popular misconception that the liver ???stores toxins,??? its actual function is to process toxins into forms that can be more easily excreted. It mixes these processed toxins into the bile, together with toxic metals, glutathione, and many other substances before sending the bile out into the intestine. Glutathione protects the intestines from oxidative damage and is efficiently reabsorbed. We excrete most toxins that are packaged into the bile through either the feces or urine, but there are some ???poorly behaved toxins??? that constitute exceptions. For example, methyl mercury and arsenic are efficiently reabsorbed and circulate through the body repeatedly. Diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), uses its excretion into the bile as an opportunity to cause intestinal damage. By and large, however, the excretion of toxic drugs, metals, and environmental chemicals into bile means their safe elimination from the body.

F79dd33c17d9fbb55cc7e202dfa30e6e

(300)

on October 12, 2011
at 01:40 AM

Aha! Great answer. What about eating fat, then? High fat diets have been promoted as healing, but is it worth it if we are getting dosed with concentrated doses of toxins?

2
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 10, 2011
at 02:00 PM

Our bodies (and animals) aren't designed to "store" toxins. That doesn't make any evolutionary sense. Why store a toxic compound within our body? That's not to say that our bodies don't inadvertently store undesirable compounds at times under certain conditions.

The liver (and kidneys) detoxify and eliminate toxins. It's simply ignorance to think these organs are "icky" because they deal with toxins.

Other bodily tissues can accumulate various toxins, but not by "choice". Lipophilic "greasy" molecules do tend to get sequestered into fat where they're not readily eliminated. They're "happiest" being dissolved in our bodies' fat. These molecules include things like: BPA, PFOA, PFOS, PHAs, PCBs, etc... Hydrophilic "water-soluble" compounds are less of a problem with bio-accumulation. They tend to stay in circulation and get processed and eliminated via liver/kidneys. Heavy metals, such as mercury, will however associate with proteins and are very slow to be eliminated. This explains why large ocean fish tend to accumulate mercury, as they concentrate it up the food chain.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 12, 2011
at 01:21 PM

Milk could possible concentrate heavy metals as it has lots of protein and heavy metals like proteins. But when you consider that a dairy animal produces milk daily, it's a modest concentration of what is found in their food and water. Unlike a meat animal that would concentrate to a higher degree in their meat. I really think that the organic fat-soluble compounds are the one's to avoid the most. Plastisizers, perfluorinated compounds, halogenated compounds, all tend to get trapped in the body associated with the fat. It's hard to efficiently eliminate them, so the the best course is to avoid

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 12, 2011
at 01:17 PM

If you're always worried about toxins here and there, you're going to be a basket-case. We live in world full of toxins, natural and unnatural. Our bodies do an admirable job of dealing with toxins in my opinion. Radioactive toxins, after the meltdown in Japan, they were reporting detectable elevated levels of radioactivity in CA. They never really addressed if this was a significant amount of radioactivity though. It wasn't significant, even compared to the modest radioactivity of our own bodies (K-40).

F79dd33c17d9fbb55cc7e202dfa30e6e

(300)

on October 13, 2011
at 02:52 AM

I.E. How can I both eat animal products (organs, fat, meat, dairy) AND avoid toxins? Is it possible? Instinctively I think this is possible--that the stress vegetarianism puts on the body outweighs any toxins in the flesh or butter etc. But I have no proof of this beyond my own personal experience. Wish Lierre Keith was here to weigh in on this.

F79dd33c17d9fbb55cc7e202dfa30e6e

(300)

on October 12, 2011
at 01:18 AM

Thanks, Matt, very helpful! So, if radiation is now silently falling upon the lovely green fields where our favorite local cow is grazing, or heavy metals contaminate the water she drinks, are my vege friends correct that the milk or tallow or chops will accumulate & concentrate the toxins, making eating veg the 'safer' option for detoxing? I want to believe this isn't true bc I don't feel right without eating fat & meat, but I'm need some help with this one. How do we eat in a world full of toxins? How do we detox? Maybe this is a whole other question?

F79dd33c17d9fbb55cc7e202dfa30e6e

(300)

on October 13, 2011
at 02:45 AM

Avoid what, then? Fat and meat from animals feeding next to a superfund site? Or are solvents and plasticizers etc everywhere these days and impossible to avoid? How can I be sure my local dairy never had any contamination? Dya get what I'm asking here? I want to argue for conscious carnivory, but the veges seem to get me on this point of "animal products are more toxic than vegetables." What to say to this? Thanks for your well informed and articulated voice, here.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 16, 2011
at 10:54 AM

Yes, see my answer.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 16, 2011
at 12:11 PM

Avoid processed foods, cooking in plastic, BPA-lined cans, etc... Don't fret so much though. Your vegan "friends" are overstating the toxin load of animal products, and understating the ability of our bodies to deal with toxins. If the human body was incapable of dealing with toxins (natural or man-made), we'd all be dead by age 30.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 16, 2011
at 10:33 AM

Liver doesn't store toxins, but filter them. Thats when we talk about healthy liver. Liver that can not keep up with the toxin pace will keep more toxins then healthy liver. The secondary storage for toxins is fat - its better to move them there where they are inactive then let them circulate around. Its well known pheomena that people can be poisoned by the toxins that are released from the fat cells once one starts to lose weight. The other major organ that serves the purpose is skin (for instance, acne are described as 'angry liver' in Chinese medicine).

With calorie restriction and/or fat burning in place, you can't rely only on food to proper detox. You may risk it, but there are better, proven and non toxic helpers.

  1. Vitamin C is universal detoxing agent. It does it so well that you really have to be an idiot not to use it.
  2. Selenium binds to mercury making it inert. The resulting compound may be stored in some junk (i.e. lipofuscin and friends) or removed from the body.
  3. Clay/Zeolit are well known detox agent. Zeolit is used extensively with animals and clay has long history of safety and beneficial use in treating disease.
  4. Whey/NAC are also used to detox liver. Whey is used for thousands of years for such purpose.

Some people will use whatever reasoning not to use supplements. Don't fall for this 'naturalism'. You need to embrace the proven things modern science gave us, thats what differs this age from all before. That doesn't mean you could eat junk food. People will tell you that the food is most important and I don't argue that, but if you add supplements its WIN WIN combination.

Any input you have can be defined by the ratio of benefit/harm. Each input brings both. You aim to increase this number.

1
F1edc54a7fb4b84764aa7db05518c0ca

(285)

on October 16, 2011
at 07:31 AM

The truth is no Food including vegetables is particularly "safe".

PCB/Dioxin contamination is just one issue (and one we don't try to bring to light) particularly because if you really examine the science you start to see that our exposure levels as americans in general is ridiculously high.

Unless you grow your own vegetables, ensure your compost is toxin free, don't use weed killers etc., your veggies are not really any safer either.

It amuses me to no end when I step on an "Organic Farm" and see fishmeal or bonemeal for example being used as fertilizer. No doubt it definitely is a high quality fertilizer, and probably superior to the chemical crap fertilizers they could be using, still its pretty funny that plants are up higher on the food chain than fish ;). Anyway toxins can get into the soil which can then get into the plants which will then get into your system when you eat said plants. When the Tofu/brain atrophy study was published in fact it was theorized that toxins accumulated within the tofu were too blame.

Until they come up with some bio-engineered vat grown, hypo-allergenic - perfect protein substitute, and we clean up the mess we've made to the environment, if you are trying to avoid toxins, limiting exposure (by eating less in general) is probably your best bet.

1
7dafa893d923856298eb59e7bfd0a583

(10)

on October 11, 2011
at 02:05 PM


To clear up the part about the liver - the liver is the organ that governs the body's handling of toxins. Toxins are not stored in the liver, however. They are stored in the fat cells of all mammals and this is why it is important to eat organic.

7dafa893d923856298eb59e7bfd0a583

(10)

on October 12, 2011
at 02:09 PM

Not necessarily, no, but it's the best we can do when eating animal products.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 11, 2011
at 02:14 PM

organic doesnt necessarily protect you.

1
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 10, 2011
at 01:26 PM

They definitely accumulate in the fat. Dioxins and PCBs are fat soluble and tend to bio-accumulate.

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