Context: Lipophilic toxicants have been associated with hormone disruption, immune system suppression, reproductive disorders, several types of cancer, and other diseases. Due to environmental persistence and bioaccumulation, body burdens of certain toxicants, such as dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), appear to be a health risk despite the toxicants' having been banned for decades.
Objective: To determine whether a safe, standardized, Ayurvedic detoxification procedure can mobilize lipid-soluble toxicants and stimulate their excretion.
Design: Cross-sectional and longitudinal evaluations.
Setting: Southeastern Iowa.
Participants: In the cross-sectional study, 48 participants who had undertaken lipophil-mediated detoxification were compared with 40 control subjects. In the prospective, longitudinal evaluation, serum levels were measured in 15 subjects before and after they underwent the detoxification procedure. These 15 subjects served as their own controls.
Intervention(s): Ayurvedic lipophil-mediated detoxification procedure.
Main outcome measure: Gas chromatographic analysis of 17 serum toxicant levels (9 PCB congeners and 8 pesticides or metabolites) on a lipid-adjusted and wet-weight basis (ng/g) as parts per billion.
Results: In the cross-sectional study, gas chromatographic analysis of 9 PCB congeners and 8 pesticides revealed that serum PCB levels were significantly lower in the detoxification subjects than in controls. Trans-nonachlor (TNC), p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE), oxychlordane, and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) levels were also markedly lower in the detoxification group. All subjects had undetectable levels of p,p'-DDT, lindane, and a-hexachlorocyclohexane (a-HCH). Beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (beta-HCH) levels were significantly higher in detoxification subjects than in controls. In the longitudinal evaluation, after treatment, mean levels of PCBs (46%) and beta-HCH (58%) declined significantly in the subjects.
Conclusions: The higher beta-HCH levels in the subjects in the longitudinal study appear to be an anomaly related to diet. The results of the 2 studies generally suggest that lipophil-mediated detoxification may be effective in reducing body burdens of fat-soluble toxicants. As numerous people worldwide are at risk from high body burdens of such lipid-soluble agents, further studies to evaluate this procedure appear warranted.