What a few days eating vegetarian can do to the level of antibiotics and phthalates flowing through one’s body.
Persistent organic pollutants like dioxins PCBs can persist, for years in our bodies, but other dietary contaminants, like antibiotic residues and some of the plastic compounds may be more of a matter of constantly re-exposing ourselves on a day-to-day basis as suggested by this study last year that measured changes in the levels of antibiotic and phthalate metabolites before and after a 5 day meat-free stay at a Buddhist temple.
They tested participants’ urine for the presence of a number of important antibiotics, such as Bactrim, enrofloxacin, cipro and although none of the participants were actually on antibiotics, the drugs were all found flowing through their bodies, but within 5 days eating vegetarian “The present study demonstrated clearly that even short-term dietary changes could reduce the frequency of detection and levels of major antibiotics." Antibiotics detected in the urine assumed to be mostly originated from dietary intake, since participants with recent medication histories were excluded from the study.” But see they didn’t know if maybe the drugs were in the water supply rather the meat supply, but since they kept drinking the same amount of water, this study suggests that the contribution of drinking water may be negligible in the daily amount of antibiotics that are inadvertently consumed.”
To make sure, though, they did a follow-up study in which they actually tested for levels of antibiotic residues in meat, and indeed found that “Consumption levels of beef, pork, chicken, and dairy products could explain the daily excretion amount of several antibiotics in urine”—and the phthalate contaminants as well.
Measures of oxidative stress dropped as well after the meat-free five days, but then again they were in a Buddhist temple meditating all day, so it's hard to tease out which did what, but the researchers concluded: “The results of this study suggest that dietary change, even in the short term, could significantly reduce dietary exposure to antibiotics and phthalates and, in turn, oxidative stress levels in the general adult population.”
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.
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Vegetarians may also have lower exposure to some of the more persistent pollutants. See Flame Retardant Chemical Contamination and Industrial Pollutants in Vegans. For more on antibiotics in meat, see Drug Residues in Meat. Drug residues may also end up in the flesh of fish. See A Fine Kettle of Fluoxetine. For more on phthalates in meat, see Chicken Consumption and the Feminization of Male Genitalia. Are there More Antibiotics In White Meat or Dark Meat? Good question! That's tomorrow's video-of-the-day.
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