Arlington Lightbourne, M.D.: Common cleaning chemicals may be hazardous to your health and cause weight gain in specific areas
Grab a rag, spray it with disinfectant, wipe down a counter and you are far more likely to admire the shine than consider what that act has just done to your waistline. But it may just be time for a re-think when it comes to cleaning, according to a national expert on wellness.
According to wellness and nutrition physician Dr. Arlington Lightbourne, many common cleaning products contain a chemical that disrupts the endocrine system causing it to produce extra insulin which, in turn, turns calories into fat.
“There is a growing body of evidence suggesting the harmful effects of key ingredients frequently found in common cleaning materials from bleaches to disinfectants to standard spray cleaning products, ” said Dr. Lightbourne. “These are not exotic products. These are the same products you see in every grocery and hardware store and probably under your kitchen sink. They are very likely the same products you thought your mother and grandmother used safely for years. We did not recognize how bad they were for our health until about a decade ago and now the evidence of danger is mounting.” In one case study, exposure to toxins found in common household products was actually linked to a tennis ball size tumor. Nine months after the products were removed and no longer being used, the study suggested that the tumor, caused by inflammation, vanished.
“Dog food, our foods, vitamins, aspirin, nearly everything we ingest by mouth must meet relatively strict testing and guidelines,” said Dr. Lightbourne. “But the same strict testing and high safety standards do not apply to the plastics, and most of the chemicals and household products that we subject ourselves to on a daily basis. They are largely unregulated and the result is we don’t know what we are doing to our bodies and to our health by breathing in the toxins or by absorbing chemicals which react with our nervous or endocrinal system through our skin, which is our largest organ.”
According to Dr. Lightbourne, the danger lies in chemicals contained in many of the most common cleaning goods. These chemical interrupts the normal stimulation of cortisol and sends it into overdrive. When that happens, it backfires and causes fat.
“Cortisol is the same hormone that prepares the body for fight or flight by producing adrenaline,” says Dr. Lightbourne, whose practice includes several specialized professionals including nutritionists and lifestyle coaches, and a pediatrician who is dedicated to childhood obesity and other wellness issues in children. “When you produce too much cortisol which is what products like bleach can stimulate, it can contribute to obesity.”
The most notable effect, he said, is belly fat.
“Excess Sugar converts into fat and goes straight to the waist line,” he said. “Cells no longer recognize insulin creating insulin resistance, so at this point everything you eat turns into fat. The more fat you make, the more insulin resistant you become. When your bloodstream is filled with sugar, your body can’t fight infections. It’s a vicious cycle. So now you have chemicals that you clean with that are having the same impact except it is silent and hidden as if you ate too many donuts or chocolates.” Dr. Lightbourne has warned before thatexcessive sugar can also cause extended cold-like symptoms — chronic runny nose, excessive mucus, cough and what appears to be painful sinus infections.
Next time, he said, read the label on the household product carefully before purchasing and consider using non-toxic products like clear vinegar, baking soda or even pure essential oils.
The warning is right there, on the label,” said Dr. Lightbourne who interned and practiced in Jamaica where he also founded a student emergency response unit to treat injured patients who might otherwise have had to wait for hours for the nearest available ambulance in a country that is vast. Working in emergency rooms in three hospitals at various times, while studying and back home for many years, convinced the doctor that our lifestyle choices are absolutely the root underlying cause of most of the diseases that affect us and deserve far more attention. Since he opened the Bahamas Wellness Clinic in 2015, they have grown tremendously almost entirely due to existing clients who brag about their unique approach to the prevention, management and in many cases reversal of lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
“People are reading more, they are getting more savvy about how to be healthy. If they are educated and coached to make healthier choices, many health issues could be prevented or cured, often without medication. “ Still, his greatest worry – too much sugar and far too much reliance on fast and processed foods that together have contributed to obesity and Type 2 Diabetes reaching epidemisc proportions in The Bahamas.