The Natural Evolution Podcast

Season 2

Episode 29

S2E29 – Our Modern Environment & the Intensifying Microplastics Problem with Emily Givler

Emily Givler, DSC, is the co-founder of Beyond Protocols, is a functional genomic nutrition consultant who utilizes personalized dietary and nutritional protocols based on genetic predispositions, environmental and epigenetic influences, and functional lab testing to help her clients regain their health. Through Beyond Protocols, she is able to take this knowledge to educate and support other professionals in better understanding the role genetics and epigenetics play in their clients as well.

During this episode, we dive into all things environmental and epigenetic, including: the role genetics play in our overall health and the common misconceptions surrounding the field, how our modern environment can have negative impacts on us all, and the mounting microplastic problem. But don’t worry- Dr. Givler gives us actions we can take despite these conditions to live a healthier life.

CLICK HERE to get INSTANT ACCESS to Emily’s Presentation The Invisible Curse of Microplastic Toxicity + a limited-time offer for Natural Evolution Podcast listeners!

Sign up for Emily’s Free Microplastics Master Class! Click here for details.

Head over to https://rebelhealthtribe.com/kit to get a free download of our loaded quick start guide to help you along your healing journey.  If you like us, subscribe, review, and share us with your friends, and come join our Rebel Health Tribe group on Facebook.

Listen to Episode #29

Emily Givler, DSC covers all things environmental and epigenetic, including: the role of genetics in our overall health and the common misconceptions surrounding the field, how our modern environment can have negative impacts on us all, and the mounting microplastic problem.
Play Video

About our Guest

Emily Givler, DSC is the co-founder of BeyondProtocols.org and a Functional/ Genomic Nutrition Consultant, researcher, and lecturer with a thriving practice at Tree of Life Health in Pennsylvania.

She holds degrees and certifications in Nutrition, Herbalism, and Nutrigenomics from the Holt Institute of Medicine, PanAmerican University of Natural Health, and the Nutrigenomic Research Institute where she now serves as an adviser and supplement formulator. She is also a certified Toxicity and Detox Specialist. In her practice, Ms. Givler utilizes personalized dietary and nutritional protocols based on genetic predispositions, environmental and epigenetic influences, and functional lab testing to help her clients regain their health.

In addition to her clinical work, Ms. Givler offers practitioner mentoring through her Beyond Protocols platform, helping colleagues navigate the complex web of genetics and epigenetics to develop bio-individualized protocols for their chronically ill or complex cases.

Subscribe to The Natural Evolution Podcast

Emily Givler

Share this Episode

Recent Podcasts

S3E3 – Sustainable Healing Through Functional Medicine with Kirkland Newman

S3E2 – Changing the Game Plan: Building Skincare Success from Personal Tragedy with Andy Hnilo

S3E1 – Reboot your Brain: Exploring Flotation Therapy with Michael Cordova

S2E36 – Surviving Traditional Medicine in Search of the Right Healing Space with Dr. Jill Carnahan

S2E35 – A Unique Approach to Mental Health: Nutritional Psychology and Biochemical Imbalance with Dr. Josh Friedman

Related Podcasts

S3E1 – Reboot your Brain: Exploring Flotation Therapy with Michael Cordova

S2E36 – Surviving Traditional Medicine in Search of the Right Healing Space with Dr. Jill Carnahan

S2E32 – Integrative Oncology and the Unique Power of Mistletoe Therapy with Dr. Nasha Winters

Dr. Nasha Winters has educated hundreds of professionals on the clinical application of mistletoe. In

S2E31 – Finding Balance & Understanding Overtesting within Functional Medicine with Dr. Michael Ruscio

Dr. Michael Ruscio discusses the common misunderstandings surrounding lab testing, how overtesting in functional medicine

S2E27 – Reframing Breathwork & Values of Breathing with Patrick McKeown

Patrick McKeown has taught thousands of people how to increase oxygen flow to every system

Subscribe to The Natural Evolution Podcast

Want to jumpstart your journey to health & well-being?

Grab the RHT Quick Start Bundle Today!

Podcast Transcript

Michael Roesslein: And we are live with another episode of the podcast. I am with Emily Givler. Emily, thank you for being here.

Emily Givler:

Thank you so much for having me. This is such a treat.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, it’ll be very fun. I think I need to start a second podcast where I record the conversations that we have before we record the conversations because I always have really interesting chats with people before we go live on these podcasts.

Michael Roesslein:

Emily does a lot of really amazing work. I’ve known… I don’t remember. I remember the first time we talked was on the phone. I lived in San Diego. You had questions about something you’d seen on one of our webinars with Kiran, and I remember we had a chat about it. I think that was probably 2016 maybe, 20…

Emily Givler:

That sounds about right.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, so it’s been a while. I don’t think I’ve ever interviewed you before, so this is exciting. For those who don’t know Emily’s work, she’s the co-founder of beyondprotocols.org and a functional genomic nutrition consultant, researcher and lecturer with a thriving practice at Tree of Life Health in Pennsylvania. She holds degrees and certifications in nutrition, herbalism and nutrigenomics from the Holt Institute of Medicine, PanAmerican University of Natural Health and Nutrigenomic Research Institute where she now serves as an advisor and supplement formulator.

Michael Roesslein:

She’s also a certified toxicity and detox specialist. In her practice, Ms. Givler utilizes personalized dietary and nutritional protocols based on genetic predispositions, environmental and epigenetic influences, and functional lab testing to help her clients regain their health. In addition to this work, she offers practitioner mentoring through her Beyond Protocols platform, helping colleagues navigate the complex web of genetics and epigenetics to develop bio individualized protocols for their chronically ill or complex cases. That’s a lot that you’re doing.

Emily Givler:

[inaudible 00:02:08].

Michael Roesslein:

Interesting. Our pre-recorded chat talked about how we are striving to achieve work-life balance. So, do you have the direct practice-

Emily Givler:

Some days [inaudible 00:02:17].

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, yeah. But it is important because when you work, as you are mentoring practitioners, your impact can be much greater. I’m sure, as a practitioner also who works clinically with patients, it’s really rewarding to see the shifts in the results in individuals. But if you can teach others to do similar work, you’re then impacting everybody they come in contact with. That’s how I got convinced to put working with clients aside and start doing larger scale educational stuff when somebody sat me down and was like, “Look, what’s your goal?” I was like, “I want to help people.” “You can help more people doing this.” And so, it’s really important work.

Michael Roesslein:

I don’t know if things have gotten more complex with chronic illness since I started paying attention 10 years ago or if we’ve just gotten better at understanding some of it, so then the complexity comes into scope around like, okay, it’s this and this and this and this. But teaching practitioners to work with complex clients and working with complex clients and patients, there’s no shortage of complexity these days.

Emily Givler:

There is, and as I talk to other practitioners, I hear the same thing echoed again and again. Ten years ago we weren’t dealing with people who had all of these hypersensitivities, all of these overlapping syndromes. This is collectively in this natural health field. I think we are both recognizing it more and more. I think people are feeling more empowered to have this conversation and say, “I know I look okay from the outside but I do not feel okay. I’m not just going to take, oh you’re getting older, oh you’re a woman and this is how you feel, or oh it’s all in your head as an explanation.” People are looking for better answers.

Emily Givler:

But I also think people’s health is really going downhill and I think there are a multitude of factors that are converging and creating that situation. So, there is no shortage of people who need this type of help, and that’s really what pushed me to start working with other practitioners and helping them figure out how to navigate this increasingly complex web.

Michael Roesslein:

It’s super important. I’ve seen, yeah, 10 years ago it was like people wanting to lose weight, some people with hormonal imbalances. Thyroid stuff was really big. Adrenal fatigue was on the frontend of what people were talking about.

Emily Givler:

[inaudible 00:05:06].

Michael Roesslein:

That was the cutting-edge thing. Then now, there’s mild illness, there’s Lyme, there’s multiple chemical sensitivity, there’s mast cell activation syndrome, there’s histamine intolerance, there’s way more fibromyalgia, there’s way more autoimmune conditions. There’s people where six of those things overlap. I don’t know if we just couldn’t tell what was going on with those people then or I think it’s been… I’ve asked a few people this question on the podcast, I think most recently was Dr. Eric Gordon who’s in the Bay Area and he works with really complex cases as well. He thinks it’s yes and there’s more of them, and we’re getting better at identifying some of what’s going on, but that there’s definitely large increases in this.

Michael Roesslein:

You implement a lot using genetic information to help guide people regarding their potential path towards feeling better and/or alleviating whatever thing is going on. It seems to me, in my experience of the general feeling towards genetics since I’ve been in this field, at first I didn’t hear much about it. Then some genetic testing came out and you could test certain snips. MTHFR was the rage, and that was the thing. Then, literally, everything was determined by that. If you could just know your status of these handful of genes, then you’d know exactly how to make yourself better and you could just take this supplement or do this thing and then we just figure it all out. Now, there’s no need for case histories and learning all of that stuff or anything else. And then, that was found to not be true and there was almost this movement away from genetic testing that I noticed.

Michael Roesslein:

Now, this is just in my little bubble that I live in, but I think there was a movement away from genetic testing saying it’s all about genetic expression and epigenetic and not at all about the genes themselves and that this information isn’t very useful, da da da da da, aside from a handful of conditions.

Michael Roesslein:

Like, I have hemochromatosis and I don’t have the homozygous genetic mutation for it, so somebody told me, “You can’t possibly actually have it then.” I’m like, “Okay, well, my ferritin is just 500 on its own.” So then, now, I’m seeing yourself and those you work with and then a handful of others really utilizing genetics but not in a, your genes are this, so this is what you need to do kind of way. Can you speak to that line of bubble I just threw out there and that up and down arc? Where do you see the value and why you work with the genetics so much?

Emily Givler:

Sure. I would say that the genetics are part of this whole process for me and not the entirety of it. That’s really the key and, I think, where some of this roller coaster over the past decade with our understanding of genetics and functional genetics, epigenetic expression kind of comes in.

Emily Givler:

Everybody got really excited about MTHFR. It was the rock star gene. Not necessarily the most important, but the one that everyone had heard of. I think it was so exciting to people because it became something tangible. You could hang your hat on this and say, yes, you have this part of you that is different, you are handling folate in different ways than the average person, and there are direct downstream impacts of that. Then we realize that we are way more complex than just that one little gene.

Emily Givler:

So, when we take a step back, it gets a lot more complicated for us as practitioners, for us as individuals trying to regain our health. I think for a lot of practitioners, when we realized it’s not a list of 20 snips and now we can say “This is wrong, that’s wrong, take this supplement, take that supplement,” and be done with it, that’s much more intimidating to think, oh my gosh, I have to step back and look at thousands of different snips and then think about whether they are actually doing something or just incidentally they’re holding that potential in that genetic code. That’s a much more complex thing to look at.

Emily Givler:

And so, I think there was a natural pulling back and I think it was deserved. We definitely overemphasized as a field the importance of some of these genetic changes. It’s not that they are unimportant, it’s just that they are not the totality of who we are, they are not the ultimate determinants of our fate, our health, our wellness, our worth. They are part but not the totality of who we are.

Emily Givler:

I think about our health and wellness as a big puzzle. For me, genetics formed those edge pieces. They give us the context, they give us that framework that we’re working in, but they don’t give us the whole picture by any stretch. But if we can understand that framework, it gets easier to fill in the rest of the picture and see how things that influence one person minimally may create a much more profound presentation in someone else. For me, it’s a good way to help my clients figure out why they are feeling the way they are and why conventional interventions may not have worked for them. It’s filling in a lot of the blanks when our standard protocols are not working.

Emily Givler:

It’s not necessarily the piece that everyone needs to use. It’s usually not the piece that we want to start with, but it does give us additional clues that we may not find elsewhere. It can help point us in unconventional yet important directions as we seek to find out why our own health is not recovering in the way that we think that it should be.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, that makes sense and seems pretty rational to me. It’s a way to learn more about the body of the person that you’re working with and how it may or may not respond differently than other people to certain things, and then give you a little bit more… It’s like having a couple more lights in a dark room when you’re trying to see something. It’s just a little bit more clues that you get.

Michael Roesslein:

You mentioned that things can influence not everyone with this genetic mutation or this gene or this thing. It’s not always going to present the same in everybody, and it often won’t present the same in everybody. So, how does that work? What are some of the factors that influence… Say, both of us have the same genetic makeup for a certain gene or snap or whatever we want to call it. For you, that’s showing up. If you take this one supplement, you get really sick and if I take it, I feel great. What can cause the different genetic expression in individuals?

Emily Givler:

I’m going to give you two different answers to this question. First, we’re talking about epigenetic expression and what turns these things on and off. If we want to get into the biochemistry, it’s things like methylation and acetylation; things like our diet, our lifestyle, our toxic exposures, infections. All of these things really influence how these genes are expressed. So, there’s a lot of biochemical answers for this.

Emily Givler:

But I think the piece that is most relevant for most people, and it’s a more broad answer, but the more I work with people, especially really sick and complex cases, the more I truly believe this. There’s really two things that are going to determine gene expression, danger and safety. Real or perceived, conscious or unconscious. We have different biological priorities when we are escaping danger versus when we know that we are safe. I think this is a big part of why we are seeing so many more sicker and sicker, more complex people. We live in a really stressful society.

Emily Givler:

Our environment is also getting sicker and sicker, and that’s one of the things that is influencing our health. The level of toxic exposure that we’re dealing with is getting progressively higher and higher. We don’t have to be consciously aware that these things are dangerous to our body for our immune system to start mounting a response. We see with these really sick people that it doesn’t matter what supplements you give them, if they don’t do things like limbic system balancing and vagus nerve toning, all the supplements in the world, all the medications in the world aren’t necessarily going to help them recover their health because they are still polarized in this danger, sympathetic nervous system state.

Emily Givler:

We can get into the biochemistry of what changes gene expression, but I think this is really the foundational piece. We know that when we look at studies on epigenetic expression through multiple generations, if we’re looking at things like bioluminescent organisms that only start to bioluminesce when they encounter a predator. This is how you survive danger. We’re going to pass that expression on because we want the subsequent generations to be able to survive danger. We have this cumulative response as well.

Emily Givler:

So, danger and safety, ours, previous generations, those are things that really profoundly impact how those genes are being expressed and why one person may do totally fine when another person’s health just kind of collapses.

Michael Roesslein:

It’s really interesting. I’m trained enough on both sides of that to find it fascinating when they cross. I’m not an expert in biochemistry and I’m not an expert in trauma and the limbic system, but I’m moderately knowledgeable in both of them and been trained in both of them. What I found, though, is the people on the one side, they’re focused entirely on the biochemistry with a lot of this stuff. Most of them don’t know anything about the other side of trauma healing and how trauma impacts the nervous system and the limbic system and all of these kinds of things. Then on the other side, the therapists and the counselors who tend to work with that stuff from a more mental health side of things and doing counseling and coaching, they don’t know anything about the biochemistry and/or how supplements or nutrition or lifestyle things can impact those things. I’m kind of on a crusade to mush them all together and make them have babies of like these things are the same and related and there aren’t sides.

Michael Roesslein:

Because when I first switched sides to studying the other side, and the last three years I’ve been almost exclusively over there. I’ve been really not up to speed on learning the best and brightest newest things in functional medicine. I’ve been studying like energetics and trauma and neuroscience and child development and all of that. I use the term sides a lot when I first started doing that. Over there too. I’d be like, “I come from the other side of healing.” They view that as the physical healing side, which is the biochemistry and the nutrition and the supplements and the medicine. They view that as a completely different thing. The functional medicine people view where I was as a completely different thing a lot of the times.

Michael Roesslein:

About halfway through the three-year period where I was doing all this training, I realized that my use of the word side was perpetuating that, and it’s ridiculous. There is no side. What the people on the one side may observe and understand about their clients who go through trauma and whatever, you can watch real-time physiology happen in response to these things.

Michael Roesslein:

So, I love that you answered it in both ways because the physiology is really just the biochemistry of the emotional or of the mental. And so, how you said it’s a matter of do they feel safe or do they feel like they’re in danger, and that’s not always the same for two people that are in the same situation.

Michael Roesslein:

I used to jump off planes for fun. My body would respond on an airplane now with the door open, flying 15,000 feet off the ground in a much different way than most people’s bodies would respond in that same situation. Yeah, I can feel you’re starting to get a little anxious just thinking about that. Mine is like, “Yeah, cool, let’s do that.” And so, that applies to every single thing that we encounter in life. It can be really scary or not. With everything we’ve been through in the last couple years, there’s been various levels of fear related to various aspects of that situation. No matter which thing you’re focused on or side you find yourself on or whatever, there’s different fears and different things to be afraid of.

Michael Roesslein:

Very few people probably coasted through the last few years and we’re just like, “This is all fine.”

Emily Givler:

Everything’s okay.

Michael Roesslein:

I’m good.

Emily Givler:

[inaudible 00:19:21].

Michael Roesslein:

Everything is totally okay. Oh, now giant war? Sure. All right. Fine. Pandemics? Sure. Okay.

Emily Givler:

Just another day.

Michael Roesslein:

Rents going through the roof and housing prices. Nobody has been walking through these last few years and had been like, this is fine. I keep thinking of that dog, that meme with the thing on fire and the dog saying this is fine.

Emily Givler:

And so, we’ve got all of these global things going on, all of these emotional things, all these socio-economic pieces and we have we also live in a toxic soup of a planet right now. That is impacting us roundly on [inaudible 00:19:58] level and I think-

Michael Roesslein:

I wanted to touch on that too. Hold on real quick. You said that you may not be conscious of it-

Emily Givler:

Yes.

Michael Roesslein:

… but that your body is aware of these things. Can you explain that a little bit?

Emily Givler:

Sure. You don’t need to be aware that you have a virus for your immune system to mount a response to the virus. You don’t have to be aware-

Michael Roesslein:

Okay. If you do, you’d be in trouble.

Emily Givler:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

If that depended on us to know, everyone will be dead.

Emily Givler:

Exactly. You don’t have to be aware that there are toxins coming in for your body to either biotransform them or sequester them in fat. We’ve got all of this stuff happening on an unconscious level, and those things still can be danger to the body.

Emily Givler:

When we think about things like the mast cells in particular, these are first-line defenders. They are to protect us from threats, particularly things like parasites. Histamine is a great antiparasitic. It makes you sneeze and cough and vomit and have diarrhea so that you can expel things. You don’t have to be consciously aware of what that danger is for your body to mount that type of response.

Emily Givler:

Stresses are not all mental and emotional. When we bring in those physical stresses as well, it’s one more thing that tips us, polarizes us in that danger direction.

Michael Roesslein:

We have viruses and parasites, you mentioned, and then something that I’ve heard you talk about and I think is interesting, and people have probably heard of but they don’t know a ton about it, is microplastics. I’ll let you explain what they are, but this would be another thing that when it hits our system, part of our body is like, whoa, unsafe. Not natural, not normal. What’s this? What’s going on? That could be… You mentioned, I wanted to say two things, one is the microplastics, two is the mast cell.

Michael Roesslein:

There’s people in our audience that deal with mast cell activation syndrome. And so, the average person who might not have ever experienced that, it’s where you pretty much become reactive to everything. People with really severe mast cell activation, they have trouble eating most foods without some sort of a reaction. If they go near anything that smells like anything, usually any scent or any chemical or any anything can set them off. I know we know what these things are, I just wanted to throw that out there. Part of the reason the mast cells and those people go haywire is because they’re overloaded with crap all the time.

Emily Givler:

It’s really a protective response. People with mast cell activation often feel like their bodies are out to get them and attacking them because everything they encounter sets off reactions. It can be airway reactions, it can be gastrointestinal reactions, it can be cognitive responses, it can be skin responses. There’s a lot of ways that this can look with this hyper hypersensitivity.

Emily Givler:

People with mast cell activation syndrome who drink a glass of water and bloat to the point they look like they’re seven months pregnant. It’s a highly reactive state. I really think it’s the body in a helicopter parent mode where it’s overwhelmed with all of these assaults, that it’s just reacting to everything. It doesn’t want to let anything in because it’s seeing everything as a danger. It can’t delineate friend from foe. Our bodies are not out to get us then, they’re just overprotective. This is where-

Michael Roesslein:

Hello, extra protective.

Emily Givler:

Yeah. It’s the helicopter parent on the playground and we want to respond to that system with kindness. They’re not overprotective because they want to protect their kid from the outside world. Maybe their kid has fallen off the monkey bars 10 times this month and they’ve been at the emergency room constantly. So, overprotective for a reason. For us as practitioners, if we can figure out what some of those reasons are, we can start peeling back this overprotective response and start normalizing it.

Emily Givler:

The other thing that happens there so often is we’ve really disrupted our microbiomes. I know this is something that you talk a lot about on your various platforms, but most of our immune system response is supposed to be coming from our microbial diversity in the gut. It’s not actually typically a human response. There are parts in our genetics that are associated with our immune system, but it is not always supposed to be things like the mast cells responding to the assaults on the body. The more disrupted our microbiome is, if we are under assault from things like pathogens, and that could be stealth pathogens, like Lyme and other co-infections, it could be viruses or latent viruses, retroviruses in the system, it could be toxicity in the system, if we don’t have the right tools for the job, our body’s going to use what it has.

Emily Givler:

And so, if we’ve lost that microbial diversity and we can’t mount an appropriate immunoresponse in that way, we have to call in things like the mast cells. They may not have the right tools for the job, but because they are protecting us, they’re also not just going to stop if that assault is still there. So, we need to balance out these things with clinically uncovering what’s triggering it, and that can be things like traumatic events as well layering in those stresses, keeping us in that hyper defensive mode.

Michael Roesslein:

Okay, that makes sense. It’s a really rational explanation for… Those people seem to be in our community, at least, the ones who are the most exhausted and having tried the most things. Like, somebody will try this protocol that works for them, and then they find out about it so then they take the same things and do supplements and they’re having a massive flare up and reaction.

Michael Roesslein:

That’s where I’ve seen the nervous system work been really effective, the brain retraining and the limbic system work and things like Gupta and DNRS, those type of things. Because like a core level, they will help the body feel more safe until the helicopter parent that it’s okay to relax a little bit.

Emily Givler:

And, we-

Michael Roesslein:

I did want to… Oh, go ahead.

Emily Givler:

… [inaudible 00:26:54] sensitive-people. Even things like DNRS or the Guptra Program can be initially triggering. And so sometimes things like somatic therapies, things that are more passive where people can feel cared for and safe and protected, maybe even a first step before doing more active limbic retraining. We’ve got to create that sense of safety.

Michael Roesslein:

That makes sense. Somatic therapy is where I’m leaning in my own… I put my toe in the water of a whole bunch of stuff over there. That’s what felt the most aligned with what I feel right doing and good with, so I’ve done a bunch of it on the client side and then gone through some training there too. It can help people set their baseline and ground a little bit to a more safe place, and I’ve seen some pretty dramatic shifts made with individuals.

Michael Roesslein:

We’ve talked about how the global things are going on and the local things. I mean, we’ve just been through… I don’t know, seeming like an increasingly ridiculous string of catastrophic absurd things. I think for the last three years, everything’s just been, we went in some… Even before that, really. I mean, things have just gotten increasingly absurd year by year, it seems, for most of my life. Now, it is scary.

Michael Roesslein:

I just saw a report from the International, I don’t know what they’re called. IPCC, the climate organization, came out yesterday or the day before basically saying we’re all doomed. There’s a lot of evidence of that. If you want to pay attention to climate change, and environmental collapse, and the health of the environment and everything, there’s really a lot of things to be scared of there. Then internationally, we’ve got some pretty scary things going on, and then we’ve had a pandemic, and then there’s economic things going on. We talked about how all of that puts the body into a state of fear.

Michael Roesslein:

But you mentioned environmental toxins and that we’re living in an increasingly toxic world. I’ve seen some people scoff at this. They’re like, “Oh, do you have a liver? You’re fine.” Usually from the conventional medicine side of things. Also in that same article, I’ll read how 40% of Americans now have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or some other form of impaired detoxification, and how I’ll listen to Laura Adler say how there’s 57,000 chemicals that have been approved for use in the United States alone and only about 30 of them have long-term safety studies, and those they had to fudge the studies to even get them-

Emily Givler:

To say 30 is so optimistic. That’s a big [inaudible 00:30:03] number.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, it’s like one out of 10,000 actually has some long-term safety study. Even those levels in which the things are allowed, that’s a big difference between the EU and the US, now that I live in the EU. They banned certain chemicals and food additives and preservatives and things like that.

Michael Roesslein:

I’ve had a couple of people asked me. The first thing they asked me when they find out I’m from the US is, “Why do you let them put all those things in your food?” I was like, I don’t recall ever being asked one, but good question. You can buy the same processed crap that you can buy in the US. You can buy it here. If you look at the labels of them, the ingredients list is half as long. It’s still got a bunch of crap in it, but it’s about half as long. And they don’t spray the wheat here with glyphosate. A lot of people can travel from the US here and eat gluten and not have the same reaction to it.

Michael Roesslein:

But as a whole, we’re living in an increasingly toxic world, and that is not unrelated to the fact that we’re seeing an increasing level of chronic disease in humans and animals. We’re seeing mass extinction and wildlife and bugs and birds and all that. But these two things are not unrelated, right?

Emily Givler:

Correct. Well, we’re also seeing mass extinction within our microbiomes as well, if we want to bring that mass extinction closer to home. These are very much connected. The things we are doing to the planet have an effect on our bodies as well. We do not exist independent of our ecosystems. Even when we think about our own bodies, it’s an ecosystem. We’re big meat sacks for these 100 trillion organisms in our bodies. We have this symbiogenesis with those, but also with the ecosystems outside of ourselves. I think microplastics are really clear and tangible connection that we can make between the health of our system and what we are doing to our environment, how it is in turn impacting our systems.

Emily Givler:

I live in Pennsylvania. In 2020, there was a survey of Pennsylvania Waterways that came out that found microplastics in 100% of the water samples that were tested.

Michael Roesslein:

What’s a microplastic? Just so we set that up a little bit.

Emily Givler:

Yeah, sure. Microplastics are really small plastic particulates. They are less than 5 mm in length. There’s a separate classification for nanoplastics which are basically super tiny plastic particulates.

Emily Givler:

So, one of the big problems with plastic pollution is that it doesn’t go away. It just breaks down into smaller and smaller and smaller particulates, which then become much more easily ingested by fish, by bivalves, by birds, by sea turtles and by us. There are some really mind boggling studies on microplastic ingestion that have come out in the past few years, and they have gotten totally overshadowed by COVID.

Michael Roesslein:

Do you want to shoot me a couple of those in email, and I’ll stick the links in the show notes for the podcast?

Emily Givler:

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Michael Roesslein:

All right, cool.

Emily Givler:

But there are some study-

Michael Roesslein:

Thank you. We’ll need to see that.

Emily Givler:

Oh, yeah. There are studies that showed that we ingest roughly a credit card’s worth of microplastics every week. Week. I heard that and it broke my brain. I read the statistic and the studies multiple times because I thought that cannot possibly be true. I’m picturing-

Michael Roesslein:

I think that people like to fight about what’s…

Emily Givler:

… the stack of 52 credit cards–

Michael Roesslein:

What?

Emily Givler:

I’m picturing that stack of 52 credit cards just [inaudible 00:34:24] in the course of the year.

Michael Roesslein:

Well, people like to fight over what’s the best thing to eat and what’s the worst things to eat, and I bet we could get a unanimous-

Emily Givler:

[inaudible 00:34:33].

Michael Roesslein:

I bet we could get a unanimous agreement that eating credit cards is not good to do.

Emily Givler:

Suboptimal for your health.

Michael Roesslein:

But what happens? Like us and the animals and all the things, they’re so tiny. Don’t we just eat it and then it comes out?

Emily Givler:

That is what we thought for a while. Now, we are learning that that is massively untrue. This doesn’t just stay in the gut and then get excreted and end up in a toilet bowl and everybody is fine.

Emily Givler:

They have started finding microplastics in fetal tissue and in placentas and in cord blood. There was a pair of researchers-

Michael Roesslein:

So, it’s getting through the lining of the gut. It’s being absorbed as if latched on to or with proteins or other nutrients that are coming in or you have leaky gut situations where it just gets to come in.

Emily Givler:

We’re also inhaling it. Most microplastics that we’re exposed to are actually in dust, typically from the breakdown of synthetic fabrics in our clothing, in our furniture [inaudible 00:35:43].

Michael Roesslein:

Interesting.

Emily Givler:

We’re laundering our clothes, and that lint in your drier, if you’re washing synthetic fabrics like polyester or rayon, it is breaking down into little microplastics. The dust in your house is the biggest sources of microplastic exposure.

Michael Roesslein:

So then, you get microplastics in your lungs.

Emily Givler:

Exactly, and they translate into those tissues as well. So, this pair of researchers from the University of Arizona started doing cadaver studies looking at different tissue types. As of last year, they had examined 47 different types of tissue and they found microplastics in all 47 tissue types; in the heart, in the brain, in the lungs. This is not a gut-only issue.

Emily Givler:

Once those microplastics are in your system, they start leaching out their various chemicals. Things like these phenols, thing like phthalates which are toxins in their own way. They’re particularly endocrine system disruptive. So then, we get this additional toxic burden within our system.

Emily Givler:

So, yes, you have a liver, but there’s a little bit of supply and demand with the nutrients and the enzymes that your liver uses to clear these toxins out. The more we have coming in, the more we have to get out. If you can’t keep up with that, we start bioaccumulating these fat-soluble toxins. Their name tells us where we are going to find them.

Emily Givler:

We don’t exactly live in a slim and trim environment here in the United States. We’ve got a lot of places we can bioaccumulate and store these toxins that we are not readily able to eliminate. While they are less toxic while sequestered in fat are, again, this comes back to that idea that our body knows when we are in danger versus when we are safe. This is one of those things that trips us into that danger place and that epigenetic presentation.

Emily Givler:

Additionally, and this really was upsetting to learn and it’s one of those things that we’ve got to find a way to balance the fear. When we think about those microplastics, we should also think about where they’re coming from. The ones that we find in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is acres and acres and acres and acres and acres of plastics swirling around in the Pacific [inaudible 00:38:23].

Michael Roesslein:

[inaudible 00:38:23].

Emily Givler:

… broken down into smaller and smaller particulates. If those plastics are from things like pesticide bottles, like your little bottle of Roundup that you sprayed on your garden, that plastic jug then breaks down into microplastics. Many plastics will leach those chemicals into the plastic structure so that microplastics become vectors for other toxins, they also become vectors for things like bacteria and viruses.

Emily Givler:

So, it is not only the plastic that we are ingesting, it’s other toxins, other pathogens. It’s really an alarming rate of exposure.

Michael Roesslein:

But we have a liver so…

Emily Givler:

Sure, it’ll be fine. Totally.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, I’m sure it’ll be fine. That’s totally fine.

Emily Givler:

[inaudible 00:39:13]. We have a liver. We have never encountered-

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, a liver that’s never seen these things before.

Emily Givler:

Yeah. Fifty percent of all virgin plastic on the planet has been produced since 2005. Now, plastic is not [inaudible 00:39:28]-

Michael Roesslein:

What?

Emily Givler:

… but the volume of plastic that we currently use is massive.

Michael Roesslein:

That’s holy shit.

Emily Givler:

Yeah. So, it is a [inaudible 00:39:36]-

Michael Roesslein:

Because we’ve been using it for like 75 years, but you said half of it has been made in the last 16 years.

Emily Givler:

Yeah, because-

Michael Roesslein:

Which means that the use is accelerating.

Emily Givler:

Yeah, single serving everything. We had started moving away from this. COVID really set us backwards in the plastic world. There are-

Michael Roesslein:

Everything to go.

Emily Givler:

Well, and masks. It is estimated that there are millions of masks that have ended up in the oceans in the past two years. Everybody’s getting takeout. We’re going back to disposable plastic silverware, straws. So, some of those gains that we had made, because of our desire to not get COVID and everything closing down, we really have accelerated that rate of plastic exposure again.

Emily Givler:

It is such a growing issue and it’s something that we, in our natural health community, really need to speak out about because of the rate that it’s growing. We need to build awareness both of the dangers and that this is something we can actively change and do something about.

Emily Givler:

We can’t currently do much about the existing plastic. There are some exciting things on the horizon. There are some strategies where microplastics and other plastic waste is being used for sustainable building materials. They are discovering both bacteria and fungi that can degrade plastic in the environment. But for the most part, what’s here is here and not going away. It’s just breaking down into smaller and smaller particulates that are easier to get into our bodies, so we need to take action steps now.

Michael Roesslein:

I actually talked to Paul Stamets at a conference a couple years ago. For those who don’t know, he’s the mushroom wizard. He’s probably the leading mycologist in the world, or one of them. Very interesting guy. He was talking about the fungus that can break down plastics. Somebody actually brought this up because he gave a presentation, a two-hour incredible presentation about all the stuff fungus can do. You can almost like weaponize various types of fungus to do what you want, and a lot of them can do things that would be very helpful for us. But implementing it at large scale, we’re not there yet. It needs to be funded. It’s these hurdles in place of it.

Michael Roesslein:

Somebody asked him about in the body. I don’t know if they said microplastics, but they said, “Can it do that inside of the body?” He said, “If the only place where there was plastic was in your gut, then you could take extracts made from this fungus,” or live versions of the fungus or whatever, “but we also don’t know what else it would do.” It would probably eat the plastic that’s in the gut, but it may eat the gut or other things you don’t want it to. Also, that’s not it’s natural environment so we would probably kill it. It would probably die there and then it wouldn’t do anything systemically. But he said-

Emily Givler:

We would probably that it [inaudible 00:43:09].

Michael Roesslein:

… he doesn’t think that that species could live. Well, yeah, they’d hope. But what you’re saying, how you can find microplastics in the blood, the fungus wouldn’t go into the blood. He said it’s years of research away from figuring out how to use that in a way that’s effective, but he said it’s one of the few positive things that’s been discovered in the last decade regarding how we could possibly clean up the mess we’re making is that the fungus… Because he said the fungus cleans up everybody’s mess all the time, and it has for the entire history of life. It just hasn’t met this mess yet. But he believes there’s a fungus that can at least, for every single pollutant that we’ve created, he believes that the fungus can eat it, if we find the right fungus and we do it at a mass scale.

Michael Roesslein:

Now, that was totally irrelevant rant to what we’re talking about regarding our health, but I thought you would think it was cool.

Emily Givler:

I’m familiar with his research on this, and I do think it’s both cool and optimistic. Definitely a better tool for our environment than our bodies.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. You said I won’t be the first one to eat it. I’ll put it that way.

Emily Givler:

When we think about the function of fungus in the environment, since we’re talking about ecosystems, and thinking about how it reflects on our own bodies and how this ecosystem in our gut functions, molds and fungus produce mycotoxins in their environment to crowd out other species and to create a more hospitable environment for themselves. If you introduce something new into your ecosystem, here can easily be unintended consequences.

Emily Givler:

There’s a lot of benefits to medicinal mushrooms for the immune system, for the brain but we should be cautious about what we are putting in.

Michael Roesslein:

Okay. That’s a little sci-fi at this point, but-

Emily Givler:

And I think it’s really optimistic to know that there are potential avenues to help clean up this environment, that it’s not all gloom and doom. We are creative and innovative species. Just because we don’t have all of the answers now doesn’t mean that we won’t have better answers even in just a few years.

Michael Roesslein:

Step one is stopping doing the thing.

Emily Givler:

Yes. Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

I think that’s where we need to focus. I got here, they don’t have plastic bacs here. It’s great. You know those weird biodegradable plastic bags that feel… I don’t know. I had only seen them a few times in California so I don’t know if you even had them, but they’re biodegradable plastic bags that you would get at the store. Those are mandatory everywhere here. The only people the only place you’ll ever get a plastic bag is they let people grandfather them. If they’re a mega store and they had 20,000, or million, or however many of them, when it went into effect, they still use them but it’s very, very… I’ve gotten one plastic bag at one place ever. I keep it and I use it when I have to carry things. But there are all those biodegradable bags, and that’s good. I was pretty excited to see that. I guess that’s pretty common. A lot of European Union countries have done that now. They use the same, it’s biodegradable silverware for takeout things and most of the containers are biodegradable container. So, it is possible.

Emily Givler:

It is. And-

Michael Roesslein:

But that’s just one thing. That’s just one area. Like you’re talking about all the fabrics, that doesn’t touch that. I’m trying to look around-

Emily Givler:

[inaudible 00:47:13]-

Michael Roesslein:

… everything is made out of plastic. People don’t realize how many things in their life are made out of plastic. I didn’t until I started learning about plastic. I was like, I’m not going to use plastic anymore. I was like, oh, shit, there goes most of my things. Now I need to find alternatives for these 50… Even buying… I’ve been trying to find nontoxic shampoo and conditioner and dish soap and all these. Even doing stuff like that, there’s plastic. It’s always plastic.

Emily Givler:

You can get shampoo bars, conditioner bars. You can even get dish soap in stick form.

Michael Roesslein:

We just got a dish soap bar. I’m going to try it tonight. I just got it today.

Emily Givler:

The good news is there are more and more of those options available. We definitely have to seek them out. We also don’t have to do everything all at once. Like you said, it’s totally overwhelming when you look around and you’re like, oh, my gosh, there’s plastic in some form with just about everything I touch an encounter on a daily basis. So, as you run out of one thing, find a plastic-free or a lower plastic swap. Looking for reusable things where we can adds up over time.

Emily Givler:

I just made the switch to an old school razor that I can just change out the razor blade. There’s no plastic on it, rather than a disposable plastic.

Michael Roesslein:

It probably doesn’t cost $29 for a two-refill cartridges either because that is insane.

Emily Givler:

Oh, my gosh, it’s like $3 for five new blades, something like that.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, that is the biggest racket in the whole store, is those things. They keep them behind locking key because it’s 40 bucks for a thing of razors that cost them one cent to make. Anyways, [inaudible 00:49:06].

Emily Givler:

Well, that is the plastic thing. The package [inaudible 00:49:09] plastic.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, but those come in plastic and the razors are in plastic and then it come with a plastic on top of the plastic, and a plastic thing.

Emily Givler:

And then it’s [inaudible 00:49:18] more plastic. We can face these things out of our life, but one of the really big exposures is our clothing and fast fashion, which both is not only going to contribute to microplastics through things like [inaudible 00:49:36]-

Michael Roesslein:

A whole host of other problems.

Emily Givler:

… laundering. Yeah. And then other fabrics end up in landfills and break down there. So, we can progressively make the switch to natural fibers like organic cotton because conventional cotton can be really heavily sprayed with pesticides. It’s a very common GMO crop here in the US. Bamboo is a little bit greenwash. Bamboo is not always that clean. But things like wool and silk, these natural fibers are not going to contribute to microplastic pollution, and that inhalation of indoor air is our biggest exposure point. So, filtering your air. That’s a great way to [inaudible 00:50:22].

Michael Roesslein:

It’s the first thing I bought when I moved here was air filters for my apartment.

Emily Givler:

And then, filter your water. It’s another good way to keep that from coming in. A lot of people do not realize that sea salt is a big source of microplastic exposure because our oceans are so full of plastic [inaudible 00:50:43]. So, looking for a plastic-free salt is important. There are more and more salt manufacturers who are using special filtration to ensure that they have a plastic-free product.

Michael Roesslein:

Interesting. I’m going to type that into my translator right now to search for it later. Ironically enough, we go searching for things in English-

Emily Givler:

I can give you-

Michael Roesslein:

In Italy, it don’t work.

Emily Givler:

Okay. [inaudible 00:51:13] sea salt has been tested plastic free. There’s not many, though. Most sea salt right now is pretty contaminated.

Michael Roesslein:

Interesting.

Emily Givler:

Other big places where we might get it, in food. If we’re eating bivalves like mussels or clams or oysters, we’re getting a lot of microplastic exposed organisms. Any plastics that they are eating, we are eating, and much more high volumes.

Emily Givler:

Those are some easy action steps that we can take to keep some of that credit card’s worth of plastic from getting into our bodies every week. But it’s something that if we’re not aware of, we’re not going to take the right steps. So, [inaudible 00:52:07] by building that awareness-

Michael Roesslein:

And baby steps is huge with things like this. When I used to work with clients, when I first started, I would give them a list of 122 things they need to do tomorrow.

Emily Givler:

[inaudible 00:52:19].

Michael Roesslein:

And then I’d talk to them in two weeks and be like, “How’s it going?” They’d be like, “I didn’t do most of the things.” I’d be like, what is wrong with these people? They wanted to know what to do, I tell them what to do, they don’t do it.

Michael Roesslein:

I’ve had one client in my life who went home, did all the things immediately. Changed everything, stuck to it and did awesome. That’s the unicorn. Nothing’s wrong with you if you can’t do that. I can’t do that. If you gave me 50 things to try to do tomorrow, no.

Michael Roesslein:

So, yes, find one thing that was suggested here, try that. Once that’s part of your situation, part of your routine, try another one. Gradually, a lot of these decisions they don’t require so much brain power eventually because you’re just used to making the different decision. It’s not a thing that you have to change, it’s a thing that you do so then it’s easier. But yeah, that happens gradually over time and compassion with yourself is key.

Emily Givler:

Yeah. It’s so important because it can be so overwhelming. The more we know about this, the more you know about the toxins in your foods, and the pesticides on your athletic fields and the plastics in your body and everywhere else. I mean, they found microplastics at the top of Mount Everest because it is literally everywhere at this point.

Michael Roesslein:

That’s incredible. That’s like-

Emily Givler:

It’s taken up in the water cycle.

Michael Roesslein:

That’s not from the climbers, that’s from the air.

Emily Givler:

Yes, from precipitation. We are all connected. It can bring you into that fear place so easily. [inaudible 00:54:06] this high stress, oh my, god, everything is wrong, we’re in this toxic soup of a planet, my poor liver, it’s never going to be able to handle all of this. That is not actually going to get us anywhere on our health journey.

Michael Roesslein:

Now it’s more danger.

Emily Givler:

Yeah. We’ve got to find ways to let ourselves know that every step we take makes us more safe and that better is okay. We’ve got to stop sacrificing the good in pursuit of perfection. You’re one ahead of me. I have yet to meet a perfect person, and I would hope that no one ever holds me to that standard because none of us are perfect. There’s always things that we can do better. We’ve got to forgive ourselves for the places where we are not perfect so that we can find that safety and find some level of peace to navigate this toxic soup of a world. Yes, we can always do better. That doesn’t mean we can’t do good with where we are.

Michael Roesslein:

Exactly. Well, I know we’re out of time. I want to have more podcasts with you, so we can talk about more of these things in more details. I would like to do a whole discussion some time around the genetic aspects of some of these things because some people are more susceptible to some of this stuff than others. We touched on that in the discussion, but I’ve noticed when that gets brought up in our audience, people are really interested in that end of things because they’ve dabbled in the reading, the books. They know Ben Lynch was the first one to publish widespread stuff around that. They know all that so their toe in the watery with some of that, so maybe some time we could do a little deeper dive into some of the genetics.

Michael Roesslein:

Also, we know some practitioners listen here. So, if you could share where the lay persons who are looking for help might go to find out more about you and your work and where the practitioners would go who are interested in the mentorship and the training, which is a really cool program which we could do a whole another podcast about. Jacqueline told me about it. [inaudible 00:56:22] a few episodes prior to this is a mutual friend and she told me all about it and if I was still working in practice myself, for sure I would be signed up there. So, where do people go? What are they going to find?

Emily Givler:

I actually have a little bonus for your listeners who may want to learn more about microplastics.

Michael Roesslein:

Cool.

Emily Givler:

I did a little one-hour masterclass on microplastics with of the studies that I’ve been alluding to here. I gave you a link that we can share that will take people to that masterclass if they want to learn more. That is my gift to everyone.

Emily Givler:

For practitioners who want to learn more, they can find me at beyondprotocols.org. For any individuals who want to learn more about my clinical work, I do that with Tree of Life in Pennsylvania. Our website is tolhealth.com. We have a wonderful team of practitioners there. Bob Miller, who has been really on the Vanguard with functional genomics for the past decade. Jacqueline Downs, who you just mentioned, and myself are all part of that practice.

Michael Roesslein:

Great. Yeah, I think I might reach out to you guys because I’ve got some tricky stuff with my iron that I haven’t been able to figure out. And so-

Emily Givler:

I do always like a puzzle.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, yeah. She mentioned some things that I thought I had turned every, I don’t know the phrase, stone or whatever. But then, she asked me three questions and I didn’t have answers to those questions. I hadn’t done that. I was like, oh, maybe I should do more things. So, I might reach out to you guys and become a guinea pig with my genetics and my iron metabolism because something’s screwy.

Emily Givler:

Hopefully we can get you all figured out.

Michael Roesslein:

Cool, because I don’t want to have to do blood things because that’s really a giant fear phobia. How you freaked out when I mentioned jumping off planes, that’s how I am when I even think about needles coming anywhere near for blood.

Michael Roesslein:

So, go to those links. We’ll have them all below. I think the studies that I mentioned in the, hey, we’ll grab those study links from you, those are probably in the-

Emily Givler:

Yes, they’re all in the masterclass.

Michael Roesslein:

Perfect. Then we’ll just link to the masterclass, we’ll link to your websites. Go check out her stuff. I can’t recommend it enough. Thank you for your time and for sharing-

Emily Givler:

Thank you so much.

Michael Roesslein:

… all this. It’s a really, the microplastic stuff, I knew some of that, I didn’t know all of that so I’m going to have to go practice my own grounding somatic practices so that I can sleep tonight and not be freaked out over another thing to freak out over. And so-

Emily Givler:

It’s one more thing that you’re aware of. It’s one more step you can take, one more action step. So, if this was the thing that-

Michael Roesslein:

And more motivation to not buy plastic things.

Emily Givler:

Yeah. Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

And now more aware of the clothing too because that’s a big deal here. So, I have to go buy some new clothing. Because people start talking to me or trying to talk to me in English when I walk in a place before I even say anything because they’re very certain I’m not Italian based on how I’m dressed. So, before my wife gets here in a few weeks, I’m going to have to go shopping a little bit so that I can be presentable in public-

Emily Givler:

There you go.

Michael Roesslein:

I’m going to be mindful of what the clothing is made out of.

Emily Givler:

Excellent. So, wool, silk, cotton, linen, all good choices.

Michael Roesslein:

Beautiful. Well, thank you, Emily, it was really fun and I learned a lot of stuff. Thank you for all the work you’re doing, and let’s do it again.

Emily Givler:

[inaudible 01:00:09]. Absolutely, it would be my pleasure. Thanks again for having me.