029-My Interview with Dr Crinnion on Environmental Toxicity and our Mitochondria Part 2



On this podcast, I am delighted to have my colleague Dr. Walter Crinnion back for part two of our interview about the importance of our mitochondria.

I ask Dr. Crinnion some additional questions including:

1. What can I do with my diet to optimize my mitochondrial function?

2. Are there supplements that will help?

3. Can these help if I already have mitochondria that are not working well?

4. Can I increase the mitochondria that I have and can I make them work better?

We also go on to talk about other questions as well. Dr. Crinnion presents a patient with neurotoxicity in which the patient’s mitochondria were actually poisoned by pesticides and you will find interestingly in the podcast how this patient got so many pesticides.

As I mentioned too, I was just at the Pregnancy Awareness Month event in Los Angeles and I was on a panel with Ken Cook and Alejandro Junger talking about how women can prepare to detoxify before they get pregnant and most importantly to stay clean while they are pregnant. Videos from this event will be on the Pregnancy Awareness Website soon and I will put a link to them when I know that they are up. This podcast has a photo of Ken and I being interviewed by Anya Sarre of Entertainment Tonight show.

Also, at the end of May, I am being honored with the prestigious Daniel J. Wallace award by Lupus LA.  Lupus LA is the organization in Los Angeles that supports lupus patients. They’re having a gala fundraiser called the Orange Ball at the end of the month. I look at this honor  as not just of me, but also for integrative medicine. It will be the first time that they have given this award to a physician who is not a rheumatologist. I  look forward to putting some pictures from this event on my blog. More information is HERE

In this podcast I talked about the “Dirty Dozen” of the most pesticided  fruits and vegetables, and the Clean 15 and you can find that list HERE

I also refer you to Dr. Walter Crinnion’s book which is available in hardback HERE

And for your kindle HERE

As you know I am having my podcast transcribed. Please let me know if you like this and if it is helpful to you?

Please remember write your comments in the box below-and now it is below the transcript so scroll way down!

You can e-mail me questions that questions@askdrsoram.com

Or you can leave a voicemail for me with question for me at 310-499-0275.


Dr. Soram Khalsa – Dr. Crinnion Podcast on Mitochondria, Part 2

DR KHALSA :L So is there anything, what can we do with our diet to optimize mitochondo-function?

DR. CRINNION: Well, two things really. One is avoiding things that would rob your body of glutathione.


DR. CRINNION: So skip off of the most toxic fruit and vegetables, you know, the dirty dozen. Let’s stop eating the dirty dozen.

DR. KHALSA: Yes, and what are a few of the dirty dozen, just for our listeners?

DR. CRINNION: Non-organic strawberries, non-organic apples, lettuce, spinach, celery, potatoes, bell peppers, nectarines. These are all the top ones that I can think of.

DR. KHALSA: They are listed in your book, Walter?

DR. CRINNION: Now, I should tell you that I just had a patient with chronic neuro-toxicity, you know, chronic neurological problems.


DR. CRINNION: And I was checking him for toxicants, because I figured something has to be going on.


DR. CRINNION: And it turned out, I did a urine test on him, and he had horrendously high levels of organophosphate pesticides. Now, when I look at the CDR. CRINNION values, they tell you kind of what pesticide loads the average American has. They put them in percentiles.


DR. CRINNION: Fiftieth percentile, seventy fifth percentile, ninetieth and ninety fifth. This means that at the fiftieth percentile, 50% percent of the country has that percentile and 50% are above it. At the ninety fifth percentile, if your level is at the ninety fifth percentile, this means that 5% of the country has less than you, so you are in the top 5% most affected. This guy had three organophosphate pesticides that were way above the 95th percentile.


DR. CRINNION: One was ten times the 95th percentile. 10 times. Another was 3 times.

DR. KHALSA: Was he a farmer?

DR. CRINNION: Another was 5 times. You’ll love this one! Well d-uh, if he has got those levels of organophosphate pesticides that are potent neuro-toxicants,


DR. CRINNION: You’d think that it may be a factor in his brain not working right! Hello!

DR. KHALSA: I know

DR. CRINNION: So, I am quizzing him. He’s not a farmer, he does not have a rose garden that he tends and uses diathanol on.

DR. KHALSA; Yes, right

DR. CRINNION: but every morning, for the last like five years, which is about how long he has been having this problem, he’s been doing, every morning, celery and spinach juice.

DR. KHALSA: Oh, my gosh. So juicing, concentrates it?

DR. CRINNION: And, guess where he was getting them from?

DR. KHALSA: Where?

DR. CRINNION: Whole Foods.

DR. KHALSA: Oh yes.

DR. CRINNION: At the juice bar at Whole Foods. By they don’t use organic. You know, you walk in to Whole Foods and you think you are buying whole foods and I am being very healthy, but, they have a lot of produce which is not organic.


DR. CRINNION: They don’t use organic at the juice bar!

DR. KHALSA: Wow! So he was doing himself a service, getting all this juice,  but…

DR. CRINNION: He was, so I said, ok, that has got to be the source, so stop the juice and let’s retest your urine in two weeks.


DR. CRINNION; Two weeks later, not and organophosphate pesticide in sight!

DR. KHALSA: Wow! So they can clear themselves out pretty quickly?

DR. CRINNION: Yes they do and all you need to do is to avoid them.  So, any pregnant mom, should not be doing this stuff.

DR. KHALSA: Hmm mm, hhmm mmm

DR. CRINNION: Anybody, I mean, anybody…How many people come in to you Soram, saying I really wish my brain could work better, I am not as sharp as I used to be?

DR. KHALSA: Yes, all the time, especially the baby boomers who have had a chance to accumulate these bio-toxins.



DR. CRINNION: You know we have got to stop the exposure to these things.

DR. KHALSA: Yes, yes. I have a patient that I just saw this week, 60 year old gentleman with MS, multiple sclerosis, which is a progressive type of MS and I was asking him if he had had any exposures to pesticides. His wife was with him and his wife is very organically oriented. She said that he has never eaten a vegetable in his life by washing it before he eats it.  So he just buys the apples and it. In addition, he has been spraying a cottage he has up in the mountains, for heavy pesticides, for the last twenty years.

DR. CRINNION: oh my goodness.

DR. KHALSA: So, I said to them, do you think that these might be related because these things you are describing are neuro-toxins and they were just saying why didn’t anyone mention this to me before?


DR. KHALSA; So, we are going to get the pesticide levels on him and we’ll see. Are all the pesticides easy to wash out or just the organophosphates?

DR. CRINNION: The organophosphates and tri-etheroits , which are the two classes in current use…

DR. KHALSA: Hmm mmm

DR. CRINNION: Are rapidly cleared from the body, so we just have to stop exposure. The older ones that are chlorinated,

DR. KHALSA: Yeah, like Chlordane

DR. CRINNION: Those you have to do something else to get out, they are persistent.

DR. KHALSA; Yes and are houses still being termite-proofed with Chlordane?

DR. CRINNION:  They are but not with Chlordane, not since the mid-80s, since about 1986.


DR. CRINNION: So now they are using organophosphates for that, which is why the companies want to keep coming around because it is not a one-time application for the life of the home.

DR. KHALSA: Right, yes, yes.

DR. CRINNION: But your end, you know, Los Angeles area down there, which is probably you know….what is the average age of the home…

DR. KHALSA: Probably, 40-50 years.

DR. CRINNION: Yes, so they all have Chlordane in them.

DR. KHALSA: yes, I know.  Are we able to get Chlordane measurements with the tests we do?

DR. CRINNION: Yes, for that part of the blood level for the pesticides.

DR. KHALSA: For the pesticides, yes.


DR. KHALSA: Yes, great, great. Wow. Very, very interesting. So now, we have talked about a couple of the supplements, specifically Co Q-10 and glutathione or NAC. Are there any other supplements that can help our mitochondria?

DR. CRINNION: Yes there are. And it’s all the anti-oxidants.

DR. KHALSA: Right on.

DR. CRINNION: And the flavonoids in herbs, and fruits and those things, are dramatically helpful for the mitochondria.

DR. KHALSA: Right, so what are flavonoids and where can we get them?

DR. CRINNION: Flavonoids are a really interesting group of compounds. The flavonoids are…you have heard the term – nutraceutical

DR. KHALSA: Of course

DR. CRINNION: …things in foods that have really dynamic health power. And flavonoids are this huge pooling of compounds that are common in all our foods and in most of the botanical medicine that we use.


DR. CRINNION: And flavonoids….you know, we take all of these other anti-oxidants, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium, all these great anti-oxidants and they boost our ability in the body to a certain degree. And then flavonoids are also anti-oxidants but they are organ or tissue specific anti-oxidants. So, you take as much Vitamin C and E and all the things you can and crank up that dial of anti-oxidants up to 10…


DR. CRINNION: …ok. And if you take more, you can’t get any higher.

DR. KHALSA: Yes, exactly.

DR. CRINNION: But if you take flavonoids, those then can take that anti-oxidant function in that specific tissue or organ up to a 100! So, an example of this is Gingko biloba…


DR. CRINNION: …which we know help the brain. Well, the flavonoids in Gingko are tissue specific for the brain.


DR. CRINNION: The flavonoids for milk thistle which is specific for the liver, flavonoids for bilberry is tissue specific for the eye.

DR. KHALSA: Hmm mmm, yes.

DR. CRINNION: So, flavonoids are fantastic compounds. Now, the flavonoids in blackberry, good old blackberries,


DR. CRINNION:…have been shown to restore mitochondria that have been chemically damaged.

DR. KHALSA: Oh wow!

DR. CRINNION: So, the more flavonoids you can take, it’s all the big fruits and vegetables…


DR. CRINNION: …where you want to go. And there is a group of compounds in the berries that do the berry…the anti____, the more of those you take; well that helps the mitochondria as well!

DR. KHALSA: Yes… yes. Beautiful. And this is what makes the color in all of these fruits and vegetables, isn’t it?

DR. CRINNION: Exactly.

DR. KHALSA: The flavonoids.

DR. CRINNION; It’s like what am I telling people to do for the mitochondria? Eat organic fruits and vegetables and eat a lot of organic fruits and vegetables.

DR. KHALSA: In every color.


DR. KHALSA: Laughs

DR. CRINNION: Exactly!

DR. KHALSA: Yeah, great.

DR. CRINNION: So those things work really, really well.

DR. KHALSA: Hmm mmm. Quite beautiful. One thing we do is that I have my patients take, either a good multi-vitamin but as separate, as you mentioned Vitamin B and Vitamin C, those are kind of the precursors for the manufacture of ATP.

DR. CRINNION: Hmm mmm.

DR. KHALSA: And I think this is why the Myers Cocktail intravenous is so powerful, so it just full of B and C, it’s got calcium and magnesium, which are the precursors of ATP production inside the mitochondria.

DR. CRINNION: Right, and magnesium, let’s just talk about that for a moment, not only is needed for ATP production but it is needed to make glutathione.

DR. KHALSA: Hmm mmm

DR. CRINNION: You take your whey protein, you take your NAC and you are magnesium deficient you are not going to be producing glutathione.

DR. KHALSA: Yes, yes.

DR. CRINNION: So, magnesium is a mineral that is rapidly depleted from the body when you are exposed to toxicants.

DR. KHALSA: Yes, and also, stress dumps magnesium from the body.

DR. CRINNION: Yes, whenever your urine gets more acidic, from eating the standard high protein American diet, or alcohol, or a host of other things, your urine gets acidic, the magnesium just gets sucked out before you know it.

DR. KHALSA: hmm mmm, yeah. And we need that for the glutathione to be able to work.

DR. CRINNION: Absolutely. It’s very important that it be there.

DR. KHALSA: Yes, interesting. And I encourage all my listeners to ask their doctors to do red blood cell magnesium if they want to get a blood level to check their magnesium. Because most of the magnesium in the body is inside the cells as Dr. Crinnion is telling us. And, if you just get a serum, that’s what’s floating around in your blood serum, those will usually be normal, but the red blood cell or RBC magnesium, is not expensive, shows how much magnesium you actually have inside your cells. At my office, that is a routine test I do. And I would say that of my new patients, 50% of them are deficient in magnesium.

DR. CRINNION: Yes, doesn’t surprise me at all.

DR. KHALSA: A very, very common deficiency.

DR. CRINNION: I am actually amazed at how many people walk in to our clinic with chronic health problems and I am talking to them, and I am like, these guys are magnesium deficient.

DR. KHALSA; yeah

DR. CRINNION: And I say, would it be ok if we did a little IV of Mag on you, today? I just want to see. And I am blown away by the number of people, after a 20 minute I.V., they are going, wow…

DR. KHALSA: I feel so much better!

DR. CRINNION: I feel so much better!

DR. KHALSA: And all of this muscle-aching is gone.

DR. CRINNION: And people walk in in chronic pain, you know. They can’t turn their neck, the kind of turn their whole body or they have got heart palpitations, or asthma

DR. KHALSA: Or constipation

DR. CRINNION: You give them magnesium, and I am thinking, am I nuts?

DR. KHALSA: Yeah, I know.

DR. CRINNION: I am thinking, why don’t people, why don’t doctors know this? Why am I seeing it? I must be nuts!

DR. KHALSA: I understand. Well, it’s just a question of learning these extra things, because I have patients that will like go to their doctors, or will come to me from Kaiser and they want to get and RBC – Magnesium. So they will go to their doctor in Kaiser, who will order the regular magnesium, they have never heard of an RBC- Magnesium.


DR. KHALSA: And they will say, well, your level is fine. So, ultimately, we will draw the RBC-Magnesium at my office so we are sure to get it on that patient. And very often, with this set of symptoms, they are quite deficient in their magnesium.


DR. KHALSA: Yeah, so, great. Well, this is just wonderful information. Now, can all of these supplements, these foods, the flavonoids help even when a person has mitochondria that are not working well?

DR. CRINNION: Yes, that’s the beauty of it. Like these things, like the flavonoids help to restore mitochondrial functions.

DR. KHALSA: Fantastic, fantastic.

DR. CRINNION: So, now, a big thing here is also the avoidance. So, make sure, you are avoiding the things that are mitochondrial poisons as much as possible. So that includes making dietary and lifestyle changes.


DR. CRINNION; I think I might have talked to you before, Soram, and told you that when the CDR. CRINNION forth report came out, I opened an Excel spreadsheet, because I had nothing better to do…

DR. KHALSA: Laughs

DR. CRINNION: …and I put down all the toxicants that were found in everybody and the levels.

DR. KHALSA: Yes, yes

DR. CRINNION: And, then, I just added up the total, and I looked at all the ones that are easily avoidable by lifestyle and dietary changes.


DR. CRINNION; So, the plastics,


DR. CRINNION: The phthalates that are in our personal care products,

DR. KHALSA: oh yes

DR. CRINNION: The foods, the organophosphate pesticides and all this, and if people would make diet and lifestyle changes, within two weeks, they can reduce the toxicant level in their blood and urine by 85%.

DR. KHALSA: Wow, that was the number you came up with!?


DR. KHALSA: In two weeks!

DR. CRINNION: In two weeks.

DR. KHALSA: Wow! That’s fantastic!

DR. CRINNION: This is without ataclonic(?), without a sauna. This is just avoidance, the main thing.

DR. KHALSA: And it is something everybody can do and I refer our listeners back to our podcast that you and I did some months ago about phthalates and where they are found and what they are.

DR. CRINNION: Yes, and in the book that I did, “The Clean, Green and Lean”, I’ve got step by step worksheets in there about how to look through your kitchen, through your house…

DR. KHALSA: Great, room by room.

DR. CRINNION: Room by room, that you clear all of this stuff out. You know, what’s in your pantry, in your medicine cabinet, the stuff that you need to clear out so that you are putting less toxicants in to your body.

DR. KHALSA: And thereby making your mitochondria not work well, which makes you get the symptoms or diseases that you have.

DR. CRINNION: Exactly, because, you know, mitochondrial disorder, or dysfunction…

DR. KHALSA: hmmm mmm

DR. CRINNION; when you look at all the things, when your mitochondria don’t work so well, it’s what we consider ageing.


DR. CRINNION; and in fact, it is known that as people age their mitochondria get lower, and lower and lower.

DR. KHALSA: Wow! Lower in function?

DR. CRINNION; You know, there was just an article out on Alzheimer’s and it showed the people that just did daily activities, cleaning the house, playing cards, doing things…they did not progress to Alzheimer’s like people who just sat and did nothing.

DR. KHALSA: Hmm, mmm

DR. CRINNION; It was beyond exercising. Mitochondria dysfunction is what we think of as getting old.


DR. CRINNION: Oh, I don’t have enough energy, my joints don’t work right, my memory is not working right, I’m gaining weight, blah, blah, blah…well, and that is mitochondrial dysfunction. You can change that.  I am convinced, more and more…


DR. CRINNION: it is not that we are adding more years to our lives, or more birthdays to our resume, it’s that we are adding more toxicants in to our bodies. And if we would stop that, take a tremendous amount of anti-oxidants from our foods, from our supplements, from our botanicals etc., of different kinds of antioxidants, not just Vitamin C, but all the berry pigments and all of that. And we really get our mitochondria cranking and start to some exercise, which make you produce more mitochondria…


DR. CRINNION: Our mitochondrial biogenesis, which happens in exercise, you know, and then we could really end up feeling a whole lot better!

DR. KHALSA: Wow, that’s so interesting. This is especially relevant to the baby boomers. Because, right now, the numbers I have been told are 10000 new people turning 65 everyday, that’s the baby boomers…


DR. KHALSA: …are marching through their medi-care years. They are marching in to their medi-care years. So, you mentioned mitochondrial biogenesis, which is a great expression, so exercise does that. Are there other things that can increase, actually increase the number mitochondria that we have?

DR. CRINNION; Well, there is some interesting evidence out there about the polyphenols, the berry pigments, the anto-sianadins, resveratrol – there is interesting evidence out there about those kind of compounds that appear to also help mitochondrial biogenesis.

DR. KHALSA: Yes, right. Right, I have been hearing that a lot of information is coming about resveratrol coming out. So, I think with all of these things, I know what I wanted to ask you. The dirty dozen that you mentioned, that’s the 12 dirtiest fruits and vegetables, right?

DR. CRINNION:  hmm, mmm

DR. KHALSA: Is that in your book?


DR. KHALSA: Ok great!

DR. CRINNION: Absolutely.

DR. KHALSA: So our readers can…

DR. CRINNION: And we have recipes, that my wife, Dr. Kelly Crinnion,


DR. CRINNION: She did a whole bunch, a whole month’s worth of breakfast, lunch and dinners.

DR. KHALSA: Fantastic

DR. CRINNION: You know, for how to cook this way. And the recipes are good. They call came out of the kitchen I am standing in right now.

DR. KHALSA: Laughs, that’s great! And it’s the food you eat every day.

DR. CRINNION: Yeah, yeah. So, basically, you look at that and that is kind of the way we live.

DR. KHALSA: Yes, and that’s beautiful.

DR. CRINNION: It’s a very practical book.

DR. KHALSA: Fantastic. Yes, I have really enjoyed it and I hope our listeners will. I refer it to my patients all the time. I hope our listeners will be interested in reading it. They can get it on your website or at Amazon?

DR. CRINNION; Oh yes, there is a link, right through on my front page, drcrinnion.com, they can click on that.

DR. KHALSA: How do you spell that?

DR. CRINNION: d-r-c-r-i-n-n-i-o-n-dot com

DR. KHALSA: Great, I just wanted them to know that there is a double “n” in the middle. Well, Walter, are there any closing comments you want to make about mitochondria?

DR. CRINNION: You know, it’s just such an important aspect for us to be aware of and when you understand that all of these toxicants are around, it makes it easier to understand why in all the epidemiologic studies around, looking at people who work around the various toxicants, the biggest complaint is fatigue.

DR. KHALSA: Yes, indeed.

DR. CRINNION: So, we just have to start protecting ourselves.

DR. KHALSA: Yes. And the mitochondria are the energy generating centers in our cells.

DR. CRINNION: And again, the good news is that this stuff, if you just have to start making lifestyle and dietary changes, your level of toxicants in your peak, can drop by 85% in two weeks.

DR. KHALSA: That’s a fantastic number.

DR. CRINNION: And you start doing the supplements, you are going to get your mitochondria working again. Two of the most common comments I got from my patients, over the years, when I am working to reduce their toxic burden, I got my brain back and I feel 20 years younger.

DR. KHALSA: Yes, yes.

DR. CRINNION: That’s mitochondria. It’s easy to get back.

DR. KHALSA: That’s beautiful and a great final message for all our listeners. Walter, this has been most informative and as always, so much fun. We have to please be thinking about what other topic we would like to talk about a future podcast. And I invite our listeners to send in suggestions about aspects of environmental…

DR. CRINNION: Excellent! That would be excellent.

DR. KHALSA: Aspects of Environmental Medicine which is what Dr. Crinnion’s area of specialty is. You can send them to me at questions@askdrsoram.com and Walter and I will discuss them and see if there is enough material directly have a whole show about some of the questions.

DR. CRINNION: Sounds perfect!

DR. KHALSA: Great. Well, Walter this has just been such a pleasure. I enjoy chatting with you and letting our listeners listen as you and I chat and I am very, very thankful and grateful to you for taking the time today to do this podcast and look forward to our listeners giving us any feedback that they have from their own experiences of cleaning out for two weeks.

DR. CRINNION: Oh you are so welcome, Soram. It is always such a joy to spend time with you on the podcast here.

DR. KHALSA: Thank you so much, Walter. Very best wishes to you. I know that I will talk with you personally very soon.

DR. CRINNION: Thank you

DR. KHALSA: Thank you, Bye bye!

About Dr. Soram Khalsa

As an MD, Dr Soram specializes in Integrative Medicine combining diet, nutrition, acupuncture, herbs and nutrition. Visit Dr Soram’s Healthy Living Store where you’ll find high-quality nutritional supplements: