DDT, the pesticide once used in WWII was banned in the US in 1972, but it remains in the soil for decades. The good news is that a simple vitamin can reduce its negative effects.
DDT was considered a ‘miracle’ when it was first created. It was the first important synthetic pesticide from chlorinated hydrocarbon (organochlorine) discovered by a Swiss chemist named Paul Muller in 1939.
It was toxic to a large range of insects, didn’t break down rapidly so it didn’t require frequent applications, and it wasn’t water soluble, so rain wouldn’t wash it away. For obvious reasons, this made DDT undesirable once it was found to be ‘slightly to moderately acutely toxic to mammals, including humans.’
Nevertheless, DDT was used by the US military in WW II for control of malaria, bubonic plague, and other diseases. DDT is still used, unfortunately, in South America, Africa, and Asia. This is why the findings of a recent study coming from China and published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition is so important.
“‘Our previous work has shown that high levels of DDT in the body can increase the risk of early miscarriage,’ says study leader Xiaobin Wang, MD, ScD, MPH, the Zanvyl Krieger Professor and Director of the Center on the Early Life Origins of Disease at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. ‘This study tells us that improved nutrition may modify the toxic effects of DDT, by better preparing the body to cope with environmental toxins and stressors. We have shown that women with high levels of DDT who also had high levels of B vitamins had a better chance of getting and staying pregnant than those were deficient in those vitamins.'”
Researchers found that getting adequate Vitamin B reduced DDT damage, enhanced fertility, and ended up in more viable pregnancies (fewer miscarriages due to DDT’s known ability to cause birth defects). A deficiency in any B vitamin was detrimental to women who were expecting, but the B vitamin folate was the most important for reducing DDT and other pesticide damage, and counteracting the levels of DDT in a woman’s body.
Although no published studies have been conducted on Vitamin B complex for its effects against other pesticides and herbicides, the Vitamin’s effects with DDT alone look promising.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.