Detoxify or Die

by Sherry Rogers, MD

Review by Irene Alleger

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A 21st Century Paradigm Shift

The author's title suggests a seriousness not usually given to the subject of detoxification in the search for health. However, this author is eminently qualified to assess the gravity of environmental pollution's effects on our health. Sherry Rogers, MD is well-known in the CAM community, as author, educator, and an international specialist in Environmental Medicine. She is a diplomat of the American Board of Family Practice, a diplomat of the American Board of Environmental Medicine, a Fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition. With this broad background and more than 30 years in practice, Sherry Rogers brings together all of her expertise combined with new research in this book. Backed up by more than 700 references, Detoxify or Die goes well beyond the general health admonitions to eat whole foods, exercise, and avoid chemicals (only if you don't eat, drink or breathe!).

A very important point is emphasized by Dr. Rogers in her Introduction: "You have been brainwashed into believing that the diagnosis given to your condition, a mere label, is the end of the line. But nothing could be further (and more dangerously) from the truth. In fact, the name or label that has been given to your collection of symptoms is totally inconsequential. The only thing that matters is what has caused the symptoms…"

Chapter I presents the incontrovertible evidence that environmental chemicals are everywhere and we cannot avoid them. Studies have shown, for example, that breast milk of Inuit mothers reveal some of the highest levels of modern chemical poisons. How do these chemicals get to pristine areas in the Northern hemisphere? Chemicals from industrial smokestacks are disseminated into the air and from there, clouds carry these carcinogenic leftovers from plastic manufacturing such as dioxins and PCBs, into every crack and crevice of the earth.

A chemical called phthalates outgases from all plastic products such as plastic wrap, babies' bottles, and styrene cups. The chemistry of phthalates, unfortunately resembles that of many hormones, making them potent environmental endocrine disruptors, capable of interfering in human development and increasing hormone-related cancers.

The chemical and food industries vehemently assert that small amounts of these chemicals are harmless. That is true, says Dr. Rogers, but they neglect to mention that since we cannot detoxify all of the many chemicals we inhale and digest every day, they bioaccumulate in our tissues.

Heavy metals are another dangerous substance in our environment now. Cadmium, aluminum, mercury, antimony, lead, and arsenic are some of the heavy metals added to the food chain "by industrial discharges, pesticide runoff, incinerator emissions, manufacturing smokestacks, as well as from aviation, auto and commercial vehicle exhaust." Aluminum contamination, for example, is contributing to the rise in Alzheimer's disease. Many readers will be surprised to find that aluminum can be found "in baking powders, aluminum-lined juice boxes and other packaging, plus coffeemakers, thermoses and even as an anti-caking agent added to salt and sugar so that 'when it rains, it pours.'"

Chapter II describes how these chemicals are stored in body fat; our bodies were not designed to metabolize chemicals that were invented yesterday. An EPA biopsy study showed that 100% of people studied had dioxins, PCBs, dichlorobenzene, and xylene stored in their bodies — some of the most potent causes of cancer known to us. These inescapable everyday chemicals permeate every aspect of our lives.

Dr. Rogers explains the body's own "built-in" detoxification system: Phase I enzymes and minerals work to remove toxic material from the body and in Phase II a powerful detoxifier called glutathione sends chemicals through the liver and out with the garbage. But this wonderful system was not created to deal with literally thousands of chemical assaults on our bodies. The system also needs important nutrients from our diet in order to function, and for many Americans, that means they are probably not getting rid of any of the environmental burden. So how can we protect ourselves?

Sherry Rogers is a qualified nutritionist and rounds out chapter II with a detailed protocol of diet and supplements designed to help clear the body of toxic chemicals and keep it that way. Some of her recommendations: Whole Foods, Vitamin C, Lipoic Acid, Glycine, Detox (coffee) enema, and Macrobiotics.

In Chapter III the author makes the case for environmental toxins causing all disease. She describes the major health-destroying chemicals and heavy metals, their sources, EPA studies, and how ubiquitous these substances are in our everyday environment. Studies are cited showing that 95% of cancer, for instance, is caused by diet and environment.

Chapter IV discusses how getting rid of environmental toxins reverses disease, emphasizing sauna for serious detox and leading to Chapter V — "How to Detoxify." This chapter lays out all the proven ways to detox, and a thorough discussion of the many new tests available that can help assess your chemical body burden.

The author has used cartoons placed strategically throughout the book, to emphasize important points and more than 700 scientific references are cited, along with Resources for products mentioned.

Sherry Rogers writes at the beginning of Detoxify or Die "If you are serious about healing, then brace yourself for a crash course in curing whatever ails you. I'll take you step-by-step through the most important paradigm shift of your life…the secret is in getting your body so chemically unloaded and nutrient primed, that it heals itself." Jeffrey Bland, PhD has called Sherry Rogers' new book a "tour de force" and I could not agree more.

Sand Key Company, Inc.

P.O. Box 40101

Sarasota, Florida 34242 USA


Quality paperback, 2002, 409 pp.


(Click to Buy from