Why Diabetes Risk Is Higher For Older White Women

Phthalates – the toxic chemical cocktail manufacturers use to make plastic products more durable and personal products smell better – can increase your risk of developing diabetes by up to 63%…

That’s the terrifying conclusion of a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.1

And according to the researchers, the damaging effects extend beyond diabetes in these women.

Phthalate exposure also contributed to a higher incidence of obesity, infertility, and other endocrine disorders over a six-year period.

For reasons not yet understood by the scientists, this damaging association was not seen in middle-aged Black or Asian women—the team plan to investigate these “apparent racial and ethnic differences” in future studies.

In a recent letter I wrote you, I warned of how these estrogen-mimickers are affecting men and boys…

I’ve been sounding the alarm and warning my patients about the dangers of phthalates for more than 20 years.

Sadly, in all that time, the problem has gotten much worse. And the number of products polluted with these alien estrogens has increased. Worldwide, 12 BILLION pounds of phthalates are produced each year.

They can be found in thousands of everyday items we bring into our homes on a regular basis. They’re present in medical devices, prescription drugs, cleaning products, personal care products, Phthalates are even in the air you breathe and the foods you eat.

In one study, more than 80% of food samples were found to contain a phthalate known as DnBP, while 86% contained a plasticizer known as DEHT.2

Not surprisingly, fast foods, processed foods, baked goods, and other packaged items contain the most phthalates.

There are steps you can take to minimize your exposure. Here’s what I tell my patients:

  • Take these simple steps to protect your home and family. Stop storing food in plastic containers and never use them to heat foods. Dust often to remove phthalates from your home. Don’t use products with artificial fragrances. Buy produce that isn’t packaged… even better is buying fresh food from a farmer’s market. And look for personal care products that are labeled phthalate-free.
  • Choose pasture-raised animal protein. I’ve shared the benefits of eating only grass-fed and pastured protein for as long as I’ve been writing to you. Here’s one more… Conventional meat is commonly fed grain-based pellets that come from recycled food waste. Big Food manufacturers send leftover processed foods to industrial grinders, where they’re turned into animal feed (and pet food). Because it’s too expensive, these foods aren’t removed from their packaging, and everything – including plastic, cardboard, and adhesives – gets ground down into animal feed.
  • Replace bottled water with filtered tap water. This simple step reduces your exposure 22-fold.3 The best filter to use is a reverse osmosis filter that forces water through a semi-permeable membrane that captures phthalates and other contaminants. Not just any reverse osmosis system will do, however. The system needs to be NSF/ANSI 58 certified. This certification indicates that the RO system has gone through rigorous tests to ensure it will give you the results you’re looking for. I’ve had these filters installed at my clinic, my offices, and my own home.

Supplement to flush phthalates away

Sadly, it’s impossible to avoid phthalates in today’s world. Unless you live in a bubble, it’s impossible to avoid them.

But there are supplements that can help flush these chemicals from your body. Here are three I recommend to all my patients:

  1. Supplement with “crucifers in a capsule.” Veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage contain a compound called diindolylmethane (DIM). This helps your body break down and clear away estrogen mimickers. But it’s hard to get enough DIM from food. You’d have to eat two pounds or more of broccoli every day to get the amount you need. I recommend 100 mg daily.
  2. Add this DIM precursor. Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) helps prevent fake estrogens from attaching to your cell’s receptors. It also helps to metabolize estrogen into harmless compounds that are flushed away. Take 100 mg of Indole-3-carbinol per day.
  3. Use milk thistle (Silybum marianum). This is one of the best herbs for clearing toxins from your blood. It helps detoxify the liver and restore healthy liver function. Look for dried milk thistle extract. But make sure it has at least 80% silymarin, the active ingredient for liver cleansing. I recommend taking one 200 mg capsule twice daily.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD, CNS


1. Peng M, et al. “Phthalates and incident diabetes in midlife women: the study of women’s health across the nation (SWAN).” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2023 Feb 8;dgad033. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgad033. Online ahead of print.
2. Edwards L, et al. “Phthalate and novel plasticizer concentrations in food items from US fast food chains.” J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2022 May;32(3):366-373.
3. Cox K, et al. “Human consumption of microplastics.” Environ Sci Technol. 2019;53(12):7068-7074.