Microplastics and Obesity

In News by Justin Welton

Microplastics, tiny plastic particles measuring less than 5 millimeters in diameter, are present throughout our environment. Because they are not degraded, they persist indefinitely, and can be found in the air that we breathe, the food that we eat, and the water that we drink. Approximately two thirds of all plastic ever created can be found as ocean debris, or as micro- and nano-particles in the soil, water, air, plants, animals, and humans. This article will review how microplastics impact our bodies, increase risk for  obesity  and what we can do to make better choices to minimize exposure and mitigate their effects through the use of PERQUE® products and LRA by ELISA/ACT® testing.

Where Do We Encounter Microplastics?

Because they are ubiquitous, microplastics can be found in nearly all aspects of daily life. They adhere to dust particles that we breathe in. They can hitchhike on water droplets released from plastic essential oil diffusers (oils are known to break down plastics). They can leach into foods, water, and other beverages from plastic bottles and other plastic packaging. Even can linings contain plastic polymers. The bags that contain chips, crispy snacks, and dried fruits are lined with three layers of plastic polymers, some mixed with aluminum for a shiny look.

Since microplastics are in the soil, they also get into plants, animal feed, animals, and eventually our bodies. In the oceans, they are eaten by fish who mistake them for food. A 2002 study found that 80% of people tested had microplastics in their blood.

Microplastics can also be found in personal care items such as toothpaste, facial scrubs, body wash, shampoo, mascara, lipstick, foundation, face powder, moisturizers, hair spray and more!

How Do Microplastics Affect Our Bodies?

Microplastics can affect a variety of systems in the body including “digestive, respiratory, endocrine, reproductive and immune systems.” One of the more interesting theories is that many of these effects can contribute to the development of obesity.

Inflammation and Oxidative Stress: Microplastics can trigger inflammation and oxidative stress in the body leading to tissue damage and inflammation. Chronic inflammation is associated with various metabolic disorders, including obesity. It can disrupt the body’s ability to regulate appetite, metabolism, and fat storage.

Gut Microbiota Alteration: Research suggests that microplastics may alter the composition and function of the gut microbiota, the community of microorganisms living in the digestive tract, leading to an unhealthy balance of harmful vs helpful bacteria, and resulting in abdominal symptoms such as changes in bowel habits, pain, and bloating. Changes in gut microbiota composition have been linked to the development of obesity and metabolic disorders.

Endocrine Disruption: Some types of plastic contain chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, which can interfere with the body’s hormonal system. These chemicals may disrupt the balance of hormones that regulate metabolism and fat storage, potentially leading to weight gain and obesity (as well as processes such as growth, metabolism, and reproductive health).

Toxicity: Microplastics can accumulate in the liver and kidney and  increase fat cell growth. They can also absorb and accumulate toxic chemicals such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and pesticides from the environment. These chemicals may leach out into the body and disrupt metabolic processes, potentially contributing to obesity, as well as other health issues, including cancer, reproductive disorders, immune system dysfunction, and gastrointestinal symptoms including pain, nausea and vomiting.

Overeating: Some studies suggest that microplastics, particularly microplastics found in food and beverages, may act as carriers for other contaminants or additives that could indirectly contribute to overeating or weight gain.

The small size of microplastics allows them to penetrate deep into tissues and organs, raising concerns about their potential to cause long-term health problems. Microplastics can accumulate in various organs, where they may persist for extended periods, leading to chronic inflammation, tissue damage, and organ dysfunction, with potential implications for overall health and well-being.

It’s important to note that while these mechanisms suggest potential links between microplastics and obesity, and many other health issues, more research is needed to fully understand the extent of their impact on human health. Obesity is a complex condition influenced by various genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors, and microplastics may be another piece of the puzzle.

How Do We Avoid Microplastics?

While it may not be possible to completely avoid microplastics in our environment, there are things we can do to minimize future exposure and improve our health.


Microplastics typically are found in higher concentrations indoors due to shedding from synthetic carpet, furniture, and clothing. Consider using one or more certified HEPA filters to remove microplastics and other particles larger than 0.3 microns in size (and some even smaller). Choose glass diffusers rather than plastic if diffusing essential oils.

Natural fabrics are preferred over synthetics, wherever possible. Wash synthetic clothing on the gentle cycle to help reduce shedding of microplastic fibers. Avoid or minimize plastic packaging, wherever possible.

Water/Adult Beverages

Single use plastic water bottles are a large contributor to microplastic ingestion.  Choose glass instead; we prefer Gerolsteiner. Mountain Valley, or San Pelligrino. You can go a step further and filter or distill your water before drinking. For convenience on the go, choose a reusable stainless steel water bottle.

Very often aperitifs and adult beverages can provide unnecessary microplastics and toxins. When starting a meal, an organic aperitif like Campari made from fermented roots and herbs could be helpful. It enhances lymphatic flow to the liver and improves detoxification when mixed with mineral water as listed above (always in glass).


Shop sustainably and minimize plastic packaging wherever possible. Bring your own bags to the Farmer’s Market and choose organic produce. Similarly, bring containers to the grocery store to buy from the bulk bins without using plastic bags. Buy whole foods, choosing plastic wrap-free versions whenever possible.

In the kitchen, use tempered glass or wooden cutting boards. A study found that as many as 1,114 microplastic particles were released each time a polypropylene or polystyrene board was used to cut carrots(!) Similarly, avoid plastic utensils for cooking or preparing food.

Personal Care Products

As recently as 2021, an Italian study verified the presence of microplastics in top cosmetic brands such as Maybelline, Lancôme, and Sephora. The product categories with the most frequent presence of microplastics included mascara (90%), lipsticks and glosses (85%), foundations (74%), highlighters (69%0 and face powders (43%).

There are companies that make environmental sustainability a priority, and many natural cosmetic brands have pledged to avoid microplastics. There are also phone apps, such as “Beat the Micro Bead,” that you can use to scan barcodes on products to determine whether the company is using microplastics. Other companies have committed to “Zero Plastics Inside” and are certified by Beat the Micro Bead as entirely plastic-free.

Read labels carefully. Soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, deodorants, and other personal care products can also contain microplastics. These are the chemicals to be on the lookout for, as an indicator that plastic is an ingredient in your cosmetic or personal care product:

  • Acrylate copolymer (AC)
  • Acrylate Crosspolymer (ACS)
  • Dimethiconol
  • Methicone
  • Polyamides (PA, Nylon)
  • Polyacrylates (PA)
  • Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
  • Polyquaternium (PQ)
  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG)
  • Polyethyleneterephthalate (PET)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polypropylene glycol (PPG)
  • Polystyrenes (PS)
  • Polyurethanes (PUR)
  • Siloxanes 

How Do We Recover?

The first step to healing from microplastic exposure is to limit future exposure, by taking all of the steps outlined above. That will help our body to begin to heal naturally. The next step would be to examine our immune status, antioxidant status, omega-3 levels, and glucose metabolism to see where we may be lacking. Then the last step would be to supplement with needed nutrients to help your body detoxify, heal, and be better prepared to handle the toxins in the 21stCentury.

Nutritional Testing

Immune Status: LRA delayed allergy tests can identify specific foods and chemicals that are stressing your immune system. The stronger your immune system, the easier it is to deal with environmental assaults on the body.

Antioxidant status: Antioxidants are a group of nutrients that can help fight the onslaught that toxins and chemicals including microplastics inflict upon us. Knowing your antioxidant status can help determine your need. There are a two special blood or urine tests that you can do to determine your antioxidant status and the ability of your body to respond to the continuous chemical and toxin attacks:

High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hsCRP) is a marker for inflammation that is often used to determine risk for cardiovascular disease. It can also detect other causes of inflammation such as injury, infection, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. Since microplastic ingestion can also lead to inflammation, this blood test may be useful.

The DNA Oxidative Stress Assay (8-OHdG) measures the level of oxidative stress in the body. A high level detected on this urine test means that your body does not have enough antioxidants onboard to overcome the free radical assaults from microplastics and other 20th century toxins. You would want to increase your vitamin C intake to help combat water-soluble toxins, and vitamins A and D, and omega-3 fatty acids, to help neutralize the fat-soluble toxins.

Omega 3 fatty acids are instrumental in detoxification. Since microplastics often lodge in the fatty tissues of the body, you’ll want to be sure you have plenty of omega 3s onboard. You can test your omega-3 status with the Omega-3 test (blood test).

Glucose metabolism: Microplastics in the body tend to absorb and concentrate various toxins, acting as hormone and endocrine disruptors. This endocrine disruption can also affect glucose metabolism, which can be tested via Hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1c).

Nutritional Supplementation

To minimize the pro-oxidant effects of microplastics on our body, we want to ensure we are taking in enough antioxidants to combat the oxidative stress they are causing. Consider supplementing with both water-soluble and fat-soluble antioxidants, including PERQUE Potent C Guard (fully bioavailable l-ascorbate powder), and PERQUE Life Guard™ or PERQUE Life Guard™ mini, a super multivitamin containing vitamins A and E, among others.  Boost your Omega-3 (EPA/DHA) consumption through food and/or PERQUE EPA/DHA Guard™ to further reduce inflammation and promote cell membrane health. Consider additional detoxification support with PERQUE Liva Guard™ Forté and PERQUE Detox IN Guard to help remove toxins.

Boost intake of these foods to help your body detoxify naturally:

  • Leafy greens contain chlorophyll which can help reduce oxidative stress.
  • GGOBE (garlic, ginger, onions, brassica sprots, and eggs) contain sulforaphane, a powerful phytochemical antioxidant that promotes liver and whole-body detoxification.
  • Citrus fruits provide antioxidant vitamin C.
  • Berries provide vitamins and natural antioxidant compounds.
  • Green tea (choose organic loose tea as some teabags contain microplastics) contains polyphenols that have antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties.
  • Fiber from vegetables, nuts, and seeds like chia and flax help support digestion and helpful bacteria in the gut.
  • Healthy hydration will help your body to flush out toxins.

Although microplastics are prevalent in our environment, taking the above steps to keep the bad stuff out and get the good stuff in using the principles of Nature’s Alkaline Way, can help you minimize their impact on your health and your weight.

Justin Welton
Author: Justin Welton