Exposure to synthetic chemicals, including pesticides, solvents, and flame retardants, is associated with the initiation or exacerbation of a number of human diseases, including cancer, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, and infertility. National and regional biomonitoring programs increasingly demonstrate that Americans are accumulating hundreds of chemicals in their bodies. Chronic low-level pollutant exposure leads to chemical buildup in the body;this bioaccumulation has been associated with a number of human diseases and emerging syndromes. Currently no conventional clinical practice guidelines address body burden reduction (detoxification) for disease treatment or prevention. CAM practitioners and the American public commonly utilize detoxification methods with the intention of reducing concentrations of chemical pollutants from the human body. While preliminary data for some CAM detoxification interventions demonstrates efficacy in surrogate endpoints, well-controlled studies have not been conducted. In the mentored phase of this career transition award I will complete data analysis, submit manuscripts, and seek an independent research position. In addition, under the direction of three career researchers, I will complete advanced coursework, clinical trial training, training in the responsible conduct of research, and advanced CAM detoxification methods training. During the independent phase of the award I will conduct the first randomized, controlled trial of a CAM detoxification protocol in healthy adults to determine if reduction of stored chemicals 1) can be achieved, 2) is well tolerated, and 3) results in improvement of physiologic function or quality of life. The short-term goal of this research is to obtain preliminary safety and efficacy data on detoxification. The long-term goal of this research, and the candidate, is to develop the collaborations and infrastructure necessary to conduct larger trials on CAM detoxification approaches to the prevention and treatment of environmentally-attributable diseases.

Public Health Relevance

Exposure to highly persistent, bioaccumulative, synthetic chemicals is ubiquitous. Emerging epidemiological data increasingly demonstrate strong associations between chemicals and diseases of enormous public health importance. Reducing this body burden may be a novel, yet incompletely understood method of prevention and treatment. This research will gather pilot data to fill this knowledge gap.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Career Transition Award (K99)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAT1-LD (28))
Program Officer
Glowa, John R
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Washington
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
United States
Zip Code
Allen, Jason; Bradley, Ryan D (2011) Effects of oral glutathione supplementation on systemic oxidative stress biomarkers in human volunteers. J Altern Complement Med 17:827-33
Allen, Jason; Montalto, Melissa; Lovejoy, Jennifer et al. (2011) Detoxification in naturopathic medicine: a survey. J Altern Complement Med 17:1175-80