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Phthalates and Heart Disease Risk

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Death by plastic. It is real. And more and more studies are being released to confirm my statement. One class of compounds in plastic is particularly nefarious: Phthalates. Tough name to spell and pronounce, but leads to high blood pressure, arterial disease, and inflammation/oxidative stress. 

Phthalates are used as plasticizers in the plastic industry. Here are the top 10 sources: 

Phthalates, a group of chemicals used to make plastics more durable and flexible, can be found in various everyday products. Here are the top 10 sources of human exposure to phthalates:

  1. Plastic Packaging: Food and beverage containers made from plastic can leach phthalates into the contents, especially when heated.
  2. Personal Care Products: Items such as shampoos, conditioners, lotions, perfumes, and cosmetics often contain phthalates to hold fragrance and color.
  3. Household Items: Vinyl flooring, wall coverings, and shower curtains are common sources of phthalates.
  4. Children’s Toys: Many plastic toys contain phthalates to make them flexible and durable.
  5. Medical Devices: IV tubing, blood bags, and other medical equipment often contain phthalates.
  6. Cleaning Products: Some cleaning agents and detergents use phthalates for fragrance.
  7. Food Products: Fatty foods like dairy, meat, and oils can contain phthalates from processing and packaging materials.
  8. Building Materials: Construction materials such as adhesives, sealants, and paints may contain phthalates.
  9. Automotive Products: Car interiors, including upholstery and dashboard materials, can be significant sources of phthalates.
  10. Electronics: Cables, wires, and other electronic components may have phthalate-containing plastic coatings.

Phthalates can leach into the environment and be absorbed by the human body, disrupting hormonal balance and potentially causing various health issues, including endocrine disruption.

Exposure and Absorption

Phthalates are not chemically bound to plastics, making them easily released into the environment during production, use, or disposal. Human exposure occurs through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal absorption. Studies show higher phthalate metabolite levels in women, likely due to greater use of personal care products, and higher levels in children, indicating greater susceptibility to environmental exposure.

DEHP, or Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, is one of the most commonly used phthalates. It is primarily used as a plasticizer to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other plastics more flexible and durable. 

Animal Studies

  1. Blood Pressure: Animal studies have shown that DEHP exposure can increase blood pressure (BP) in offspring, suggesting mechanisms involving reduced nitric oxide production and increased angiotensin II signaling.
  2. Atherosclerosis: Research in mice indicates that DEHP exposure increases oxidative stress and lipid abnormalities, promoting atherosclerosis.
  3. Cardiac Effects: Studies on mice and zebrafish demonstrate that phthalates can impair cardiac development and function, causing structural deformities and altered gene expression related to heart health.

Human Studies

  1. Blood Pressure: Limited studies in adults show mixed results, with some indicating DEHP’s role in increasing systolic BP. Studies in pregnant women and children suggest phthalates may contribute to hypertension and preeclampsia, though results are inconsistent.
  2. Atherosclerosis: Research indicates a potential link between phthalate exposure and atherosclerosis in humans, but data is limited.
  3. Cardiometabolic Risk: Phthalates are associated with increased cardiometabolic risk factors, such as insulin resistance and obesity, in both children and adults.

Mechanisms of Action

Phthalates may increase oxidative stress, disrupt lipid and glucose homeostasis, and interfere with androgen hormone production, contributing to metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular issues. In vitro studies suggest that phthalates like MEHP can induce apoptosis through reactive oxygen species (ROS) pathways, further implicating oxidative stress in their harmful effects.

Test, Don’t Guess

How do you know if you are high in plastic? Test for phthalates and BPA, that’s how. We offer a urine test that can be done at home, no blood draw, and no doctor’s note. 

Buy your test here that includes a free review with an NHD practitioner. 

If you have these chemicals, we will help come up with a plan to reduce your burden and reduce your risk of heart disease. 


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About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

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Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

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About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

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I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

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About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

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Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

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Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.


Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

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Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.