Have you noticed adverse health reactions to everyday chemicals like paint, car exhaust, laundry detergent, air fresheners, perfumes, or cleaning solutions? These reactions might be more common than you think and could indicate a condition known as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).

Prevalence of MCS

You might be experiencing Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), a condition more prevalent than many realize. This condition is rapidly increasing, poorly understood by mainstream doctors, and often misdiagnosed. In 2018, statistics showed that 6.5% of Australians had been diagnosed with MCS, and 18.9% reported being sensitive to chemicals. This significant number highlights the need for better awareness and understanding of MCS.

Common Symptoms of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)

People with MCS often suffer from a range of symptoms, including:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Agitation
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Trembling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Muscle and joint pains

Symptoms typically arise suddenly when exposed to triggers and improve when away from the source. The unpredictability and variety of these symptoms make it challenging for sufferers to manage their daily lives and can lead to significant distress.

Causes of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)

My clinical understanding of MCS attributes it to an overload of detoxification pathways due to prolonged exposure to chemicals or other factors that burden these pathways. Mould and chronic infections are the most common factors in my practice.

Here are some common sources of everyday chemicals:

  • Air pollutants
  • Cleaning products
  • Hair products
  • Building materials
  • MDF furniture
  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Synthetic hormones

These elements overwhelm the body’s natural detoxification processes, creating a toxic burden that is an underlying cause of many chronic conditions. Additionally, some individuals have genetic variations in detox genes that significantly slow the removal of harmful substances from the body. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) such as CBS, GSTM1, GSTT1, GSTP1, NAT2, CYP1A1, and MTHFR can play a role.

My own MCS developed through a combination of occupational exposure, poor lifestyle, and multiple SNPs in detoxification genes. After seven years of working with extremely toxic chemicals, I became sensitive to everyday chemicals that had never bothered me before.

Living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)

Living with MCS is challenging. The condition not only brings debilitating physical symptoms but also leads to significant lifestyle changes. Sufferers often face isolation, career limitations, and being labeled as difficult individuals. The social implications can be just as overwhelming as the physical ones, affecting mental health and overall well-being. Everyday activities become a struggle, and the constant vigilance required to avoid triggers adds an additional layer of stress.

Treatment Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)

Mainstream medicine does not recognize MCS. There is no test to confirm its presence, which adds to the suffering of those affected. The lack of recognition and appropriate treatment options often leads to frustration and hopelessness. However, from a naturopathic perspective, MCS can be greatly improved and well-managed. A degree of sensitivity to chemicals often remains, but this can serve as a protective mechanism, signaling the body to avoid harmful exposures.

Ways to Help MCS





  • Minimize chemicals in the home: cleaning products, air fresheners, synthetic carpets, synthetic furnishings, toxic paints, and bedding materials.
  • Address mold in the house, which blocks detox pathways and exacerbates MCS.


  • Eat organic, grass-fed, free-range foods.
  • Avoid commercially grown vegetables, additives, flavorings, and packaging.


  • Use at least a charcoal filter. Ideally, invest in a quality filtration system for pure water.


  • Wear natural fibers and use natural washing detergents. Check the washing machine for mold.


  • Avoid them if possible, as they can contribute to the toxic load.


  • Use practitioner-only products, as commercial vitamins often contain high amounts of chemicals.

Treatment Strategies for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Elimination Support

Supporting the body’s elimination channels is crucial. Ensuring that the colon, kidneys, lungs, skin, and lymphatic system are functioning optimally is essential for excreting waste.

Optimizing Detoxification

Liver detoxification is particularly important, focusing on pathways such as methylation, glutathionation, and glucuronidation. People with MCS often have SNPs affecting these pathways, so optimizing their function through nutraceuticals can improve chemical processing.

The diagram below provides an excellent summary of liver metabolic pathways, their roles in detoxifying various chemicals, and how they can be supported through nutritional and herbal medicine.

A word of advice: if you suffer from severe toxicity, proceed slowly with detoxification and begin with elimination to avoid worsening your symptoms.


Homeopathic Remedies and Binders

Homeopathic drainage remedies and binders help remove toxins from the body. Binders can capture and remove harmful substances, reducing the overall toxic burden. Cholagogues, which stimulate bile flow, are also beneficial in enhancing liver function and detoxification.

Sauna and Sweating

Regular sauna use promotes sweating, which is a natural way to expel toxins. Infrared saunas are particularly effective, as they penetrate deeper into tissues and encourage more profound detoxification.

Coffee Enemas and Lymphatic Drainage

Coffee enemas support liver detoxification by increasing the production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. Lymphatic drainage techniques, such as manual lymphatic drainage massage, help to remove toxins from the lymphatic system and reduce the overall toxic load. Lear more about incredible benefits of lymphatic drainage https://healthyflow.com.au/lymphatic-drainage/


MCS is more prevalent than you think and is on the rise. Awareness is a significant step towards managing this condition. While it’s possible to live asymptomatically and improve the quality of life by decreasing exposure and optimizing the body’s excretions, healing is not linear. It’s a rollercoaster of flares and reactions to supplements. Always consult your healthcare practitioner for personalized advice and treatment options.

By understanding MCS and adopting comprehensive management strategies, those affected can lead healthier, more balanced lives despite the challenges of this condition.

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