Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fertility Foes: 6 Things You'll Wish You Didn't Know

I’ve written often about the fact that our environment and what we eat affect our health, profoundly. The more I research, the more I learn about harmful substances in either our food or environment or way of living, and often I’m hit with the sensation, “Oh, geese, I wish I didn’t know that.” But of course, knowledge gives us power to make informed choices; we just need to  pay attention and take action when and where we can– for ourselves and our environment.

So here’s a list of things I (almost) wish I didn’t know:

1) That plastic water bottle you're drinking from leaches hormone-disrupting chemicals into the natural, purified water it contains. That’s right, a 2009 study out of Germany raised concerns about the safety of those bottles, which you can read up on here. Not good for reproduction. Choose to drink your water from a stainless steal container instead. Since we're talking about plastics... know that most plastic products show a number on the bottom indicating the type of plastic used. According to Dr. Greene, you're going to want to avoid those with the #3, #6 and #7

2) Dioxins, which are chemical contaminants resulting from industrial processes, find their way into our air, soil and water. They accumulate in the fatty tissues of animals, such as cows, and there isn't a darn thing organic farming methods can do about that. So if you eat meat, eat it organic and lean.

3) As many as 97% of Americans have detectable levels of the flame retardant chemicals, Polyprominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, in their blood. These chemicals can be found in materials such as the foam in seat cushions, plastics that coat kitchen appliances and computers, and television sets. Now that's just crazy! Go here to read more.

4) Trisocan, a chemical added to many personal care products for its antibacterial action, has been found to interfere with hormones crucial for normal brain development and function and reproductive system development in animal studies. More information at WebMD, including how to avoid such products.

5) Nail polish is the worst “hormone disruptor” of all cosmetic products out there. Ladies – avoid while trying to conceive. Nail polish contains phthalates, and, according to Dr. Greene's book, Perfect Hormone Balance for Fertility, can cause an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen that can boost the growth of errant endometrial cells. Sadly, phthalates are used in a large variety of products. Try and go for green or safe cosmetics too. Here's one option: Generation to Generation Pregnancy.

6) The long-term negative impact of pollutants and poor diet (with too many over-processed foods) and stressful, unhealthy lifestyles on the body can cross generations, meaning your child will be less healthy than you, and her child even less healthy. I wrote about this in a previous blog. For more info, also look into the fascinating topic of hormonal imprinting. It's so important to eat right when trying to conceive, and while growing that embryo!

All of this may be scary to hear, I know, but as mentioned, knowledge is power. We can turn things around for ourselves and for future generations, by the choices we make.

Wishing you much health!

Upcoming blogs will include a guest blog from Karen Reynolds, MS, LAc, RN, who is on our advisory board, writing about thyroid and wheat  and fertility. I'll also be writing about my visit with Paul Turek, MD, of the Turek Clinic in San Francisco and the whole fascinating male perspective on infertility. I will also be including a long overdue review of a beautiful, effective mind-body product from Circle+Bloom, which I can't wait to share with you.

photo by: