For many years now, I have encouraged my young female patients to go on a program under my guidance, to detoxify environmental chemicals, including phthalates and heavy metals before they conceive. I have now formalized this into what I call a Preconception Pregnancy Preparation Program. Many of my patients have gone through this program to help them have healthy babies.
For a long time now there has been shown to be a link between these environmental chemicals and neurological disorders that are epidemic now in children – autism spectrum disorder and ADHD.
Now a new study has just been published from Harvard University showing that “Women who live in areas with polluted air up to twice as likely to have an autistic child than those living in communities with cleaner air.” They looked at quite a few environmental airborne toxins including Mercury, diesel exhaust, lead, manganese, nickel and methylene chloride. 26 of the 180 pollutants had a significant association between exposure and autism rates.
Quite strikingly for Mercury and diesel, the mothers in the highest exposure group were TWICE as likely to have an autistic child.
Andrea Roberts, M.D. was the lead author of this study. She is quoted as saying “These things (pollutants) are neurotoxins and they can pass from the mother to the fetus while its still developing. And some of these chemicals can cause genetic mutations – the type associated with autism.”
Dr. Roberts said that her next research step would be to take blood samples from pregnant women or from babies to measure these pollutants.
My comment about this research is HOORAY! For years, environmental doctors have been telling their patients to avoid or minimize their environmental chemical exposures while pregnant. Now this article is bringing it to the forefront of everybody’s attention.
My patients, and probably my readers know I am especially concerned about the mercury that is coming from fish consumption into our bodies. This study, finding the highest link between mercury and autism, has overlooked the possible role of fish consumption by the woman during her pregnancy.
I advise all my patients not only clean up the Mercury before they conceive but to eat no fish while they are pregnant. Conventional medicine actually encourages pregnant women to eat low mercury fish so that they get the fish oils for the baby’s brain. This is such an easy problem to solve. All the woman has to do is take one or two fish oil pills a day which contain both EPA and DHA. Many prenatal vitamins now include the DHA that the baby requires for proper neurological development.
Integrative physicians have known the importance of DHA since the late 1990s. It has just been within the last year or two that prescription prenatal vitamins have started to add DHA.
To close this article I want to give a quote from Amy Kalkbrenner, MD, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She was not involved in this study but has done an earlier similar study. She stated “It’s the exposures very early in life that we’re concerned about. So by the time they’re diagnosed, it’s too late.”
Please tell your friends who are pregnant to stop eating fish and take the fish oil pills instead. This will minimize their new mercury exposure during pregnancy itself.
More about this in next week’s issue!