In last week’s issue of this newsletter, I discussed the increasing link between the environment and Autism. I promised you more this week. In this issue I want to talk about pregnancy and how our toxic environment can affect it. In this case, it is in regards to infertility
Infertility is on the rise. It is estimated that as many as one in six couples seeking to have a child still have trouble after one year of trying.
People think this trend is attributable to just later marriage and deferred childbearing. However for a long time I’ve been talking to my young patients about how environmental toxins including phyto-estrogens, drug residues, pesticides and other bioactive compounds in personal care products are interfering with fertility.
I’m delighted to learn that a new book has been written that addresses this very subject. The title of the book is Be Fruitful: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Fertility and Giving Birth to a Healthy Child by Victoria Maizes M.D. who is the executive director of the University of Arizona Center for integrative medicine.
and on Kindle here
A direct quote from the author sounds like just what I say to my patients. She said “Avoiding fruits and vegetables that have been sprayed with toxic pesticides, foods grown with GMO’s, and packaged foods containing ingredients that originate from GMO’s, and processed foods should be at the top of the list to do when trying to conceive.”
We know for example that organophosphates which are the type of pesticides used by the food industry on fruits and vegetables, are endocrine disruptors. One study has found the main compound of Roundup herbicide, glyphosate, is not only interfering with human reproductive function but also increasing the number of birth defects in vertebrates, contributing to stillbirths and miscarriages.
The author notes that “The direct effect of glyphosate on early mechanisms of morphogenesis in vertebrate embryos opens concerns about the clinical findings from human offspring in populations exposed to glyphosate-based herbicides in agricultural fields.”
In addition, over a decade ago, Canadian researchers published a study showing that exposure to this toxic herbicide increased the risk of spontaneous abortion among female agricultural workers who are exposed to glyphosate.
And yet glyphosate is just one of the 84,000 known toxins in our environment. Only a few thousand have been studied in regards to their effect on human biology.
Dr. Maizes agrees with my advice to my young patients who are wanting to have children “An organic diet is the best way to increase your ability to conceive. Eating organic grains, fruits, and vegetables, washing them with filtered water, and avoiding GMOs are very important factors in a person’s fertility.”
Dr. Maizes also advises that patients avoid low-fat foods because they are usually heavily processed and no longer “whole” foods.
In addition Dr. Amos Grunebaum, a gynecologist with over 30 years experience with high – risk pregnancies, had the following to say about environmental toxins: “There is now scientific evidence that environmental toxins such as pesticides and exogenous hormones are potentially interfering with fertility in the United States. Research shows that male and female reproductive health is especially susceptible to the impact of these chemicals.”
Dr. Grunebaum also recommends avoiding canned foods unless the can has a BPA – free liner. Phthalates and personal care products and BPA are significant endocrine disruptors.
You can find a guide to canned products rated for likelihood of containing BPA at this website.
You can also get your personal care products evaluated at the Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep Cosmetics Database at this site.
I want all my patients and readers to know that we now have the technology to measure the amount of pesticides, BPA, and heavy metals, and phthalates, in your body before you try to conceive.