In our environment and increasingly in today’s society, we are burdened by toxins and chemicals. Many of these toxins specifically disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system of the body. For women this is evident in hormonal imbalances, particularly oestrogen excess and increased PMS symptoms. Over time these toxins continue to build up in our bodies, and hence high amounts of toxicity can potentially be passed on to the baby during pregnancy and breast feeding, with toxic load increasing over the generations.
The Endocrine Disruptors
The toxins shown to disrupt hormones are Benzo(a)pyrene (PAH), Bisphenol A, Estradiol, Genistein, Lead, MSG, Nicotine, Organophosphate pesticides, PBDEs, PCBs, PFOA, Phthalates, and Tributyl Tin.
How endocrine disruptors affect fertility
It is important to note that the highest levels of these toxins are found in animal products. Over time the toxins in the environment build up in animals, and are further increased by added chemicals in their foods, medications etc. These toxins are readily transported via fats therefore animal milks and meats are the highest amount of toxins in our diets.
For those who are not vegan, it is therefore considerably more important to choose organic animal products than organic fruit and vegetables. Of course there are a multitude of benefits in eating organic fruit and veg, however you can considerably reduce your toxic load by choosing organic meat and dairy products as a minimum.
It is because of this affinity for toxins to be passed via fats, that we consider detoxification prior to conception. Alarmingly the levels of toxins found in breast milk can be very high. Breast milk remains the best option for feeding your baby for those who have that option as the benefits far outweigh the risks. Much can be done to dramatically reduce the toxic stores in your body and therefore the toxic load passed onto the baby both in pregnancy and in breast feeding.
The things you can do right now are:
• avoid any non organic skin care products
• avoid household cleaners and detergents which contain toxins
• make a move towards organic meats and dairy products
• choose organic fruit and veg or wash thoroughly
How a Naturopath can help
Under naturopathic supervision and guidance you can reduce the built up toxic load in your body safely and effectively. It is important to do this under qualified supervision so that you avoid simply shifting the toxins around your body (potentially making you very unwell) and you are in fact eliminating them completely.
A proper detox will not only remove toxins but establish good gut health and enhancing liver detoxification pathways for the long term, which will ensure that your body can continually keep up with environmental toxins.
How do I know I need a Detox?
I recommend a detox for every woman and man prior to conception, but there are other times when a person’s body may be signalling that it is overloaded and needs support.
Some signs of increased toxic load are:
• increased sensitivity (skin, gut, or sinuses) to smells, perfumes, foods, plants,
• fatigue, irritability
• difficulty shifting weight
• difficulty with concentration
• hair loss, skin changes
• temperature dysregulation (feeling overheated)
• increased sweating
• nutritional deficiencies
Other things you can do right away:
• adopt a chemical free home and diet
• ensure adequate water intake daily
• enjoy 3 serves of protein daily to ensure your body has the amino acids required to support detoxification pathways in the liver
• enjoy antioxidant foods such as berries, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables
• maintain gut health, keeping bowel movements adequate and regular
• steer clear of novelty, quick fix detoxes that aren’t conducted by a qualified Naturopath or Nutritionist as these may cause more harm than good in the long run.
Remember a detox needs to be tailored to the individual and consider all the factors necessary such as current conditions or health state, extra requirements, nutrient deficiencies, past history. A qualified Naturopath will be able to determine the exact liver pathway / pathways which need support or are in higher demand. Each pathway in phase 2 liver detoxification is designed to metabolise and excrete different substances (either hormones, metals, chemicals, medications, etc). It is then important to begin a detoxification program with a complete patient history gathering consult that documents past and current exposure to various toxins.
My name is Nadia and I am a qualified Naturopath, Herbalist and Nutritionist with a Bachelor of Health Science in Naturopathy. Naturopathy works to restore harmony and balance in the body/soul/mind by supporting the body’s innate ability to heal. For this reason, natural medicines, diet, nutrition and herbs need to be selected based on your body’s individual constitution and situation to ensure you work with rather than against this self healing ability.