Foods, Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Vitamin K2 Foods Benefit Cardiovascular Health

Vitamin K2 Foods Benefit

Cardiovascular Health

 

Vitamin K2 - Dr. Axe

 

Full-fat cheeses, eggs and beef liver might not be the types of foods that come to mind when you think about eating a heart-healthy diet. But, you’d probably be surprised to know that in recent years, one of the most researched nutrients in the field of cardiovascular health has been vitamin K2, found in these very foods.

What are the benefits of vitamin K2? While vitamin K1 has the important role of preventing blood clots and bleeding disorders, K2 works differently.

According to a 2019 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, K2 benefits include helping with nutrient assimilation, growth in infants and children, fertility, brain function, and bone and dental health. Unfortunately many people don’t get enough of this type from their diets.

Something that makes vitamin K unique (both types: K1 and K2) is that it’s not usually taken in supplement form. K2 seems to be much more beneficial when obtained naturally from vitamin K foods.

Unlike vitamin K1, which is mostly found in plant foods like leafy greens, you get K2 from animal-derived foods, like grass-fed meats, raw/fermented cheeses and eggs. It’s also produced by the beneficial bacteria in your gut microbiome.

What Is Vitamin K2?

While we hear the most about vitamin K1 and K2, there are actually a bunch of different compounds that fall into the “vitamin K” category. Vitamin K1 is also known as phylloquinone, while K2 is known as menaquinone.

Compared to many other vitamins, the roles and health benefits of vitamin K2 were only recently discovered. What does vitamin K2 help with? It has many functions in the body, but the most important is helping the body to use calcium and preventing calcification of the arteries, which can lead to heart disease. Emerging studies show a lack of this vitamin is also associated with diseases including osteoporosis.

If there’s one thing that we need K2 for, it’s preventing calcium from building up in the wrong locations, specifically in soft tissues. Low intake of vitamin K2 can contribute to plaque building in the arteries, tartar forming on the teeth, and hardening of tissues that causes arthritis symptoms, bursitis, reduced flexibility, stiffness and pain.

Some evidence also suggests that K2 has anti-inflammatory properties and may offer some protection against cancer, including research published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism.

What the difference between vitamin K2 and MK7? K2 is a group of menaquinones compounds, which are abbreviated as “MK.” MK7 is one type of menaquinones that is responsible for many of the benefits attributed to vitamin K2. MK4 has been the focus of many vitamin K2 studies, but other types like MK7 and MK8 also have unique abilities.

Vitamin K2 vs. Vitamin K1

  • There’s some evidence that people tend to get about 10 times more vitamin K1 (or phylloquinone) from their diets than vitamin K2 (menaquinone). Vitamin K1 deficiency is very rare, even said to be “almost nonexistent,” while K2 deficiency is much more common.
  • A growing body of research now demonstrates that vitamins K1 and K2 are not only different forms of the same vitamin, but basically operate like different vitamins all together.
  • Vitamin K1 is more abundant in foods but less bioactive than the vitamin K2. 
  • Vitamin K2 from animal foods is more active in humans. This doesn’t mean that plant foods that provide K1 are unhealthy, just that they are not the best dietary sources of bioavailable vitamin K2.
  • When we eat foods with K1, vitamin K1 mostly makes it to the liver and then the bloodstream once converted. K2, on the other hand, gets distributed to bones and other tissues more easily.
  • Vitamin K1 is very important for supporting blood clotting, but not as good at protecting the bones and teeth as K2.

 

 

Uses

What is vitamin k2 used for? Here are some of the major benefits and uses associated with this vitamin:

1. Helps Regulate Use of Calcium

One of the most important jobs that vitamin K2 has is controlling where calcium accumulates in the body. Vitamin K2 benefits the skeleton, heart, teeth and nervous system by helping regulate use of calcium, especially in the bones, arteries and teeth.

The “calcium paradox” is a common term for the realization by medical professionals that supplementing with calcium can somewhat reduce the risk of osteoporosis but then increases the risk of heart disease. Why does this happen? Vitamin K2 deficiency!

K2 works closely with vitamin D3 to helps inhibit osteoclasts, which are cells responsible for bone resorption.

The Vitamin D and calcium relationship is important, as vitamin D helps transport calcium from the intestines as it digests into the bloodstream. Unfortunately, vitamin D’s job is done at that point. Next, vitamin K2 must activate one of its dependent proteins, osteocalcin. Research shows it then takes calcium out of the bloodstream and deposits it into bones and teeth.

For the best overall health benefits, it’s important to get enough calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K. Depending on your age, health and diet, you may need to take a vitamin D3 supplement, and possibly other supplements, too.

Vitamin K2 is essential for the function of several proteins in addition to osteocalcin, which is why it helps with growth and development. For example, it’s involved in the maintenance of structures of the arterial walls, osteoarticular system, teeth and the regulation of cell growth.

2. Protects the Cardiovascular System

Vitamin K2 is one of the best vitamins for men because it offers protection against heart-related problems, including atherosclerosis (stiffening of the arteries), which are the leading causes of death in many developed countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year more than half of deaths due to heart disease are in men.

A 2015 report published in the Integrative Medicine Clinician’s Journal explains that

Vitamin K2 is associated with the inhibition of arterial calcification and arterial stiffening. An adequate intake of vitamin K2 has been shown to lower the risk of vascular damage because it activates matrix GLA protein (MGP), which inhibits the deposits of calcium on the walls.

The Rotterdam Study, a very large study done in the Netherlands that followed more than 4,800 adult men, found that the highest intake of vitamin K2 was associated with the lowest chances of suffering from aortic calcification. Men who consumed the most K2 were found to have a 52 percent lower risk of severe aortic calcification and a 41 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease.

The men in the study with the highest K2 intake also benefited from a 51 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease, and a 26 percent lower risk of dying from any cause (total mortality).

A 2017 study found that this vitamin was associated with a 12 percent increase in maximal cardiac output and that supplementation seemed to improve cardiovascular function in diseased patients. It seems to do this by restoring mitochondrial function and playing a “key role in production of mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate” (ATP).

3. Supports Bone and Dental Health

For decades, vitamin K was known to be important for blood coagulation — but only recently human studies have uncovered how it support bone health and protect against vascular diseases, too.

According to a 2017 article published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, “K2 may be a useful adjunct for the treatment of osteoporosis, along with vitamin D and calcium.”

Another 2015 meta-analysis supports the hypothesis that “vitamin K2 plays kind of a role in the maintenance and improvement of vertebral bone mineral density and the prevention of fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.”

K2 benefits the skeletal system by taking calcium and helping usher it into bones and teeth to make them solid and strong. A number of animal and human studies have investigated whether or not vitamin K2 can be useful for helping prevent or treat fractures, osteoporosis and bone loss.

Certain clinical studies have found that K2 slows the rate of bone loss in adults and even helps increase bone mass, plus it may reduce risk of hip fractures and vertebral fractures in older women.

K2 can enhance osteocalcin accumulation in the extracellular matrix of osteoblasts inside bones, meaning it promotes bone mineralization. A 2018 review reports that there is also evidence to support the effects of vitamin k2 on differentiation of other mesenchymal stem cells into osteoblasts.

Additionally, it helps maintain the structure of the teeth and jaws. Many traditional cultures included K2 foods in their diets because they believed it could help prevent cavities, tooth decay and plaque formation. This impact was observed in the 1930s by dentist Weston A. Price, who found that the primitive cultures with K2-rich diets had strong, healthy teeth although they’d never been exposed to western dental hygiene.

It turns out that getting plenty of K2 during pregnancy is also important for fetal growth and bone health. During fetal development, having limited osteocalcin proteins activated (which require vitamin K2) equates to undergrowth of the lower third of the facial bone and jaw structure. Some experts believe this is the reason so many children in modern society need braces.

4. May Protect From Cancer

Some research shows that those who have high amounts of K2 in their diet are at lower risk of developing some types of cancers. For example, vitamin K2 may help to protect specifically from leukemia, prostate, lung, and liver cancers.

5. Defends From Rheumatoid Arthritis Damage

In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, supplementing with vitamin K2 has been shown to result in a slowdown of bone mineral density loss and to decrease the amount of RANKL, an inflammatory compound, in the blood of subjects.

This suggests that K2 might be a useful supplement to a rheumatoid arthritis diet.

6. Improves Hormonal Balance

Inside our bones, K2 can be used to produce osteocalcin hormone, which has positive metabolic and hormonal effects.

Fat-soluble vitamins are important for the production of reproductive/sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. Because of its hormonal-balancing effects, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and postmenopausal women can benefit from getting more K2 in their diets, according to recent studies.

K2 can also helps promote blood sugar balance and insulin sensitivity, which can reduce the risk for metabolic problems like diabetes and obesity. Some research suggests that K2 helps regulate glucose metabolism by modulating osteocalcin and/or proinflammatory pathways.

7. Helps Promote Kidney Health

K2 may benefit the kidneys by helping prevent the formation of calcium accumulation in the wrong places, the underlying cause of kidney stones. It may also do the same for other organs, too, including the gallbladder.

In addition, a lack of K2 and vitamin D has been associated in studies with a higher occurrence of kidney disease.

Foods

What foods are high in vitamin k2? Vitamin K1 is found in mostly vegetables, while K2 is found in mostly animal products or fermented foods.

K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin, so it’s present in animal foods that also contain fat, specifically saturated fat and cholesterol.

Animals help transform vitamin K1 into K2, while humans do not have the necessary enzyme to do this efficiently. This is why we benefit from getting K2 directly from animal-derived foods — and why sticking to grass-fed animal products provides the most K2.

The 20 best vitamin K2 foods include (percentages based on daily value requirement of 120 micrograms):

  1. Natto: 1 ounce: 313 micrograms (261 percent DV)
  2. Beef liver: 1 slice: 72 micrograms (60 percent DV)
  3. Chicken, especially dark meat: 3 ounces: 51 mcg (43 percent DV)
  4. Goose liver pate: 1 tablespoon: 48 micrograms (40 percent DV)
  5. Hard cheeses (such as Gouda, Pecorino Romano, Gruyere, etc.): 1 ounce: 25 micrograms (20 percent DV)
  6. Jarlsberg cheese: 1 slice: 22 micrograms (19 percent DV)
  7. Soft cheeses: 1 ounce: 17 mcg (14 percent DV)
  8. Blue cheese: 1 ounce: 10 micrograms (9 percent DV)
  9. Ground beef: 3 ounces: 8 micrograms (7 percent DV)
  10. Goose meat: 1 cup: 7 micrograms (6 percent DV)
  11. Egg yolk, specifically from grass-fed chickens: 5.8 micrograms (5 percent DV)
  12. Beef kidneys/organ meat: 3 ounces: 5 mcg (4 percent DV)
  13. Duck breast: 3 ounces: 4.7 micrograms (4 percent DV)
  14. Sharp cheddar cheese: 1 ounce: 3.7 micrograms (3 percent DV)
  15. Chicken liver (raw or pan-fried): 1 ounce: 3.6 micrograms (3 percent DV)
  16. Whole milk: 1 cup: 3.2 micrograms (3 percent DV)
  17. Canadian bacon/cured ham: 3 ounces: 3 micrograms (2 percent DV)
  18. Grass-fed butter: 1 tablespoon: 3 micrograms (2 percent DV)
  19. Sour cream: 2 tablespoons: 2.7 micrograms (2 percent DV)
  20. Cream cheese: 2 tablespoons: 2.7 micrograms (2 percent DV)

The more vitamin K1 an animal consumes from its diet, the higher the level of K2 that will be stored in the tissues. This is the reason that “grass-fed” and “pastured-raised” animal products are superior to products that come from factory farm raised animals.

Going back to the fact that vitamin K2 comes in several forms, MK7 is found in the highest concentration in animal foods, while the other types are found in mostly fermented foods. MK4 is the synthetic form of K2.

For those following a vegan diet, K2 can be hard to come by — unless you love natto! This “stinky sock” fermented soy food is an acquired taste and is also the only vegan source of K2. Fortunately, it’s also the richest source (and the food used to make the type of K2 supplement I recommend).

 

Dosage

How much vitamin k2 do you need each day?

The minimum daily requirement of K2 in adults is between 90–120 micrograms per day.

  • Some experts recommend getting about 150 to 400 micrograms daily, ideally from K2 foods as opposed to dietary supplements.
  • Overall it’s recommended to tailor your dosage depending on your current health.  People with a higher risk of heart disease or bone loss (such as older women) may benefit from getting a dose on the higher end of the spectrum (200 micrograms or more).
  • Those looking to maintain their health can get a bit less, especially from supplements, such as around 100 micrograms.

Is it beneficial to take vitamin K dietary supplements?

If you take a supplement that contains vitamin K, the chances are very likely that it’s vitamin K1 but not K2.

While some newer K2 supplements are now available, the type of supplement matters greatly.

  • MK4, the form of K2 found in many vitamin K supplements, is a synthetic K2 with a short half-life. This means that to get the full benefit of it, you have to take it multiple times throughout the day.
  • Often, an MK4 serving size is thousands of micrograms to counteract the half-life of the compound. However, MK7 derived from natto has a much longer half-life and can be taken in more reasonable doses like those listed above.

Remember that vitamin K works with other fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A and D, so the best way to obtain these nutrients is to eat foods that provide many different vitamins — like eggs and raw, full-fat dairy products.

Particularly for those at risk of osteoporosis, calcium should also be a nutrient you aim to eat a lot of while increasing your K2 intake.

Deficiency Symptoms

What happens if you get too little vitamin K?

Symptoms of vitamin K2 deficiency can include:

  • Blood vessel and heart-related problems, like arterial calcification and high blood pressure
  • Poor bone metabolism and possibly higher risk for bone loss and hip fractures
  • Kidney and gallstones
  • Cavities and other dental issues tied to tooth decay
  • Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, like bloody stool, indigestion and diarrhea
  • Poor blood sugar balance and higher risk for blood sugar issues and diabetes
  • Metabolic problems
  • Higher chance of having morning sickness in pregnant women
  • Spider veins/varicose veins

Among adults living in industrialized nations, deficiency in this vitamin is considered to be rare. However, newborn babies and infants are much more susceptible to deficiency due to how their digestive systems lack the ability to produce K2.

Adults are at a greater risk of developing vitamin K2 deficiency if they suffer from any of these health conditions:

  • Diseases that affect the digestive tract, including types of inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or celiac disease
  • Malnutrition, due to calorie restriction or poverty
  • Excessive alcohol consumption/alcoholism
  • Use of drugs that block K2 absorption, which can include antacids, blood thinners, antibiotics, aspirin, cancer treatment drugs, seizure medication and high cholesterol drugs — cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and certain osteoporosis drugs inhibit the conversion of K2, which can greatly lower levels
  • Prolonged vomiting and/or diarrhea

Risks and Side Effects

Is too much vitamin K2 bad for you? While it’s rare to experience side effects or vitamin k2 toxicity from getting high amounts from food alone, you might develop symptoms if you take high doses of vitamin K supplements.

However, for most people even high doses of this vitamin, such as 15 milligrams three times a day, have been shown to generally be safe.

Are there potential drug interactions to worry about? If you’re someone who takes the drug Coumadin, a potential side effect associated with taking too much vitamin K is increasing your risk for heart-related problems.

Too much vitamin K can also also contribute to complications in people with blood clotting disorders.

Look for a supplement that specifically lists menaquinone if you plan to supplement. Because vitamin K supplements can interact with many medications, talk to your doctor if you plan to take a vitamin K supplement and are taking any daily medications.

Final Thoughts

  • Vitamin K2 (also called menaquinone) is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps with calcium metabolism, bone and dental health, heart health, and hormone balance.
  • Vitamin K1 is found in mostly green vegetables, while vitamin K2 (the more bioavailable form) is found in mostly animal products or fermented foods.
  • Benefits of getting more vitamin K2 from your diet include: helping to reduce your risk for calcification of the arteries, atherosclerosis, cavities, tooth decay, kidney problems, and hormonal imbalances.
  • This vitamin seems to be much more beneficial when obtained naturally from foods high in vitamin K2, rather than supplements. Consuming raw, fermented cheeses and other full-fat dairy products is the best way to get adequate amounts. Eggs, liver and dark meats are other good sources.

 

Remember we are in this together!

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

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Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Food and Drinks to Avoid if You Have Uterine Fibroids

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS – Telehealth

 

Food and Drinks to Avoid if You Have Uterine Fibroids

 

While there is no foolproof way to avoiding fibroids, balancing one’s hormone levels has been known to assist in management of this common, benign condition. Hormones, particularly estrogen, are one of the leading causes of new fibroid development and growth.

What to Avoid

Foods for fibroids

If you are trying to manage your fibroids and maintain or shrink their current size, balancing your hormones naturally is a great first step. Your diet has a strong influence on your hormone levels, which is why it’s one of the first (and easiest) areas to apply changes.

 

For best results in managing your fibroids, try restricting the following food and drinks from your diet:

  • High-Fat, Processed Meats – Red processed meat is known to be high in added hormones, particularly estrogen.
  •  Dairy Products – Conventional dairy can contain high levels of steroids, hormones, and other chemicals that promote inflation.
  • Foods High in Salt – Highly salted foods are hard on your liver, which is the organ that is most responsible for removing toxins and balancing hormones.
  • Refined Carbohydrates – White foods such as pasta, white bread, white rice, cakes, and cookies have been known to alter estrogen levels, causing fibroids to increase in size.
  • Refined Sugar – High consumption of sugar can result in inflammation and weight gain; there is an association between weight gain and hormone imbalance.
  • Caffeine – Too much caffeine puts additional stress on your liver, discouraging the organ from working the way it should (think: balancing hormones!)
  • Alcohol – Over-consumption of alcohol can lead to inflammation of the body and reduced immune function. Reducing or eliminating alcohol can help promote a healthy balance of hormones.

Best Foods to Eat For Fibroids

This may feel like quite the restriction on your diet, however there are many options for substitutes in this dietary change. The following foods can help you manage your fibroids:

  • Organic foods
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Beta-carotene rich foods (such as carrots and sweet potatoes)
  • Food high in iron (such as grass-fed beef and legumes)
  • Flaxseeds
  • Whole grains

Supplements may also help shrink or maintain fibroid size. Vitex, fish oil, and B-complex are a few supplements that have been known for creating a better hormone balance. Be sure to speak with your physician before introducing new supplements into your diet.

When Your Diet Isn’t Enough to Control Your Fibroids

Your diet and lifestyle can only do so much in your attempt to manage your fibroids. If you suffer from common fibroid symptoms such as heavy periods, bloating, frequent urination, constipation, and pelvic pain, Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) may be the next best option.

Call or write to us about your supplements you are taking, but you should be taking castor oil.   YEP!

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Restorative and Preventative Medicine

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Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Foods that Balance Hormones in Women

preparingfoods

Foods That Balance Hormones in Females

 

Here’s our top list of foods that help to balance hormones in females.Make sure you include at least 3 items from the list mention below in your daily diet.

 

  1. Whey Protein

 

Apart from giving your body a dose of protein, whey protein happens to be a wonderful source of tryptophan, which helps reduce stress and anxiety felt by the body by increasing your serotonin levels.

 

  1. Flaxseeds

Rich in compounds like phytoestrogen and lignans, flaxseeds not only help maintain your hormonal levels but also fight against cancers like colon, prostrate and breast.

 

  1. Avocados

 

Avocados are hands down one of the best foods that balance hormones in females. Listed below are some of their many wonderful properties:

 

They balance the production of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.

They lower blood cholesterol levels due to the presence of beta-sitosterol in them (avocados).

They help increase the production of a hormone called DHEA, which is produced by the adrenal gland.

  1. Green Tea

 

Green tea contains a naturally occurring compound known as theanine, which inhibits the release of cortisol. This in turn keeps your stress and anxiety levels to a minimum. Do not take this if you have and blood pressure , cardiac, sleep disorders or are pregnant.

 

  1. Coconut Oil

Try and opt for coconut oil as your cooking medium. Don’t believe stories that it’s bad for your heart. Quite the opposite – not only does it work wonders for your hormonal levels, but also keeps your blood sugar under control, increases your immunity, helps with weight loss and improves your metabolism.

 

 

  1. Broccoli

 

Broccoli contains high amounts of isothiocyanates, including indole-3-carbinol, which makes broccoli an excellent option for keeping your hormones under control. How? Well, they help your body in breaking down harmful metabolites that otherwise encourage the growth of tumors, especially in your breast area, which also happens to be sensitive to estrogen. Apart from broccoli, veggies like kale, Brussel sprouts and cauliflower give you the same benefits as broccoli does.

 

  1. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are one of the best sources of omega-3 out there, as well as fiber. Apart from lowering your blood sugar levels, these seeds help you with your blood pressure and insulin levels as well. When it comes to foods that balance hormones in females, none is as versatile as chia seeds – you can add them to practically any food item, whip up a new dish, and consume it on the go!

 

  1. Organic Apples

 

Did you know that continued consumption of apples reduces not only your chances of developing medical problems (osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer), but also help keep Type 2 Diabetes in control? It is all thanks to the flavonoid quercetin present in apples, which happen to be naturally occurring antihistamines. Apples also, you know, contain Phytoestrogens, which are more commonly known as plant derived estrogen.

 

  1. Chaste Berry

 

By stimulating the pituitary gland, chaste berries mimic the effect that progesterone has on the human body. It helps in the regulation of progesterone and estrogen production in your body, which is why it’s considered to be a great natural remedy for the treatment of problems related to PMS.

 

Other Ways to Naturally Balance Hormones in Females

Apart from consuming foods that balance hormones in females,here are other things you can take care of to maintain a healthy balance of hormones inside your body:

 

  1. Making Changes in Your Food Habits

 

These are all pretty standard and obvious things, but they still need to be said:

 

Eat 4-5 small meals instead of 3 big ones.

Eat smaller portions of food.

Include green veggies and fresh fruits in your diet. If fresh fruits aren’t an option, then stock up on frozen fruits.

Packaged foods/meals are a big no.

Drink lots of water. Never skimp on it.

Eat food at regular intervals.

Never skip your breakfast.

Maintain a meal diary to see where you’re over eating, and where you’re lagging.

  1. Use Herbs as Condiments

 

Just make sure you’re opting for phytoestrogenic herbs, as they contain compounds that are high in estrogen. When consumed, they lower your body’s pressure of producing more estrogen by providing the aid hormone directly to your body via food.

 

  1. Limit Your Caffeine and Alcohol Intake

 

Apart from having diuretic properties (aka making you dehydrated), such drinks provide an instant boost to your mind and body at a cost – by permanently changing the way your brain uses your body’s hormones. Plus, drinking alcohol heavily leads to an overproduction of estrogen by your body.

 

  1. Exercise Regularly

Why? Because your body releases endorphins ie the happy hormones when you work out, and true to their name, these endorphins help instantly lift your mood and make you feel better. They also keep your cortisol levels (a hormone known to increase stress) at bay.

 

  1. Other Tips

 

Increase vitamins and minerals in your diet. Vitamins like Zinc, B6, magnesium and vitamin D help your body maintain healthy hormone levels.

Have a regular sleep cycle. This will help restore your hormonal cycles by allowing your body to function normally, so much so that you don’t have to completely be dependent on foods that balance hormones in females.

 

 

Call us if you need a personalized healthcare plan.  No one is like any other person, we are all unique, and have our own DNA.  Females should not eat the same foods, or some types of food as men.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

 

Archived

 

Patricia Carrothers

 

Dir. Personalized Healthcare and Preventative Medicine

 

312-972-9355

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Top Five Warning Signs That Your Young Adult Might be in Trouble

top-five-warning-signs

Top Five Warning Signs that

Your Child/ Young Adult is in Trouble

 

What causes people to make choices that could destroy their future, and why do they give

in to peer pressure? Could your child be headed down a dangerous path? Heed the

following warning signs:

 #1 warning sign: Isolates from the family.

 

If your once social child/ adult  starts spending an inordinate amount of time away

from home or locked in his or her room, this is a red flag. If your child/young adult  starts withdrawing from you or your spouse, there’s a reason. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to identify what’s behind the change.

 

 

 

 

#2 warning sign: An extreme shift in mood.

 

Is your child/ young adult  garrulous and friendly one moment, then taciturn and angry the

next? Don’t just chalk it up to growing pains.  he or she may be hanging out with the wrong crowd,

or experiencing changes — hormonally, neurologically or socially.

One thing to do is not to let it just go, because they get bigger, they get stronger,

they get more rebellious. It’s never too late.

 

 #3 warning sign: He or she starts abusing drugs or alcohol.

 

Young adults often start experimenting with drugs and/or alcohol unbeknownst to their folks.

If you suspect your child is using drugs, know the signs to look for.

 

 #4 warning sign: Family history of alcoholism and drug abuse.

 

There clearly is a higher incidence with teens if they’ve had this history in their family.

Maybe it’s genetic; maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s just that the modeling is there.

 

 #5 warning sign: Taking risks.

 

Don’t chalk your young adult truancy, vandalism or petty theft up to boys being boys, or kids never grow up. When your family member just seems to throw caution to the wind, not care about consequences — all around bad sign, It indicates a number of things, one of which is that they don’t have the ability to connect their choices with their consequences.

 

Other

warning signs to look out for:

 

Declining grades, using street or drug language, a diminished interest in hobbies and a

lack of appreciation for family values.

 

You can’t be in denial about what’s going on. Don’t kid yourself that these bad

things just happen to other people’s kids. Know what’s going on with your

child. Make sure they understand the consequences of their actions.

Make sure they’re living consistent with the values you hold so important.

 

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article

P Carrothers- PM

 

312-972- WELL  (9355)

 

Health and Disease, Uncategorized

A Tiny Does of This Can Protect Against Cancer, MS, and Depression

melatonin

A Tiny Dose of This Can Help Protect Against Cancer, MS, and Depression

 

How Melatonin May Benefit Depression, Autoimmune Disorders, and Cancer

 

The hormone melatonin plays many important roles in your health, from helping you sleep better to strengthening your immune system, slowing down brain aging, reducing migraine attacks, protecting bone mass, and preventing cancer.

 

Lack of sun exposure during the day combined with artificial lighting late into the night disrupts your biological clock and hence, your melatonin production, and this disruption can provoke a number of adverse health effects.

 

In fact, melatonin has been the subject of preclinical research on over 100 different disease applications, many of which go hand in hand with your need for sleep.

 

Melatonin for Sleep and Beyond

 

Your master biological clock resides in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of your brain (SCN), which is part of your hypothalamus. Based on signals of light and darkness, your SCN tells your pineal gland when it’s time to secrete melatonin, and when to turn it off.

 

In scientific studies, melatonin supplementation has been shown to help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep, experience less restlessness, and prevent daytime fatigue.

 

Keep in mind that you may only need a very minimal dose. I recommend taking only 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg to start, and adjusting upward from there. Taking higher doses, such as 3 mg, can sometimes make you more wakeful instead of sleepier, so start low and adjust your dose as needed.

 

Melatonin has also been found to reduce the effects of jet lag when traveling across multiple time zones.1 And children suffering with eczema, a condition that oftentimes prevents good sleep, may also get more shut-eye with melatonin supplementation,2 according to recent research.

 

Interestingly, melatonin also helped dampen the severity of the eczema, hinting at its anti-inflammatory effects. However, the benefits of melatonin go far beyond sleep. Three specific areas I’ll address in this article are its role in depression, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.

 

Normalizing Your Circadian System Helps Alleviate Depressive Symptoms

 

Your melatonin level inversely rises and falls with light and darkness, and both your physical and mental health is intricately tied to this rhythm of light and dark. When it’s dark, your melatonin levels increase, which is why you may feel tired when the sun starts to set.

 

Conversely, when you’re exposed to bright artificial lighting at night, including blue light emitted from TVs and electronic screens, you may have trouble falling asleep due to suppressed melatonin levels.

 

Light exposure when you wake up at night can also be problematic as I explain in my video above. However you don’t have to stumble around as red and orange wavelengths will not suppress melatonin production.

 

You can use a red light to guide you to the bathroom. If you have a clock in your bedroom make sure it has a red LED display. Blue would be the worst as it is the one that shuts down melatonin most effectively.

 

Winter Blues SAD

 

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD, also called “the winter blues”) is associated with lack of sun exposure, and scientists generally recommend full-spectrum light therapy over SSRIs like Prozac or Zoloft for this condition.

 

Interestingly, recent research suggests light therapy may be preferable even for major depression, outperforming Prozac in those with moderate to severe depression. One of the reasons it works so well likely has to do with the fact that bright light helps reset your biological clock, or circadian rhythm.

 

Melatonin supplementation can help do this to a certain extent as well, but not as effectively as exposure to bright light during daytime. Light may also work in a way similar to antidepressants by regulating neurotransmitter function.

 

Light Therapy — More Effective Than Prozac

 

The study3,4,5,6,7 in question set out to compare the effectiveness of light therapy alone and in conjunction with the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac).

 

The eight-week long trial included 122 adults between the ages of 19 and 60, who were diagnosed with moderate to severe depression. The participants were divided into four groups, receiving:

 

Light therapy (30 minutes per day upon waking using a 10,000 lux Carex brand day-light device, classic model) plus a placebo pill

Prozac (20 mg/day) plus a deactivated ion generator serving as a placebo light device

Light therapy plus Prozac

Placebo light device plus placebo pill (control group)

In conclusion, the study found that the combination of light therapy and Prozac was the most effective — but light therapy-only came in close second, followed by placebo.

 

That’s right, the drug treatment was the least effective of all, and LESS effective than placebo! At the end of the study, remission was achieved by:

 

Just over 19 percent in the Prozac only group

30 percent in the placebo group

Nearly 44 percent in the light therapy only group

Nearly 59 percent in the active combination group

How Melatonin May Aid in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

 

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder that, like SAD, has been linked to vitamin D deficiency from lack of sun exposure. Interestingly, recent research suggests that a drop in autumn and winter relapses may be linked to peak melatonin levels, which occurs during these darker months.

 

Conversely, spikes in relapses occurring during spring and summer — which tend to be less common but do occur — may be related to decreased melatonin levels. The research,8 led by neuroscientist Mauricio Farez at the Dr. Raúl Carrea Institute for Neurological Research, looked at 139 MS patients living in Buenos Aires.

 

Thirty-two percent of them experienced a reduction in relapses during fall and winter, compared to spring and summer. As reported by Scientific American:9

 

“Past research has shown that melatonin can have a protective effect against MS and that shift work, which disturbs melatonin production, can increase the risk of developing the disease. According to the authors, this research is one of the first to bring together epidemiological evidence with results from both human cells and animal models …

 

[And it] may help to resolve a ‘seasonal paradox’ — MS flare-ups should decrease during warmer, brighter months when people receive more exposure to sunlight and thus produce more vitamin D, which also has anti-inflammatory properties. But some studies, including this one, show that relapses increase in the spring and summer pointing to the possibility that other environmental factors, such as melatonin levels, are involved.”

 

To test their hypothesis, mice with autoimmune encephalomyelitis (the animal model of MS) received daily injections of melatonin. As a result, clinical symptoms were reduced, and harmful T cells, which are pro-inflammatory, were reduced, whereas regulatory T cells were increased. Similar effects were shown in petri dish experiments. As noted in the featured article:

 

“Melatonin regulates pathways central to the immune response, so these results may pertain to other autoimmune diseases, particularly where seasonal flare-ups occur, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis …”

 

Melatonin’s Role in Fighting Cancer

 

Cancer is another area where melatonin plays a major role. The evidence suggests it may be an important adjunct to cancer treatment,10 as it also helps protect against the toxic effects of radiation therapy. Cells throughout your body — even cancer cells — have melatonin receptors, and melatonin is in and of itself cytotoxic, meaning can induce tumor cell death (apoptosis). It also:11

 

Boosts production of immune-optimizing substances such as interleukin-2, which helps identify and attack mutated cells that lead to malignant cancer

Inhibits development of new tumor blood vessels (tumor angiogenesis), which slows the spread of the cancer

Retards cancer progression by activating the cytokine system, which helps inhibit tumor growth, and by stimulating the cytotoxic activity of macrophages and monocytes

By its antioxidant action it also limits oxidative damage to DNA

Inhibits tumor growth by counteracting estrogen. (At night, when melatonin production peaks, cell division slows. And when melatonin latches onto a breast cancer cell, it has been found to counteract estrogen’s tendency to stimulate cell growth)

Melatonin has a calming effect on other reproductive hormones besides estrogen as well, which may explain why it seems to protect most effectively against sex hormone-driven cancers, including ovarian, endometrial, prostate, testicular and breast cancers12 — the latter of which has received the greatest amount of scientific attention. Some of the studies on melatonin for breast cancer include the following:

 

The journal Epidemiology13 reported increased breast cancer risk among women who work predominantly night shifts

Women who live in neighborhoods with large amounts of nighttime illumination are more likely to get breast cancer than those who live in areas where nocturnal darkness prevails, according to an Israeli study14

From participants in the Nurses’ Health Study,15 it was found that nurses who work nights had 36 percent higher rates of breast cancer

Blind women, whose eyes cannot detect light and therefore have robust production of melatonin, have lower-than-average breast cancer rates16

When the body of epidemiological studies are considered in their totality, women who work night shift are found to have breast cancer rates 60 percent above normal, even when other factors, such as differences in diet, are accounted for17

Melatonin May Improve Outcomes for Lung Cancer Patients

 

Other cancers may also benefit. In 2004, the Life Extension Foundation collaborated with Cancer Treatment Centers of America on the first clinical trial evaluating melatonin’s effect in patients with lung cancer.

 

The results,18 which were published in conjunction with the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting, found a tumor response in just over 29 percent of those receiving melatonin at night, compared to just under 8 percent of those receiving it in the morning, and 10.5 percent of placebo recipients. As reported by Life Extension Magazine:19

 

“European clinical studies indicate that in patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer, five-year survival and overall tumor regression rates were higher in patients concomitantly treated with melatonin than in those treated with chemotherapy alone. While no patient treated with chemotherapy survived after two years, five-year survival was achieved in 3 of 49 patients treated with chemotherapy and melatonin.

 

The researchers hope that similarly promising results could eventually convince mainstream medical practitioners to administer melatonin in combination with standard cancer treatment regimens to patients in earlier stages of cancer treatment.”

 

The Importance of Light and Dark for the Synchronization of Your Body Clocks

 

Melatonin production is stimulated by darkness and suppressed by light, which is why your levels should be highest just prior to bedtime. This perfectly orchestrated system allows you to fall asleep when the sun sets and awaken refreshed with the sunrise, while also providing potential anti-aging and disease-fighting benefits.

 

If you’re having trouble sleeping, which is a signal that your melatonin production is off, I suggest making sure you’re sleeping in total darkness and to turn lights down at least an hour or so before bedtime. Also, avoid watching TV and using computers and other electronic gadgets at least an hour prior to bed.

 

All of these devices emit blue light, which will decrease your melatonin if you work past dark, so ideally you’d want to turn these items off once the sun goes down. If you have to use these devices you can wear yellow glasses that filter the blue wavelengths out and/or use free software like f.lux.

 

To light rooms at night, use “low blue” light bulbs that emit an amber light instead of the blue that suppresses melatonin production. An equally important factor is the quality of light you’re exposed to during the day. Without sufficient sunlight during the day, your circadian clock may fall out of sync.

 

Most incandescent and fluorescent lights emit very poor-quality light. What your body needs for optimal functioning is the full-spectrum light you get outdoors, but most of us do not spend much time outside to take advantage of this healthy light.

 

Using full-spectrum light bulbs in your home and office can help ameliorate this lack of high-quality sunlight during the day, but cannot fully replace it. So do make an effort to go outside for at least 30 to 60 minutes each day during the brightest portion of the day, i.e. right around noon. This will help “set” your circadian clock and help you sleep better.

 

For Optimal Health, Make Sure You Sleep Well

 

Remember, when your circadian rhythms are disrupted, your body produces less melatonin, which means it has less ability to fight cancer, and less protection against free radicals that may accelerate aging and disease. So if you’re having even slight trouble sleeping, I suggest you review my “33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep” for more guidance on how to improve your sleep-wake cycle.

 

If you’ve made the necessary changes to your sleep routine and find you’re still having trouble sleeping, a high-quality melatonin supplement may be helpful.

 

The amount of melatonin you create and release every night varies depending on your age. Children usually have much higher levels of melatonin than adults, and as you grow older your levels typically continue to decrease. This is why some older adults may benefit from extra melatonin.

 

The same goes for those who perform night shift work, travel often and experience jet lag, or otherwise suffer from occasional sleeplessness due to stress or other reasons. Start with a dose of about 0.25 to 0.5 mg, and increase it as necessary from there. If you start feeling more alert, you’ve likely taken too much and need to lower your dose.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived : JM

312-972-WELL

 

Foods, Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Fast Food Identified, With Others as a Significant Source of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals

dehp

“gender-bending” chemicals causing males of all species to become more female “

Fast Food Identified as a Significant Source of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals

 

 

Fast food contains many ingredients that compromise health, but did you know these convenience meals also come with an extra serving of endocrine-disrupting chemicals? According to recent research, people who eat drive-through hamburgers and take-out pizzas have higher levels of phthalates in their urine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected data on nearly 8,900 Americans of all age groups between 2003 and 2010 as part of a nationwide survey on health and nutrition. Participants reported everything they’d eaten in the past 24 hours and provided a urine sample.

While other studies have investigated exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals from processed food in general, this is the largest study looking at exposure specifically from fast food meals.1,2,3

“Fast food” was broadly defined as food from restaurants without table service and/or those with takeout or drive-through service. So besides McDonalds , Pizza Hut, and similar establishments, it also includes sandwich shops, Starbucks, and other “casual dining” restaurants. As reported by Time magazine:4

“The new report,5 published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that people who ate more fast food also had higher levels of two substances that occur when phthalates — which make plastic more flexible — break down in the body. “

Fast Food Consumption Significantly Increases Phthalate Levels in Your Body

The two phthalate metabolites identified in this particular study were:6

  • Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), a highly lipophilic (fat-soluble) chemical that is loosely chemically bonded to the plastic, allowing it to leach out into other fat-containing solutions in contact with the plastic.

Animal studies show that exposure to DEHP can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system, particularly the developing testes of prenatal and neonatal males.

  • Di-isononyl phthalate (DiNP), a commonly used plasticizer in flexible PVC products.7While DiNP has been considered harmless from a health and environmental perspective, more recent research suggests it may in fact have similar effects as DEHP and other phthalates.

For example, a 2015 study8 linked both DEHP and DiNP to increased insulin resistance in adolescents.

Approximately one-third of the respondents reported eating fast food in the past 24 hours, and according to the authors, “that alone tells you the public health impact of this type of food preparation.”9

Those who got at least 35 percent of their calories from fast food had nearly 24 percent higher levels of DEHP and 39 percent higher DiNP in their urine compared to those who had not consumed any fast food in that time frame.

In those who ate some fast food, but got less than 35 percent of their calories from it, DEHP and DiNP levels were still nearly 16 and 25 percent higher respectively.

Avoiding Fast Food Can Be a Simple Way to Cut Phthalate Exposure

As noted by the authors, many scientific and clinical bodies, such as the Endocrine Sociery , now suggest reducing exposure to phthalates — especially during pregnancy.

The problem is they’re so widely used, making avoidance difficult. According to this research, simply abstaining from fast food is one way you can significantly reduce your exposure.

Personal care products are another major source of phthalates that are within your control. Pregnant women and young children are at particularly high risk when it comes to these kinds of chemicals. As noted by CNN:10

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a report11in 2013 stating that high levels of exposure to phthalates could lead to adverse reproductive outcomes in women.

Research has linked these chemicals with increased risk of fibroids and endometriosis, which can cause infertility, and reduced IQ and behavioral problems in children exposed in the womb. High phthalate levels have also been linked with diabetes risk in women and adolescents…

‘This study shows that fast food may be an especially important source of phthalate exposure,’ said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D. director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program.”

Phthalates From Plastic Gloves, Conveyor Belts, Packaging — It All Adds Up

The researchers point out that one reason fast food exposes you to higher levels of plasticizing chemicals is because workers also use plastic gloves when handling each and every ingredient, and that’s a source of phthalate contamination too, over and beyond the actual packaging.

Japan banned vinyl gloves for use in food establishments back in 2001 due to their phthalate content. In the U.S. however, use of vinyl gloves has actually increased over the years due to the rising prevalence of latex allergies.

While additional research needs to be done to identify which foods pose the greatest risk, the study did find that meats and grain-based food items — even if they were not from a fast food restaurant — tended to result in higher phthalate exposure.

The exact reason for this is still unclear, but it could be related to the way they’re processed, or because the fats they contain bind phthalates more efficiently. That said, fast food as a category had the strongest association with elevated phthalate levels by far.

Researcher Ami Zota notes that previous studies have compared phthalate levels in food before and after packaging, showing that levels rise 100 percent after being packaged. This clearly demonstrates these chemicals do leach out of the plastic and into the food.

Moreover, if the food is packaged when hot, the migration of phthalates is sped up. Findings such as these are hotly refuted by the chemical industry which, despite all the evidence to the contrary, still maintains that phthalates are both safe and relatively stable within the plastic.

Chemical Industry Insists Decades’ Old Safety Levels Are Adequate

Both the National Restaurant Association and the American Chemical Society responded to the study in question saying the phthalate levels found in fast food are “well below” levels the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deems potentially harmful to human health.12

However, EPA safety levels for DEHP have not been revised since 1988. And, according to study author Ami Zota: “The same range of concentrations measured in this [group] overlaps with the range of concentrations that have been measured in some of epidemiological studies that find adverse health effects,” so EPA levels may simply be too lenient.

In fact, some researchers suggest there may be NO safe level of phthalates in humans. Dr. Leo Trasande, an associate professor of Pediatrics and Environmental Medicine who has researched phthalates in food, told Civil Eats:13

“No studies in humans have found a safe level of phthalate exposure. We know there are effects of low level exposure. For example, the levels found in this new study are comparable to those previously linked to blood pressure increases14 and metabolic effects15 in children.”

Health Risks Associated With Phthalates

Phthalates are one of the groups of “gender-bending” chemicals causing males of all species to become more female “These chemicals have disrupted the endocrine systems of wildlife, causing testicular cancer, genital deformations, low sperm counts and infertility in a number of species, including polar bears, deer, whales and otters. Scientists suspect phthalates may affect human fertility and reproduction in similar ways.

Animal studies have also linked phthalate exposure to a wide range of other health problems, including the following (see chart below)16,17,18 The reason for their diverse effects has to do with the fact that they mimic natural sex hormones. This is particularly problematic in children who are still growing and developing, as the glands of your endocrine system and the hormones they release influence almost every cell, organ, and function of your body.

Besides being instrumental in sexual function and reproductive processes, your endocrine system also plays a role in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism.

Reduced IQ in children19,20 (phthalates may affect the activity of aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen, which plays an important role in brain development) “Decreased dysgenesis syndrome” involving cryptorchidism (undescended testicles), hypospadias (birth defect in which opening of urethra is on the underside of the penis instead of at the end), and oligospermia (low sperm count)
Interference with sexual differentiation in utero Enlarged prostate glands, testicular cancer, breast cancer, and uterine fibroids
Impaired ovulatory cycles and polycystic ovary disease (PCOS) Numerous hormonal disruptions and metabolic disease
Early or delayed puberty Disturbed lactation
Toxicity to developing male reproductive systems21,22 Neurodevelopmental delays, inattention, hyperactivity, and symptoms of autism23
Miscarriage and preterm birth Allergies and respiratory problems24

Phthalates Are Everywhere

Phthalates are among the most pervasive of all known endocrine disrupters. According to EPA estimates, more than 470 million pounds of phthalates are produced each year.25

They’re primarily used to make plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more flexible and resilient, but they can also be found in air fresheners, dryer sheets, and personal care products like shampoo, shower gels, lotions, and makeup. Their prevalence in personal care products is thought to be the reason why women tend to have higher levels of phthalates in their system than men.

Furniture, upholstery, mattresses, and wall coverings can also contain phthalates. They’ve even been detected in infant formula and baby food (likely because they migrated from the packaging materials). They are also used as “inert” ingredients in pesticides.26

Considering how ubiquitous they are, avoiding phthalates entirely may be near impossible. Being mindful when shopping for food, household, and personal care products can go a long way toward minimizing your exposure, but the risks these chemicals pose really demand a more universal response.

As Zota told Time magazine:27 “Our study helps shed light on one potential way that people can reduce their exposure to these chemicals through their diet, but it also points to a broader problem of widespread chemicals in our food systems that will require many different types of stakeholders to get involved in order to fix it.”

Tips to Help You Avoid Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

To limit your exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals like phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA), keep the following guidelines in mind when shopping for food, personal care and household products.

Avoid fast-food restaurant fare and processed goods. Eating a diet focused on locally grown, ideally organic, whole foods cooked from scratch will significantly limit your exposure to not only phthalates and BPA but also a wide array of other chemicals, including synthetic food additives and pesticides. Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Besides phthalates, avoid those containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two toxic glycol ethers that can compromise your fertility and cause fetal harm.
Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans; be aware that even”BPA-free” plastics  typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad for you as BPA. Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics.

EWG’s Skin Deep database28 can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.

Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap as it too contains phthalates that can migrate into your food (especially if you microwave food wrapped in plastic). Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one or glass doors.
Use glass baby bottles and drinking bottles. Replace feminine hygiene products  (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives.
Filter your tap water for both drinking and bathing. If you can only afford to do one, filtering your bathing water may be more important, as your skin absorbs contaminants .

Under the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for DEHP of 0.006 mg/dL, or 6 ppb.29

Note that the Safe Drinking Water Act regulates DEHP levels only for public water supplies, not for well water.

Look for fragrance-free products. One artifical fragrance  can contain hundreds — even thousands — of potentially toxic chemicals, including phthalates.

Avoid fabric softeners  and dryer sheets, which contain a mishmash of synthetic chemicals and fragrances.

If you have PVC pipes, you may have DEHP leaching into your water supply. If you have PVC pipe from before 1977, you will definitely want to upgrade to a newer material.

This “early-era” PVC pipe can leach a carcinogenic compound called vinyl chloride monomer into your water. Alternatives to PVC for water piping include ductile iron, high-density polyethylene, concrete, copper, and PEX.30

Consider replacing vinyl flooring  with a “greener” material. Also avoid soft, flexible plastic flooring, such as those padded play-mat floors for kids (often used in day cares and kindergartens), as there’s a good chance it is made from phthalate-containing PVC.
Read the labels and avoid anything containing phthalates. Besides DEHP, also look for DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate), DEP (diethyl phthalate), BzBP (benzyl butyl phthlate), and DMP (dimethyl phthalate).

Also be wary of anything listing a “fragrance,” which often includes phthalates.

Make sure your baby’s toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething rings and anything your child may be prone to suck or chew on — even books, which are often plasticized. It’s advisable to avoid all plastic, especially flexible varieties.

 

 

 

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Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article : JM

312-972-WELL

 

Health and Disease

Avoid Endocrine Disturbing Hormones

spa

Avoid Endocrine Disturbing Hormones

Task Force Urges Everyone to Proactively Avoid Endocrine-Disrupting Hormones

Based on a review of more than 1,300 studies, an Endocrine Society task force recently issued a new scientific statement on endocrine-disrupting chemicals, noting that the health effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals are such that everyone needs to take proactive steps to avoid them. The statement also calls for improved safety testing to determine which chemicals may cause problems.
The task force, which is made up of doctors who actually treat patients with hormone-related problems, warn that endocrine-disrupting chemicals can have an impact on subsequent generations, and they urge infertility doctors to advise their patients to avoid hormone disruptors to improve their odds of successful conception and a healthy baby. Doctors also need to warn pregnant women and parents of young children about the risks associated with common chemical exposures.
At present, there are some 85,000 chemicals in use in the US, and no one knows exactly how many may act as hormone disruptors as the vast majority of these chemicals have not undergone safety testing. As noted by one of the members of the task force, even if only 1 percent of these chemicals cause hormone disruption, that would equate to about 850 different chemicals, making avoidance difficult. That said, among the chemicals most well-known for their hormone disrupting potential, even at low doses, are:
· BPA/BPS, found in plastics, the lining of canned foods, and cash register receipts
· Phthalates, found in soft plastics, vinyl flooring, perfumes, soaps, shampoos, and cosmetics
· Certain pesticides
· Triclosan, found in a wide array of antimicrobial products, such as soaps and hand sanitizers
Tips to Help You Avoid Toxic Chemicals

Considering all the potential sources of toxic chemicals, it’s virtually impossible to avoid all of them. However, you CAN limit your exposure by keeping a number of key principles in mind.
· Eat a diet focused on locally grown, fresh, and ideally organic whole foods. Processed and packaged foods are a common source of chemicals such as BPA and phthalates. Wash fresh produce well, especially if it’s not organically grown.
· Choose grass-pastured, sustainably raised meats and dairy to reduce your exposure to hormones, pesticides, and fertilizers. Avoid milk and other dairy products that contain the genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST).
· Rather than eating conventional or farm-raised fish, which are often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury, supplement with a high-quality krill oil, or eat fish that is wild-caught and lab tested for purity, such as wild caught Alaskan salmon.
· Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans, as chemicals can leach out of plastics (and plastic can linings), into the contents; be aware that even BPA – free plastics ,typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad for you as BPA.
· Store your food and beverages in glass, rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap.
· Use glass baby bottles.
· Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware.
· Filter your tap water for both drinking AND bathing. If you can only afford to do one, filtering your bathing water may be more important, as your skin absorbs contanimants. To remove the endocrine disrupting herbicide Atrazine, make sure your filter is certified to remove it. According to the EWG, perchlorate can be filtered out using a reverse osmosis filter.
· Look for products made by companies that are Earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic, and GMO-free. This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, baby items, furniture, mattresses, and others.
· Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove contaminated house dust. This is one of the major routes of exposure to flame retardant chemicals.
· When buying new products such as furniture, mattresses, or carpet padding, consider buying flame retardant free varieties, containing naturally less flammable materials, such as leather, wool, cotton, silk, and Kevlar.
· Avoid stain- and water-resistant clothing, furniture, and carpets to avoid perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).
· Make sure your baby’s toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething rings and anything your child may be prone to suck or chew on — even books, which are often plasticized. It’s advisable to avoid all plastic, especially flexible varieties.
· Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Avoid those containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two toxic glycol ethers that can compromise your fertility and cause fetal harm.
· Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics. EWG’s Skin Deep database21 can help you find personal care products that are free of phthlates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.
· Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one or glass doors.
· Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives.
· Look for fragrance-free products. One artificial fragrances can contain hundreds — even thousands — of potentially toxic chemicals. Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets, which contain a mishmash of synthetic chemicals and fragrances.
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