What You'll Learn Here:
- 1 Research Turns up Alarming Infertility Facts
- 2 Infertility Is Preventable and Treatable
- 3 Four Steps toward Protecting Your Fertility
- 4 Maximizing Fertility
- 5 Step 1: Give Your Immune System a Break
- 6 Step 2: Boost Your Immune System
- 7 Step 3: Eat Right to Keep Fertile
- 8 Step 4: Clean Up Your Own Backyard
by Dr. Jesse Hanley, MD and Jo Jordan
French scientists discovered a connection between infertility and environmental toxins in the 1850s. In addition to an unusually high rate of miscarriage, they noticed that lead workers’ wives had trouble conceiving.
Their discovery was hardly groundbreaking; the Romans had already made the connection between infertility and environmental toxins in the second century!
As our environment has become more toxic, infertility rates have skyrocketed, too. In the United States alone, infertility affects over six million American women and men, approximately ten percent of the reproductive-age population, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.1
Infertility is now such a critical health problem that in 2006, New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. unveiled his plan to set up infertility task force legislation. The group called for more research related to environmental toxins, citing specific examples of increased infertility in patients exposed to contaminated water.2
Research Turns up Alarming Infertility Facts
As more and more people struggle with infertility, research is unearthing startling new data on what, exactly, is at least partly to blame for this near epidemic.
The Estrogen Effect
Women and men require a proper balance of natural estrogens in order to be successful reproductively. Unfortunately, research suggests that widespread environmental estrogens – chemicals that have the ability to mimic our natural estrogens – are creating infertility havoc by confusing the body’s estrogen receptors.
These estrogen mimics – also known as endocrine or hormone disruptors – are found in ordinary, everyday items such as personal care products and toiletries, spermicides, and pesticides. As well, they’re a breakdown product of the plastics (polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC) used in some water jugs and baby bottles.3
Other culprits include the antioxidant preservative butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA). A carcinogen, this preservative is found in food and personal care products such as foundations, concealers, and other cosmetics. Even at fairly low doses, it can cause breast cancer cells to multiply.4
“There is no doubt that by continuously ingesting pesticides and other chemicals known to be estrogen mimics, we have created endocrine problems…in other words, a long-term infertility crisis for both men and women, their children, and their children’s children, and so on,” says Dr. Jesse Hanley.
The effect on fertility of all this toxic activity can be the development of endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, endometriosis, lactation failure, and infertility in women. For males, estrogen mimicry can result in development without testes, undescended testes, hypospadias (an abnormality of the opening of the penis), abnormally small penises, testicular cancer, or poor semen quality.5
And while a mimic may block the action of true estrogen – resulting in a myriad of infertility problems – according to current research, in the worse case scenarios imposters can actually redirect cellular behavior6 for generations.
In other words, their affects aren’t simply limited to the person who has been exposed to these environmental toxins; evidence suggests that the genes of developing fetuses can be permanently reprogrammed by exposure to estrogen mimics, and that this effect can then be passed on for at least three more generations.7
The same research points out that in addition to infertility problems, a good portion of test subjects in estrogen mimicry studies also showed signs of kidney disease and tumors.
Infertility Is Preventable and Treatable
“Yes, there are damaging and deadly toxins out there, but cleansing your body makes a world of difference,” says Dr. Hanley. “It really does help to implement twenty-first century solutions for twenty-first century problems.”
But the news isn’t all bad. After all, if scientific discoveries are changing the way we think about disease development, then we can create a new plan of attack for disease preventives, too!
If we know that disease can be triggered by environmental factors, and carried forward to future generations, then it’s important to arm ourselves with the knowledge necessary to avoid whatever known toxics we can.
We know, for example, that twenty to twenty-five percent of miscarriages are related to immune system problems,8 so it makes sense to focus our health regimens on what’s good for the immune system.
Since the late 1970s, we’ve known that ingesting MSG (monosodium glutamate) greatly reduces the chances of becoming pregnant,9 so it’s vital to avoid processed, junk, and fake foods, which are generally full of additives, preservatives, artificial flavoring and coloring…among other ingredients that can negatively affect your health.
Lifestyle choices are crucial to maximizing fertility. According to Dr. Wolfram Nolten, Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Wisconsin, “Twenty percent of all cases where the male is the only contributing factor to infertility can be corrected by lifestyle.”10
Four Steps toward Protecting Your Fertility
While it is nearly impossible to completely avoid exposure to environmental toxins, it is possible to identify potential fertility hazards in your immediate environment, and create a less toxic environment by stamping them out. Here is what Puristat recommends:
Step 1: Help Your Immune System – Lessen the Load with Colon and Liver Cleansings
Step 2: Boost Your Immune System – Take a Multi-vitamin
Step 3: Eat Right to Keep Fertile – Avoid the Standard American Diet and Other Toxic Traps
Step 4: Clean Up – Use Toxic-free Personal Care and Household Products
“After thirty years of observing the causes of infertility worldwide, as well as witnessing infertility indicators, I can say with absolute confidence that if you do everything to ensure you are having three bowel movements a day, you will be helping your body become more fertile,” says Dr. Hanley.
Know that the lifestyle choices you make within your immediate environment, combined with changes to your health regimen, can go a long way toward protecting yourself and future generations from the trauma of infertility. The sooner you get started, the better your chances will be of overcoming infertility.
Step 1: Give Your Immune System a Break
“When you detoxify, whether you’re male or female, you’re more likely to get pregnant, period,” says Dr. Hanley. “Cleansings improve elimination, making it easier for your body to get rid of all the bad stuff that has accumulated.”
Lessen the Load with Colon and Liver Cleansings.
Environmental and dietary toxins tax the limits of our bodies’ immune systems. With half-a-million chemicals in the environment alone – including the thousands it takes to grow and process our food and the nearly six thousand chemicals and additives in our diet – our bodies must constantly battle to rid themselves of damaging and deadly toxins.
If your body’s reserves are constantly being taxed by the energy it takes just to keep excess toxins at bay, then it will be unable to fight off ordinary illnesses. And even a little blip in the immune system can affect fertility. The flu, for example, can slow down a man’s sperm production, and any illness that results in a fever can affect both sperm production and quality.
Remember that all the toxins that you ingest, drink, breathe in, and absorb through your skin end up in your liver and gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Here, they wait to be expelled from your colon in the form of waste. The longer they have to wait, more time they have to wreak havoc on your reproductive and other systems .
Colonic irrigation and herbal cleansings can help to remove toxins, parasites, and mucus that have built up in your colon. By flushing out impacted waste, passing stool is easier, and transit times are improved.
Removing impurities also goes a long way toward helping your body absorb nutrients, and enhancing energy levels. Your immune system can get back to the business of providing you with immunity, rather than struggling under the weight of toxic build-up.
Cleansings promote regularity…and more productivity in the bathroom means quicker elimination of environmental toxins from the colon. By creating less opportunity for impurities to be absorbed into the body’s reproductive organs, you’re taking your fertility out of toxic jeopardy.
A liver cleanse is the next step on the road to a complete purge of toxins, and protecting your reproductive system. Liver cleanses comprised of milk thistle are recommended by some doctors because they’re proving to be effective in helping to alleviate the effects of an unhealthy diet, and the burden it places on the immune system…and every other system in the body, including your reproductive system.
Once you become pregnant, Puristat recommends proceeding with caution when using our Cleanse as it contains cascara sagrada. This herb is laxative in nature, and ought to be used sparingly, or in combinations with other herbs, during pregnancy. Before continuing a cleanse regimen, consult with your health care provider regarding the benefits and risks of using cascara sagrada during pregnancy.
Step 2: Boost Your Immune System
Take a Multi-vitamin.
Eating your veges is no longer enough to keep our immune systems functioning in peak condition. The soil in which we grow our food is so depleted that it is virtually impossible to get proper sustenance without a supplement…no matter how well you eat.
A rich, superior-grade multi-vitamin / mineral supplement, therefore, is essential to good health and maximizing fertility potential. With a multi-vitamin you can be assured that you’re taking the right combination…one that enables vitamins and minerals to work synergistically in your metabolic and enzymatic systems.
Choose a multi-vitamin that contains calcium, magnesium, and essential fatty acids. This will help your body make up for what is lacking in your food, as well as work toward nourishing your cellular functioning – a vital aspect of maximizing fertility.
For men, a daily multi-vitamin can help provide selenium, zinc, and folic acid — these trace nutrients are vital for optimal sperm production and function. A multi-vitamin containing antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, may even help to protect sperm from damage.
Step 3: Eat Right to Keep Fertile
Avoid the Standard American Diet and Other Toxic Traps.
Most people realize that eating a diet heavily based in processed, junk, and fake foods can result in obesity. It’s important to know that obesity can also create fertility problems. In addition, there are some nasty truths about much of the food we casually consume that may have a more profound impact on fertility than we might have once believed.
Here are some foods to avoid and some, hopefully, compelling reasons to delete them from the menu:
Ingesting margarine – or any of the numerous other fake food products containing trans fats – you are actually incorporating damaged molecules into the cellular structure of your body!
It’s hardly surprising, then, that many chronic health conditions – including infertility – have been linked to diets rich in trans fats. Since they are unhealthy, provide no nutritional benefit, and are easy to avoid, why not eliminate trans fats from your diet?
Processed, junk, and fake foods:
These so-called foods are full of preservatives, antioxidants, artificial coloring and flavoring, additives, sweeteners, and stabilizers…none of which do hopeful moms’ or dads’ bodies a lick of good. In fact, some of these ingredients are known to interfere with fertility in shocking ways…for generations to come.
In addition, the processes used to produce these products – such as bleaching and refining – deplete any real food that’s used of most of its goodness. Processes such as irradiation – the use of x-rays or gamma radiation on food – have had harmful effects on test animals; they developed increased numbers of cells with chromosome abnormalities, and had unexplained stillbirths.
Worse, food packaging – among other products we use everyday – has been linked to unimaginable consequences.
There is one thing that all these foods, and the effect of the methods used to process them, have in common:
Energy Output > Exceeds Nutritional Input
In other words, it costs your body a great deal more to digest, absorb, and eliminate them than they offer your body by way of nutritional value – an extremely poor return on your investment that can leave your body sluggish, your immune system depleted, and your chance of remaining healthy and fertile greatly diminished.
Step 4: Clean Up Your Own Backyard
Use Toxic-free Personal Care and Household Products.
Everyday, we are exposed to toxins in our environment. While to some degree they are simply a fact of twenty-first century living that we can’t avoid, there are many things we can do to ensure our home and work places are as toxin-free as possible.
Personal Care Products.
Know that many ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products are the same toxic ingredients used in paints, plastics, and pesticides; if you don’t recognize an ingredient, find out what it is, and how it can affect your fertility.
In addition to rating an assortment of household products, this guide lists many chemical hazards and their effects: http://www.lesstoxicguide.ca/default.aspx?fetch=personal
Replace any product containing ingredients considered unsafe with a non-toxic product containing natural ingredients. The fewer ingredients a product contains, the better.
This site has wonderful choices for safe personal care products: http://www.aubrey-organics.com/. For example, the ingredients in Aubrey’s Rosa Mosqueta hand lotion are literally good enough to eat!
List all the personal care products – soap, toothpaste, shampoo, body lotion, etc. – you use regularly. Check the ingredient list to see what’s in them. You may be surprised to learn that most of the ingredient names are unrecognizable. This is often a bad sign.
Check out a few web sites that list personal care products and their ingredients. Some sites actually rate products by name in terms of their toxicity level. Skin Deep – a project of the Environmental Working Group – has an amazingly detailed and comprehensive site that assists consumers in making healthy, safe product choices: http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/splash.php?URI=%2Findex.php
Toxins to Avoid.
Phthalates – a plasticizer used in numerous cosmetics and personal care products and known to damage female and male reproductive organs. Phthalates are associated with hormonal imbalances; damage to the developing testes, as well as the liver, kidneys, and lungs; and allergies.
Paraben – a regular cosmetic preservative and common toxin in personal care products, there is serious concern over the long-term impact this toxin has on the human hormonal system. Paraben is an estrogen compound capable of mimicking estrogen activity once it is absorbed into the body.
Other ingredients to steer clear of include, coal tar hair dye – linked to bladder cancer and immune system damage; alpha hydroxy acids – may lead to increased skin cancer risk; and fragrance – which can be comprised of hundreds of individual ingredients, many of which are common human allergens.
What Else Can You Do?
Strive to make your work and home environments toxic-free. Make little changes to the way you approach your place of work and your household activities:
- If it is necessary to be exposed to industrial byproducts at work or at home, do so in a well-ventilated area and wear a face mask when working with chemicals, including paints and other home repair products.
- Take off your shoes at home. Barefoot is best; leave the lead, pesticides, and dirt on the bottom of your shoes instead of tracking them into your home.
- Carpeting can hold onto toxins – the carpet itself, depending on what it’s made from, can be toxic. If possible, lay down rugs made of natural fibers such as cotton and wool, and replace wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood or ceramic tiles.
- Treat yourself to green plants indoors. They’re natural air detoxifiers. Toss out the spray fresheners; remove odors with baking soda, and buy fresh flowers and herbs for fragrance. And invest in a portable air purifier.
- Avoid using pesticides on your lawn and plants.
- Buy food grown using Certified Organic Methods. Avoid food that has been genetically modified or engineered (GMOs). Nearly all processed food contains GMOs.
- Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Specific pesticides are used for specific crops. Eating a variety of food prevents ingesting the pesticide residues a particular food may carry.
- Read food labels. If you don’t know what a word means, or cannot pronounce it, don’t eat it. Always opt for real food over processed, junk, or fake.
- Review our fertility tips article with specific tips for men women.