Practical ways that you can help yourself and your loved ones
Every day we learn more about how our bodies and Planet Earth are being harmed by man-made chemicals in our environment. We have thousands of research articles that point out in alarming detail the hazards and damage to our bodies from chemicals like PCBs, PBDEs (flame retardants), organophosphates, Bis-A in plastics and scores of others. According to the latest Centers for Disease Control report on human exposures, there are 212 man-made chemicals that are able to significantly impair our health. http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/FourthReport.pdf
These chemicals can disrupt thyroid hormone production and utilization which can impair the function of nearly all tissues in our bodies. They can alter neuro-transmitter production which can cause depression and impair memory and concentration. These chemicals can contribute to cardiac disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancers of many types including those of the breast and repro-ductive system. Fetal and maternal health can both be damaged. http://www.ewg.org/minoritycordblood/home
A study in the June 2010 issue of Pediatrics points out the connection between pesticide levels and ADHD in children. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20478945
While we cannot avoid all of them, we can make a difference in how many we’re exposed to and in how well we respond to these challenges.
Be prudent rather than paranoid. Gather reliable information so you can make your best decisions. Becoming paranoid and stressing over these issues is not helpful, and in fact, can be harmful to your well-being just like excess stress and worry over anything else.
Here are some simple, practical things you can do to help protect yourself and your loved ones:
- Avoid bringing toxic chemicals in your household. Most conventional cleaning supplies are based on toxic petrochemicals. So are the perfumes that are added to try to cover the chemical odors. Vinegar and baking soda are excellent household cleaners that are effective and nontoxic.
- Use perfumed products sparingly if at all. Be aware that most perfumes are made with petrochemicals and can be toxic to you and the people in your vicinity. More and more of my clients report that they’re sensitive to perfumes and have, at minimum, unpleasant reactions to them such as sneezing or slight nausea. People with serious multiple chemical sensitivities are becoming more common in my practice; they tend to become very ill when exposed to the chemicals in perfumes. The Environmental Working Group has a list of some of the worst offenders. http://www.ewg.org/notsosexy
- Reduce the amount of plastic in your kitchen. Bisphenol-A is in many food storage plastics, including the lining of many cans of food. You can inexpensively transition away from plastic food storage containers – buy glass or stainless containers at thrift stores and canning jars at discount stores. Quart jars filled with organic beans and grains will look lovely in your pantry while they keep food fresh and protect it from pests.
- Use glass, stainless steel, or cast iron for cooking and stay away from Teflon-coated cookware. Never, ever put food in plastic wrap and cook it in the microwave.
- Eat fresh, organically-produced food that is locally grown when possible. What’s the cost to you as an individual and to our health care system by ingesting dangerous chemicals compared to the benefits of treating yourself better? In addition to a reduction in chemical exposures, organic foods typically taste better and often have a higher nutrient content. Many are more expensive than conventional foods and at the same time it’s wise to look at the cost/benefit ratio. During my times of economic challenge I’ve gladly opted for organic beans and rice rather than eat conventional meats.
Conventional foods are produced with fertilizers that help the nutrient-depleted soil of factory farms produce them. Pesticides are sprayed on the growing crops to keep insects from eating them. Seeds are genetically-modified to resist a variety of diseases and to avoid death by Round-Up weed killer. There is evidence that Monsanto’s GMO wheat seeds are producing wheat that can damage microvilli in the intestines and contribute to gluten sensitivity that’s becoming so common.
The conventional meat and poultry industries feed antibiotics and hormones to the animals in addition to raising them in dismal conditions. Organically-produced, grass-fed cattle and free-range chickens are raised without added hormones and antibiotics and eat organic, vegetarian feed. Remember, you are what you eat!
Buy organic food in bulk, buy it on sale, and cook it at home so you know how it’s prepared. Grow your own food as much as possible. I only have 46 ft2 of dirt plus a few containers to plant my garden in and every summer I grow plenty of vegetables for my use and have enough to share with friends.
- Drink and cook with reverse osmosis filtered water. You can fill up your own bottles at many health food and grocery stores. You can buy your own filtration system; home improvement stores such as Home Depot sell them for around $150.00.
- Take high-quality, high-potency multivitamin and mineral supplements.Be sure your body has adequate nutrients to optimize your own ability to eliminate the man- made chemicals that enter your body.
- Please be careful with “detox plans” that are designed to help you rid your body of these chemicals.
While there can be significant benefits from well-designed detox , please be aware that “one size does not fit all”. I’ve worked with many hypo-metabolic clients who had tried to detox on their own or in physician-supervised clinics and wound up feeling more ill afterwards than when they began. Timing of the process in your recovery is important and so is identifying the chemicals you are trying to eliminate.
- Be alert for signs and symptoms of impaired thyroid hormone regulation of your tissues. Take the free self-tests found on my website Get a complete set of thyroid function tests performed. (Always be sure to get copies of your lab test reports and keep them in your own file.) If your primary care physician won’t order them for you, I can with very few exceptions. The tests are useful in determining whether or not you have a problem with production of thyroid hormones.
Resting metabolic rate (RMR) measurement can give us information about how your body actually responds to the thyroid hormone you produce or to your thyroid hormone supplementation.
- Contact Fundamental Physiology at 303.413.9100 to schedule your telephone consultation or metabolic evaluation. I’ll help you take the mystery and frustration out of your diagnostic and treatment process. As we collaborate to get you on track you will learn how to manage your care yourself.