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2011/10/09

The Health Hydra (1 of series): Common Environmental Hazards. Like Doctors

This is part 1 of a 3-part series. The other posts are here and here.

I'm always cruising the web, looking up this or that, falling down link wormholes into wonderous new worlds, and generally looking for concise, clear, supported statements on things of interest to me. In a comment string somewhere paleo-diet-related, I came across a reference to Bee Wilder and her Natural Healing Diet. I'd never heard of it. Now you have.

It fits neatly in the Ancestral Health paradigm. Her main page is a laundry list of reasons we are not healthy and ways our food could change that. It's not slick, there's no shiny page design, but it ticks my boxes as a one-stop reference to send people to when they have questions about a few things; endocrine toxins being at the top of that list (I've kept her text but rearranged my selections to flow better here. Bolding is mine):
Systems in the body most affected by xenobiotic compounds (a chemical or substance that is foreign to an organism or biological system) include the immune, neurological, and endocrine systems.

The foundations of the endocrine system are hormones and glands. Hormones are the body's chemical messengers which transfer information and instructions from one set of cells to another.  Glands involved in the endocrine system mainly consist of the adrenal glands, thyroid, pituitary, and reproductive glands, which include the ovaries and testes. Hormones are also produced by the pancreas, brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, thymus, skin, and placenta.

Endocrine disruptors are exogenous (originating from outside the body) substances that cause adverse biological effects by interfering with the endocrine system which disrupts the production and function of hormones.

None of us choose to have hazardous pesticides in our bodies, yet, as reported by Colleen Huber in her article "The Toxic Bucket: How Environmental Medicine Unloads the Burden of Synthetic Chemicals from the Body":
"A Mount Sinai School of Medicine study found that each of nine volunteers averaged 91 chemical compounds in the blood and urine. Of the 167 chemicals discovered among the volunteers tested, 94 are toxic to the brain or nervous system, 76 are carcinogenic and 79 are linked to birth defects.  The volunteers tested do not work with chemicals on the job, nor do they live close to an industrial facility. Rather, they represent the average body burden of an ordinary American citizen [person in the developed world].  Furthermore, chemicals that are foreign to the body, or xenobiotics (xeno = foreign or not naturally occurring) tend to accumulate in the tissues over time."
Soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein are used extensively in school lunch programs, commercial baked goods, diet beverages and fast food products. They are heavily promoted in third world countries and form the basis of many food give-away programs.  These soy products greatly inhibit zinc and iron absorption; in test animals they cause enlarged ... pancreas and thyroid gland, and increased deposition of fatty acids in the liver. Soybeans also contain one of the highest percentages of pesticides of any of our foods, as well as being 99% genetically modified.
In Myths & Truths About Soy Sally Fallon states:
"Soy isoflavones are endocrine disrupters. At dietary levels, they can prevent ovulation and stimulate the growth of cancer cells.  Eating as little as 30 grams (about 4 tablespoons) of soy per day can result in hypothyroidism with symptoms of lethargy, constipation, weight gain and fatigue. Soybeans are also high in phytic acid, present in the bran or hulls of all seeds, which blocks the absorption of essential minerals - calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc - in the intestinal tract. Isoflavone aglycones are anti-carcinogenic substances found in traditionally fermented soybean products.  However, in non-fermented soy products such as tofu and soy milk, these isoflavones are present in an altered form . . . which [has] no anti-carcinogenic effect."
[Fluoride] has been highly promoted as a defense against tooth decay, however this is not true. In fact fluoride is a poison that causes many health problems, including:
  1. It accumulates in our bones and makes them more brittle and prone to fracture. The weight of evidence from many studies on this is overwhelming. Lifetime exposure to fluoride will contribute to higher rates of hip fracture in the elderly.
  2. It accumulates in our pineal gland, possibly lowering the production of melatonin, a very important regulatory hormone (Luke, 1997, 2001).
  3. It damages the enamel (dental fluorosis) of a high percentage of children. Between 30 and 50% of children have dental fluorosis on at least two teeth in optimally fluoridated communities (Heller et al, 1997 and McDonagh et al, 2000).
  4. There are serious, but yet unproven, concerns about a connection between fluoridation and osteosarcoma in young men (Cohn, 1992), as well as fluoridation and the current epidemics of both arthritis and hypothyroidism.
  5. In animal studies fluoride at 1 ppm in drinking water increases the uptake of aluminum into the brain (Varner et al, 1998).
  6. Counties with 3 ppm or more of fluoride in their water have lower fertility rates (Freni, 1994).
  7. In human studies the fluoridating agents most commonly used in the US not only increase the uptake of lead into children's blood (Masters and Coplan, 1999, 2000) but are also associated with an increase in violent behavior.
Nature-made fats and oils, along with other nutrients, chelate out (gets rid of) heavy metals such as aluminum, mercury from dental fillings, nickel, lead, etc. that may have accumulated in the body ... because these fats are powerful antioxidants (clean out toxins) and because they increase the production of bile by the liver. Bile binds to and eliminates heavy metals
[W]hen the body becomes overcrowded by wastes and toxins… cells and tissues become inflamed to throw off the waste and carry it from the bloodstream to various eliminating organs including the bowels, kidneys, lungs, skin, nasal passages, ears, throat, and genital organs. These organs, in turn, become congested and irritated, producing symptoms such as colds, the flu, boils, skin problems (rash, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, etc.), kidney and bladder infections, headaches, ear or eye infections, a fever, diarrhea and/or constipation, to name a few. 
... If [the toxins] are not eliminated the body adapts itself to function at a lower energy level. However these wastes and toxins accumulate and inhibit the body's organs from performing their normal functions until a chronic disease occurs. 
On the other hand, a healing crisis develops when the body is strengthening. Healing reactions are also called the Herxheimer Reaction, which is caused by the rapid killing of candida/fungi and other harmful pathogens, with large quantities of toxins, cell particles, and antigens being released into the bloodstream and the entire body. Healing symptoms include … "flu-like" symptoms [with] excessive mucus being produced in the sinuses, nose, throat, and lungs, [or] a head cold, upset stomach, gas, bloating, belching, muscle and joint aches and pains, clumsiness, headaches, migraines, "brain fog," etc.
Hering's Law of Cures can be very comforting when it appears as if your symptoms are too severe or they are lasting too long:
1.     Symptoms of a chronic disease disappear in definite order, going in reverse through every illness, symptom, disease, ache, pain or injury. This called "re-tracing."
2.     It takes about one month of natural healing for every year the symptoms have been present.
3.     Healing progresses from the more vital organs to the less vital organs; from inside of the body towards the skin and from the top of the body down.
______________
I'm pretty sure I'm sub-clinically hypothyroid, and am slowly recouperating from adrenal burn-out from various life events. My symptoms run the gamut from weird sleeping patterns, migraines, digestive issues, low mood, a pop in my hip when I walk and a pain in my bum when I sit, prolonged and excessive hair loss, spasms in my eustacian tube, to a heart arhythmia (which, despite occuring during my thyroid ultrasound, has never been diagnosed).  

I now suspect every. single. issue is rooted in gut dysbiosis and endocrine imbalance that I've had literally all my life.

I have repeatedly sought professional support to handle these issues, and consistently been bounced back, told it's either in my head, too common to treat, or a side-effect of age and location. I've been made to feel like a hypochondriac or a self-entitled member of the low-need/high-demand horror clientele. I've been subtly and overtly told to sit down and suck it up, that optimal health is a pipe dream.

If my body were a car, would my mechanic tell me that ticks, squeaks and that tricky third-gear clutch-point were normal, and condescendingly throw me out of his shop? Would a plumber I called about a drip from the ceiling simply hand me a bucket? Then why is that kind of behaviour accepted from doctors? Why is no one but me interested in curing, rather than treating, me?

Without the time I'm afforded by being a SAHM with no social life, I wouldn't have the chance to read and readandreadandread, venturing into uncharted territory as far as alternative health theories; I wouldn't have the chance to intelligently advocate for myself based on what I'd found. While I'm grateful that I've come this far, (I can now gauge how helpful a health professional will be to me within the first 10 minutes in their office, before I get my hopes up,) I think it's atrocious that I've had to do this, and even worse that so many other people can't. Who has this kind of time except me?

So I'm putting this out there, risking the eye-rolling and disregard of a few people, in the hopes that something here will ring some bells for someone and let them jump ahead on their own path to health.

Have you discovered that seemingly unrelated things - in health or anything else - had a surprising shared cause? 

3 comments:

  1. I just wrote a LONG comment, which Wordpress has eaten!
    Suffice to say, I agree with you 100%
    Also, thanks for the Hering's Laws - I had been worrying that my recovery was taking too long, given that I'm being very good with my diet (if I could shake the sugar monster I would be 100%) It seems I have at least another year before I need REALLY worry.

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  2. Oh I HATE it when that happens! I try to remember to select and copy my comment before I hit send, but don't always - and that's escatly when the gremlins eat it.
    Have you heard of this doctor? The link is for a seminar on sexual health, but she does other stuff too and my point is that she's so integrative. I need me a doctor like that!
    http://www.saragottfriedmd.com/mission/

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  3. I'm so lucky in my GP. It was he who suggested the Paleo diet - he knows I will do all the research and that if I'm convinced, I will follow the advice I find, and keep him informed as to what I am doing and how it is working.
    He is a true treasure.

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