Protecting Little Bodies and Our Beloved Brains
In part I, I reviewed the “toxic effects” of chemicals on our brain and bodies. I also remediated the missing piece of my previous blog on neuroplasticity factors, chemical exposure! This is an important component to consider when healing the brain from trauma and neurodegeneration.
In this blog, I’ll discuss more on how environmental poisons are effecting little brains and bodies. I’ll also provide more of my tips to help remedy the harm and some from a few leading experts.
Toxins, Children, and More Reasons to “Sniff Out” Positive Neuroplasticity
Previously, I’ve discussed that children are most at risk from toxic exposures. This is due to the fact that chemicals can interfere with the regulation of their biochemistry during critical times of their development.
As many are aware, we are in an epidemic of children’s diseases. In 2000, the CDC estimated 1 in 250 children were diagnosed with autism. In 2012 the number alarmingly increased to 1 in 68. Although some have blamed the rising numbers resulted from changes in diagnostic criteria, many integrative physicians who work with this population don’t feel this is the major reason for such a quick incline. The change is most likely multifactorial-with chemicals being a big factor.
More and more, studies are coming to light which are providing data that is linking chemicals and “poisons” to autism risk. For example, several recent studies have linked autism to heavy metal burden and resultant improvement with removal, increasing strength in association. Furthermore, just a few days ago, I read a newly published study that related pre-and post-natal exposure to mercury, as measured by tooth-matrix biomarkers, to autism.
In a recent dialogue, published in Medscape, Boris Hansel, MD and Patrick Fénichel, MD, PhD discussed the topic of endocrine disruptors. Here are some excerpts that describe “threshold doses,” critical periods of exposure, and neurological effects in children. The article also provides some preventative measures in pregnancy. Here are the details, excerpted from the conversation, for those who are interested:
Dr Fénichel: The whole issue is to find the environmental “threshold” doses.
The concept of endocrine disruptors has revolutionized toxicology. It has shown that chronic exposure to very small amounts of a given substance (which is often lipophilic and accumulates in fatty tissues) can be harmful, even in small amounts, during certain periods of life; in particular, during high-risk windows of susceptibility, such as fetal development or early childhood.
Dr Fénichel: There are two classes of endocrine disruptors. One type is highly lipophilic substances, and they persist in the water table and in fatty tissues, where they accumulate. Others are much less persistent.
For example, pesticides are very persistent. If you’re exposed to a very small amount of pesticides, they will accumulate in your fatty tissues and be released gradually.
A compound like bisphenol A, which is found in plastics, is not persistent at all, but you’re exposed to it every day. It’s oxidized in the liver in 2-3 hours, conjugated, and eliminated in the urine. Therefore, if you’re exposed to it in the morning, you will no longer be exposed to it in the afternoon.
However, in reality, we’re exposed to it continuously, so there is always some circulating in our blood. It’s as if you are exposed to large amounts of bisphenol A all the time, even if the amount was small at the beginning.
PCBs, which were used as electrical insulators for years and are now banned, are still present in the water table and in the fatty tissues of animals and humans. They are thyroid hormone antagonists. They block the action of thyroid hormones on their target cells and can block fetal brain development.
PCBs probably play a role in the high incidence of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, certain forms of autism, and neurodegenerative diseases.
In a study that we conducted in Nice, we measured PCB levels in cord blood and followed 50 children every 6 months for 3 years (using the same psychologist) to study their language acquisition. We found that the higher the cord blood PCB levels, the more frequent the language acquisition disorders.
Excerpts from: Endocrine Disruptors: Should We Be Afraid? Experts Provide Practical Advice to Share With Patients. Interview with Boris Hansel, MD; Patrick Fénichel, MD, PhD. News and Perspectives. Medscape.com. June 14, 2017.
Wait Don’t Poke Your Head Back in the Sand!! Here’s More Tips!
Overwhelmed!! Don’t let these demonic toxins spin your head into chaos!
These are tips to use when pregnant, offered by the article above:
- Avoid smoking, as tobacco contains benzopyrene, aromatic polycyclic hydrocarbons, and cadmium, which are endocrine disruptors.
- Avoid microwaving in plastic containers due to the plasticizers.
- During pregnancy eat organic fruits and vegetables to decrease pesticide burden.
- Avoid painting, as paints contain solvents that are endocrine disruptors.
- Don’t use pesticides or insecticides in the garden.
- Avoid eating canned foods and soft drinks. Cans have a plastic coating which contains bisphenol-A.
- Take folic acid (no folate!) due to its positive effect on gene methylation, a mechanism of endocrine disruption. (Caveats here.)
- Ensure iodine sufficiency to prevent subclinical hypothyroidism, which increases susceptibility to endocrine disruptors.
Tips for Everyone
- Eat Low Mercury Fish: these include sardines, anchovies, and small varieties of salmon.
- Eat Organic When Possible: especially the “Dirty Dozen”—strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, pears, cherries, grapes, celery, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and potatoes.
- Swap Plastics to Glass: in one study, those who drank out of the can saw a 16-fold increase in BPA levels, and a rise in systolic blood pressure. In addition, BPA exposure resulted in two times the risk for diabetes.
- Use Non-Toxic Beauty Products: Follow Your Nose to Guide the Way!
- Eat Healthy and Well: “A Mediterranean diet is shown to slow aging and prevent neurological disease, says Pizzorno.
- Eat Your Fiber: “Fiber is shown to decrease POPs, says Pizzorno.”
- Sweat: It helps rid the body of heavy metals and other toxins!
- Consider chelators and nutritional supplements to help relieve the body burden when needed.
I’ve also provided more solutions to empower you, including our beloved essential oils. You can access a webinar on this topic. In it, two of my fellow “chemical-yuck-slaying” warriors and I provide our favorite solutions.
Summary of Our “Relieving Toxins Action Plan”
1. Do all the lifestyle support listed above.
2. Don’t forget your essential oils!
As the “Essential Oils ND,” I have to chime in about essential oils!
I’ve previously written about how essential oils are a dynamic way to mitigate and prevent the neurological bombardments we are up against! This is for many reasons. Not only do they directly support brain function; essential oils also help us to avoid toxins, support us in detoxifying, and protect of our belly and brain bugs!
I also found another way essential oils may help our brains through their wonderful scent. I just found this gem of a study this weekend. I ended up spending the end of my Saturday cross-eyed referencing past paper to my family’s dismay. It’s a bit complicated in mechanisms, and I need to review it more, but basically it states that smell and can modulate neurological health via stem cell stimulation! Looks like I have a new research topic I’m working on!
3. If you’re an oily lover and one of my E-blast subscribers, stay on the lookout for more announcements on the new, non-toxic, convention products I previewed last weekend.
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)