Pesticides: harmful to fertility?

Unnatural Oestrogens

Unnatural oestrogens in foods and man-made, confuse the bodies normal fertility hormone signals. We need to know what the long -term effects will be and whether the increase in reproductive disorders are linked to the wide use of pesticides in our daily foods.

  1. exogenous-oestrogens or xeno-oestrogens our bodies metabolise from pesticides (these are dangerous)
  2. naturally occurring oestrogens in foods (phytoestrogens) e.g. soya, may be okay in small amounts

We all need oestrogen to keep us healthy. In some women oestrogen may be out of balance with the other sex hormones due to dietary influences.

Dioxins: the Environmental Oestrogens

Unfortunately some of the food we eat contains pesticides, which have an oestrogenic effect - so called xenoestrogens.

Dioxins, PCB’s and nonylphenols have an oestrogenic effect in body cells, that is, they produce chemicals, which act exactly as oestrogen does in the body. These are false oestrogens and they are bad news. “Suspect chemicals include pesticides and phthalates (nonylphenols) a group of compounds which migrate from plastic wrappings and leak into the foods we eat, such as cheese, meats, cakes, sandwiches and confectionary” (50). Research from all around the world has shown that they are having a detrimental effect upon the reproductive systems of both humans and animals. “USA production alone of synthetic organic chemicals (including pesticides) amount to 197.5 billion kilogrammes in 1992, with similar production in other countries. They ignore geographical boundaries and are found in rainwater, lakes, oceans and in the fat cells within our bodies” (51). “Biologists feel that these xeno-oestrogens can mimic the actions of natural signalling molecules such as oestrogens and also growth factors. i.e. a ‘natural’ signal may be being sent by an ‘unnatural’ signalling molecule, they do not alter genes themselves but may alter the way they (genes) are expressed”.

All this research shows that environmental changes are affecting humankind at a cellular level and this is affecting health quite drastically for some. We are the canaries of the world. It is like a gigantic research experiment where we are all the guinea pigs.

Dioxins in Foods

Unfortunately dioxins come to us from plants and animals through our foods. The higher up the food chain the greater the contamination.

  1. Eating from lower down the food chain may have a lessening effect, i.e. a fish eating vegetarian or lacto-vegetarian. The fats in meat and dairy foods may contain the highest levels of dioxins, so keep intake very low.
  2. Fish should also be from a relatively clean source, not a polluted lake or river.
  3. Trying to avoid fruits and vegetables that have been sprayed is very difficult. Buying organic vegetables can be neither easy nor cheap for most people and anyway dioxins are everywhere, even on the skins of organic vegetables. However, it is extremely important that all fruits and vegetables should be peeled in order to remove the chemicals. Just washing them will not work.
  4. Processed foods, such as cakes and biscuits, may contain contaminated fats so they should be kept to a bare minimum. If the cooking is done in the home there can be more control over the use of pure ingredients.

We have to be aware but not anxious, but just do our best to avoid an excess intake of these harmful chemicals.

Dioxins build up in our fat cells. “The World Health Organisation plus the UK authorities accept a tolerance of 10 units of dioxin per day as acceptable. Whilst USA authorities set the minimum risk at 0.0064 units per day stating that dioxins have a cancer risk” (54). For instance, a pint of milk contains 5 times the quantity of PCB’s contained in a single cod liver oil capsule; a pat of butter contains 3 times the amount. Water should also be chosen from purified source. It is the way in which our liver enzymes may be dealing with these man-made oestrogenic chemicals which requires more research. A healthy liver may be crucial to us. Ask for a liver enzyme function test.

Weight Loss and Dioxins

If you are trying to lose weight then do it slowly, at 2lbs per week only. This is very important as a sudden change in diet can result in too fast a release of dioxins from fat cells causing other symptoms such as feeling toxic and exhausted and this fast release greatly stresses the liver. If you are suffering from food intolerances, try to exclude the foods, which are causing the problem. One often finds a weight loss of 5lbs happens naturally over one month if the body is intolerant to some foods as intolerance often causes soft tissue oedema, cells hold fluid. Research at the University of Los Angeles took 60 people off wheat for 3 months. At the end of this time they were given 1 slice of bread. Twelve people put on 8lbs. in weight overnight with fluid retention. Once that food is excluded the cells lose this fluid. The bloating sensation disappears and body weight normalises. The use of good quality cis-oils can also help weight loss when used wisely. “Researchers have observed that the more linoleic acid in the fat tissue, the less obese the person” (55). Certainly if you are pregnant or breast feeding take care as some dioxins stored in body fat cells can be shed from mother to child. Always lose weight slowly.