What Is Elderberry?
Elderberry is the purple berry that grows on the Elder tree in North America and Europe. The edible fruit of the Elderberry shrub or Sambucus Nigra is used to make many things. The most well-known use is for boosting the Immune system. The elderberry is very nutritious; with just 105 calories and 10g of fiber, and 58% of the recommended daily amount of daily vitamin C! On top of all of that, they are full of flavonoids that provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits.
An Israeli researcher found that elderberry contains complex sugars that support the immune system in fighting a cold and the flu. According to Isreal21c, Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu of Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel completed multiple test studies during the Southern Israel flu epidemic. What she found not only did the sambucol have dramatic improvements in symptoms like fever, cough, & muscle aches, and pains but also a higher percentage of her patients felt better than the untreated group. Within 24 hours 20% of the patients reported significant improvement, 73% improvement by day two and 90% feel better in three days vs the untreated group only had 16% feel better after two days. The subjects that received the placebo required six days to recover. She also found that elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses used to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. When taken before infection, elderberry prevents infection. Taken after infection, it prevents the spread of the virus through the respiratory tract.
As mentioned above the most commonly known use of Elderberry is for the common cold and flu. But it is said to offer many benefits. According to RxList Elderberry is also beneficial and have been used for the following:
+ Sinus Pain
+ Back & Neck Pain
+ Swine Flu
+ Gum Inflammation
+ Nerve Pain
+ Hay Fever
+ Weight Loss
+ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
+ High Cholesterol
+ Heart Disease
Keep in mind that the benefits lie in the extract, which can be taken in many different ways. According to Eating Well, it is important to remember that the concentration varies with each product and recipe resulting in different outcomes. Some may work better than others. It is not recommended to use Elderberry syrup that contains honey in children under 1 year of age. Ask for a syrup without honey if you wish to give to younger children.
Wellness Mama’s Elderberry Syrup Recipe
A simple elderberry syrup recipe made with dried elderberries, honey, and herbs for an immune-boosting and delicious syrup. Can be used medicinally or on homemade pancakes or waffles.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Author: Katie Wells
- 3½ cups water
- 2/3 cup dried elderberries (or 1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen)
- 2 TBSP ginger (grated)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 1 cup raw honey
- Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
- Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
- Remove from heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled.
- Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil.
- Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
- Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.
- When it is no longer hot, add the honey and stir well.
- When the honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a mason jar or 16-ounce glass bottle of some kind.
- Ta-da! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune-boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.
Instant Pot option: Put all ingredients except honey in pot, seal lid, and set manually for 9 minutes on high pressure. Vent pressure and strain. When cooled to room temperature, stir in the honey.
The standard dose is ½ – 1 teaspoon for kids and ½ – 1 tablespoon for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.
Serving: 1tsp | Calories: 6kcal | Carbohydrates: 1.7g | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 1.5g
Written By Dr. Brenda Fairchild
“Why would a child ever need to see a chiropractor?” is a question I get asked constantly!! My question is always, “does your child have a spine?” And if they answered YES, they can benefit from chiropractic care!! Within 4 weeks of fetal development, the neural tube is closing and the brain and spinal cord are developing along with the heart. Our spine, skull, and ribs along with muscles and ligaments protect these vital organs. Baby’s development is also dependent on their position in mom as they are growing. The Webster Technique is wonderfully helpful in helping moms-to-be have proper pelvic alignment.
As the baby is brought into this world, their first trauma is the birth itself. Depending on the delivery, the baby’s head, neck, and shoulders and easily misalign coming through the vaginal canal. And can be more pronounced if the OB or midwife has to put traction on the head and neck. They may use either their hands, forceps, or suction.
How Do You Know if Your Baby is Out of Alignment? They Can’t Talk Yet.
- Not sleeping
- Crying all the time— Colic
- Flattening of the skull—Plagiocephaly
- Hard time breastfeeding
- Not liking the car seat
- Not liking tummy time— unable to hold head up
- Has lip and/or tongue ties
- Favoring looking to one side- torticollis
- Constant congestion, sick a lot
- Ear infections
- Unexplained fevers
As your baby grows up, there are things to watch out for and take into consideration:
- They may have back pain
- You may notice posture is off: possible scoliosis, text neck, gaming posture(slouched when sitting)
- Not able to focus in school, are they sitting facing the board or off to the side?
- Fall a lot, trip over their feet, fall of couch, bed, trampoline parks
- Delay in crawling or walking
- Not coordinated
- Learning to walk— falling on they bottom hundreds of times can misalign they sacrum bone
- Athletes— better performance, faster recovery times
- Recovery from auto accidents
This is not a complete list by any means. When aligning a child, it is quite different than an adult. Much more gentle and VERY specific. It is important when looking for a pediatric chiropractor to make sure they are specialized! You can visit the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association to find a pediatric chiropractor in your area. For those of you looking for more than just chiropractic and looking for a functional doctor like myself, you can find the best of the best at Intersect4Life. Through the most amazing program, we have incorporated into our practices working with balancing not only the nervous system, but the gastrointestinal(poop), endocrine, sensory, and immune system as well as biochemistry in helping with methylation, mitochondria, and metabolism. There are only a handful of pediatric chiropractors across the country and Canada and I happen to be one of them!!! Lucky you!
Why do I travel the country away from my family and office to constantly be learning more and more? Because Our Children Deserve Better!
Not only are chiropractic alignments vital to raising a healthy and thriving child, but proper nutrition, vitamins and minerals, exercise, sleep, and not over-scheduling helps with maintaining vibrant children. I know this isn’t always easy. I struggle with balance too. Just do your best!! Know you are doing a great job raising your children!
I recently discussed xenoestrogens and their effects on our lives. With their great impact on our overall health, one of the biggest reasons my clients want more information is because of their impact on our waistlines. It’s true, xenoestrogens play a large role in the numbers on the scale. Yes, our standard American diet is mostly to blame; however, if you have up’d your exercise and changed your diet, and still feel bloated, with scale numbers plateauing, your quality of foods can be to blame. Processed foods, meats and dairy fed with estrogen-filled grains, pesticide sprayed vegetables, and toxin-filled by-products are all hormone-disrupting. These not only cause long-term problems to you, but they can make you fat.
Even if you are not over-weight, eliminating endocrine disruptors should rank high on your priority list. Lowering your cancer risk, balancing your hormones, increasing your fertility, and balancing your thyroid all include taking a look at how your body is consuming and absorbing xenoestrogens.
While there are unavoidable environmental xenoestrogens that we breathe in daily, there are also so many ways we can avoid and protect ourselves from consuming them. Educate yourself and invest in yourself; by spending a little more time on reading labels, menu planning, and choosing products, you will lead a healthier life. (You can also help prevent early puberty for your children by eliminating as many of these endocrine disruptors as possible.)
What To Eliminate From Your Life
There are natural, effective birth control alternatives without the side effects of the pills. While preventing pregnancy may be your top concern, these chemically toxic, hormone disruptors can slowly pass poisons into your body, causing the potential risk of cancers and chronic health problems.
Menstrual Pads and Tampons
Avoid tampons and sanitary napkins that contain chlorine, fragrances, wax, surfactants, rayon, etc.
Your average coffee maker leeches xenoestrogens into your morning Joe through the plastic that makes up its beautiful design. Switching to a stainless steel or glass French Press will eliminate this risk; however, make sure you are not pouring your coffee into a plastic or Styrofoam cup, as the hot coffee will then absorb the xenoestrogens from these cups and allow you to ingest them.
Synthetic pesticides and insecticides also contain xenoestrogens, so eating organic really is the best way to avoid endocrine-disrupting chemicals in your food.
Non-Organic Meat and dairy
Industrially raised dairy and meat tend to have a lot of xenoestrogens, as they are often given exogenous hormones. You may also limit naturally estrogenic foods, particularly soy, as it can increase the total estrogen levels in the body (and cause an imbalance in your thyroid).
Plastic Food Containers
Replace your plastic containers with glass, stainless steel, and ceramic ones. Unfortunately, BPA-free plastic is not safe in most cases, as BPA is only one of the chemicals in plastic known as a xenoestrogen.
Skip the plastic and invest in a canteen or a thermos made out of 100% stainless steel.
Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets
There is not one fabric softener on the market that does not contain endocrine disruptors. While those soft sweaters and even softer sheets feel good, that softer feeling is killing you.
Standard Cosmetics, Toothpastes, and Deodorants
You want to look for products free of aluminum, parabens, and phthalates. Many brands of toothpaste have parabens and fluoride in them, so look for items that avoid these chemicals.
Most hair, body, and hand soaps all have endocrine disruptors within them. Read labels carefully to avoid these toxins. You want to find something natural and organic.
The chemicals used to create perfume also act as chemical estrogens. They are absorbed into the skin as well as through the nose.
Scented Home Products
Fragrance-filled candles, air fresheners, potpourri are all majority man-made with toxic hormone disruptors. These products are not naturally derived and contain the same chemicals as perfumes, which you will absorb throughout your day – every day after they are used inside your home.
Does a clean house smell really mean clean? The short answer is no. There is a much longer answer here, of course, but those smells are chemically derived and harmful to you and your family. Eliminate the harsh chemicals and use natural alternatives instead.
By Dr. Brenda Fairchild
When feeding our bodies in pregnancy, choline is not usually at the top of our lists. We are usually more concerned about a clean diet, taking the right prenatal, drinking enough water, and making sure we get plenty of sleep. So, what exactly is choline? Choline is considered an essential nutrient, which means your body needs to have enough to function normally. One of the most important things is to help our B12 and folate absorb in our body. So this is something that’s very important during pregnancy. It helps with maintaining our cell walls, which can help ward off neural tube defects.
Choline is important for brain and muscle development, helps out the nervous system to function (of course along with regular chiropractic adjustments), and aids metabolism by helping to maintain a healthy liver by lowering cholesterol. Choline is needed to help produce Acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter, which can help with stabilizing your mood to help with balancing anxiety and depression. It can also help with regulating heart rate and breathing especially those with asthma. In other words, it’s important!
During pregnancy, moms tend to be low in choline, more than likely to the fact babies are needing more for development. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the recommended dosage during pregnancy is 450mg per day. Breastfeeding moms need around 550mg per day.
Best sources for obtaining choline:
- Beef Liver has the highest source
- Beef and chicken
- Seafood such as Cod, salmon, scallops
- Wheat Germ
- Spinach and Brussel Sprouts
If you are a vegetarian, you may have to supplement just like you have to with B12 to make sure you maintain your daily amount. What you should notice with getting the right amount of choline:
- Better bowels— helps the slow liver to detox
- Thinking clearer
- May lose some weight
- Helps decrease pregnancy complications
Written by Dr. Brenda Fairchild
1. Can epidurals cause lingering back pain postpartum? If so, how long might the pain last?
Yes, epidurals can cause back or worse can cause permanent nerve damage from the injection. But, not all the back pain can come from the epidural itself. Depending on the provider, if moms-to-be are given an epidural, they labor and birth on their backs with legs in stirrups called lithotomy position. You can also be on your side, sitting, or in a squat position. Because, of the epidural, women can feel less pain so they may not know their back muscles are going into spasms and need to change positions. Depending on the severity of the injury, the pain can range anywhere from a few days if it muscle spasm, to 6-8 weeks if there is pelvic instability or fractured tailbone from delivery.
2. At what point should a new mom bring lingering back pain to their doctor’s attention?
It is not uncommon to have some back pain right after delivery of your baby. But it is better to be safe and let your provider know what is going on. Some moms have a hard time standing, sitting, numbness in legs or arms, can’t get comfortable sleeping, or severe headaches. If you should experience any symptoms that you believe are not normal, let your provider know as soon as possible.
3. What can new moms do to help ease any lingering pain from an epidural?
First of all, it is ok to take time for yourself!! Make sure you are eating and drinking properly first and foremost. Schedule an appointment with a post-natal chiropractor. Chiropractic care is extremely helpful in balancing the pelvis and pelvic floor muscles. By aligning your spine and pelvis you will notice you will start to feel more yourself, less pain, and better sleep. Make sure when looking for a chiropractor in your area, you will want to make sure they are certified in the Webster Technique by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Here you will find a specialized chiropractor trained in pregnancy and postpartum women.
Alternating between ice and heat over your sore and tight muscles. Light stretching of your back. If you have the ok from your provider, take a yoga class or book a post-natal massage. Both are helpful with soothing pain and a wonderful compliment with your chiropractic adjustment. Taking an Epsom salt bath helps with relieving muscle aches and pains. Take a nap. Even a short nap can reset the body and help you heal quicker from injury.
Photo Credit: dudeiwantthat.com
Dr. Brenda Fairchild
The Wonders of the Neti Pot
As many of you know… I can talk about the neti pot all day. I think this product is one of the greatest inventions of modern times!! Now, I know not everyone loves to see and feel the neti pot doing its job, but it is a wonderful way to naturally rid your sinuses of congestion and infections. And when you are pregnant and not a lot of options as far as decongestants go, this is a wonderful alternative!!
The word Neti means “nasal cleansing” and comes from ancient India. It has been around for over 5,000 years!!! Yoga masters used this technique to help with mediation. They felt they could get to a higher and deeper state of mind. Some yogi’s also believed it helped with mood swings and addictions as well. The neti pot was then massed produced in the early 1970s and has since become a favorite for those of us looking to relieve the sinus pressure naturally!
Benefits of the Neti Pot
- Lessen the time of cold, flu, or allergy
- Relieve the pressure of sinus headaches
- Help reduce pollen from the nasal passage
- Remove mucous
- Allows for easier breathing
- Great for post nasal drip
- Allows for easier breathing
Using the neti pot is pretty simple and oddly satisfying. You can get a simple pot at most of the chain stores. And most come with packets of sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride. Usually under $20. You can get ceramic to metal ones at health food stores or online. Now, from personal experiences, I highly suggest the packets!! I have tried just plain water, and it did not feel well. But, it is all up to you. I like to use filtered water if I can. I don’t use it all the time, but I try to as much as possible.
How to use the Neti Pot
Add one packet to the warm water and let them mix. I like to start with draining my most clogged nasal passage first. This means the pot is pouring the water into the good side and the clogged side is towards the sink. And let the magic begin!! I use about half the pot per nasal passage. Depending on what is going on with you our your child, the nasal mucous could be green or yellow which could be an infection to clear which could be allergies. When in doubt, call your primary physician. If there is a bad infection, there may be some blood mixed in. When you have done one side, gently blow your nose. You want to rid the body of the mucus, which is inflammation. I always tell my patients “better out than in!” You will instantly feel the pressure release!!! It is amazing!!!
I start to use the neti pot at the first sign of a cold coming on. I will do this 3-4 times a day if it is really bad. And use that over the course of 2-3 days if need be. It really cuts down the time of the cold or allergy. And can help you get some sleep at night due to your breathing better!
Other recommendations to follow the neti pot. Get Adjusted!!! It helps with aligning your body and helps with draining your sinuses as well. Watch your dairy, gluten, wheat, and sugar as they can be inflammatory. Stay hydrated with water. Get Sleep and make sure you are getting you vitamin D!
Dr. Brenda Fairchild
Benefits of Dry Brushing
I am a huge fan of dry brushing to help with lymph drainage. But, there are so many other benefits of dry brushing as well. First off, let’s talk about why lymph is so important!
Lymph system helps with keeping us healthy! Aids in boosting our immune system. The lymph system contains tissues and organs through out our body to help us eliminate waste and toxins. When we are sick, the lymph node can swell due to increased lymph fluid. As our body starts to get rid of the virus or bacteria, the lymph nodes should start to decrease. But that is not always the case. We also have other organs that help with maintaining a healthy body:
As you can see, these are pretty important organs, and why I am not always happy of people getting rid of their tonsils and adenoids. If they are swollen, we have to figure out why!!!! Not just get rid of them!!
Dry brushing is an amazing way to help our bodies get lymph fluid moving to keep us healthy!
Other benefits of Dry Brushing:
- Helps with Digestion!!! You all know I am all about pooping!!!
- Exfoliates your skin. Your skin will be sooo soft and smooth, and some of my patients notice more even skin color tone.
- Can help with cellulite. Helps to move stored fat around.
- Improve circulation of the body.
- Helps you feel more energized! I like to do my brushing in the morning before my shower. I will help wake you up and set the tone for the day.
- Less swelling in hands and feet.
- Stimulates the nervous system!! As a chiropractor, it is super important! Every cell, muscle, organ are controlled by your nervous system. That is why spinal alignments are just as important as dry brushing. Dry brushing helps tostimulate our senses especially touch.
- Can help alleviate stress and anxiety which can lead to better mental health! Being happy and grateful can help with improved circulation and improved immune function.
As you can see, dry brushing extends beyond just the lymph system!
How to Dry Brush:
- I always start at my feet and you want to brush up your leg towards the center of your body towards your groin. I do my standing using my bed to stabilize me. Work all over your feet, then calf, then thigh. As you get to know your legs you will start to feel some knots or areas that may need more attention and go over them a little more often or vigorously. Just not too hard to effect your skin. I spend about 15-30 seconds per area. So, one leg may take 45-60 in total.
- Next, I then start working in my hands and arms. Here I hold my arm in the air and work downward towards my armpit, breast, and heart. Make sure you are getting into the armpit as it will tickle but very important! Spend about 60 seconds each side.
- Then I will do face and neck. Do lightly or have a separate brush for face and neck that is a bit softer. There again, brush downwards toward the heart. I spend 20-30 seconds on this area.
- Next, is back and glutes. This is not the easiest. Do the best you can. My brush has a long handle. I try to go circular or downward over my back. For my glutes, I start int he middle and move outward to the front of my groin. 30-60 seconds
- Chest area including breast, brush downward to the abdomen. Lifting the breast as well to get underneath. I spend 20-30 seconds on chest and breast.
- The abdomen is where you want to spend the most time and most important for elimination. Sometimes I will lay not the bed on my back, but not necessary. Start over the bladder just above the pubic bone and brush in a clockwise direction until you get back to the bladder again. You are going in the same direction of your bowel and this will help with elimination. I spend 1-2 minutes just on the abdomen alone.
I like to dry brush 1-2 times a week. I usually do in-between my epsom salt baths. Opposite days. I will do it more if my legs are sore form working out, or if I am feeling sick.
I use a bamboo brush. You can spend as much as you want. My brush was about $20. You can find a dry brush is most bath stores, Amazon, or health foods stores.
By Joseph Fairchild
’Tis The Season
It’s so hard to believe the holidays are upon us, isn’t it? Thanksgiving 2019 has come and gone, and 2020 is just around the corner.
What comes to mind when you think of the holidays? Is it holiday traditions handed down or developed over the years? Memories of holidays past? People you have loved and lost? Delicious food you enjoy each year? Seeing people you don’t see very often?
One thing many of us associate to the holidays, regardless of faith or upbringing, is giving. While a source of joy in many respects, it can also cause frustration or resentment. It seems that every time you turn around, someone somewhere is asking for a donation or gift. What to do? While the answer isn’t quite so simple, here are a few ideas:
- Just say no: It is ok to say no. Co-workers or well meaning friends and family want to exchange gifts, and we don’t want to seem cheap or miss out on the fun. At the same time, we participate – sometimes begrudgingly- though we are really just “going through the motions.” When you give or participate, doesn’t it feel much better when it’s done from a place of enthusiasm instead of compulsion? This isn’t to say don’t join in the activities – just re-consider the gift exchange piece of it. Maybe you can plan a weekend away or nice meal out and enjoy relaxing time together instead.
2. Be mindful about your approach: give some thought to they causes that are most important to you. Which organizations match your personal values? Who is doing the work you want to support? Reserve your giving to those charities.
3. Research the organizations you plan to donate to: this is especially important if you plan to donate a sizable amount (and only you can decide what sizable means). Established charities can provide annual reports upon request (they may be available on their website). These annual reports show how much the organization received, and how they use their money. Be wary of organizations that don’t invest most of their money in program expenses- those expenses used to provide the actual services to end users.
4. Involve your family: our children often amaze us don’t they? Even those times it seems like they are not paying attention, they watch us closely. Why not teach them by example? Some children are so inherently generous this comes naturally to them.
5. Take a little time to give to yourself, too: for some, this is a struggle and it doesn’t feel quite right. This does not mean you have to buy yourself an expensive gift or go away for the weekend. It means you do something you enjoy, just for yourself, no matter how small, that will bring you joy during the holidays. And guess what? Those around you will feel it too. Isn’t it easier to give something you have in abundance?
Just like over eating or drinking too much alcohol, giving too much can make us sick, too. Please keep this in mind and don’t “give until it hurts.”
- With 20 years experience in the financial industry, Joseph Fairchild loves to help others make sound financial decisions. He is an amazing husband to Dr. Brenda and father to Madelyn.
The colder days are approaching, and along with purchasing more soup and stew ingredients, most people are adding tissues, elderberry syrup, and over-the-counter cold and flu medications to their carts. You can’t seem to turn a corner or go one commercial break without reading a sign or hearing about ‘flu season’ and how bad it will be this year. Along with the increase in coughs, colds, sniffles, sore throats, and ear aches, the flu and other ‘winter illnesses’ cause more missed work and school days than illnesses commonly contracted in other seasons.
Have you ever wondered why we, as a population, tend to get so sick in the winter? The flu doesn’t magically appear every year when it gets cold outside, it exists year-round, but is generally caught and passed to others easiest throughout the coldest months. The same goes for strep throat, stomach viruses, fevers, and colds.
Research from 2015 shows that 1/4th of our gene activity is impacted by seasonal changes with winter suppressing the gene responsible for warding inflammation. This, of course, effects the cells that make up the immune system. It also impacts our blood composition and adipose tissue (fat cells), making us more susceptible to weight gain and pain, along with increasing our chances of getting sick. You can see that researchers found a cyclical trend in healthy individuals’ genes over a year’s time, which identifies the body’s natural ability to stay healthier throughout the summer as compared to the winter.
When you pair this gene activity with the cold, dry air that presents in the winter, and the decreasing Vitamin D levels due to less sun exposure, you have the perfect environment for viruses to attack. Viruses enter the body through the nose, and when you have a runny nose, a virus has the ability to ‘hang out’ in that mucus longer than it would be able to in a clean nose. Everything that mucus touches then becomes contaminated with the germs it contains. It may seem impossible to prevent a runny nose, so keeping tissues nearby and using soap to wash your hands well will prove to be your best defense.
The winter generally keeps you indoors, whether at home, work, or school, with windows sealed tight and the heater running. This also presents the perfect environment for viruses to spread. Having the same air continually circulate weakens the already impacted immune system. While turning up the heat is a necessity, you need to pay attention to the humidity levels as you do so. The dry air caused by your heater and outdoor weather not only increases illness probability by allowing germs from a sneeze to survive longer, but it also causes dry, cracked skin, sore throats, and headaches. Research shows that running a whole-house humidifier, or having versions in the rooms most commonly used, can help you stay healthier throughout the sickest season of the year, killing up to 30% of the influenza virus in the air and promoting more restful sleep.
One thing to note: humidifiers must be cleaned out at least two times a week to prevent build up.
The greatest way to ward off illnesses year-round is of course proper hand-washing, regular exercise, eating a whole food diet, and getting proper rest. Throughout the winter, however, supplementing with Vitamin D3 has been shown to decrease the probability of contracting flu symptoms, especially in school-aged children. It can prevent or lessen joint pain caused by inflammation, too. You can also aid your body by taking daily probiotics, keeping your gut health at an optimal level.
Commercially raised meat and dairy, cosmetics, food preservatives, pesticides, paints, brake fluids, non-stick cookware, drinking water, nail polish, cleaning supplies, plastic, tampons, toilet paper, soap, perfume, baby bottles, food containers, the list of products containing life-altering chemicals could fill a book. We are drowning in a world consumed with chemicals, and the latest research is enough to scare us even more.
Xenoestrogens are a sub-category of the endocrine disruptor group that have estrogen-like effects. But to understand this, you must understand the purpose of estrogen within our bodies. It is a natural hormone that is vital for several things including bone growth and fertility. Our bodies should regulate estrogen naturally. However, xenoestrgoens enter the body and trigger an estrogen dominance. They cannot be broken down and are stored in our fat cells. This then causes a myriad of possible health issues.
There are over 160 types of xenoestrogens currently known, with an unknown amount still to be uncovered. These toxic elements are are linked to the following:
- Brain development
- Blood abnormalities
- Female infertility
- Male infertility
- Testicle shrinkage
- Lower sperm counts
- Low birth weight
- Kidney disease
- Thyroid disease
- High cholesterol
- Skin cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Pancreas cancer
- Brain cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Early onset of puberty
They also interfer with the way testosterone communicates with cells, lowering testosterone and altering thyroid hormone levels. They are found in 99% of Americans, and are traceable in the womb and breastmilk.
Xenoestrogens can be either naturally derived or synthetic, with the most common natural presence occurring in a variety of foods. This does not make them safe to consume. Soy is the most well-known food to contain xenoestrogens. The problem becomes worse when considering that most of our soy production is also genetically modified and non-organic. Synthetic xenoestrogens are molecules produced by chemical synthesis, which are used in industrial products and pharmaceutical estrogens, and are known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
EDCs are defined as compounds that “interfere with the synthesis, secretion, transport, binding, action, or elimination of natural hormones in the body that are responsible for the development, behavior, fertility and maintenance of homeostasis”
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that endocrine disrupters are associated with “altered reproductive function in males and females, increased incidence of breast cancer, abnormal growth patterns and neurodevelopmental delays in children, as well as changes in immune function.” This should be a wake-up call. It is not just a simple study that has been buried and is easily overlooked. The WHO continues to describe how human exposure to EDCs occur through everything from ingesting foods, drinking tap water, and inhaling dust particles and gases through the skin. They can be transferred during pregnancy to a fetus through the placenta, and are also passed while breastfeeding.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) states that it is now “widely known that most humans are continually exposed to these potentially dangerous substances. This is proven by the increasing incidence of many endocrine related disorders, comprising genital malformation, neurobehavioral disorders and the increased global rates of endocrine-related cancers.”
The risk is real – and is involves everyone from infants to adults, and all genders and races. Women seem more susceptible due to their exposure to cosmetics, etc, but xenoestrogens can impact everyone. It has been shown that exposure to EDCs while in the womb or throughout the earliest years of life may manifest only later in life or even lay dormant and be passed down to future generations.
What can you do?
- Do not take birth control pills or select conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Skip the tap water
- Eat organic, locally grown foods
- Peel non-organic fruits and veggies after washing
- Shop the outside of the grocery store and avoid processed items or anything containing additives
- Avoid soy and soy protein
- Do not use dryer sheets (they are full of xenoestrogens)
- Avoid non-organic menstrual products
- Read cosmetic labels
- Avoid all pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
- Buy hormone-free meats and dairy
- Do not microwave plastic
- Use glass instead of plastic
- Use a chlorine filter on shower heads and filter drinking water
- Use chemical free soaps and toothpastes
- Read the labels on condoms
Postmenopausal women with higher risk of developing breast cancer should avoid xenoestrogen intake due to their possible capacity to stimulate proliferation in sensible tissue.
Synthetic Xenoestrogens Activities Sources 4-tert-Octylphenol Negatively affects pregnancy and development Generally found in plastic and, consequently, as contaminants in foodstuff, fruits and vegetables. Benzylbutylphtalate Negatively affects pregnancy and development Bisphenol A (BPA) Correlated with hormone related cancer Alteration neuroendocrine system Altered development observed in aquatic species Negatively affects pregnancy and development Bisphenol A glucuronide Generates adipogenesis (in vivo) Bisphenol S Cardiotoxicity Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate Negatively affects pregnancy and development Dibutyl phtalate Negatively affects pregnancy and development Terephtalic acid In vitro estrogenic effect Tetrachlorobisphenol A More toxic than BPA, Potentially carginogenic Ethynil estradiol Reduced fertility and fecundity Pharmaceuticals (found in aquatic environment) Behavior changes in aquatic species Bytylparaben Personal care products1 Ethylparaben In vitro estrogenic activity Methylparaben Increased breast cancer risk Butylated hydroxyanisole In vitro estrogenic/antiestrogenic activity Food preservatives Benzophenone-2 In vitro estrogenic activity UV Filters in cosmetic and topical sunscreens1 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor Highly diffused in aquatic environment Polychlorinated biphenyls Neurological and hormonal diseases Used as coolant, plasticizers and pesticides and found in several food supplies Chlordecone Associated with hormone related cancer Pesticides (fruits and vegetables) Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane Negatively affects pregnancy and development Hydroxyphenyltrichloroethane Methoxychlor TCDD Carcinogenicity, hepatotoxicity, immunotoxicity reproductive and developmental toxicity Synthetic Xenoestrogens Activities Sources 4-tert-Octylphenol Negatively affects pregnancy and development Generally found in plastic and, consequently, as contaminants in foodstuff, fruits and vegetables. Benzylbutylphtalate Negatively affects pregnancy and development Bisphenol A (BPA) Correlated with hormone related cancer Alteration neuroendocrine system Altered development observed in aquatic species Negatively affects pregnancy and development Bisphenol A glucuronide Generates adipogenesis (in vivo) Bisphenol S Cardiotoxicity Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate Negatively affects pregnancy and development Dibutyl phtalate Negatively affects pregnancy and development Terephtalic acid In vitro estrogenic effect Tetrachlorobisphenol A More toxic than BPA, Potentially carginogenic Ethynil estradiol Reduced fertility and fecundity Pharmaceuticals (found in aquatic environment) Behavior changes in aquatic species Bytylparaben Personal care products1 Ethylparaben In vitro estrogenic activity Methylparaben Increased breast cancer risk Butylated hydroxyanisole In vitro estrogenic/antiestrogenic activity Food preservatives Benzophenone-2 In vitro estrogenic activity UV Filters in cosmetic and topical sunscreens1 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor Highly diffused in aquatic environment Polychlorinated biphenyls Neurological and hormonal diseases Used as coolant, plasticizers and pesticides and found in several food supplies Chlordecone Associated with hormone related cancer Pesticides (fruits and vegetables) Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane Negatively affects pregnancy and development Hydroxyphenyltrichloroethane Methoxychlor TCDD Carcinogenicity, hepatotoxicity, immunotoxicity reproductive and developmental toxicity Environmental contaminant