In a positive turn of events, the Food and Drug Administration has recently released a ‘rule’ to declare mineral sunscreen ingredients as safe, specifically zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The FDA said 12 other chemicals used in common sunscreens need more research to determine if they can be officially listed as safe. If these chemicals are deemed unsafe by the FDA, our U.S. regulations will be more in line with European rules about sunscreen, which would ban about 90% of the sunscreen products available here.
The EWG assessed over 13,000 SPF products and found that two-thirds contain potentially toxic ingredients or offer inferior protection. 84% of the over 800 sunscreens the EWG studied did not pass health and environmental testing. Many contained potentially harmful chemicals like oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate, which are known to copy naturally occurring bodily hormones, throwing the body’s systems off balance. Some sunscreens also contained Padimate-0 and parsol 1789 (also known as avobenzone), which are linked to DNA damage when exposed to sunlight. The EWG also discovered that over half of the sunscreens available in the U.S. are potentially lying about their product claims on longevity, water resistance, and UV protection.
Two of the twelve chemicals being called into question include oxybenzone and octinoxate, which many of us have known for years to be unsafe and actually dangerous to our bodies and the environment. There have been people championing the fight against these chemicals for over a decade now. However, a recent study has found that the chemicals in sunscreen can be absorbed not only into the skin, but through to the bloodstream. The most common of these two sunscreen chemicals, oxybenzone, was found in 96% of the population by a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This is especially alarming since oxybenzone is considered an endocrine disruptor, can reduce sperm count in men, and may contribute to endometriosis in women. It’s scary to think that it is being rubbed on anyone’s body, especially a body belonging to a baby, toddler, child, or pregnant/breastfeeding woman.
These hormone disruptors, toxins, carcinogens, and preservatives can negatively impact people, corals, aquatic, and marine life. In fact, they are so dangerous to our ocean life that Hawaii passed a ban on sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate that goes into effect in 2021. Do you know what is frustrating though? The FDA is allowing these chemicals to still be available until more research has been performed. Instead of recalling these sunscreens and taking them from the shelves, they will still be sold to the masses for pennies.
Sunscreen use has risen in the past decade, as people are trying to protect themselves against sunburns and skin cancer. While usage is on the rise, so are skin cancer rates. These new reports are presenting the probable link between the two. Sunscreen increases risk of overexposure to the UV rays produced by the sun. Ultraviolet radiation is made up of 90% Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays that are not absorbed by the ozone layer and penetrate deep into our skin – and Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which are partially absorbed by the ozone layer and stick to the top layers of our skin, causing sunburns. Both types of UV rays are thought to cause skin cancer. Most sunscreens claim to block some UVB radiation, but many don’t screen UVA rays at all.
A 2019 study has verified that “mineral-based skincare products provide environmental protection, are ecologically safe, and can replace chemical-based sunscreen ingredients.” The EWG has recognized only two ingredients as being adequately tested for safety and efficacy: zinc oxide and titanium oxide. It is vital to choose a mineral-based sunscreen when applying to yourself or your family.
Best Mineral Sunscreens According to EWG:
- Badger Mineral Sunscreen
- Babyganics Sunscreen
- All Terrain KidSport SPF30 Oxybenzone-Free Natural Sunscreen
- Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen
- Bull Frog Sunscreen
- Burt’s Bees Sunscreen Stick
- California Baby Hypoallergenic Sunscreen
- JASON Mineral Sunscreen
- Naked Turtle Mineral Sunscreen with Aloe
- Sunology Natural Sunscreen
- Raw Elements Sunscreen
- The Honest Company Sunscreen
- Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen
Something to consider:
Even though mineral-based sunscreens are safe to use, they (as well as chemical-based versions) prevent Vitamin D production, especially when used daily. I have previously discussed the importance of Vitamin D, and you understand the need for your body to naturally produce it. By creating a barrier, you prevent the one true benefit that the sun’s rays provide. This is one of the reasons our society has become completely deficient of Vitamin D, which in turn increases the risk of the most common cancers today. It can then be said that we are utilizing sunscreen in hopes of preventing one type cancer, while we are increasing our risks of developing numerous other types of cancer.
Perhaps instead of avoiding sun without being slathered in sunscreen, we should concentrate on non-burning sun exposure, granting us the benefits of the sun without the cancer risks. This can be done by being “sun smart” with our clothing, time of day exposed, consuming an anti-inflammatory diet, and staying in the shade.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 200,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed each year in the US, making it three times more common than other gynecological cancers, and more deadly than lung cancer for women. Even more disturbing is the speed at which breast cancer rates have risen over the past 5 decades. In 1960, one in 20 women was diagnosed—but today, it is one in seven
Breast cancer facts:
- Breast cancer is the leading cause of death for women age 40 to 55.
- 15% of all breast cancers occur in women under age 45. In this age group, breast cancers are more aggressive and have lower recovery rates.
- 80 % of breast lumps are NON-cancerous.
- 70% of breast cancers are found through breast self-exams.
- About 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of breast cancer.
The Danger of Mammograms
Mammograms use ionizing radiation at a relatively high dose, which can contribute to the mutations that can lead to breast cancer. You can get as much radiation from one mammogram as you would from 1,000 chest X-rays. Mammography also compresses your breasts tightly, which can lead to a dangerous spread of cancerous cells.
“The premenopausal breast is highly sensitive to radiation, each 1 radiation exposure increases breast cancer risk by about 1% with a cumulative 10% increased risk for each breast over a decade’s screening.”
Unfortunately, many women are completely unaware that the science simply does not back up the use of routine mammograms as a means to prevent breast cancer death.
The Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews revealed that mammography breast cancer screening led to 30% over-diagnosis and overtreatment, which equates to an absolute risk increase of 0.5 percent. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/08/15/politics-behind-mammography.aspx
There’s also the risk of getting a false negative, meaning that a life-threatening cancer is missed.
The New 3D Tomosynthesis (Yes, a 3D Mammogram) – This procedure exposes women to TWICE as much radiation as a standard mammogram. Please RUN AWAY from this procedure.
Did You Know?
At least 30 percent of tumors found on mammograms would go away if you did absolutely nothing. These tumors appear to be destined to stop growing on their own, shrink, and even go away completely. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/03/03/experts-say-avoid-mammograms.aspx
A better Option: Thermal Imaging (Thermology)
Mammography cannot detect a tumor until after it has been growing for years and reaches a certain size. Thermography is able to detect the possibility of breast cancer much earlier, because it can show the early stages of a formation of a direct supply of blood to cancer cells. Which is a necessary step before they can grow into tumors of noticeable size.
Breast Thermography Is a Noninvasive Prognostic Procedure That Predicts Tumor Growth Rate, but you’re not likely to hear about them from your general practitioner. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-6632.1993.tb17203.x/abstract
Peer review journals and research on more than 300,000 women who have been tested using thermal Imaging technology shows great successes in detecting breast cancer with greater accuracy than other methods, including mammograms. This technology is slowly gaining ground among more progressive practitioners. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/12/04/why-mammography-is-not-an-effective-breast-cancer-screen.aspx
Thermography scans are absolutely painless and risk-free. They involve no compression of tissue, are non-invasive, and emit no radiation. Thermography uses an infrared camera to graphically illustrate skin temperature by way of a color image. On the image, degrees of heat appear as different colors. Standard diagnostic tests such as mammograms, x-rays, MRI’s, ultrasounds and CAT scans are designed to test your anatomy. By contrast, thermography tests for physiological change and metabolic processes. It measures the amount of body heat delivered to your skin through cellular metabolism and your nervous system.
Serious conditions tend to show themselves in the form of skin tenderness or sensitivity to touch. You skin is connected to your internal organs. Your skin temperature patterns are indicators of metabolic activity in different parts of your body. Disturbances in your body’s metabolic processes appear through the thermal imaging as areas of inflammation, degeneration and/or blockage. If these areas are left untreated, these metabolic and cellular stresses often show up in the form of anatomical damage years later (tumors).
Many studies have been conducted using thermal imaging to screen for breast cancer. According to the results, thermography may be useful in the initial screening and supplementation of diagnostic procedures due to its safety (its non-radiation properties), low cost and the good recognition of breast tissue disease. Thermography has an accuracy rate of 80.95%, with 100% sensitivity and 70.6% specificity in identifying breast cancer. The results are promising as compared to clinical examination by experienced radiologists, which has an accuracy rate of approximately 60-70%. For breast cancer care, it has become possible to use thermography as a powerful adjunct and biomarker tool. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17852648 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26745126
Thermography allows you to detect the beginnings of a disease sooner, so you’re able to take appropriate treatment steps to get your body healing right away. Think of thermography as preventive medicine, which can be used to detect, control and even prevent serious illness or disease that otherwise would not be diagnosed until it is well-advanced.
Breast Cancer Prevention
“Cancer screening is NOT to be misconstrued as a form of cancer prevention. Preventing breast cancer is far more important and powerful than simply trying to detect it after it has already formed, which is why I want to share my top tips on how to help prevent this disease in the first place.
In the largest review of research into lifestyle and breast cancer, the American Institute of Cancer Research estimated that about 40% of U.S. breast cancer cases could be prevented.
- Avoid sugar, especially fructose. All forms of sugar are detrimental to health in general and promote cancer. Fructose, however, is clearly one of the most harmful and should be avoided as much as possible.
- Optimize your vitamin D. Vitamin D influences virtually every cell in your body and is one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters. Vitamin D is actually able to enter cancer cells and trigger apoptosis (cell death). If you have cancer, your vitamin D level should be between 70 and 100 ng/ml. Vitamin D works synergistically with every cancer treatment I’m aware of, with no adverse effects.
- Get plenty of natural vitamin A. There is evidence that vitamin A also plays a role in helping prevent breast cancer. It’s best to obtain it from vitamin A-rich foods, rather than a supplement. Your best sources are organic egg yolks, raw butter, raw whole milk, and beef or chicken liver.
- Lymphatic breast massage can help enhance your body’s natural ability to eliminate cancerous toxins. This can be applied by a licensed therapist, or you can perform a self-lymphatic massage.
- Avoid charring your meats. Charcoal or flame broiled meat is linked with increased breast cancer risk. Acrylamide — a carcinogen created when starchy foods are baked, roasted or fried — has been found to increase breast cancer risk as well.
- Avoid unfermented soy products. Unfermented soy is high in plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens, also known as isoflavones. In some studies, soy appears to work in concert with human estrogen to increase breast cell proliferation, which increases the chances for mutations and cancerous cells.
- Improve your insulin receptor sensitivity. The best way to do this is by avoiding sugar and grains and making sure you are exercising.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. This will come naturally when you begin eating right for your nutritional type and exercising. It’s important to lose excess body fat because fat produces estrogen.
- Get plenty of high quality animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. Omega-3 deficiency is a common underlying factor for cancer.
- Curcumin. This is the active ingredient in turmeric and in high concentrations can be very useful adjunct in the treatment of breast cancer. It shows immense therapeutic potential in preventing breast cancer metastasis.
- Avoid drinking alcohol, or at least limit your alcoholic drinks to one per day.
- Breastfeed exclusively for up to six months. Research shows breastfeeding can reduce your breast cancer risk, especially if you surpass 2 years of breastfeeding.
- Avoid wearing underwire bras. There is a good deal of data that metal underwire bras can heighten your breast cancer risk.
- Avoid electromagnetic fields as much as possible. Even electric blankets can increase your cancer risk.
- Avoid synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Breast cancer is an estrogen-related cancer, and according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer rates for women dropped in tandem with decreased use of hormone replacement therapy. (There are similar risks for younger women who use oral contraceptives. Birth control pills, which are also comprised of synthetic hormones, have been linked to cervical and breast cancers.)
If you are experiencing excessive menopausal symptoms, you may want to consider bioidentical hormone replacement therapy instead, which uses hormones that are molecularly identical to the ones your body produces and do not wreak havoc on your system. This is a much safer alternative.
- Avoid BPA, phthalates and other xenoestrogens. These are estrogen-like compounds that have been linked to increased breast cancer risk
- Make sure you’re not iodine deficient, as there’s compelling evidence linking iodine deficiency with breast cancer. Iodine has potent anticancer properties and has been shown to cause cell death in breast and thyroid cancer cells.
Breast Cancer is growing in staggering numbers – and in younger generations. We can blame hormones in the water, birth control, our food system, toxins in the air, and chemicals in our body products… and of course genetics, but the truth is, we just do not know what causes it. There are many links, and much research to support these thoughts, but the case may be different for each person battling the cancer.
This article is not meant as medical advice, but instead as a way to help those struggling to cross into a more natural-minded lifestyle while battling breast cancer. One person’s “right way” is not the same as another’s, so there is no judgement or shaming, only acceptance and words of guidance as you start to include more organic, back-to-the-earth options into your arsenal.
So, you have breast cancer. You have a team of doctors and surgeons. You have started chemotherapy and radiation. You have never questioned medicine in your life, until now. You have started googling and have become so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to go from here. You are starting to think that you need to change your lifestyle, whether to beat this cancer, or to prevent it from coming back in the future. You may even be worried about some of the things you have already put your body through.
The first thing I can tell you is this: BREATHE. You are being proactive. If you have a slow growing tumor or time in between treatments, then take the time to educate yourself with options and start a list of changes you would like to implement. The hardest battle you will fight is against closed-minded medical professionals. But remember that this is your journey to health, not theirs, and you have the right to include (or not include) what you feel would better your body. If you present your research, hopefully your team will be open to hearing your thoughts.
Everything that I will talk about can be done in conjunction with medical treatments, or whatever path you have chosen thus far. I’ve broken them into basic categories so you are not overwhelmed. You can pick and choose, dig deeper into more research, and go at your own pace. I am in your corner, and am here if you have questions or would like further ideas.
Bridging Gently into the Natural World While Battling Breast Cancer
Detoxing and Flushing Out the Toxins
There is no doubt that your body needs to eliminate toxins. The cancer toxins, and any radiation or chemotherapy that has been used so far. Chemotherapy and radiation does its jobs in killing the bad cancer cells, but they don’t stop there; they kill all of the good cells too. By killing these good cells off, you increase your risk of a second cancer later in life. http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM199206253262605
Fundamental to detoxification are the main organs of elimination, the liver and kidneys. Special attention is paid to the liver which processes chemotherapy and eliminates it. The safest and most effective natural detox will optimize liver function and restore liver health.
Detoxification during or after chemotherapy should always include the foundational approaches of maintaining high water intake, eating a proper diet rich in fiber and phytonutrients, and appropriate use of exercise. Combining these fundamentals with liver support, antioxidant therapy and the most current research make up the strongest detox protocols.
- Increasing Water Intake: Drinking (in ounces) at least 50% of your body weight allows enough fluid to help flush toxins.
- Detox Baths: Detoxing through a bath is a gentle and soothing way to release toxins. Make sure to shower and rinse off before climbing out of the bathtub.
- o Detox Bath Example:
2 cups Epsom salt 2 cups baking soda (aluminum free) 8 drops of pure Rosemary and Juniper Berry essential oils
Basic Procedure: Add salt and baking soda to a very warm bath and let dissolve for five minutes. Add four drops each of Rosemary and Juniper Berry essential oils, as both are specific for detoxing the body.
Diet and Supplements
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies.
Cancer is a glucose metabolizer. Your normal cells have the metabolic flexibility to adapt from using glucose to using ketone bodies. Cancer cells lack this metabolic flexibility, so when you eliminate carbohydrates, which turn into sugar, you effectively starve the cancer!
You can create your own diet based on your research, of course, but the top things I would recommend are:
- Ditching Sugar
- Lose the Processed Foods (anything in a box – or with a long shelf life)
- Eliminate Gluten and Dairy as they are inflammatory agents.
- Let go of GMO’s: Nothing chemically altered should enter the body
- Eat the Rainbow: Include all the fruits and vegetables of the rainbow, as many as you can, and on a daily basis.
- Read labels: or better yet, don’t buy things with labels.
Several studies highlight two citrus flavonoids, hesperetin and naringenin, found in oranges and grapefruit, respectively, and four noncitrus flavonoids, baicalein, galangin, genistein, and quercetin. These have been tested singly and in one‐to‐one combinations for their effects on proliferation and growth of a human breast carcinoma cell line. Tumor development was drastically delayed in the groups given unprocessed, organic orange juice or fed the naringin‐supplemented diet. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635589609514473
o Antioxidants protect healthy cells from damage caused by chemotherapy or the lingering free radicals it creates. Antioxidants are also used by the body to clear waste and cellular debris left in the wake of chemotherapy oxidation. Research shows that antioxidants such as Vitamins A, B, C, E, etc. reduce chemotherapy side effects while increasing efficacy against tumors.
o There are specific phytonutrients that are even more promising antioxidants than these standard vitamins. Grape Seed Extract, for example, has been shown to be about 50 times more effective than Vitamin C at scavenging free radicals and through multiple mechanisms can inhibit cancer cell growth.
o Vitamin D: Studies show that by optimizing your vitamin D levels, you can double the chance of surviving breast cancer. Have your doctors check you levels regularly and supplement accordingly. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/13/vitamin-d-breast-cancer-prevention.aspx
Milk Thistle: Milk thistle is known as an elixir for your liver and is the king of detoxifying herbs. It contains the flavonoid silymarin, which is thought to be responsible for many of its beneficial effects, including liver protection and antioxidant, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties.http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/14/milk-thistle-benefits.aspx
Curcumin (found in turmeric): Curcumin changes the regulation of DNA to help kill cancer. In fact, curcumin not only influences epigenetic settings, it also manages the downstream consequences, helping to guide multiple steps in the way gene orders are implemented. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/06/13/this-powerful-herb-changes-your-genes-to-combat-cancer.aspx
Omega 3: Omega-3 deficiency is a common underlying factor for cancer, and studies have found that by simply supplementing the diet with animal-based omega-3 fats, you may reduce breast cancer risk by 32%. Studies also show that omega-3 fats influence two genes involved in keeping breast cancer at bay, all while reducing cancer cell growth. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/07/27/omega3s-reduce-your-risk-of-breast-cancer.aspx
Melatonin (only supplement if you are having trouble falling asleep): Peer-reviewed and published research has shown melatonin offers particularly strong protection against reproductive cancers. Cells throughout your body — even cancer cells — have melatonin receptors. So when melatonin makes its nightly rounds, cell division slows. When this hormone latches onto a breast cancer cell, it has been found to counteract estrogen’s tendency to stimulate cell growth. Read more on how to naturally increase melatonin levels: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/03/19/melatonin-benefits.aspx
Several studies show how juicing (organic, whole foods) fruits and vegetables can increase the body’s ability to fight cancer, especially breast cancer. You will come across so many recipes, your head will spin, but don’t over think it. Start with just basic juicing of foods that you know you will enjoy. Juicing allows you to “eat the rainbow” easier on a daily basis.
A few pieces of research to read:
On including wheat grass: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635580701308083
On including pomegranate: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10549-012-2264-5
Creating a “Green Juice” and incorporating it into your diet a few days a week (4-5 or so) can assist in the rapid removal of metabolic wastes from the body and the rebuilding of damaged tissues. Juicing helps clear the kidneys of toxins and contributes to the proper digestion of food.
A note: All items need to be organic and in whole food form (not powdered).
One example of a “Green Juice” is:
1 apple (to sweeten) 1 orange 2 stalks of celery 1 cucumber 1 carrot 1 bunch of parsley 1 bunch cilantro 8 beet greens 1 red bell pepper 1 green cabbage 1 lemon 1/2 bulb of ginger
- Eliminate Toxic Environments: To the best of your ability, eliminate toxins from entering your body.
o Avoid second hand smoke, or smoking yourself.
o Stop using synthetic products, such as candles and scented items in your home.
o Eliminate skin care products that contain aluminum, other chemicals, dyes, and artificial ingredients.
o Avoid storing food in plastic or styrofoam containers, and limit or eliminate the use of a microwave.
o Turn off electronics whenever possible and do not rest phones, laptops, etc on your body.
o Make your own cleaning products with vinegar, natural soap, and essential oils.
- Exercise: Create more oxygenated blood flow, produce sweat to release toxins, and practice deep breathing to detox the lungs.
- Coffee Enemas: these will aid in detoxing the body by increasing the parasympathetic nervous system.
- Oil Pulling: Pulling with a high quality coconut oil (or other oil) for 20 minutes 1-2 times a day will draw toxins from the body.
- Essential Oils:
o Frankincense (also known as Boswellia serrata): Frankincense has anti-inflammatory properties and, as research shows, is a potential treatment for brain, breast, colon, pancreatic, prostate and stomach cancers. Cancer scientists emphasize that this potency makes frankincense a viable candidate for both cancer prevention and treatment. It can be used in diffusers with ease to treat respiratory conditions, or you can use it as an essential oil or salve directly on your skin. You can also take frankincense (Boswellia) as a supplement with a few essential oil drops placed under your tongue, on the roof of your mouth or in powdered capsule form for treatment of many health conditions. http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/frankincense-oil.aspx
o Thyme: Wild thyme has been used to induce cell death in breast cancer cells. After 72 hours of treatment, thyme essential oil killed 98 percent of human breast cancer cells, with researchers concluding wild thyme “may be a promising candidate in the development of novel therapeutic drugs for breast cancer treatment.” http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635581.2012.719658?journalCode=hnuc20&
Doctor Selection and Including Alternative Care
Make sure that you trust and feel comfortable with your cancer team. Include a holistic naturopathic doctor who supports cancer patients. Insurance typically do not cover these doctors, and bills can add up very quickly; however, meeting with a naturopathic doctor just once may be enough to help you on your journey.
Alternative Care you may choose to include:
Chiropractic Therapy: http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/comp_med/types/chiropractic
In order to truly restore your health, you will need to ensure that you are detoxing through all pathways of the body. These include:
- Colon: 1-2 Bowel movements a day
- Kidneys and Bladder: Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water and organic tea a day
- Skin: Sweating or Skin Brushing
- Lungs: Deep breathing exercises
- Emotional Cleansing: Forgiving others and evaluating relationships
From www.kidshealth.com (Yes, you read that right: KIDShealth) about birth control pills:
“Hormones are chemical substances that control the functioning of the body’s organs.”
Where do I even start? There is absolutely nothing okay with this statement. How are women, and TEEN women, still given these pills daily?
The birth control pill was approved by the FDA in 1960. Regarded as a hero drug among women, the pill gave women the freedom to have sex without worrying about becoming pregnant. Very few people questioned the side effects and risks of hormonal birth control, and still today, the pill is given as a “right of passage” to most teens. Yet, study after study leads us down a road of questions and worry.
The quote above is completely accurate. Hormones ARE chemical substances. The body produces them regularly and maintains a natural balance that allows the organs to function as they are meant. Estrogen and progestogens are essential steroid hormones. In women, they are required for normal development of female sex organs and secondary sex characteristics, regulation of the menstrual cycle and reproduction, and many other essential physiological functions in the bones, brain, breasts, adipose tissue, and uterus. Synthetic versions of these hormones (estrogen and progestogens) placed in the body then overthrow the natural balance and take control of the organs, tricking and manipulating them into functioning in different ways than they should.
All hormonal contraceptives have at least three mechanisms of action. Artificial female hormones are the active ingredient in all hormonal contraceptives (estrogen and progestin). Some products contain both hormones and others progestin only (Mini-Pill). Using both hormones together is somewhat more effective than progestin alone, but the estrogen component is responsible for most of the serious health hazards associated with hormonal methods. Hormonal contraceptives prevent ovulation, meaning no egg is released so sperm cannot fertilize it.
There are several forms of hormonal birth control, all with similar risks and side effects. Remember that none of the hormonal contraceptive options protect against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV.
Birth control pills: The most well-known and common form of contraceptive. Oral birth control contains both forms of female hormones, estrogen and progestin. They must be taken daily and at the same time to be considered affective. Most brands include a week of sugar pills after the first 21 pills, allowing the body to still have a period. However, “The Pill” can differ not only in the number of active ingredients, but also in the way ingredients are dosed by brand. Monophasic birth control pills contain the same amount of ingredient in each active pill, while multiphasic birth control pills contain varying levels of hormones through the month. These were designed to minimize side effects such as breakthrough bleeding. There are also low-dose oral contraceptives that contain less estrogen than other types of birth control pills. They contain 20 micrograms of estrogen, compared to 30 to 50 in other birth control pills. Studies are now linking oral contraceptives to cervical, breast, and liver cancer. (www.cancer.gov)
Mini-pill: These are like conventional oral contraceptives, but contain no estrogen, making them safer, but also less effective. Often recommended to women who are breastfeeding, the mini-pill may effect milk supply and can still produce many side effects.
Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA): An injection, the “depot shot” was approved by the FDA in 1992 and quickly became popular due to its non-daily methods. An injection is administered once every 12 weeks and contains medroxyprogesterone acetate, polyethylene glycol, sodium sulfate anhydrous, and myristyl-gamma-picolinium chloride (as a preservative). http://www.rxlist.com/depo-provera-drug/patient-images-side-effects.htm
NuvaRing: A combined hormonal contraceptive, this vaginal ring is inserted once a month and removed to bring on a menstrual cycle.
Contraceptive Implant: An implant the size of a matchstick can be placed under the skin of the upper arm. It releases progestin slowly. It can be left in place for three years.
Contraceptive Patch: Ortho-Evra is the only FDA approved hormonal contraceptive patch. It contains the hormones estrogen and progestin, and is applied to the skin once a week for three weeks. On the fourth week, no patch is used, allowing menstruation to occur. Recent studies have shown that Ortho-Evra causes a higher level of estrogen to circulate in the body than do combination birth control pills. As a result, you may have a slightly higher risk of estrogen-related adverse events.
Synthetic Estrogen Problems Include:
- Breast swelling & tenderness
- Vaginal discharge
- High blood pressure
- Decreased libido (sex drive)
- Mood swings
- Fluid retention
- Permanent dark patches on face
- Drug interaction problems
- Eye or vision problems
- Gallbladder disease
- Tumors of the liver
- Breast Cancer and/or tumor growth
- Cervical cancer
- Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot)
- Pulmonary embolism
- Heart attack
Synthetic Progestin Problems Include:
- Weight gain
- Bone loss
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Acne and/or oily skin
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Insulin resistance
- Irregular menstrual bleeding
- Breast tenderness
- Suppression of immune system
- Heart attack
- Breast tumor growth
Other possible side effects to the above mentioned forms of contraceptives:
- menstrual periods that are heavier or longer than normal
- sudden numbness or weakness
- sudden severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance
- chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing up blood
- pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs
- nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
- symptoms of depression (sleep problems, weakness, mood changes).
Types of Estrogens Will be Listed As:
- ethynil estradiol
Types of Progestins Will be Listed As:
- ethynodiol diacetate
Many epidemiological studies have shown that prolonged exposure to estrogens may increase the risk of breast cancer.
Hormonal birth control and breast cancer: A recent study compared 1,102 women between the ages of 20 and 49 diagnosed with breast cancer, whose birth control pill usage histories (including does information) were obtained using electronic pharmacy records. The study showed that current and recent pill use increased the relative risk of breast cancer by 50% overall. The risk was highest with high (170%) or moderate doses (60%) of estrogen and certain formulations of progestogen (up to 210%) SOURCE
A few recent studies have also explored the risk of different sub-types of breast cancer with use of birth control pills. Alarmingly, the studies have shown that use of birth control pills increases the risk of a type of breast cancer called triple-negative, which is more common in younger women and is aggressive and difficult to treat. A study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Institute in 2009 showed that use of birth control pills for more than one year increased the risk of triple-negative breast cancer four-fold in women younger than 40. SOURCE and SOURCE
The study also showed that the risk conferred by longer duration of use and by more recent use was significantly higher for triple-negative breast cancer. Several other studies have shown similar results. SOURCE and SOURCE
Since women taking the pills tend to be younger, the combination of findings that the pills increase breast cancer risk with current and recent use and increase the risk of triple-negative breast cancer make it more troubling, especially with the increase in breast cancer diagnoses in young women.
Estrogen in Our Water: Even if you are not taking hormonal birth control, there is still cause to worry. Over the past decade, we have learned about the increasing percentage of hormones being found in our water supply. Studies have found that women on hormonal contraceptives are urinating estrogenic compounds into the water, ans these hormones are not then filtered out. The cycle is as you think: we all then consume these. Estrogenic compounds are part of a larger category of chemicals known as endocrine-disruptors (EDCs), chemicals that can alter the hormonal and homeostatic systems enabling an organism – like a human being or other animal – to communicate with and respond to its environment. We are witnessing puberty beginning younger and younger in our children, and watching cancer rates increase. Hormones in our water are playing a role in this.
Better options for your health: Non-Hormonal Contraceptives:
- Vaginal Spermicides
- Female Condom
- Lea’s Shield
- Intra-Uterine Device (IUD)
- Natural Family Planning
Starting in the 1950s, hundreds of communities across the U.S. became embroiled in heated battles over whether fluorides—ionic compounds containing the element fluorine—should be added to their water systems. Activists stated that the risks of fluoridation were inadequately studied and that the practice amounted to compulsory medication and thus was a violation of civil liberties.
When fluoride was first introduced to water in the 1940s as a means of preventing tooth decay, not a single dental product contained fluoride: no toothpastes, no fluoride mouth rinses, no fluoride varnishes, and no fluoride gels. In the past 60 years, as one fluoride product after another entered the market, exposure to fluoride increased considerably, particularly among children.
As you read through the research, you may decide to trash the fluoride-filled toothpaste in your bathroom (PLEASE lose your child’s fluoride toothpaste!), which I highly recommend. But you probably don’t know that processed foods, pesticides, bottled teas, pharmaceuticals, Teflon pans, and mechanically deboned chicken all contain fluoride. DITCH THEM. However, there is a bigger issue at hand: OUR WATER.
Here we are in 2015 still fighting about fluoride. Over the past 65 years, a lot has been discovered and brushed under the table pertaining to this chemical. Since 2010, more than 75 US and Canadian communities have voted to end water fluoridation, and the issue is heating up as more and more people begin to demand water that does not expose them to this highly toxic industrial waste product. The United States is one of the only developed countries that fluoridate their citizens’ drinking water. Most countries fully realize that adding a known poison to your population’s water supply is probably not a good idea. In Europe, only Ireland (73%), Poland (1%), Serbia (3%), Spain (11%), and the U.K. (11%) fluoridate any of their water. Most developed countries, including Japan and 97% of Western Europe, do not consume fluoridated water. More people drink fluoridated water in the US alone than in the rest of the world combined. About 70% of our public water supplies are fluoridated. This equates to approximately 185 million people, which is over half of the number of people drinking artificially fluoridated water worldwide. http://www.fluoridealert.org/
The FDA labels fluoride a drug, which has the purpose of preventing tooth decay. Did you know that according to the World Health Organization, decline in tooth decay has absolutely nothing to do with fluoride? The decline has taken place worldwide, not just in areas with fluoridated water.
The National Academy of Science reviewed the safety of fluoridation and remains “unsettled,” but in 2006, a committee at the NAS published an exhaustive 500-page review of fluoride’s toxicity. The report concludes that fluoride is an “endocrine disruptor” and can affect many things in the body, including the bones, the brain, the thyroid gland, the pineal gland, and even blood sugar levels.
According to the National Research council (2006) fluoride has the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain, lower intellectual abilities, disrupt the endocrine system, effect thyroid function, increase the severity of diabetes, and increases the risk of Alzheimer’s. Further study needs to be done to rule out links to infertility and bladder cancer. Studies also show that children in high-fluoride areas have significantly lower IQ scores than those who live in low-fluoride areas. Not only are our children at risk for lower IQ levels, but studies have reported an association between fluoride exposure and impaired visual-spatial organization. Other studies found association between prenatal fluoride exposure and fetal brain damage. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491930/
Today, not only do 40% of American teenagers have fluorosis, but, in some fluoridated areas, the rate is as high as 70 to 80%, with some children suffering advanced forms of the condition. (http://fluoridealert.org/)
Many people argue that fluoride is naturally occurring at high levels in our water. However, a lot of toxic substances (arsenic and lithium for example) occur naturally at high levels, but that does not mean they are safe. Most people also assume that the fluoride artificially added to our water is added at the same level as (the toxic) natural occurring fluoride, but it is not. The levels are far higher, and add to that the amount of polluted, contaminated water, we are in trouble. Fluoride is captured in air pollution control devices because fluoride gases are hazardous air pollutants that cause significant environmental harm. This captured fluoride acid is the most contaminated chemical added to public water supplies, and may impose additional risks to those presented by natural fluorides. These risks include a possible cancer hazard from the acid’s elevated arsenic content, and a possible neurotoxic hazard from the acid’s ability, under some conditions, to increase the erosion of lead from old pipes.
Healthy adult kidneys excrete 50-60% of the fluoride ingested each day, but the remainder accumulates in the body, largely in calcifying tissues such as the bones and pineal gland. Infants and children excrete less fluoride from their kidneys and take up to 80% of ingested fluoride into their bones. The fluoride concentration in bone steadily increases over a lifetime.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 41% of American adolescents have dental fluorosis- a discoloring of tooth enamel caused by too much fluoride.
Breastfed vs. Formula-Fed Fluoride Exposure Breastmilk has a remarkably low level of fluoride (0.004 ppm). A formula-fed infant consuming fluoridated water can consume up to 300 times more fluoride than a breast fed baby (0.6-1.2 ppm). There are no benefits, only risks, to ingesting fluoride. Infants are already susceptible to environmental toxins, so consuming formula made with fluoridated water, we are placing them at extremely high risks. These infants have the highest exposure to fluoride, by bodyweight, in the population. The American Dental Association (ADA) distributed an alert in 2006 recommending parents be “advised that formula should be made with ‘low or no-fluoride water’.” Unfortunately, the ADA has done little to get this information into the hands of parents.
Aluminum + Fluoride = Alzheimer’s Many municipal water supplies are treated with both alum (aluminum sulfate) and fluoride. These two chemicals combine with each other easily in the blood to form aluminum fluoride. Although elemental aluminum cannot pass the blood-brain barrier, some compounds such as aluminum fluoride do. Aluminum fluoride is very poorly excreted in the urine. It is poisonous to the kidneys. Aluminum salts in the brain lead to Alzheimer’s Disease.
If you think you are escaping artificially added fluoride by consuming bottled water, think again. The following companies “provide you with added fluoride” without so much as a warning on the bottle: (http://www.bottledwater.org/fluoride)
· Alhambra · Arrowhead · Belmont Springs · Crystal Rock · Crystal Springs · Deer Park · Diamond Springs · Hinkley Springs · Ice Mountain · Kandiyohi · Kentwood Springs · Mayer Bros. · Mount Olympus · Nursery Water · Ozarka · Poland Spring · Pure Flo · Puritan Springs · Shenandoah · Sierra Springs · Sparkletts · Zephyrhills
FLUORIDE and CANCER: Fluoride has been to shown to thicken but weaken bones, and worse mutate normal genetic cells into cancer cells. Some researchers believe that fluorine is a carcinogen. The National Cancer Institute, the New Jersey Department of Health, and the Safe Water Foundation all found that the incidence of osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer) is substantially higher in young men exposed to fluoridated water as compared to those who are not.
Because of everything the fluoride is linked to, it is estimated that 30,000 – 50,000 people die from fluoride poisoning each year. (http://fluoridealert.org/)
What can you do? Filter your drinking water with a well-made reverse osmosis filter system that is able to remove over 90% of dissolved fluoride in drinking water.
Side note: The skin is our largest organ and absorbs what is put on it. Showering, bathing, washing our hands, etc with our over-polluted, fluoridated water is allowing our skin to absorb the toxic drug. Consider a filter for your showers and sinks as well as your drinking water.
(I’ll take a second to love on our Berkey water filter now.)