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Archive for October, 2017

Everyday Tips to Ensure Healthy Breasts

October 11th, 2017 No comments

As October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, many of us will bring attention by wearing or posting pink ribbons to our Instagram or Facebook pages, or some of us may choose to raise and donate money for research, all in honor of the cause. In recognition of the friends and patients in my life who have battled breast cancer, I feel compelled to share ways to improve your breast health on a daily basis.

Enjoy a balance of sleep, exercise and healthy diet. Not necessarily earth shattering information, but probably more important to highlight is the benefits  these have on our health at a cellular level. First, by getting plenty of sleep. 7-8 hours a night of uninterrupted sleep is the sweet spot for most people to ensure we function soundly throughout the day. If you read my blog last month about  Oxidative Stress And DNA Testing you would have learned that the higher your antioxidant status the better you can fight things like chronic disease and even cancer. When it comes to mental health and leading a more stress free life, anything we can do on a daily basis to reduce our stress level, is a recipe for success (1). A whole foods diet, with plenty of organic vegetables and fruits, a balance of organic, grass fed meat is chock-full of vitamins and minerals while low in inflammatory triggers. Following the “Dirty Dozen – Clean Fifteen” provides an easy guideline to help you choose your fruits and vegetables more wisely. Lastly, but so important is regular exercise. The recommended 5-6 hours a week is all we need to get in to help prevent many chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer (2).

Optimize Your Vitamin D and Iodine. The best way to get your vitamin D is from safe exposure to the sun; however, 90% of my patients even with regular sun exposure cannot get there levels of vitamin D to an optimal range. The idea is to maintain a therapeutic level between 50-70 ng/ml. Oral Vitamin D3 in a liquid form is easily absorbed. A daily oral dose between 2,000 to 4,000 IU for a few months usually does the trick, but be sure to get your levels tested after a few months. Vitamin D is fat-soluble and can build up in our tissue where excessive doses can build up to toxic levels.

Iodine has shown to prevent the ability of estrogen to adhere to estrogen receptors in the breast. Based on this evidence iodine deficiency has been linked as a causative factor in breast cancer (3). It is also an antioxidant, so I will often recommend that individuals increase iodine-rich foods in their diet or for those with patients fibrocystic breast disease use of oral supplementation. A study done with women who had fibrocystic breast disease received daily supplements of iodine (70 to 90 mcg I2/kg body weight) or placebo for 6 months. At treatment completion, 65% of the women receiving iodine reported decreased pain compared with 33% of women in the placebo group (4).

Clean living. Reducing your toxic load, especially when it comes to certain endocrine disrupting plasticizers, like bisphenol-A (BPA) or (BPS) and phthalates. Reducing your exposure can come when you do no heat or microwave food in plastic containers. Pass on hot beverages or leftovers that come in Styrofoam containers. Instead bring personal stainless steel coffee or ceramic thermos/mug or take home glass container. Unfortunately, high levels of BPA are found in most thermal receipts so be sure to ask the clerk if the receipt is BPA free. Instead opt for electronic version or if you need the receipt avoid contact as best you can by having a designated envelope to tuck them in.

Even though the breast cancer morality rate has decreased in recent years, the number of individuals with breast cancer has not. Most of this is due to early detection. So it goes without saying, monthly breast exams are very important and should be a part of your breast health routine. I suggest choosing the day of the month you were born and while in the shower or bath. Since I have more than 10 friends and countless patients, diagnosed with various grades of breast cancer, the importance of looking at your day to day life and ways to decrease you exposure to contaminants that are contributing factors and introducing nutrients to protect your breast is so vital.

–Dr. Christina Youngren

  1. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert M Sapolsky.
  2. Fournier, Agnes et al. Recent Recreational Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Risk in Postmenopausal Women in the E3N Cohort. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. 2014.
  3. Iodine, Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, by David Brownstein MD Fourth Edition 2009, Medical Alternatives Press.Ghent WR, Eskin BA, Low DA, Hill LP.
  4. Iodine replacement in fibrocystic disease of the breast. Can J Surg. 1993 Oct

 

Categories: Naturopathic Medicine Tags:

How Your Toxic Burden is Making You Sick & Steps You Can Take to Reduce It

October 10th, 2017 No comments

Toxins are invisible culprits that wreak havoc on our health and the environment. Unfortunately we are exposed to tens of thousands of chemical toxins everyday, many of them interfere with the body’s normal physiology resulting in damage to bodily functions and resulting in devastating affects to our health. Many of these toxic chemicals, like plastics, are ubiquitous, they build up in our tissues and cells faster than we can eliminate them, resulting in a toxic body burden and disruption to our hormone system.

A study completed by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and The Environmental Working Group (EWG) showed that nine individuals, who did not work in an industry where exposure was known, could lead to high accumulating levels of toxic compounds. An astounding 210 compounds were identified and between each of them they had a total of 167, with an average of 91 each. Additionally, the specific chemicals found: 53 of them are linked to cancer, 63 are found to be toxic to the nervous system, 58 toxic to endocrine (hormonal) system, and 55 are linked to the immune system, and certain autoimmune disorders.

A major issue that is that regular exposure in conjunction with poor dietary choices, high-stress lives, inadequate nutrient status, and even genetic predisposition can lead to a barrage of disorders, from hormone imbalances (fibroids, PCOS), chronic fatigue, weight gain, heart disease, chemical sensitivity, muscle or joint aches, thyroid disorders, infertility (both male and female factors), and even certain cancers.

If you are concerned you may have a high toxic burden that may be associated with your current health issues then learning how to lower your toxic burden is key. And decreasing your toxic burden is easier than you think. The key is avoidance. By avoiding exposure to these invisible toxins you can greatly decrease the ill effects of a high body burden and greatly improve your health.

Here are a few ways to get started today:

  1. Take off those shoes! Whenever you’re in the home, be sure to leave your shoes at the front door, especially if you have carpeted floors. This will significantly decrease the amount of toxicants that can be brought into the home. This will also be essential if there are toddlers and/or pets in the home many whom spend much of their time on the floor.
  1. Dirty Dozen – Clean Fifteen. Choose to eat fruits and vegetables low in pesticide exposure and this does not necessarily mean having to eat organic all the time. However, choosing foods that are more likely to absorb the pesticides and insecticides used in the farming process will only increase your toxic burden. Following the “Dirty Dozen – Clean Fifteen” provides an easy guideline to help you choose your fruits and vegetables more wisely.
  1. Say “no thanks” to plastics and receipts. Especially, bisphenol-A (BPA) or (BPS) and phthalates. Do not heat or microwave food in plastic containers. Pass on hot beverages or leftovers that come in Styrofoam containers. Instead bring personal stainless steel coffee or ceramic thermos/mug or take home glass container. Unfortunately, high levels of BPA are found in most thermal receipts so be sure to ask the clerk if the receipt is BPA free. Instead opt for electronic version or if you need the receipt avoid contact as best you can by having an designated envelope to tuck them in.
  1. Drink purified water. Chlorine and bromine are used in our water supply to help disinfect it. Unfortunately they continue to act like an antibiotic that “disinfects” our digestive tracts by disrupting the flora balance that is needed for a healthy functioning gut. Using a charcoal system, reverse osmosis or gravity filtration system will eliminate these contaminants and many more out of the water supply. If you have sensitive skin, acne, or any skin issues like eczema or psoriasis consider using a filter on you showerhead to prevent further exposure.
  1. Personal care products. Take precautions to avoid anti-bacterial soaps and disinfectants. These agents are added to disinfect and prevent growth of mold and fungi, but unfortunately they are also considered endocrine disruptors that mimic or suppress our normal hormonal function. Also, just because something is labeled “natural” or “gentle” doesn’t make it safe. With poor regulation of safety testing many companies can use whatever chemicals they wish. Be sure to read the label and understand the labeled ingredients, typically listed from highest to lowest concentration. Keep an eye out and avoid products that contain: benzoic acid, BHT, fragrances, dyes, parfum, polyethylene glycol, sodium lauryl (laureth) sulfate, anything ending in “paraben”. Check out how safe your at the EWG skin deep page.

Taking measures to incorporate avoidance into your lifestyle will help to correct health issues caused by toxicity, maximize the body’s own detoxification capacity, and aid the body to more readily eliminate stored toxins. Remember, getting rid of toxins and learning how to optimize your detoxification system is essential for optimal health, hormonal balance, and creating vibrant health.

Categories: Naturopathic Medicine Tags: