Category Archives: Xenoestrogens and Estrogen Dominance

Nutrients That Offer Protection Against The Damaging Effects of Xenoestrogens

Image source: freedigitalphotos.net / M Bartosch
Image source: freedigitalphotos.net / M Bartosch

Nutrients That Offer Protection Against The Damaging Effects of Xenoestrogens

As a follow-up to my two articles on xenoestrogens, Unraveling the Mystery of Xenoestrogens and Estrogen Dominance, in which I explain pretty thoroughly what xenoestrogens are, and Protect Yourself From Xenoestrogens and Estrogen Dominance, in which I offer a list of things you can do to protect yourself against them, I thought it might be useful to share with you a list of the best nutrients that offer protection against the damaging effects of xenoestrogens.

There are many lifestyle changes you can make to protect yourself against xenoestrogens and there is a big list of them in that second article (above).  It’s reasonably easy to change your body products, your household cleaning products, stop wearing perfume, etc.  However, I know that some of you work in environments which constantly expose you to xenoestrogens, and if changing jobs is not possible you need to know which nutrients and dietary changes will offer some protection for you.

Nutrients That Offer Protection Against The Damaging Effects of Xenoestrogens

Calcium D-Glucarate – a calcium salt which helps detoxify xenoestrogens and blocks the body’s reabsorption of estrogen and xenoestrogens.  Recommended dosage: 400–600 mg per day, divided into two doses. Found in abundance in apples, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, lettuce and alfalfa.

Probiotics – help to decrease the enzyme beta-glucuronidase, made from bad bacteria in your gut.  Beta-glucuronidase increases estrogen recirculation so you definitely want to keep that one under control.  Good quality probiotics help you in so many other ways too!  Look for probiotics that contain 10-15 billion colony forming units.

Cruciferous Vegetables – first of all, they contain potent anti-cancer compounds, but the most important one is sulforphane which has been shown to stimulate the body’s production of detoxification enzymes that help to eliminate toxic estrogens and xenoestrogens.  Found in abundance in broccoli and broccoli sprouts, Brussel sprouts, kale and cabbage.  For optimal effect they should be eaten raw because heating them inactivates the enzymes.  Also chew them well so the enzyme that activates sulforaphane is released.

Curcumin – a powerful anti-inflammatory for the body, curcumin also helps the liver eliminate and detoxify cancer-causing estrogens and xenoestrogens.  Recommended dosage: 600-800 mg per day.

Milk Thistle – one of the best herbs for the liver, milk thistle is extremely helpful for maintaining proper estrogen balance in the cells of the body. It detoxifies a wide range of hormones, drugs, and toxins, including xenoestrogens.  Recommended dosage: 50–100 mg per day (just make sure that your supplement contains at least 80% silymarin, which is the  active ingredient in milk thistle).

Green Tea – the polyphenols in green tea help eliminate xenoestrogens and support the liver in metabolizing fats and hormones.  The easiest way to derive the benefits is just to drink green tea throughout the day.  It’s nice both hot and iced and you can add ginger and lemon to enhance the flavor and get more anti-cancer benefits.

Flax Seeds – freshly ground organic flax seeds provide so much protection for women (see my article Flaxseed Benefits and a Delicious Source) but for the purposes of this article, the most important thing you need to know is that the lignans in freshly ground flax seeds block harmful xenoestrogens in the body.

Other good practices to adopt:

Drink Plenty of Filtered Water – every cell in our body requires water to function optimally, which includes waste elimination.  Water helps you to flush out excess cellular waste, lubricates our bowels (thus preventing constipation) and will help you to eliminate xenoestrogens much better.  Try to drink at least 4 large glasses of water a day (approximately 2 liters).

High Protein Diet – eating plenty of good quality protein protects you against xenoestrogens in a very special way.  The presence of ample dietary protein increases the activity of cytochrome P450, an important enzyme needed to detoxify both estrogen and xenoestrogens.  In particular, the amino acids lysine and threonine (found in meat, fish, beans, eggs, and some seeds, particularly sesame and fenugreek) especially support the liver and since xenoestrogens are metabolized by the liver, it is thought that these two amino acids can help the liver get rid of xenoestrogens more efficiently.

Eat Plenty of Fiber – to ensure adequate removal of xenoestrogens, you need to avoid constipation.  Having regular bowel movements keeps xenoestrogens from getting recirculated back into your body.  Fiber is found in plant foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.  You need at least 25 grams per day.  Please remember to drink more water when you increase fiber!

Buy Organic Produce and Meats  – whenever and wherever you can because they will help you to reduce the load of xenoestrogens coming into your body with conventionally grown and raised items.

I have found an excellent supplement that contains 4 of the 7 nutrients listed above, as well as immune stimulating ingredients, so if you’d like to know what it is just contact me.

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Why I Chose Against Hormone Blocking Drugs

 

Photo courtesy of MorgueFile and Aidairi
Photo courtesy of MorgueFile and Aidairi

Why I Chose Against Hormone Blocking Drugs

Every single day I am contacted by women who are either going through breast cancer treatments or have finished their treatments and have been prescribed estrogen blocking drugs like tamoxifen (Nolvadex), anastrozole (Arimidex), exemestane (Aromasin), letrozole (Femara), raloxifene (Evista).

Many of these drugs are also known as aromatase inhibitors because they deactive a key enzyme (aromatase) that is responsible for a key step in the biosynthesis of estrogen.

Why Women Are Prescribed Hormone Blockers

A breast tumor is called “estrogen receptor positive” or “ER+” if it has receptors for estrogen – this suggests that the cancer cells, like normal breast cells, may receive signals from the hormone estrogen that could promote their growth.  The cancer is termed “progesterone receptor positive” or “PR+” if it has progesterone receptors.  Again, this means that the cancer cells may receive signals from progesterone that could promote their growth. According to BreastCancer.org, roughly two out of every three breast cancers test positive for hormone receptors.

The women who are contacting me are very concerned about the side effects of such medications, they are researching and wanting to know more and they are wondering if there are any natural products that will do the same job without the side effects.

My Personal History

I went through breast cancer in 2004.  If you’d like to read my whole story, check out my Breast Cancer Diary page.  Briefly, however, I had a 2.5 cm tumor, about the size of an olive, and it was a rapidly growing tumor known as infiltrating ductal carcinoma.  I had a large lumpectomy and a latissimus-dorsi flap reconstruction.  I was recommended to have chemotherapy right away, but being a natural therapist I needed to be convinced of the necessity of that, so I went home to heal up and work on my immune system.  Eventually both my oncologist and my natural therapists convinced me that it would be beneficial for me to undergo chemotherapy and I did 6 months worth.  I chose not to have radiation for various reasons, and although both my oncologist and my regular doctor tried hard to get me to say yes to the hormone blocking drugs, I just could not be convinced that this was a good route for me to follow.  For one thing, I was progesterone receptor positive only, which is somewhat unusual.  I couldn’t see how tamoxifen, which is used as an estrogen-blocker, was going to help me since I was PR+.  My doctors argued it would “still have some therapeutic benefit.”  I wasn’t convinced, and especially when I read about the side effects of these drugs.  Instead I went home and went into deep research mode.  Here’s what I found.

1.  Some research indicated that tamoxifen was more useful in elderly and frail women and it removed the need for surgery in a high proportion of those women. (Akhtar SS, et al.  A 10-year experience of tamoxifen as primary treatment of breast cancer in 100 elderly and frail patients.  Eur J Surg Oncol. 1991; 17:30-5.)

2.  The Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen studied 3,500 post-menopausal women who received surgery for breast cancer. About half of these patients were considered to be low risk and received no further treatment.  The high risk patients received either radiotherapy or radiotherapy plus tamoxifen.  After about 8 years, the scientists looked at the incidence of cancer in these women.  All 3 groups had more cancer than the general population and for those who had received radiotherapy there was a higher incidence of leukemia.  There was no difference in cancer incidence in the high risk group that  received tamoxifen plus radiotherapy compared to those who just received radiotherapy, indicating that tamoxifen did not confer any special protective effects.  In fact, there was a tendency to an elevated risk of endometrial cancer. (Andersson M, et al. Incidence of new primary cancers after adjuvant tamoxifen therapy and radiotherapy for early breast cancer: J Natl Cancer Inst. 1991; 83:1013-7.)

3. The McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research of the University of Wisconsin studied rats given tamoxifen.  At first, all appeared okay, but when the rats were also given a small dose of chemicals and then fed tamoxifen, the livers of these animals showed an increase in the size and number of altered liver lesions compared with the animals that had been fed the chemicals but not the tamoxifen.  The researchers felt that tamoxifen acts as a tumor promoter in the rat liver, that it was four times the strength of phenobarbital (a drug commonly used as a representative promoting agent in experimental carcinogenesis). (Dragan YP, et al. Tumor promotion as a target for estrogen/anti-estrogen effects in rat hepatocarcinogenesis. Prev Med. 1991; 20:15-26).

4.  There were too many disturbing reports of eye damage from the use of tamixofen.  In one article that appeared in the Annals of Ophthalmology, I read about toxicity to the cornea, retina and optic nerve.  And though it seemed that the damage did not progress once the drug was stopped, it could not be repaired. (Gerner EW. Ocular toxicity of tamoxifen. Annals of Ophthalmology 1989; 21:420-3).  I had enough problems with my vision, I certainly didn’t need any more.

I could go on and on here, citing all of the research that I did – and yes this research is a little older, I went through breast cancer in 2004, as I mentioned. 

Possible Side Effects of Hormone Blocking Drugs

The list of possible side effects of these drugs is lengthy:  hot flashes, vaginal dryness, headaches, muscle, joint and body aches, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting, changes in bowel habits, muscle weakness, fatigue, increased risk of liver cancer, precancerous changes in the uterus, blood clots which could travel to the lungs and cause pulmonary embolism or a stroke, cataracts and other vision changes. 

I just wasn’t willing to submit my body to any of that.

It’s Time To Wake Up

What I am seeing as a breast cancer coach is a large quantity of women (more than I ever thought possible) who have taken the hormone blockers for the prescribed length of time (usually 5 years) and are coming to me with a new breast cancer.

We need to wake up people!  These drugs are not working.  They are toxic to our bodies and there are better ways of regaining our health.  The thing is, you can’t just say no and do nothing else.  You really need to be very pro-active with your health.  If you don’t know what to do, feel free to sign up for my e-books and newsletters, I provide them as a free service to people going through breast cancer and I share all of my best tips and information in them (see the sign-up form on the right side of this page).

It’s Not All About Estrogen!

I have said this so many times lately, it’s starting to become my slogan.  Estrogen is a hormone we want and need in our bodies.  The doctors are so focused on the fact that there are estrogen receptors on our breast cancer cells but part of the problem is that there are synthetic estrogens in our body products, our drinking water, our cosmetics, our environment, and these are part of the problem with our health (see my article Protect Yourself From Xenoestrogens and Estrogen Dominance).

In her book “Molecules of Emotion“, author and scientist Candace Pert shares with us “… accumulated environmental pollutants within our bodies are mimicking and disrupting the action of our sex hormones — estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone — which run the male and female reproductive systems.”  She goes on to state that “A recent report on receptor binding in Science, for example, has shown that environmental toxins have estrogenlike effects and bind to estrogen receptors, where they can stimulate breast cancer tumor growth.  Similarly, various toxins can act like testosterone in the male body and stimulate prostate cancer, which is embryologically similar to breast cancer.  Although this has been suspected for a long time, only recently have we gotten the hard proof that accumulation of these toxins in our bodies chronically stimulates our estrogen and testosterone receptors, putting them into a state of overdrive and leading to cancer.”

There are many other factors which put us at a higher risk for breast cancer, and right up there at the top of the list is STRESS.  You can do little to avoid it but you certainly can change the way that you react to it.  Try meditation to relieve that stress.  Get yourself into a meditation group, or if you live in a remote area download my meditation course.

I also believe that it’s vitally important to build up your immune system to be as strong and healthy as it can be, since our immune system is our first line of defense against cancer cells.  Why don’t the doctors tell you that?  Any natural therapist certainly will.  Have a look at my page 8 Ways To Build A Super Strong Immune System.  How important are these 8 items?  I believe they’re absolutely crucial.   Give proper attention to each of the 8 items on the list and you will be much happier and healthier than if you are taking toxic drug therapies.

References:

http://www.webmd.com/drugs/drug-1555-anastrozole+oral.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/tc/breast-cancer-comparing-hormone-blocking-treatments-topic-overview

http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/hormonal/serms/tamoxifen

Cancer Therapy, The Independent Consumer’s Guide To Non-Toxic Treatment and Prevention by Ralph W Moss, PhD.

Molecules of Emotion by Candace B Pert, PhD.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

 PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS BLOG POST IS INFORMATION I HAVE DISCOVERED FOR MYSELF. IT FEELS TRUE FOR ME. THE INFORMATION PRESENTED HERE IS NOT MEANT TO DIVERT YOU ON YOUR HEALING PATH, IT IS ONLY INTENDED TO RAISE AWARENESS OF OTHER WAYS OF THINKING. YOU MUST DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU.

What You Need to Know About Chemicals and Cancer

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net / adamr
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net / adamr

Chemicals and Cancer

One of the things I try to achieve with this website is to teach about how toxic chemicals are present in our everyday products and things we encounter and how they can be increasing our cancer risk and acting as hormone disruptors.

Last May, the New York Times ran an op-ed article written by Nicholas D Kristof (an American journalist and winner of two Pulitzer prizes) titled “How Chemicals Change Us” and in the article Mr Kristof discusses how chemicals that act as hormone disruptors are increasingly causing havoc both in our environment and our health.  It’s a must-read article.

Beware Thermal Receipts

I learned a couple of new things in the article, for instance, I wasn’t aware that those thermal receipts that come out of gas pumps and ATM machines have endocrine disruptors in them!  For more info on this, check out this article: BPA Is Found In Paper Receipts which ran in the New York Times Green Blog in November 2011.  According to this article, “In the thermal receipts now routinely given out by stores, BPA is often used as a color developer for the printing dye.  Such receipts have a thermal-sensitive layer that, when heated, produces color. Beyond cash register receipts, high levels of BPA are also often present in the thermal paper used to make baggage destination tags, cigarette filters, and bus, train and lottery tickets.

Disturbing, to say the least!

We Are Rapidly Becoming Paranoid Label Readers

Are we going to have to wear rubber gloves at the gas pump and ATM?  Or when we buy a lottery ticket?  I know a couple of people who keep disposable gloves in their car so that when they are pumping fuel they don’t absorb any petrochemicals.  I don’t even think they know about the thermal receipts. 

The whole idea of having to be so paranoid about every little thing we encounter bothers me greatly.  Why can’t we get our (so-called) regulatory agencies to ban bisphenol-A (aka BPA) from being used by industries which create our food packaging, our body products and, well, basically anything that comes into contact with human bodies?  That would be the most practical thing to do.  Rather than that, however, we are becoming paranoid label-readers and Internet researchers, having to inspect absolutely everything we come into contact with and hoping that somewhere down the road that bottle of ketchup or face powder isn’t going to kill us.

I recently wrote an article titled Toxic Chemicals Found in Babies – 8 Ways to Protect Them (And You) about the prevalence of BPA in our lives.  My main aim is to raise awareness and get you to take action and not only stop using the products made by companies that just don’t care about our health but to speak out and get our various governments to make them stop using chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors.

If you’re not an activist, don’t worry.  You don’t have to march around with a sign, just vote with your money.  Don’t buy the products from companies who don’t care about our health, and support the companies who do care.  If you want to know who the good guys and bad guys are, contact me.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

Another Source For Safe Cosmetics and Body Products

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and dan

Image source: freedigitalphotos.net / dan

I have found another source for really great, safe cosmetics and body products, so I would love to share them with you today – because I always believe in giving a shout-out to companies who are doing the right thing.  It seems that so many are doing the WRONG thing, you can barely get through your day without putting yourself at some sort of risk using some of these toxic products.

475 Toxic Chemicals?  Really?

How would you feel about discovering that, after your nice shower or bath which is supposed to cleanse you of waste, pollution and dirt, you were actually adding up to 475 toxic chemicals to your body?

I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating.  Since your skin is the largest organ of absorption in your body, you are absorbing what you put on it.  And that’s after just ONE shower or bath.  Take into account that you probably apply lotion, foundation, sunscreen, lipstick, eye liner, mascara, etc. throughout the day, and wash it all off at the end of the day, and then reapply various lotions and potions before going to bed.

Yesterday while I was at the grocery store I picked up a bottle of shampoo that had fifteen chemicals in it that I would not allow in the house – the worst being Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Tetrasodium, and Propylene Glycol which are known to cause eye damage, among other things.  An eye shadow I inspected had Polythylene Terephthalate, which has been linked to cancer.  When you can READ the ingredients in lipstick (the ingredient list is so tiny), they usually include Polymenthyl metacrylate, also linked to cancer.

The problem with all of these chemicals is that they are not flushed out of the body – they build up, day after day, year after year, and compromise your health.

Throw Them In The Trash

I’m absolutely convinced that many of our body products, so beautifully packaged and slickly advertised, really just need to go into the closest trash receptacle.  If our government agencies were truly protecting us, this would have happened long ago.  So since they’re not doing their job, it’s up to us to get the word out.

By the way, if you’re not sure whether your body products or cosmetics are safe, here’s a good resource for finding out:  Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database

Here’s The Good News – A Great Source

So – I promised that I had a new source for you, I just found them last week.  They are called 100% Pure and what I love about them is that they use all natural, organic, vegan and fruit pigments in most of their products.  Their prices are very reasonable, and the products are truly lovely.  I’ve been searching for SAFE eye shadow for years and hadn’t found them at all until this company surfaced.  They are based in California. Update: 100% Pure is now available in America, Australia, Europe, Canada and United Kingdom.

Use this link to go to the 100% Pure site in Australia

Use this link to go to the 100% Pure site in America

Use this link to go to the 100% Pure site in United Kingdom    100 Percent Pure

Use this link to go to the 100% Pure site in Europe

GET MY BEST TIPS on healthy ways to beat breast cancer and prevent recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.  

A Rant on Pinktober and Pinkwashing

pinktober and pinkwashingPinktober and Pinkwashing

You know, I used to love the month of October.

I loved the colors of the autumn leaves and how they crunch under your feet (well I still do, but read on), my son’s birthday falls in October, the heat of the summer is gone, Halloween costumes – it’s just generally a fun time of year.

But now October has turned into “Pinktober” and it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month – everything turns pink.  Ick.

Breast Cancer Action has coined the term pinkwashing and here’s their explanation of the word: Pinkwasher: (pink’-wah-sher) noun. A company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.

Pinkwashing seriously pisses me off.  It’s ruining the month of October for me and that’s not a nice thing.

Pinkwashing raises a big question we should all be paying attention to.  Are we really helping breast cancer research by buying all that pink merchandise?  While many of us think we’re doing a noble thing by buying pink things, pinkwashing is often just a marketing ploy to sell more products.  Of course, many of the companies that are selling pink merchandise do donate to breast cancer research, but many don’t (or if they do, it’s a tiny percentage of their actual profit).

And all of this is still not why Pinktober pisses me off so much.

The companies that really chap my hide are the ones that plaster pink ribbons on their products and make a big deal about how much they contribute to breast cancer research. HOWEVER their products are filled with toxins like parabens, TEA and DEA which have been shown to be carcinogenic.  It’s almost like companies such as Avon and Estee Lauder know that their products contain toxic ingredients and they feel guilty about being contributors to breast cancer, so they make this big deal about having products that help fund breast cancer research.

This is NOT alright with me, nor should it be with you.

Lastly, Pinktober reminds me of having breast cancer and while that was 8 years ago, I don’t need the reminder.

Top 10 Pinkwashers

I found a great website at pinkwashing.org – check out what they had to say about the top 10 pinkwashers in this blog post a year ago.  I couldn’t have said it better.

The Worst Offender

I think the biggest sin has been committed by the Susan G Komen Foundation.  Their Promise Me™ Eau De Parfum is full of ingredients which have no business being put on our bodies – things like galaxolide (it’s a hormone disrupter) and toluene (a neurotoxin banned by the International Fragrance Association), and to make matters worse, only $7.97 from each $59 bottle will go to research.  That stinks.  Seriously.

If all this makes you mad enough to take action, click HERE.

Being Proactive With Our Health Is The Key

I think that only by supporting groups such as Breast Cancer Action, being aware of what we are putting onto and in our bodies in our cosmetics, body products, and food, keeping our stress levels down, and exercising regularly will we begin to see dramatic decreases in the numbers of women being diagnosed with breast cancer.

The bottom line is do your research, make sure your purchases align with your values and be comfortable on where your dollars are being spent.

 

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  When you’re in a desperate situation, you need an ally.  You can depend on me to help you through this.

Safe Cosmetics – So Important!

safe cosmeticsAs a breast cancer blogger, I am getting a lot of inquiries from women who have breast cancer about safe cosmetics.

I don’t often mention my product lines, but since people are asking I decided to share it today.

I’ve written quite a lot about why we should be changing our makeup and cosmetics to safer choices.  I wrote a scathing article a few months ago about the cosmetics industry (and I’m sorry about that photo, but I really wanted people to pay attention… and they did!).

Here’s another article titled “Your Breast Health May Depend On You Reading The Ingredients On Your Deodorant Label“.

I’ve written other articles about the dangers of xenoestrogens and how most makeup and body products available today are full of them.  You can cruise down my categories to see the various articles – look at my category “Breast Cancer and Beauty”, for instance.

I don’t feel the need to re-explain WHY we should be changing to safe cosmetics, I just want to tell you why I use MiEssence products.

They are the purest, best, most wonderful cosmetics and body products I’ve ever used.  Ever.  They smell wonderful, they are organic (some products may not be 100% organic because the company does use things like water and clay which can’t be certified as organic), and they WORK.  People are always telling me I look like I’m about 40 (I’m 56!).

The company’s ethics about using only the best and safest ingredients are second to none.  You can read their story here.

I particularly love the MiEssence Translucent Foundation, paired with the Mineral Foundation Powder.  I know that when I use these two, my skin looks great, I’m protected from UV rays and I’m putting nothing but beautiful, healthy ingredients on my face.

I became so enamored with them, I am also a distributor for them.  If you’d like to try something, here’s my website.  I’ll answer any and all questions about these lovely products.

Thanks for visiting!

 If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Your Breast Health May Depend On You Reading The Ingredients On Your Deodorant Label

Every single day I seem to come across another article or bit of research that reinforces the fact that YOUR BREAST HEALTH MAY DEPEND ON YOU READING THE INGREDIENTS ON YOUR DEODORANT LABEL!

I don’t know what the heck is wrong with our cosmetics industry but they insist on creating products that are NOT safe for us to use!

More Research on Parabens

A new article by the Journal of Applied Toxicology discusses research reporting “residues of five paraben esters in the human breast, at concentrations up to the microgram per gram tissue range and with highest concentrations in the axilla area (closest to the underarm).”

Apparently the researchers were trying to discover the method of entry for these preservative chemicals and thought that since they were at highest concentration in the axilla (arm pit) that deodorant was to blame.  The article mentions, though, that “seven subjects reportedly never used underarm cosmetics, and other exposure sources, including other cosmetic product types” were discussed.

It’s not just deodorant, sadly.  Parabens are in just about every body product – just go to the grocery store and read the ingredient labels – look for propylparaben, methylparaben, butylparaben, etc.

We have to be proactive and stop assuming that just because a product is on a grocery store shelf, it’s safe for us to use.  That is just NOT the case.

They are creating health problems for us, people!  We have to stand up to the cosmetics industry and vote with our pocketbooks.  Declining sales is the ONLY thing they understand!

Update Feb 11, 2013 – I’ve found a really great company that surpasses anything I’ve seen on the American market thus far.  I do have one Australian company that creates beautiful organic cosmetics and body products (MiEssence) but for those looking for American made products, click on this link:  100 Percent Pure

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey.

Protect Yourself from Xenoestrogens & Estrogen Dominance

 

Image Source: MorgueFile / Pippalou

There are plenty of ways to protect yourself from xenoestrogens and estrogen dominance!

Following on from yesterday’s post where I explained what xenoestrogens are (environmental estrogens) and how they are related to breast cancer and a whole host of other diseases (including diabetes, uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breast disease, ovarian cysts, menstrual irregularities such as heavy bleeding and cramps, menopausal symptoms, and cervical cancer), today I’d like to share with you some ideas on how to protect yourself from them.  First, a refresher on where xenoestrogens come from:

The Most Common Sources of Xenoestrogens

  • commercially raised meat (full of antibiotics and synthetic hormones)
  • canned foods
  • plastics, plastic food wraps
  • styrofoam cups (especially when used with boiling hot liquids)
  • industrial wastes
  • chlorinated water
  • paints, solvents, lacquers
  • most personal care products & cosmetics (unless organic)
  • pesticides and herbicides
  • car exhaust and pollution
  • birth control pills and spermicide
  • household detergents and cleaners
  • all artificial scents (like aerosol room deodorants)
  • air fresheners, perfumes

Keep in mind that this is probably only a partial list.  These are just the best known sources of xenoestrogens.

25 of the Best Ways to Protect Yourself from Xenoestrogens

    1. Find Out Your Hormone Levels – I believe this should come first.  Find out what your levels are (there are test kits available from this reputable site) and supplement with progesterone if needed.
    2. Diet – ensure you are getting lots of fresh whole (and organic) foods in your diet every day.  Whole foods support your body’s natural ability to balance itself, and provide essential nutrients your body needs to thrive.  Make sure your diet includes abundant brightly colored vegetables and fruits, hormone free meats, and healthy fats including cold pressed olive oil, coconut oil, and fish oil (from deep seas that are unpolluted). Limit or avoid refined foods like white sugar and flour, as these foods deplete the body of essential nutrients.
    3. Eat Phytoestrogens – (plant estrogens) because plant-based estrogen compounds bind to the same estrogen receptor sites on cells that xenoestrogens do. When a receptor site is already occupied by a phytoestrogen, xenoestrogens cannot attach to it. The great thing about phytoestrogens is that they are generally much weaker in their estrogenic effects than xenoestrogens, or even the body’s more potent natural estrogens. So phytoestrogens help to protect the body against excessive estrogen stimulation by binding receptor sites against more potent xenoestrogens.  Phytoestrogens are found in soy, all legumes, whole grains, flax seed, and dark green leafy vegetables.
    4. Stress Management – stress directly affects your hormones.  When stress is chronically high, hormones become out of balance.  Therefore, finding ways to de-stress every day are a must. Take a little time each day to breath deep, exercise, and find ways to relax like yoga, meditation and walking.
    5. Eat Organic or Free Range – meats, poultry, eggs, dairy products, fruits and vegetables (whenever you can).  I still believe that if you can’t get something organic and you’re really craving it – to me that’s a sign your body needs that food.  Buy it and be really OCD about washing it to remove any traces of pesticide from it.  Use a good quality fruit & vegetable wash.
    6. Learn How to Garden Organically – avoid all pesticides, herbicides, and fungicide.
    7. Filter Your Shower Water – have a good water filter for your source of water to protect yourself from organochlorines in our water.  See some good ones in my Amazon shop.
    8. Avoid Plastic Goods – they leach into your food and into the environment (especially don’t leave a plastic bottle of water in the sun!).  Use glass, ceramic or stainless steel whenever possible to store food.
    9. Replace Plastic Wrap on meats and other foods as soon as you get home from the store with plastic wrap that doesn’t have DEHA in it.
    10. Beware of the Microwave – do not microwave food in plastic containers, and especially avoid the use of plastic wrap to cover food for microwaving. I only use my microwave for those flaxseed heat packs.
    11. Avoid Teflon and Other Non-Stick Cookware – titanium or cast iron are better alternatives.
    12. Don’t Use Fabric Softeners – it puts petrochemicals right on your skin.
    13. Use Safe Cleaning Products – choose “green” products with no nasty chemicals in them.  Contact me if you need a good source.
    14. Use Safe Body Products – especially toothpaste.  You’re putting this into your mouth and your children’s mouths.  You don’t need fluoride, it’s a myth! 
    15. Avoid Suncreams and Cosmetics That Have Toxic Chemicals – the cheaper they are, the more toxic chemicals they have in them.  Contact me if you need a good source of safe body products and cosmetics, I have a list of them.
    16. Avoid Nail Polish and Nail Polish Removers – full of toxic chemicals.
    17. Avoid Perfumes and Use Essential Oils Instead – most perfumes are petrochemically based.  Therapeutic grade essential oils not only smell wonderful but they are full of beneficial plant compounds that will help keep you healthy and won’t give you a headache like some perfumes can.  Again, contact me if you need a great source.
    18. Avoid Birth Control Pills and Lubricants Found in Many Condoms and Diaphragm Gels
    19. If You Get New Carpet Installed, Live Somewhere Else For a Few Days – it gives off noxious fumes, so does new furniture.
    20. Avoid X-rays As Much As Possible
    21. Avoid Synthetic Flea Shampoos, Flea Collars, and Flea Pesticides for your pets and home.
    22. Avoid Synthetic Air Fresheners – instead put a few drops of your favorite essential oil into a spray mist bottle filled with distilled water.  Smells better, works well, it’s cheaper and safer.
    23. Avoid Canned Foods – in the USA, over 85% of tin cans are lined with bisphenol-A (BPA) to reduce the metallic taste that can be present in canned foods. Unfortunately, BPA is a known xenoestrogen that leaches when exposed to heat, such as the sterilization process some cans undergo, or acid (and tomatoes are acidic).
    24. Avoid Anything Containing Red Food Dye – FD&C Red No. 3, a common food dye (erythrosine) is a known xenoestrogen.
    25. Find Non-Toxic Paints – look for companies that make interior paints that are formaldehyde free, emit minimal VOC’s, and contain additional sealing properties that reduce outgassing.

Unfortunately, because these compounds are so ubiquitous in our environment, no article of this length could possibly be as comprehensive as I’d like it to be.  I would encourage you to read further on the subject and educate yourself, your family, and friends.  In the end, voting with your pocketbook and spreading information to enable others to do the same is likely to be the single most important thing you can do to help slow the spread of estrogen dominance and its accompanying health problems.

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey.

Unraveling the Mystery of Xenoestrogens and Estrogen Dominance

What are Xenoestrogens? And What’s All This About Estrogen Dominance?

Xenoestrogens are environmental estrogens and they are more abundant than you think.  Most natural therapists believe that xenoestrogens play a huge part in the breast cancer epidemic we are currently experiencing.

Xenoestrogens disrupt our endocrine (hormonal) systems.  Estrogen, like every hormone naturally produced by the body, is a much needed chemical messenger that transports a signal from one cell to another.  The problem with xenoestrogens is that they mimic the effects of estrogen and compromise normal hormone function.

Combined with the estrogen naturally produced by the body, these foreign chemicals create an excess of estrogen (which has come to be known as “estrogen dominance”).

Since we know that breast cancer develops in the presence of estrogen maintained over a prolonged period of time, this puts both women and men at risk for developing the disease.

Research shows that xenoestrogens are linked to high rates of breast cancer, and also to endometriosis, an unusually early onset of puberty, infertility, and miscarriages.

In men, xenoestrogens are believed to contribute to decreased sperm counts, and prostate and testicular cancers.

Other health problems such as thyroid disorders, diabetes, and behavioral abnormalities in children, may also be linked to xenoestrogens interfering with the estrogens naturally produced by the body.

Because there are so many xenoestrogens in our cleaning products and gardening chemicals (which eventually get into the water supply), we are now finding that the reproductive systems of fish and amphibians have been affected.

Estrogen Dominance

Estrogen dominance occurs when the ratio of estrogen to progesterone sways too much one way or another.  One of the most common patterns with estrogen dominance is to see an excess of estrogen in relation to progesterone, which is often too low.  Estrogen and progesterone work together like a system of checks and balances to achieve hormonal balance in both men and women.

Estrogen is an active hormone that is actually able to increase the production of its own receptors.  It stimulates tissue to grow.  When left unchecked (due to inadequate progesterone levels), it can stimulate tissue to grow inappropriately, especially in the breast.

How to Protect Yourself

Take a close look at the products you use on a daily basis – begin by checking the ingredients in your cleaning products (if they don’t have a list of ingredients, try to find them on-line), your personal care products like shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, facial care products, deodorants, etc. because this is where many xenoestrogens are commonly found. Doesn’t that make you mad?

Reduce your exposure to chlorine by using a shower head filter that filters out chlorine.  Choose unbleached products.

Limit your use of plastics, especially drinking from plastic water bottles and microwaving in plastic containers.

Learn to identify and minimize as many xenoestrogens as possible.

Chemicals That Have Estrogenic Effects

  • Alkylphenol
  • Atrazine (weed killer)
  • 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) (sunscreen lotions)
  • Benzyl Benzoate (fragrance ingredient, artificial flavor, preservative, and solvent)
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole / BHA (food preservative)
  • Bisphenol A (monomer for polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin; antioxidant in plasticizers)
  • Chlorine and chlorine by-products
  • Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (one of the breakdown products of DDT)
  • Dieldrin (insecticide)
  • Dimethicone (a plasticizer used in many products)
  • DDT (insecticide)
  • Endosulfan (insecticide)
  • Erythrosine / FD&C Red No. 3
  • Ethinylestradiol (combined oral contraceptive pill)
  • Heptachlor (insecticide)
  • Lindane / hexachlorocyclohexane (insecticide)
  • Metalloestrogens (a class of inorganic xenoestrogens)
  • Methoxychlor (insecticide)
  • Nonylphenol and derivatives (industrial surfactants; emulsifiers for emulsion polymerization; laboratory detergents; pesticides)
  • Pentachlorophenol (general biocide and wood preservative)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls / PCBs (in electrical oils, lubricants, adhesives, paints)
  • Parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben commonly used as preservatives in personal care products)
  • Petroleum jelly (a by product of the petroleum industry)
  • Phenosulfothiazine (a red dye)
  • Phthalates (plasticizers)
  • DEHP (plasticizer for PVC)
  • Propyl gallate
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (a foaming agent used in shampoos and toothpastes)
  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate (              ”            )

That’s a big long list of baddies and it’s not even a complete list!  For a truly comprehensive database of product ingredients, go to: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ .  There you can look up the products you are using and see how they rate for safety.

Tomorrow I’ll provide you with a list of things you can do to limit your personal exposure (and also our environment) to xenoestrogens.

Sources:

http://www.energeticnutrition.com/vitalzym/estrogen_dominance.html#reading

http://www.johnleemd.com/store/breast_cancer.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenoestrogen

http://breakingnews.ewg.org/2012sunscreen/

 If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey.

Toxic Chemicals Found in Babies: 8 Ways to Protect Them (and You)

 

Toxic Chemicals Found in Babies
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and David Castillo

Toxic Chemicals Found in Babies: 8 Ways to Protect Them (and You)

If you know some who’s pregnant, please tell them about this blog post today.

A recent post on the website for the Environmental Working Group (“EWG”) confirmed that laboratory tests commissioned by the EWG have, for the first time, detected bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic component and synthetic estrogen (known as “xenoestrogen”), in the umbilical cord blood of American infants.  9 out of 10 Tested Had BPA.  This is a crying shame!  Here is a link to that article.

According to the Health page at msn.com: “BPA is the main building block of polycarbonate plastic, a hard plastic widely used to make kitchen utensils, food storage containers, travel mugs, and water bottles. BPA is also a main component of the epoxy linings found in metal food and beverage cans.  The problem: Polycarbonate plastics can leach BPA into our food and beverages.  Heat, acid, alcohol, harsh detergents, age, and microwaving can also exacerbate the release of BPA, says Frederick vom Saal, a biology professor and BPA researcher at the University of Missouri.  Because their reproductive organs are still developing, fetuses, infants, and children are especially vulnerable to synthetic estrogens in BPA. This means pregnant women and kids can benefit from reduced exposure to BPA. Reproductive-aged women may also want to be careful.”

While BPA may be impossible to completely eradicate from your life, here are 8 ways to reduce exposure:

1.  Don’t store foods in plastic. Glass food storage containers are quite safe and there are plenty of wonderful Pyrex containers on the market.  Just make sure you wash the plastic lids by hand.

2. Limit the use of canned foods and beverages.  The epoxy liners of metal food and beverage cans most likely contain BPA.  If you can, especially avoid buying canned foods that are acid (tomatoes, tomato-based soups, citrus products, and acidic beverages like colas) and canned alcoholic beverages, since acids and alcohols can worsen the leaching of BPA.  Many foods and beverages can be purchased in glass containers (think beer, olive oil, and tomato paste).

3.  Give up your plastic travel mug. Instead, choose an unlined stainless steel travel mug. This is especially important when transporting hot beverages, like coffee or tea.

4.  Filter drinking and cooking water.  Detectable levels of BPA have been found in municipal drinking water, so using a reverse osmosis and carbon filter is wise.  They can generally can be found for less than $200.

5.  Filter your shower and tub water.  The problem with BPA is that it can easily be absorbed through the skin.  BPA can be removed from the water by adding ceramic filters to shower heads and tubs. Just be sure to change them regularly.

6.  Limit use of hard plastic water bottles. Many of those light-weight plastic bottles we use when hiking  are made of polycarbonate plastic. Better to choose a stainless steel AND unlined water bottle as that plastic lining might contain BPA.

7.  Minimize hard plastics in the kitchen. Hard plastic spatulas, spoons, measuring cups and colanders regularly come into contact with both food and heat. Better to replace them with wooden, metal, or glass alternatives.

8.  Avoid the office water cooler. Unfortunately, those hard plastic jugs that many companies use to provide their employees and customers with “pure” water are usually made of BPA-containing polycarbonate.

I know all of this seems like a lot to take in, and more than annoying to implement.  But it’s worth doing: BPA has been implicated in a lengthening list of serious chronic disorders, including cancer, cognitive and behavioral impairments, endocrine system disruption, reproductive and cardiovascular system abnormalities, diabetes, asthma and obesity.

Especially for pregnant women: Keep taking that folic acid. Not only does it help prevent birth defects, it may also help protect a developing fetus from the effects of the BPA you may inadvertently come into contact with even if you take steps to reduce exposure.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  When you’re in a desperate situation, you need an ally.  You can depend on me to help you through this.


Safe Cosmetics: Why We Should Be Buying Organic

What Makeup and Cosmetics are Safe?

Being diagnosed with breast cancer led me into doing vast amounts of research on WHY breast cancer seems to be one of the scourges of modern living.  One in EIGHT women in the USA will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.  I knew there must be a reason for this, beyond what we’re told by modern science.

Part of the research I did took an interesting direction.  Putting aside all of the discussions about toxic environment, stress of modern day living, etc what I discovered is that many of our body products (in fact I’ll go out on a limb here and say MOST body products, especially those in the grocery stores and supermarkets) are toxic as hell.  We shouldn’t be using them!

Chemicals and Cancer

If you look at the list of ingredients in most hair care products, skin care products, deodorants, etc you can’t even pronounce most of the ingredients and many of them have NO business being put into our products. There is a definite link to some of these chemicals and cancer.

I’m sorry if this is turning into a rant, but it’s a personal sore subject for me.  Here are just 3 of the baddies:

Propylene Glycol – used as a skin conditioning agent, it’s strong enough to remove barnacles from boats!  My husband says it’s a constituent of anti-freeze.  What’s it doing in skin care products, especially those for babies?  Are you kidding me?

Paraben preservatives (methyl-, propyl-, butyl-, and ethylparaben) – used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products.  What delightful information I discovered about these came from a Professor Philippa Darbre at Reading University in England.  Her research on actual breast tumors discovered that parabens were in every sample.  Parabens have been shown to be able to mimic the action of estrogen, which hormone can drive the growth of human breast tumors.  This research was done in 2004 – why are parabens still being allowed in our body products???

DMDM Hydantoin – this contains formaldehyde.  Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen (causes cancer). Causes allergic, irritant and contact dermatitis, headaches and chronic fatigue. The vapor is extremely irritating to the eyes, nose and throat (mucous membranes).  It has NO business being in our body products.

This is a list of only a FEW of the toxic chemicals in body products being routinely used by women all across the world.  Please stop using any products that have these nasties in them.  Reduce your breast cancer risk.

Want something better for yourself?  I’ve done a lot of research on various companies making safe and organic makeup and cosmetics and I believe there is one that is top notch.  I found MiEssence products when I was living in Australia and they are now available pretty much world wide. I believe you deserve the best, most safe cosmetics, completely free of nasty toxic chemicals. 

If you prefer an American based company, I have found a good one in 100% Pure, their products are pretty divine and absolutely safe.  Click here to see their website:

100 Percent Pure

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.