A New Way To Improve Gut Health

UltraGi Replenish

 ultragi_replenish_chocolate_1531592a1_64oz_rtThe Integrative Wellness Center is now carrying an exciting new medical food shake that reduces gastrointestinal symptoms and beneficially alters gut microbiota in adults with IBS, Celiac Disease and IBD.

UltraGI Replenish is a delicious medical food formulated to provide nutritional support in the management of compromised gut function associated with digestive disorders and malabsorption. This medical food provides a unique blend of macronutrients, micronutrients, and exclusive prebiotics selected for their ability to improve gut function, nutrient absorption, and intestinal microbiota.

Prebiotics hold promise as a therapeutic strategy for addressing compromised gut function associated with GI conditions.  UltraGI Replenish contains a proprietary blend of prebiotics: a nature identical 2’-fucosyllactose (2’-FL) and isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMOs). Prebiotics are non-digestible food and plant ingredients, mostly small carbohydrate polymers known as oligosaccharides, which beneficially affect the host through their selective metabolism in the intestinal tract.

2’-FL is a prebiotic found in human breast milk. Several functions have been attributed to 2’-FL, including the ability to support the growth of beneficial microbiota (including Bifidobacterium), inducing the production of SCFAs (an energy substrate for colonic epithelial cells), and regulating gut motility (by reducing the frequency and velocity of contractions).

2’-FL also supports GI health by blocking certain potentially harmful bacterial strains from adhering to their host cell receptors; 2’-FL mimics host cell surface receptors and acts as a decoy. 2’-FL has been shown to act as an anti-adhesive antimicrobial to Campylobacter jejuni, Vibrio cholera, Escherichia coli, and Norovirus.

A recent clinical trial with patients suffering from digestive disorders, demonstrated that consuming 2 servings daily of UGIR for 6 weeks:

  •  Reduced GI symptoms and improved overall GI quality of life
  •  Increased production of SCFAs, including butyrate
  • Increased levels of Bifidobacterium spp.
  • Reduced potential harmful intestinal microbiota

In addition, this landmark formula features a unique combination of macro- and micronutrients to complement a carefully designed dietary plan and deliver a lifestyle medicine approach unlike any other.

If you would like to try UltraGI Replenish, order online or visit our office today and purchase from our natural pharmacy.

To order online go to: http://jsmothers.metagenics.com/store. Receive 20% off your first online order and 10% off recurring orders.  Free shipping is also available for qualifying orders.

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Lyme Disease Class

You are invited to join Dr. John and the staff at the Integrative Wellness Center for a two part informative class on Lyme disease on March 17 and March 24 from 12:30 – 2:00 PM at the Integrative Wellness Clinic.  These classes are free.

Topics we will cover include:

Part 1:

  • What is Lyme disease?
  • Effects of Lyme disease
  • How Lyme spreads
  • Testimonials and life changing stories

Part 2:

  • Biofilms
  • Strategies to overcome Lyme disease

If you would like to join us please call the clinic at (901) 763-7006 to reserve your spot.

Sincerely,

John Smothers, FLT, MH. & The Wellness Team

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Detoxification

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Most of us know that we’re living in a more toxic world than at any other time in history. Whether it’s coming from pollution in the air we breathe, chemicals and pharmaceuticals in our water, antibiotics, hormones and pesticides in our meat, toxic food additives and GMOs in our food, lead, phthalates and parabens in our skin care products,  mercury in our seafood, arsenic in chicken, mold and formaldehyde in our homes and plastics in our canned food and water bottles. The list just goes on and on.  We are exposed to over 85,000 chemicals in our environment today and most have never been tested for safety. The average newborn has over 285 chemicals in their chord blood.

The good news is, our bodies have an amazing capacity for detoxification.  However, our liver, kidneys, colon and lymphatic systems can become overwhelmed with the burden of  these chemicals. Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 5.13.58 PM.png That is why we encourage everyone to set aside time annually to detoxify.   The changing of the seasons is a good time to do a cleanse!  A simple 5 to 10 day detoxificati
on program can be life changing.  Along with a special fast we recommend supplements to support the organs of elimination.  To further enhance and speed the process of eliminating toxins, we recommend enemas.

An enema can help you to rid excess waste that builds up in the colon from eating refined and processed foods that are high in fat and sugar and low in fibre. These types of foods can cause peristalsis to become weak and ineffective producing symptoms such as constipation and IBS.   This causes foods to become lodged along their journey and impacted against the wall of the colon! From there the lodged fecal matter begins to putrefy and ferment and your whole internal environment can become toxic!  Enemas will help to break up the toxic matter and quickly eliminate it from the body.

What can you expect from a good detoxification program?  At first most people experience the side effects of the body releasing toxins.  Symptoms may include fatigue, headaches, a coated white tongue and brain fog.  After the initial symptoms pass, usually 2-5 days depending on the toxic burden of the individual, energy returns, the mind clears and so does the skin.

The most noticeable benefits from detoxification are physical. Since the toxins store up in major organs, detoxification will help these areas the most. The organs which are affected, such as the liver, kidneys and stomach, will begin to work more effectively. After the detox is completed, one may feel “lighter” and have more energy. Also, since a detox is used to clear away free radicals, the body’s immune system will be stronger, lowering the risk of infections, cancer and other chronic diseases. Finally, a detoxification regimen will clear your blood, helping it circulate better.  Better circulation benefits every cell in the body, enhancing mental function and heart health.

This month we are offering a special on our detoxification products.  We’ve attached our recommended 10 day accelerated detoxification fast below.  While on the fast we  recommend a medical food shake and a detox supplement packet called Clear Change Essentials.  During the month of January, these products will be discounted 10%.

We also offer a shorter, more intensive detoxification fast.  Call and make an appointment today to learn more, including how to do enemas at home.

Here’s to your health!Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 5.15.12 PM.png

Kim Martindale

Senior Therapeutic Lifestyle Educator at the Integrative Wellness and Research Center

Accelerated Detox Fast Attachment

 

 

 

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Accelerated Fasting Detoxification Program

 

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Part 1:  Juice fast

Day 1: Juice 2-3 quarts of freshly juiced vegetables: 1 Quart example: (2)Apple 20% / (4)Carrot 20% / (4)Celery 20% / (1 head)Cabbage 40%, optional 4-6 cloves of Garlic

  • Drink fiber supplement-Colon Plus-1-2 tablespoons mixed in apple juice or water.  Use Natural Laxative with fiber if not having 2-3 bowel movements per day.
  • Consume 2-4 tablespoons of vegetable oils per day
    (flax seed oil, coconut butter, olive oil).
  • Healthy Option:  Enema (4 step program)to help irrigate toxins and waste from
    large Intestine and eradicate bacteria, fungus overgrowth.
  • Continue 1 quart of apple juice throughout the fast if gallbladder congestion.

Day 2: Drink 2-3 quarts of hot stock broth.

  • Drink fiber supplement-Colon Plus-1-2 tablespoons mixed in apple juice or water.
  • Consume 2-4 tablespoons of vegetable oils per day
    (flax seed oil, coconut butter, olive oil).
  • Healthy Option: Enema (4 step program) to help irrigate toxins and waste from
    large Intestine and eradicate bacteria, fungus overgrowth.

Day 3-5: Drink 2-3 quarts of vegetable juice. Same as step 1 or this complex juice;

  • 1 head Cabbage (24 oz), 1 cucumber (4oz),  2 carrots (2oz), 2-3 celery sticks (2oz), 1 apple (2oz), 1 broccoli stem or 2 radishes(2oz),  1/2 beet (1/2oz), 2 slices-nickel size of fresh ginger (1/4oz), 4 cloves garlic, 2 handful of Kale.
  • Drink fiber supplement-Colon Plus 1-2 tablespoons mixed in apple juice or water.
  • Consume 2-4 tablespoons of vegetable oils per day
    (flax seed oil, coconut butter, olive oil).
  • Healthy Option: Enema (4 step program) to help irrigate toxins and waste from
    large Intestine and eradicate bacteria, fungus overgrowth.

Olive Oil Flush:  Day 4 of fast.

Mix 4-8 oz of extra virgin olive oil, 4-8 oz of fresh squeezed orange juice, 1-2 oz of fresh squeezed lemon juice.  Mix well and drink at bedtime.  Go immediately to bed and lay on your right side, with your right knee pulled close to chest for 20-30 minutes.
Drink fiber supplement upon arising the next morning.

 

 

Part 2: Medical food protein shake fast

10 Day Detoxification Program:

Overview: Drink 4 protein shakes per day, every 4 hours and eat unlimited raw vegetables.  Drink 5-6 protein shakes per day if body weight is above 160 pounds.  Ok to mix shakes. Day 1-5, use only 2 Ultra Clear Renew Medical Food shakes per day.  Day 6-10, consume 4/day.

Optional but suggested for Cancer Recovery or other weakened body states: Drink 2 quarts of fresh vegetable juice in-between protein shakes.

Recipe:
1 cabbage (24oz), 4 carrots (4-5oz), 4 celery sticks (2-3 oz), 1-2 apples, (3-6 oz).  Optional: add 4-6 cloves of garlic (1/4 oz), 2 nickel slices of Ginger (1/4 oz), Lemon or Lime for taste.

  1. Choose the best medical food protein shake per your medical need.
  • Ultra Meal 360 Plus:  Optimizing body composition, weight loss, elevated cholesterol,
    elevated blood sugar, diabetic meal replacement.
  • Ultra InflamX360 Plus: Inflammatory conditions, joints, arthritis, GI conditions, allergies and general inflammation.
  • Ultra Clear Renew: Liver detoxification, heavy metals including mercury elimination, elevated oxidative stress-cancer
  • Ultra Meal Advanced: Supports muscle mass and healthy vascular function.

2) Total VEGAN detox:  Plant protein blend (pea, rice, hemp, chia, cranberry) with BrocColinate and Calcium D-GlucarateChoose one raw vegetable per day and eat unlimited amounts.  Ok to use oils, healthy raw dips and a pâté like humus and home made dressings.  See raw dip recipes attached or my favorite gourmet raw books are; The Raw Gourmet and Raw, But Not Naked by Nomi Shannon.  Available at the Integrative Wellness & Research Center, Inc. (901) 763-7006.

3)  Green Puree ( Drink a minimum of 2 of these complex shakes per day): Place 4 leaves or 1-2 servings of spinach into blender (Vitamix preferable); optional 2 tablespoons broccoli sprouts, kale, chard, spinach-handful, and/or mustard greens (choose one only).  Add 6-8 oz of water or dairy alternative, ie almond milk and blend to a puree.  Then add your chosen medical food protein powder from the list above, a fruit of choice, and one tablespoon of flax seed oil (high in omega 3) in each shake.  Blend a little more.

Optional: Add one fresh squeezed lemon or lime and drink (skip if acid reflux). Enjoy.  Your cells will be leaping with joy and renewed strength.

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Fasting

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FASTING

by John Smothers, ND, MH, FLT

Define your purpose:

Set a goal larger than yourself that you are expecting a breakthrough.  It could be a variety of things:  Health, spiritual, work or family.  If your needs are fully satisfied, then dedicate your fast to a friend or someone in need.  Spend time in prayer everyday.

Schedule time for preparation:  

If you are juicing, then spend time grocery shopping ahead of time.  The example recipe below is a good start:

64 oz of juice = 2 heads of cabbage, 8 carrots, 4 granny smith apples .

Optional:  add 12 cloves of garlic, 2 inches of ginger, lemon or lime.

You may also add lemon or lime for taste and a cucumber.  4 ounces of wheat grass is also a great addition.  It you do not have wheat grass, then moringa is a great substitution.

Why Juice: 

Juicing is the fastest way to attain the maximum amount of organic live nutrition in your body.  It is the highest octane fuel to rebuild and strengthen your body.   Enzymes in live or raw food carry nutrition to the cells for nourishment.  If food is heated over 113 degrees Fahrenheit then enzymes start to die.  The food loses its ability to make each cell stronger.  During a fast we are consuming raw food with the exception of bone broth.  During fasting, once the toxins are excreted or detoxed, your cells with start to feel super rejuvenated.  Your mind, body and spirit with become more sensitive and in tune with one another.  To ultimately change your cells expression to a healthy cell, first we have to detoxify, move out the stored up trash or toxins being stored from years past.  Then as we fuel our super bodies with maximized raw food or juice, our genes express themselves in a very healthy way.  Your cellular expression depends upon the environment they are living in.

Words of Appreciation/Affirmations:

Set aside words of affirmations or prayers you repeat several times per day.

Example: My body is becoming stronger and my cells are expressing renewed strength.

I am loosing the thoughts, habits, and all cellular functions of making, reproducing      cancer.  It is leaving my body and never returning.  It is gone, I am walking in faith         and believing for a miracle in my life.  Become BOLD and ask others to partner and       speak these powerful words over you.

 

PART 1 – Liquid Fast

Liquids only to shut down the digestive process and to accelerate detox, healing and repair.  Your will have approximately 85% more reserves available during this time for cleansing.  Digestion usually stops after 2-3 days, then your cravings will diminish.

Begin your FAST:

Start by consuming 12 oz of fluid every waking hour.  This could be a combination of water, herbal tea, broth or fresh vegetable juices.  Drink 2-3 quarts of juice throughout the day to keep a steady about of vegetable sugars entering the blood stream.  This will increase your changes of a successful fast.

Cautions:  If you feel nausea, very weak or faint, you should break your fast.  Try consuming bone broth and raw vegetables in a soup and continue your fast.  If this does not work, then consider having a green protein shake.  Consider the enema part to fully engage your detox.  If you still fell weak or faint, then eat a clean diet;

Suggested Diet: 2 meals per day of: protein, vegetables and oils.  Take Glycation Manager or Alpha CU and chromium to help stables your blood sugar.  2 green protein shakes per day, preferably Ultra Clear Renew during your fast.  Continue juicing 1-2 quarts per day.

FAST:  (Please review the fasting handout for a step by step guide)

Enema:  Perform the 4 step enema everyday throughout the duration of the fast.  Enema procedures will be provided with your enema kit purchased through the Wellness Center.

Options:  Parasite Cleanse, Heavy metals, Liver cleanse, Enema, tumors.

Detox: Ultra Clear Renew, Clear Change Daily Essentials or Detox Pekana

Parasite Cleanse:  Paraguard or Clarkia 100

Heavy Metals:  Ultra Clear Renew, HM Protect

Tumors:  Biozyme, Theracumin HP, Dr John’s Lymph

 

Fasting Recipes:

Simple and powerful Juice

yields approximately 33-37 oz of juice

  • 1 Cabbage 24 oz
  • 4 Celery 2-3 oz
  • 4 Carrots 4-5 oz
  • 1-2 Apples3-6 oz

Optional:

  • 4-6 cloves Garlic 1/4 oz
  • 2 nickel slices of Ginger 1/4 oz
  • Lemon or Lime

Complex Juice Recipe:

yields approximately 38 oz of juice

  • 1 Cabbage 24 oz
  • Kale 2 handfuls
  • 1 Cucumber 4 oz
  • 2 Celery 2 oz
  • 2 Carrots 2 oz
  • 1 Apple 2-3 oz
  • 1 broccoli stem or 2 oz
  • 2 radishes
  • 1/2 beet 1/2 oz
  • 4 cloves garlic 1/4 oz
  • Fresh ginger 2 nichel slices 1/4 oz

Total yield will vary depending upon quality of Juicer.

The Integrative Wellness Center uses the Green Star Elite Juicer in our clinic.

We sell them for the lowest price available online in our clinic.  Please  ask our staff about demoing a Green Star Elite Juicer, you will be amazed!  Juices hard vegetables and also leaves like Kale and Wheat Grass very good.

 

Part 2: Shakes and Vegetables

5-10 days duration

We are continuing the detox with an animal free diet.  Adding 4 green protein shakes (Ultra Clear Renew Protein) per day to stabilize muscle mass.  Incorporating bone broth, vegetable soups, and eating raw vegetables with the optional raw dips/dressing for taste.

BEST:  Eat mono meals. Choose one vegetable per day and eat unlimited.  Ok to use dip/dressing and pâté with vegetable.

How to start part 2 fast:

Continue accelerating detox fast while stabilizing muscle mass.  This fast we will focus on clearing phase 2 liver detox pathway with emphasis on heavy metals and soft tissue toxin clearing.  We will eat mono meals to help modulate cytokine inflammation in your gastrointestinal track. Studies show you will be eliminating up to 278  plus known heavy metals, chemicals, toxins interfering with optimal detox.  These are buried in your liver, fatty and soft  tissues. Your body will feel much better once these toxins and heavy metals are cleared.  If your brain will become more responsive.

Summary:

Continue drinking 1-2 quarts of fresh juice daily.  Add 4 protein shakes per day to stabilize muscle mass while continuing accelerating detox fast.  Eat soups,broths and mono vegetable meals/snacks.  Make raw dips and dressings to help support taste of your favorite vegetables.  Slice vegetables and dip into raw dressing for taste.  Eat unlimited as snacks or meals.

Guide:

Day 1-5:  Drink 2 servings per day Ultra Clear Renew medical food protein shake.

Drink 2 servings per day Ultra Meal Advanced protein.  If pain or inflammation is present, then substitute for Ultra InflammX360 medical food protein shake.  2 of these shakes per day should be complex shakes.  4 is best.

Take Clear Change Daily Essentials or Advaclear with 2 of the shakes per day.  Example morning and afternoon shakes.

Optional:  Take ultra spectrum probiotics morning and night.  Add Glutagenics or Glutamine Forte Powder to shake, 2 x day, to help repair leaky gut syndrome

Affirmation: I am so thankful for the mentors in my life that led me out of troubled waters.  We all have faced tough, trying times in our lives.  The closer we get to success, the further it seems.  Don’t ever give up on anyone, but especially yourself.  You are victorious in all well doing.  I believe in you and I am walking in faith expecting amazing victories in your life.

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Healing Testimonies

We are always looking for ways to encourage clients in their healing journey with us.  If you have a positive health testimony to share from your experience at the Integrative Wellness Center, please submit it to us via email at <clinic@integrativewellness.org>.

You will automatically receive a 10% discount off your next order when you submit a testimony.

Thank you!

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Dirty Dozen List of Endocrine Disruptors

12 Hormone-Altering Chemicals and How to Avoid Them

There is no end to the tricks that endocrine disruptors can play on our bodies: increasing production of certain hormones; decreasing production of others; imitating hormones; turning one hormone into another; interfering with hormone signaling; telling cells to die prematurely; competing with essential nutrients; binding to essential hormones; accumulating in organs that produce hormones.

Here are 12 of the worst hormone disrupters, how they do their dirty deeds, and some tips on how to avoid them.

BPA

Some may say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but do you really want a chemical used in plastics imitating the sex hormone estrogen in your body? No! Unfortunately, this synthetic hormone can trick the body into thinking it’s the real thing – and the results aren’t pretty. BPA has been linked to everything from breast and others cancers to reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease, and according to government tests, 93 percent of Americans have BPA in their bodies!

How to avoid it? Go fresh instead of canned – many food cans are lined with BPA – or research which companies don’t use BPA or similar chemicals in their products. Say no to receipts, since thermal paper is often coated with BPA. And avoid plastics marked with a “PC,” for polycarbonate, or recycling label #7. Not all of these plastics contain BPA, but many do – and it’s better safe than sorry when it comes to keeping synthetic hormones out of your body. For more tips, check out: www.ewg.org/bpa/

Dioxin

Dioxins are multi-taskers… but not in a good way! They form during many industrial processes when chlorine or bromine are burned in the presence of carbon and oxygen. Dioxins can disrupt the delicate ways that both male and female sex hormone signaling occurs in the body. This is a bad thing! Here’s why: Recent research has shown that exposure to low levels of dioxin in the womb and early in life can both permanently affect sperm quality and lower the sperm count in men during their prime reproductive years. But that’s not all! Dioxins are very long-lived, build up both in the body and in the food chain, are powerful carcinogens and can also affect the immune and reproductive systems.

How to avoid it? That’s pretty difficult, since the ongoing industrial release of dioxin has meant that the American food supply is widely contaminated. Products including meat, fish, milk, eggs and butter are most likely to be contaminated, but you can cut down on your exposure by eating fewer animal products.

Atrazine

What happens when you introduce highly toxic chemicals into nature and turn your back? For one thing, feminization of male frogs. That’s right, researchers have found that exposure to even low levels of the herbicide atrazine can turn male frogs into females that produce completely viable eggs. Atrazine is widely used on the majority of corn crops in the United States, and consequently it’s a pervasive drinking water contaminant. Atrazine has been linked to breast tumors, delayed puberty and prostate inflammation in animals, and some research has linked it to prostate cancer in people.

How to avoid it? Buy organic produce and get a drinking water filter certified to remove atrazine. For help finding a suitable filter, check out EWG’s buying guide: www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide/

Phthalates

Did you know that a specific signal programs cells in our bodies to die? It’s totally normal and healthy for 50 billion cells in your body to die every day! But studies have shown that chemicals called phthalates can trigger what’s known as “death-inducing signaling” in testicular cells, making them die earlier than they should. Yep, that’s cell death – in your man parts. If that’s not enough, studies have linked phthalates to hormone changes, lower sperm count, less mobile sperm, birth defects in the male reproductive system, obesity, diabetes and thyroid irregularities.

How to avoid it? A good place to start is to avoid plastic food containers, children’s toys (some phthalates are already banned in kid’s products), and plastic wrap made from PVC, which has the recycling label #3. Some personal care products also contain phthalates, so read the labels and avoid products that simply list added “fragrance,” since this catch-all term sometimes means hidden phthalates. Find phthalate-free personal care products with EWG’s Skin Deep Database: www.ewg.org/skindeep/

Perchlorate

Who needs food tainted with rocket fuel?! That’s right, perchlorate, a component in rocket fuel, contaminates much of our produce and milk, according to EWG and government test data. When perchlorate gets into your body it competes with the nutrient iodine, which the thyroid gland needs to make thyroid hormones. Basically, this means that if you ingest too much of it you can end up altering your thyroid hormone balance. This is important because it’s these hormones that regulate metabolism in adults and are critical for proper brain and organ development in infants and young children.

How to avoid it? You can reduce perchlorate in your drinking water by installing a reverse osmosis filter. (You can get help finding one at: www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide) As for food, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid perchlorate, but you can reduce its potential effects on you by making sure you are getting enough iodine in your diet. Eating iodized salt is one good way.

Fire retardants

What do breast milk and polar bears have in common? In 1999, some Swedish scientists studying women’s breast milk discovered something totally unexpected: The milk contained an endocrine-disrupting chemical found in fire retardants, and the levels had been doubling every five years since 1972! These incredibly persistent chemicals, known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs, have since been found to contaminate the bodies of people and wildlife around the globe – even polar bears. These chemicals can imitate thyroid hormones in our bodies and disrupt their activity. That can lead to lower IQ, among other significant health effects. While several kinds of PBDEs have now been phased out, this doesn’t mean that toxic fire retardants have gone away. PBDEs are incredibly persistent, so they’re going to be contaminating people and wildlife for decades to come.

How to avoid it? It’s virtually impossible, but passing better toxic chemical laws that require chemicals to be tested before they go on the market would help reduce our exposure. A few things that can you can do in the meantime include: use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which can cut down on toxic-laden house dust; avoid reupholstering foam furniture; take care when replacing old carpet (the padding underneath may contain PBDEs). Find more tips at: www.ewg.org/pbdefree/

Lead

You may or may not like heavy metal music, but lead is one heavy metal you want to avoid. It’s well known that lead is toxic, especially to children. Lead harms almost every organ system in the body and has been linked to a staggering array of health effects, including permanent brain damage, lowered IQ, hearing loss, miscarriage, premature birth, increased blood pressure, kidney damage and nervous system problems. But few people realize that one other way that lead may affect your body is by disrupting your hormones. In animals, lead has been found to lower sex hormone levels. Research has also shown that lead can disrupt the hormone signaling that regulates the body’s major stress system (called the HPA axis). You probably have more stress in your life than you want, so the last thing you need is something making it harder for your body to deal with it – especially when this stress system is implicated in high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety and depression.

How to avoid it? Keep your home clean and well maintained. Crumbling old paint is a major source of lead exposure, so get rid of it carefully. A good water filter can also reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water. (Check out www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide/ for help finding a filter.) And if you need another reason to eat better, studies have also shown that children with healthy diets absorb less lead.

Arsenic

Arsenic isn’t just for murder mysteries anymore. In fact, this toxin is lurking in your food and drinking water. If you eat enough of it, arsenic will kill you outright. In smaller amounts, arsenic can cause skin, bladder and lung cancer. Basically, bad news. Less well known: Arsenic messes with your hormones! Specifically, it can interfere with normal hormone functioning in the glucocorticoid system that regulates how our bodies process sugars and carbohydrates. What does that mean for you? Well, disrupting the glucocorticoid system has been linked to weight gain/loss, protein wasting, immunosuppression, insulin resistance (which can lead to diabetes), osteoporosis, growth retardation and high blood pressure.

How to avoid it? Reduce your exposure by using a water filter that lowers arsenic levels. For help finding a good water filter, check out EWG’s buying guide: www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide/

Mercury

Caution: That sushi you are eating could be hazardous to your health. Mercury, a naturally occurring but toxic metal, gets into the air and the oceans primarily though burning coal. Eventually, it can end up on your plate in the form of mercury-contaminated seafood. Pregnant women are the most at risk from the toxic effects of mercury, since the metal is known to concentrate in the fetal brain and can interfere with brain development. Mercury is also known to bind directly to one particular hormone that regulates women’s menstrual cycle and ovulation, interfering with normal signaling pathways. In other words, hormones don’t work so well when they’ve got mercury stuck to them! The metal may also play a role in diabetes, since mercury has been shown to damage cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, which is critical for the body’s ability to metabolize sugar.

How to avoid it? For people who still want to eat (sustainable) seafood with lots of healthy fats but without a side of toxic mercury, wild salmon and farmed trout are good choices.

Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)

The perfluorinated chemicals used to make non-stick cookware can stick to you. Perfluorochemicals are so widespread and extraordinarily persistent that 99 percent of Americans have these chemicals in their bodies. One particularly notorious compound called PFOA has been shown to be “completely resistant to biodegradation.” In other words, PFOA doesn’t break down in the environment – ever. That means that even though the chemical was banned after decades of use, it will be showing up in people’s bodies for countless generations to come. This is worrisome, since PFOA exposure has been linked to decreased sperm quality, low birth weight, kidney disease, thyroid disease and high cholesterol, among other health issues. Scientists are still figuring out how PFOA affects the human body, but animal studies have found that it can affect thyroid and sex hormone levels.

How to avoid it? Skip non-stick pans as well as stain and water-resistant coatings on clothing, furniture and carpets.

Organophosphate pesticides

Neurotoxic organophosphate compounds that the Nazis produced in huge quantities for chemical warfare during World War II were luckily never used. After the war ended, American scientists used the same chemistry to develop a long line of pesticides that target the nervous systems of insects. Despite many studies linking organophosphate exposure to effects on brain development, behavior and fertility, they are still among the more common pesticides in use today. A few of the many ways that organophosphates can affect the human body include interfering with the way testosterone communicates with cells, lowering testosterone and altering thyroid hormone levels.

How to avoid it? Buy organic produce and use EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which can help you find the fruits and vegetables that have the fewest pesticide residues. Check it out at: www.ewg.org/foodnews/

Glycol Ethers

Shrunken testicles: Do we have your full attention now? This is one thing that can happen to rats exposed to chemicals called glycol ethers, which are common solvents in paints, cleaning products, brake fluid and cosmetics. Worried? You should be. The European Union says that some of these chemicals “may damage fertility or the unborn child.” Studies of painters have linked exposure to certain glycol ethers to blood abnormalities and lower sperm counts. And children who were exposed to glycol ethers from paint in their bedrooms had substantially more asthma and allergies.

How to avoid it? Start by checking out EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning (www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/) and avoid products with ingredients such as 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME).

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