Toxic metals accelerate ovarian aging in women, research warns

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toxic-metals-harm-reproductive-health(NaturalHealth365)  Heavy metal exposure is still a widespread problem throughout the world, even in the U.S., where lead drinking water pipes are pervasive throughout the country.  Exposure to heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, and lead causes a host of health problems for people of all ages and can have specific reproductive effects.

In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers focused on the impact of heavy metal exposure on women’s reproductive age.  They investigated the relationship between the excretion of heavy metals through urine and the circulating anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels, a marker indicating ovarian reserve.

Let’s take a look at their research and what it suggests for women.

If you believe heavy metal exposure doesn’t impact you, think again

In the developing world, heavy metal exposure is widespread, owing to the rapid rise of unchecked industrial development.  Additionally, spent munitions from wars and unabated dumping of industrial waste can add intersections of human habitation and heavy metals.

Some of the most common heavy metals used in industry and wartime munitions are lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury.  Heavy metal toxicity can cause anything from learning disabilities to memory problems, hormonal imbalances, reproductive issues, weight gain, cancer, and a long list of other significant health concerns.

Unfortunately, the United States does not have a great track record of cleaning up industrial and war munitions dumping grounds before developing residential projects.  Additionally, massive amounts of the country’s water infrastructure are still using lead pipes for potable water transport, meaning that your children could be exposed to lead contaminants through their drinking water daily, and you might not even know it.

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New study links toxic heavy metals to women’s reproductive health issues

Heavy metals can disrupt hormonal signaling in both men and women, damaging sperm and the DNA they contain, as well as reducing the amount of AMH circulating within women’s bodies.  The level of AMH is positively correlated with healthy reproductive function in both men and women.  In women, it particularly reflects a large supply of eggs.

The study involved 549 women from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, with 2252 repeated AMH measurements taken from 10 to 0 years before their final menstrual period (FMP).  The participants’ serum AMH concentrations were measured at each appointment, and the excretion of cadmium, arsenic, lead, and mercury was evaluated via a urine sample.

The study’s results were in line with the researchers’ hypothesis; women who excreted more arsenic and mercury had the lowest levels of AMH compared to those who excreted the least.  The results were even worse for higher levels of cadmium and lead, which are even more common than the other two heavy metals.

What do these findings mean?

A lower amount of AMH corresponds to fewer eggs and generally indicates a quicker onset of menopause.  Additionally, increased exposure to heavy metals can reduce the genetic quality and viability of reproductive materials in both men and women.

If nothing else, this study indicates one more reason to reduce your exposure to heavy metals as much as possible and to be aware of potential exposure in every aspect of your life.  Certain foods may contain heavy metals due to contamination from soil or water during cultivation.  Seafood, especially large predatory fish like tuna and swordfish, can accumulate mercury from ocean pollution.

Moreover, personal care products like cosmetics, hair dyes, and skincare items may contain heavy metal contaminants.  Many of the most common cosmetics used in the U.S. have levels deemed unsafe, so it’s worth investigating the makeup you use.  Ultimately, a smart decision is to purchase natural personal care products to lower your toxic burden.

How to protect yourself from heavy metal toxicity

Dealing with heavy metal exposure can be concerning, but fortunately, there are practical steps you can take to minimize its impact.  Installing a water filtration system on your drinking water source is one simple and cost-effective solution.  Many faucet-mounted filters are designed to effectively remove heavy metals like lead.  Alternatively, if you’re able to do this, a whole house reverse osmosis water filtration units would be ideal.  Additionally, for your drinking water, you may want to consider pure spring water from a trusted source and the only way to know would be to test the water.

In terms of mercury (one of the most dangerous heavy metals to have in the body), “silver” dental fillings are a huge problem.  If you have dental amalgams in your mouth, find out how to safely remove them with the help of an experienced holistic dentist.

Naturally, eating an organic diet is a good idea for anyone looking to reduce the risk of heavy metals.  Plus, if you eat fish, focus on fish with the least amount of toxins like, wild caught salmon, sardines or rainbow trout.

Addressing heavy metal contamination in soil or buildings may be more complex, but it’s easier to identify than you might think.  You can obtain contamination tests from hardware stores, and sometimes local governments provide them for free to assess paint, soil, and water.  Identifying the presence of heavy metals is the crucial first step in avoiding them, and understanding your exposure risk can help you take appropriate measures to reduce it.

You can plant sunflowers, offering a natural and visually appealing solution if heavy metals are detected in your soil.  Sunflowers have a remarkable ability to extract heavy metals from the soil through a process called phytoremediation.  Sunflowers are known as hyperaccumulators, which means they can absorb and accumulate high concentrations of metals such as lead, cadmium, zinc, and arsenic from the soil into their tissues.  Metals are primarily stored in the plant’s roots and stems rather than in the seeds or flowers, making sunflowers a valuable tool for removing contaminants from soil.  With sunflower seeds being relatively inexpensive and the plants requiring minimal effort, cultivating them for a few seasons can significantly reduce heavy metal levels in your garden.  Additionally, sunflowers tend to self-seed, making them a low-maintenance option.

Should you suspect exposure to heavy metals, consult your holistic doctor.  While heavy metal chelation – a process of removing heavy metals from the body – is typically reserved for significant exposure, discussing your concerns with a healthcare professional can provide valuable guidance.

In matters of health, knowledge is key.  Understanding the risks associated with heavy metal exposure and taking proactive steps to assess and address them can empower you to make informed decisions about your well-being

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