Dirty Dozen Chemicals to Avoid for your Hormones, part 1

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 signalling, telling cells to die prematurely, competing with essential nutrients, binding to essential hormones, accumulating in organs that produce hormones. This imbalance has created sleep disorders, anxiety, weight gain, skin problems, cancers, and much more.

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

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 atrazine can turn male frogs into females that produce completely viable eggs. Atrazine is an herbicide that is widely used on a majority of corn crops in the United States, and consequently it’s a pervasive drinking water contaminant. Atrazine has been linked to breast tumours, delaying puberty and causing prostate inflammation in animals. Some research has linked it to prostate cancer in humans.

HOW TO AVOID IT?

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

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 other cancers to reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease. According to government tests, 93% of Americans have BPA in their bodies.

HOW TO AVOID IT?

Go fresh instead of canned- many food cans have BPA in their linings- or research which companies don’t use BPA or similar chemicals in their products, EDEN Organics is one such company. Say no to receipts, since thermal paper is often coated with BPA. Avoid plastics marked with “PC” (polycarbonate), or recycling label #7. Not all of these plastics contain BPA, but many do and its better safe than sorry when it comes to keeping synthetic hormones out of your body. Plastic water bottles can contain BPA and it is advisable to avoid these. For more tips, check out: ewg.org/bpa

DIOXINS

Dioxins are multi-taskers…but not in a good way! They form during many industrial processes when chlorine and bromine are burned in the presence of carbon and oxygen. Dioxins can disrupt the delicate signalling systems of male and female sex hormones 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 permanently affect sperm quality and lower 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 affect the immune and reproductive systems.

HOW TO AVOID IT?

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

PERCHLORATE

Who needs foods 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 in 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 these hormones 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 using a reverse osmosis filter. (You can get help finding one here: 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’re getting enough iodine in your diet. Using iodized salt is one good way.

PHTHALATES

Did you know that a specific signal programs cells in your body to die? It’s 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-introducing signalling” in testicular cells, making them die sooner than they should have. 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: ewg.org/skindeep

FIRE RETARDANTS

What do breast milk and polar bears have in common? In 1999, 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 have been doubling every five years since 1972! These incredibly persistent chemicals, known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDE’s, have since been found to contaminate the bodies of people and wildlife around the globe- even polar bears. These chemicals can imitate thyroid hormones and disrupt their activity. This can lead to lower IQ, among other significant health effects. Several kinds of PBDE’s have now been phased out, but this doesn’t mean that toxic fire retardants have gone away. PBDE’s 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 we can try in the meantime include using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which can cut down the toxic-laden house dust, avoid re-upholstering foam furniture and taking care when replacing old carpet (the padding underneath may contain PBDE’S). Find more tips here ewg.org/pbdefree

This is part 1 of the endocrine dirty dozen list. Look out for part 2!

If you want to know more about how to know your levels or how to detox your exposures, download the Healthy Home & Body Detoxification Guide from Natural Terrain. Click here to download.

Photos by Alex Kondratiev on Unsplash, by Kai Dahms on Unsplash

Detoxification

Our approach, through naturopathic medicine, supports the organs of detoxification, which include the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, skin, and lymphatic system. Many chronic illnesses will significantly improve by supporting the organs of detoxification. We use a combination of diet, homeopathic drainage, botanical medicine, and supplementation to customize a treatment program for patients.
The toxins that we are exposed to in our home and work environments can be directly responsible for our poor health. Every day we are exposed to  toxins and these small daily exposures can build up in our body and cause adverse effects to our wellness. Toxicologists and conventional physicians are trained to identify individuals who are acutely poisoned. They are not educated in how to treat someone whose symptoms stem from exposure to small daily doses of toxins. Naturopathic doctors who are trained in environmental medicine, such as Dr. Mason-Wood, are equipped with the knowledge of how to treat individuals whose symptoms arise from toxic overload.

Environmental medicine looks at the association between a patient’s health and the toxins found in our air, water, soil, food, cosmetics and medications. A good detox is not just about cleansing the liver. It is about correcting the diet, addressing environmental toxins in your environment, removing bad bacteria, re-populating the gut with healthy organisms, re-balancing pH levels, ensuring the kidneys are working effectively and supporting the drainage and detoxification processes of the liver. This is known as an integrated detoxification. To get the best results, it is important that a cleanse be supervised to ensure you are completing the steps of detoxification in the right order. Our goal is to reduce the toxic load in your body and desensitize you to toxins so that your body can naturally defend itself. This allows a return to your natural healthy state! Take our environmental quiz to see if you are in need of an integrated detoxification program.

  • Colds and Flu
  • Ear and Throat Infections
  • Headaches
  • Intestinal Upsets
  • Digestion, Constipation, IBS, IBD
  • Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis

Chronic Illnesses

When recovery stalls for longer than normal, or a condition becomes chronic, the body’s natural healing system and processes are not working as they should. All chronic and most acute conditions can benefit from treatment by naturopathic medicine. But you don’t have to be sick to feel better. Following a naturopathic protocol reduces the likelihood of suffering and chronic illness later in life.
One approach we emphasize is clinical nutrition—the relationship between diet and disease. Nutrition is a cornerstone of naturopathic medicine. Many medical conditions can be treated more effectively with dietary changes and nutritional supplementation than they can by other means. Often, chronic health problems that plague people today are the result of poor dietary and lifestyle choices. Illnesses such as diabetes, depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, and gastrointestinal problems develop as a consequence of the food we choose. By changing our diet and adopting a healthy lifestyle, we can often change or reverse the course of an illness and restore health.

Getting general health advice for children, teens, or adults is part of achieving optimal health. Patients who visited us when they felt they had exhausted their options were extremely surprised (and grateful) to find that naturopathic medicine relieved not only their symptoms but also helped to address the cause of their problems.
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Allergies & Environmental Medicine
  • Arthritis & Pain Management
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure and Heart problems
  • Digestion, Constipation, IBS, IBD
  • Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis
  • Cystitis, Prostatitis, Impotence

Hormone Balance

Naturopathic medicine can play a key role in treating a number of hormonal health concerns. Whether you are having difficulty conceiving, have painful menstrual cycles, polycystic ovarian syndrome or are approaching perimenopause/menopause, we can help! We listen to patients and determine which signals from the body are messages of imbalance. Using a variety of treatment methods, such as botanical medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture and nutrition, we guide patients back to a state of hormonal balance and optimal health.Hormonal imbalances may point to medical issues such as poor nervous system health, a weight disorder, thyroid issues or insulin resistance. Some hormonal health problems are related to poor diet and lifestyle choices. And as men and women age, they may experience a variety of age-related conditions and issues that stem from a hormone imbalance.

For women, we provide you with natural ways to balance your hormones and minimize menopausal symptoms rather than taking prescription drugs to regulate hormones. We can support your hormones and modulate your endocrine function to restore balance. For both sexes, men and women, we offer hormone testing that is more comprehensive than the standard blood tests. This allows us to customize a treatment plan that is individually unique and safe.
  • Perimenopause or Menopause
  • PMS, Menstrual Disorders, Irregular menses
  • Thyroid/Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Fertility and Enhancing Health in Pregnancy
  • Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroids, Polycystic ovaries
  • Diminished Libido
  • Insomnia/Fatigue
  • Weight Gain/Difficulty losing weight

Healthy Aging

“Genes load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger.” We help you navigate the golden years with lifestyle choices that diminish the negative effects of aging while providing essential building blocks for long-term health. Each treatment plan and approach we create is tailored to you, the individual, so that you can enjoy maximum health and vitality. We want what is best for you and make it possible for you to achieve your health goals – whether it is lowering cholesterol, losing weight or improving your energy.As we age, we are exposed to more and more toxins in our food, air, water and the artificial substances we use everyday. These toxins accumulate in all or your systems and can accelerate the aging process. At Natural Terrain, we offer solutions to eliminate these toxins from your system and teach you how to avoid further toxic build up. We also assess levels of nutrients that are involved in the aging process, including the B vitamins, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Excellent nutrition, including adequate amounts of vitamins and essential nutrients, is known to be important for maintaining weight, muscle mass, and cardiovascular health for seniors. Vitamins C and E are necessary for maintaining skin, joints, muscles, blood vessels, and many organs, including nerves and the brain. And to get the most muscle improvement with exercise, it’s important to eat enough protein.
We can provide you with tailored recommendations on nutrition, exercise, and other factors that will help you navigate the next phase of your life with enjoyment, grace, and whole-body wellness.
  • Cystitis, Prostatitis
  • Preventing Falls
  • Impotence
  • Maintaining Muscle
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Pain Management
  • Environmental Medicine

Mental Health

Naturopathic Mental Health & Wellness Programs in Edmonton by Natural Terrain

Dr. Christina Bjorndal, ND is one of the only licensed naturopathic doctors in Canada with an expertise in the natural treatment of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, eating disorders and  ADD/ADHD.

Using orthomolecular medicine and building on this foundation with homeopathy, botanical medicine, mind-body medicine and traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, Dr. Bjorndal, ND provides an integrative approach to managing complex mental health conditions. Her treatment program for mood disorders is tailored to each individual with a focus on addressing the underlying causes of mental dis-ease. She empowers patients to effectively treat those deeper concerns by truly offering a mind body spirit approach to health.

With over 30 years of lived experience in navigating her own mental health journey, Dr. Bjorndal, ND combines her professional training in naturopathic medicine, as well as counselling techniques from numerous sources.  Dr. Bjorndal, ND uses a combination of compassion-focused therapy, Gestalt psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and various meditative traditions to encourage balance within both the body and the mind. When balance is restored, nature’s own intelligence or “vitality” can work much more efficiently to bring about total health.
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mental or Emotional Stress
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Bipolar Disorders
  • Insomnia

Dr. Christina Bjorndal is a Naturopathic Doctor with a special focus in the natural treatment of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, eating disorders, and ADD/ADHD.
She ensures your health has a solid foundation using Functional and Orthomolecular (nutritional) medicine, and builds on this foundation with Homeopathy, Botanical Medicine, Mind-Body Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture thereby providing an integrative approach to managing mental health concerns.

A primary focus in treatment is to encourage balance within both the body and the mind. When balance is restored, nature’s own intelligence or “vitality” can work much more efficiently to bring about health. As such, medicine is primarily a process of encouraging or “building health” rather than “fighting disease.” We prefer to think of ourselves as specializing in creating healthy people.

In Dr. Chris, ND’s case, she focuses on treating mental health issues because she herself has recovered from her own mental health challenges.

Dr. Chris, ND struggled with depression (suicide survivor), anxiety and an eating disorder as a teenager and in university she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 1, and after many years of suffering she finally found relief with Orthomolecular and Naturopathic medicine. Finding a method that is not only safe and natural, that can be used in conjunction with prescription medications, was inspiring. This experience motivates her to make sure she helps as many people as she can to reach a place of healthy remission.

Dr. Chris, ND grew up in Nanaimo and Richmond, British Columbia, and later studied at the University of British Columbia and the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto. She writes for many magazines (see Blog/Articles), has been a guest panelist on CTV’s Alberta Primetime and is a regular speaker at the Mental Health Regained Public Forum in Vancouver, BC (hosted by the Canadian Society of Orthomolecular Medicine).

As a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Chris, ND has experience helping patients with a variety of health concerns. She can act as a primary care physician and treat the whole family with a naturopathic approach to primary care.

Pain Management

This treatment is offered by Dr. Michael Mason-Wood, ND

Dr. Michael Mason-Wood is a naturopathic doctor, licensed by the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta, who manages joint pain using prolotherapy and prolozone.

One of the most common reasons people seek medical advice is for the alleviation of chronic pain and a structured pain management solution. This pain includes joint, spinal, muscular, neural and tissue pain. Any form of trauma to the body including physical damage, infection, or toxicity leads to inflammation which is the body’s attempt to protect and heal itself. The purpose of inflammation is to prevent infection by eliminating foreign bodies, such as bacteria and viruses, and removing damaged tissue. Occasionally, inflammation becomes uncontrolled or the body responds in excess, therefore, the primary approach for pain management is the reduction of inflammation. This approach does not treat the initial cause of the inflammation, just masks the symptoms.Your pain is not the same as anyone else’s which is why you want don’t want a quick fix solution that is treated in the same way as everyone else’s? At Natural Terrain, we treat the underlying cause of your pain and develop a pain management solution specifically for you.

Dr. Michael Mason-Wood specializes in managing joint pain and getting you back to your daily activities.  His patients testify to his exceptional pain management plans and the treatment of sports injuries using prolotherapy,  prolozone, ozone therapy, acupuncture.
  • Sports Injuries
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Joint Pain
  • Lower Back Pain