What is BPA and how is it harmful?
Bisphenol A (BPA) has been reported in the news as causing health problems in humans. Unfortunately, the bad news about this toxin is still evolving – A pair of recent studies links BPA with heart disease, obesity, and diabetes risk.
BPA is an organic compound that’s in used plastics, such as water bottles, the lining of canned goods, and thermal receipts. However, BPA mimics estrogen in your body and is thought to disrupt hormone function. As such, BPA is linked to several potential health problems, from infertility to developmental delays in kids to cancer.
A new study from Britain links high urinary concentrations of BPA in healthy men and women to a higher risk of heart disease 10 years later. In another new study, Chinese researchers linked high concentrations of BPA to obesity — especially belly fat — and insulin resistance (a precursor of diabetes) in middle-aged and elderly people. American researchers have found a similar connection between BPA and Type II diabetes.
Simple changes can limit your exposure to BPA and other toxins:
- Opt for fresh food. One study found that a diet of organic fresh food can reduce urinary levels of BPA and DEHP (a type of phthalate chemical which also disrupts hormone function) by more than 50% in just 3 days.
- Look for BPA-free containers. When you buy packaged foods, choose those in glass jars, aseptic packaging, and BPA-free cans.
- Store food in glass, ceramic, or stainless-steel containers. You can find BPA-free plastic containers, but some researchers have found traces of BPA in those, too.
- Shop for dry goods at the bulk bins. Pick up flour, rice, beans, dried fruit, cereal, and pasta at the bulk bins at health-food stores. Sure, you’ll put bulk-bin finds into plastic bags, but you can transfer them to BPA-free containers as soon as you get home.
- Avoid microwaving food in plastic containers. The heat causes BPA and other chemicals to leach into food. Similarly, don’t put plastic containers (if you have ’em) in the dishwasher.
- Don’t handle thermal receipts. These are those carbonless receipts you collect everywhere you go, from the grocery store to the gas station to the ATM. Yep, they have BPA. Refuse receipts if you have the option. If you don’t, wash your hands after handling them. BPA in thermal receipts can be absorbed through your skin, as well as ingested with food.
If you are worried you might have been exposed to chemicals, let’s get you into the clinic to get tested.
Dr. Sanjay Mohan Ram, N.D.
Besides rebalancing hormones, simple modifications in posture, habits, thought, and behavior often go a long way toward reducing feelings of stress and tension. Here are 8 quick and simple things you can do immediately to help keep your stress level under control.
1. Control Your Anger:
Watch for the next instance in which you find yourself becoming annoyed or angry at something trivial or unimportant. Make a conscious choice not to become angry or upset – practice letting go. Do not allow yourself to waste energy and thoughts where it isn’t deserved. Effective anger management is a tried-and-true stress reducer.
Before reacting to the next stressful occurrence, take three deep breaths, into your abdomen and release them slowly. If you have a few minutes, try out breathing exercises such as meditation or guided imagery.
3. Slow Down:
Whenever you feel overwhelmed by stress, speak more slowly than usual. You’ll find that you think clearer and react more reasonably to stressful situations. Stressed people tend to speak fast and breathlessly; by slowing down your speech, you’ll also appear less anxious and more in control of any situation.
4. Complete One Simple To Do:
Jump start an effective time management strategy. Choose one simple thing you have been putting off (e.g. returning a phone call, making a doctor’s appointment) and do it immediately. Taking care of one nagging responsibility can be energizing and can improve your attitude.
5. Get Some Fresh Air:
Get outdoors for a brief break. Our grandparents were right about the healing power of fresh air. Don’t be deterred by foul weather or a full schedule. Even five minutes on a balcony or terrace can be rejuvenating.
6. Avoid Hunger and Dehydration:
Drink plenty of water and eat small, nutritious snacks. Hunger and dehydration, even before you’re aware of them, can provoke aggressiveness and exacerbate feelings of anxiety and stress.
7. Do a Quick Posture Check:
Hold your head and shoulders upright and avoid stooping or slumping. Bad posture can lead to muscle tension, pain, and increased stress.
8. Recharge at the Day’s End:
Plan something rewarding for the end of your stressful day, even if only a relaxing bath or half an hour with a good book. Put aside work, housekeeping or family concerns for a brief period before bedtime to fully relax. Don’t spend this time planning tomorrow’s schedule or doing chores you didn’t get around to during the day. Remember that you need time to recharge and energize yourself – you’ll be much better prepared to face another stressful day. If you are feeling stressed, let’s get your hormones tested and see what I can do for you.
Dr. Sanjay Mohan Ram, N.D.
There are two definitive things to avoid to help with male fertility – smoking and drinking alcohol. However, many men do not realize that their diet can also affect their fertility. Processed meat products like bacon and sausages do affect male fertility in a negative way.
According to a study from Harvard University in 2013, men who were involved in fertility treatments and who ate more than one serving of processed meats, such as salami, bologna, bacon, hamburgers, and hot dogs, ended up with lower semen quality. The team analyzed sperm samples of 156 volunteers and compared them to each participant’s food intake, as reported on a food intake questionnaire. “Processed meat was associated with lower sperm concentration and morphology,” lead researcher Dr. Myriam Afeiche, of the university’s Department of Nutrition.
Conversely, men who ate more chicken or other poultry, had a better chance of improving their fertility. However, the research does not show the exact cause and affect cycle. In reality, Dr. Rebecca Sokol says that may studies have shown that diet can affect human fertility, but out diets are very complex and it is difficult to say how a particular food type may affect the reproductive outcomes. There is one possible explanation – processed meats tend to house more hormonal and chemical residues than other meats, which could have potential reproductive consequences.
The fertilization rate for in vitro fertilization (IVF) without intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) was 28 percent higher among men who ate the least amount of processed meat than among those who ate the most processed meat (82 percent versus 54 percent).
In another 2014 study, published in the journal Epidemiology, the same researchers found that eating processed meat was associated with lower sperm count.
What Should Men be Eating?
So, this begs the question – what should men considering fertility be eating? The good news is that the Harvard Nutrition team also noted a positive association between male fertility and fish consumption. According to the research, white meat fish like cod and halibut were associated with a higher percentage of normal sperm. Salmon, tuna and other dark meat fish, on the other hand, were related to a higher total sperm count.
In essence, it is not clear whether eating red meat in general is good or bad for your fertility, due to the lack of depth of the researches. However, there is a possibility that the meat is not the problem, but rather the chemicals or hormones in the processed meats that might be an issue. Regardless, healthier dietary choices, as elucidated through the food sensitivity blood testing with a Naturopathic Physician, combined with a healthier lifestyle, which includes exercise in moderation, may overall increase fertility outcomes in men.
If you or a loved one is experiencing challenges in fertility, please feel free to book an appointment with me at Edgemont Naturopathic Clinic, and I will be happy to help guide you.
By: Dr. Sanjay Mohan Ram, B.Sc.(Hon.), N.D.