Posts tagged #integrative health

Male Infertility

Studies confirm that male sperm counts are declining, and environmental factors, such as pesticides, exogenous estrogens, and heavy metals may negatively impact sperm production. An estimated six percent of adult males are thought to be infertile and an estimated 15 percent of couples attempting their first pregnancy will have difficulty conceiving.

There are specific on specific nutritional and environmental factors that contribute to a man's fertility, but also other factors and conditions including (but not limited to):

  • Endocrine abnormalities
  • Prescription drugs (anti-seizure medications, sulfa drugs, some antibiotics and steroids)
  • Previous infections
  • Liver disease
  • Autoimmune conditions

In addition to these conditions, evidence suggests environmental reasons contributing to poor sperm quality, including exposure to chemicals, pesticidesheat, radiation, heavy metals, and electromagentic forces (a nearby cellphone).

There are many nutritional interventions for increasing sperm count, mobility, and motility. Often addressing the underlying medical conditions, environmental exposures, and stress can increase a man's fertility.



Learn more.

"Contaminants" in the Environment

Researchers at the University of Minnesota examined a nearby stream to determine its levels of toxicants. What they found was surprising. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs were found at detectable levels, apparently being released by the sewage treatment facility. This included drugs such as anti-convulsants, anti-depressants, and steroid hormones, but also environmental toxins such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The truth is, these compounds, along with the many other chemicals being leached into our environment at very low levels, have known and unknown effects on human health.

Many attribute the decline in fertility over the past 40 years has been attributed to these "contaminants", often classified as EDCs or endocrine disrupting chemicals. An example of these include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which, despite being banned in 1979, still linger in our soil and water. Once inside the body, they mimic estrogen and other hormones, and studies show a relationship between EDCs and male infertility, endometriosis, recurrent miscarriages, and even hormonal cancers.

What can you do?

Reduce your PCB and contaminant exposure at home as much as possible. Here are some tips:

1. Take high quality fish oil supplements that are screened for possible contaminants

2. If you consume animal products, ensure that they are organic sources of dairy and grass-fed grass-finished meat

3. Consume organic fruits and vegetables, especially the "Dirty Dozen"

4. Avoid eating fish that are heavily contaminated, such as tuna and swordfish (the complete list here)

5. Ensure adequate fiber intake. Fiber binds up hormones and EDCs to allow for better elimination

Contaminants are present in the environment, their role is unknown, and they could be a threat to your health. Thankfully, there are steps that you may take to reduce your contaminant exposure and improve your health.

Plants as Air Purifiers

We all spend a lot of time indoors. Unfortunately, the air isn’t always clean. Building materials, furnishings, and electronic equipment, among many other materials, are known to emit various volatile organic compound "toxicants" that have been linked to numerous health complaints. Leaching of trace chemicals can result in indoor air pollution, causing disease-like symptoms, even at very low concentrations. Buildings that have minimal natural ventilation contained higher levels of these toxicants, indicating that outdoor air is better.

But there’s good news. NASA conducted a study on the usefulness of plants as indoor air purifiers and found that the addition of a plant to indoor air reduced overall  air toxicants, independent of what plant species.  Some of the plant species reduced toxicants by over 80% in one day! Of the plants included Gerbera Daisy, Peace Lily, Chrysanthemums, Bamboo, and English Ivy had some of the highest purification abilities. And, a recent study shows that employees who work in an environment with indoor plants have greater satisfaction and productivity. 

Bring a plant indoors and breathe deeper!