When you’re trying-to-conceive, the world of fertility planning, ovulation methods, fertility enhancing supplements, nutritional and exercise guidance becomes all consuming. Why most of us would probably qualify as a fertility expert with the amount of knowledge we gather on our journey to conception. But have you given thought to the potential dangers of the window cleaner you use? What of the shampoo you use on a daily basis? Could the container you use to take your lunch to work in possibly affect your fertility?
The truth of the matter is we are all exposed to chemicals and metals through the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and consumer products we come into contact with every day. Research has indicated that virtually every pregnant woman in the US (as example) is exposed to at least 43 different types of chemicals and scientists estimate that every living person carries at least 700 contaminants within his or her body.
While exposure may be commonplace, it’s certainly not something to ignore, toxins are potentially harmful to the body and can exert a negative influence on your fertility by disrupting and altering the body’s normal hormonal activity, making it difficult for women to conceive and men to produce healthy semen. So let’s take a look at some of the biggest offenders so you can take steps to lessen your exposure and increase and maintain a healthy level of fertility.
#1. BPA – (Bisphenol): A common ingredient used in the making of plastics for food and drink containers, BPA is also found in the lining of tin cans, dental sealants and thermal cash register receipts! A major toxin BPA can lead to heart disease, diabetes, fertility and reproductive issues and birth defects. However, it has been banned from babies’ bottles and cups.
#2. Parabens: Primarily used as a preservative in cosmetics, skincare and pharmaceuticals, many researchers believe parabens affect oestrogen production and mimics oestrogen in the body.
#3. Phthalates: Often added to plastics to make them more resilient and flexible, phthalates are found in a variety of products in the home. Amongst those products are soaps, detergents, plastic bags, children’s toys, food packaging, shampoos, shower curtains and hairspray. Phthalates have been shown to lower sperm count and motility and can negatively influence other hormonal and reproductive changes.
#4. Dioxins: Dioxins form part of a group of hundreds of chemicals that are formed throughout industrial processes such as waste incineration, chemical and pesticide manufacturing and pulp and paper bleaching. Once released into the air, Dioxin settles onto the ground where it contaminates soil and food supplies and can lead to health, reproductive and developmental issues.
#5. Heavy Metal: Not the Megadeath music kind, but more like dangerous metals such as cadmium, mercury and lead and they are found in quantities within our food and water supplies and the environment in general. As a result of industrial processing, the pollutants originate from automobiles, cigarette smoke and pesticide use. As we are exposed to these metals on a daily basis, they can accumulate in our organs and impair reproductive health over time.
How can I decrease or limit my exposure?
As we want to help you achieve an optimal level of fertility check out our seven steps that will help to minimise your exposure to these metals and chemicals, particularly as you embark on trying to conceive.
#1. Eat Organic Foods: If possible purchase organic produce, dairy products and meats whenever possible. If you prefer to eat supermarket fresh conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, ensure you wash and peel them first.
#2. Quit Smoking Now! If you smoke, stop and make sure to avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.
#3. Drink Filtered Water: Invest in a water filtration device, it will serve you well and why not try bathing in filtered water too. After all this is about you and the health of your future baby.
#4. Do No Eat Fish Contaminated With Mercury: Boost your omega-3 fatty acid intake through the use of a high-quality fish oil supplement, avoiding fresh fish with mercury levels.
#5. Get Creative: Use only non-toxic cleaning supplies, they are available at many supermarkets or if feeling inspired there are many recipes online for making them yourself.
#6. Buy Non-Toxic Personal Care Products: Pay attention to the ingredients of your skin care and personal care products, in particular, look for parabens and phthalates.
#7. Say No to BPA’s: Food and drinks are often packaged in such containers, avoid if you can and make sure to never microwave food in a plastic container.
Let’s be honest, we can’t escape exposure to toxins completely, however, if you are pregnant or trying to conceive it pays to be cautious. Educating yourself as to the effect of such toxins and how to avoid them can reduce your risk of being negatively impacted by these threats and on your way to a healthy conception.