Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"When Good Eggs Go Bad": Mechanisms of Female Infertility

By Becca Yeamans

There are many ways by which a woman can be infertile, however, most of the time, the problems center around the formation and maturation of the egg (oogenesis).   Age at pregnancy is one of those factors that are often cited when discussing fertility rates among women, however, it still is debated exactly how maternal age plays into the fertility story and what can and does go wrong when a woman gets to be of a certain age while pregnant. 

In addition to age, external stimuli, such as estrogen-like compounds like BPA and other EDCs found in the environment as a result of the various plastics and processed materials in our lives which are designed to make life “easier”.

In 2008, two researchers from Washington State University in Pullman, WA put together a very comprehensive review paper illustrating the different ways in which human female infertility can occur, specifically focusing on the egg itself and the processes it must go through between formation and maturation that can run into problems and cause infertility.  This paper provides excellent framework for the mechanisms behind female infertility related to problems with egg development, which I will summarize briefly for you in this post and draw from periodically when making possible connections to endocrine disruptors in future posts.

Monday, January 20, 2014

EDCs Linked to Infertility and Endometriosis in Italian Women: More Fuel for the Fire

Endocrine disruptors, specifically Bisphenol-A (BPA), have been found in countless studies to contribute to a whole host of health problems, including female infertility.  To be classified as infertile, a couple must have failed at achieving pregnancy for at least one year of trying(1).  There are many causes of infertility, so finding one “smoking gun” to solve all infertility problems is all but impossible.  We can, however, investigate all of the different sources possible, including genetic, lifestyle, and occupational risk factors, to help find therapies to address each individual couple’s problems in hopes to one day halt these rising infertility rates across the globe(2, 3). 

A recent study in Italy, part of the larger “PREVIENI” cohort, aimed to more closely examine the role of EDCs in female reproductive health, looking in particular about more commonly known chemicals including BPA, PFOS, PFOA, DEHP, and MEHP (4).  These chemicals have been shown to be very persistent in the environment, in addition to their ability to accumulate to toxin levels in the body.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Friends Don't Let Friends Eat Farmed Salmon

By Lewis Perdue

Salmon is on a lot of plates this time of the year with people resolving to make healthy changes in their diets.

Many articles have emphasized the benefits of fatty fish, citing the heart-healthy benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids and other micro-nutrients. Those benefits have been gradually narrowed down to salmon because other mild, oily-fleshed fish like tuna have grown notorious for accumulations of mercury and other environmental contaminates absorbed during long life spans.

Life span varies from species to species, but most species of salmon live 3 to 9 years while some species of tuna can live up to 50 years. The average age of tuna is about 15 years.

So, salmon has become a "miracle fish" to many health conscious consumers thanks to the presence in the flesh of LC n-3 PUFA a (long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids) including a high proportion of docosahexanoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid.

However, a study of wild versus farmed salmon found significantly higher levels of pesticides and endocrine disruptors in farmed versus wild caught salmon. (1)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

How Hidden Chemicals Can Sabotage Your New Year's Fitness Plans

By Lewis Perdue

More exercise and healthy eating are at the top of New Year's Resolution lists for many people. But hidden chemicals in your food and water can sabotage the best of plans and prevent you from getting the full benefits of your willpower, sweat and strain.

Your Body's Hidden Fitness Saboteurs: Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs)

While EDCs as an issue have received little public attention, most people have heard of an EDC -- BPA (Bisphenol A) -- and how it can leach from plastic water bottles and other items.

It's important to remember that BPA is just the most prominent compound -- the "poster child -- representing the of hundreds of EDCs that mimic hormones and can contribute to cancer, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer's Disease, infertility and other serious health problems.

Most EDCs found so far wreak havoc by impersonating forms of estrogen. But others have been discovered that interfere in other ways to alter the genetic function of cells.

Significantly, you are almost certainly among the 92 percent of Americans whose bodies are contaminated. this according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other studies(1).