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Environmental factors affecting your fertility: heavy toxic metals ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS AFFECTING YOUR FERTILITY: HEAVY TOXIC METALS
Mercury is a heavy toxic metal which now contaminates the air, soil and water in many parts of the world. Mercury pollution has been caused by the burning of fossil fuels and the increased use of mercury in industry and agriculture. Traces of mercury can be found in pesticides, dental fillings, and in fish (especially tuna). The saying 'mad as a hatter' came about because hatters used to polish top hats with mercury and many of them were poisoned by it. It is extremely toxic and can affect fertility.
Female dental assistants, for instance, who are exposed to mercury through the amalgam fillings they handle, have been found to be less fertile than female dental assistants who do not come into contact with the metal. And women dentists, it is claimed, have a higher rate of miscarriage.
There are real concerns about the impact of mercury on male fertility, following research in Hong Kong where people eat a lot offish and shellfish containing minute and supposedly safe quantities of the metal. Here, scientists found a significant link between the level of mercury in hair and male sub-fertility. Eating mercury-contaminated fish over a number of years stopped sperm development in many Hong Kong men.
Mercury seemed to be one factor in the case of Teresa and her partner.
Teresa and her partner conceived easily but she was diagnosed with a blighted ovum when she was 10 weeks pregnant and had to have a D&C. Teresa had deficiencies of both zinc and selenium and her partner was low in magnesium with above average levels of mercury. He told me that as a child he had played with mercury. Mercury is an unusual metal, in that it is liquid at room temperature and forms small balls as it flows. Over the four months of the Preconception Plan they both took specific nutritional supplements to correct their deficiencies and Teresa's partner had extra antioxidants and support for his liver in order to eliminate the mercury. They now have a baby boy.
Lead is a heavy toxic metal which is naturally present in the earth but we get a high exposure to this metal from lead pipes.
Lead was used in the past to induce an abortion, and severe lead intoxication has been shown to result in infertility and miscarriage. It could be argued that these problems are due to lead poisoning and that most of us are not exposed to such high levels. However, women who just live in lead-polluted areas have also shown a greater risk of miscarriages.
According to a 1991 study, of all the toxic metals, lead seems to pose the greatest threat to male fertility. Research shows that it can reduce the sperm count, increase malformed sperm and make the sperm more sluggish.
This is an inorganic poison present in tobacco smoke which accumulates in the body. It blocks nutrients like zinc – which is absolutely crucial for both male and female fertility.
Copper can be both toxic and essential, depending on how much you are exposed to it. Your body absorbs copper from water pipes, contraceptive coils, swimming pools and jewellery. Copper tends to increase its concentration in the body after any hormonal treatment, such as the Pill or fertility drugs. Copper and zinc are antagonistic which means that if you have too much copper, your zinc levels can be reduced. As zinc is so vital for fertility for both of you, it is important that your copper levels are kept in check.
Zinc deficiency and high lead levels were certainly factors for Janet and her partner.
Janet, 38, had a miscarriage at 12 weeks before she came to see me. Her nutritional analysis showed that she was low in calcium, selenium and zinc, and had higher than normal levels of lead. Her partner, 34, had low levels of selenium and zinc and very high levels of lead. I felt it was important that they both got themselves back into optimum health by following the Four-Month Preconception Plan, before they tried again, in order to try and prevent another miscarriage. I recommended appropriate supplements for their deficiencies, as well as antioxidants like vitamin ? to help eliminate the lead from their bodies.
Janet and her partner waited until their mineral and lead levels were back to normal and then conceived and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
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