Health MATTERS: MERCURY rising – should we be worried?

First off, let me preface this by saying I LOVE SUSHI and tend to eat a lot of tuna especially.sushi1

General concern about the levels of mercury in our water and food are coming up more and more so you can imagine my interest to see the article about toxicity levels in my weekly Goop in-box edition .

Goop asked Dr. Alejandro Junger, a Cardiologist and detoxification expert (they claim to trust him with their  lives &  love his very easy-to-implement program, Clean),  just how concerned we should be.  And more importantly, they asked him how we can help our bodies unload toxic heavy metals.

 IS MERCURY POISONING A REAL THREAT?

Mercury is an extremely toxic element and heavy metal that is increasingly affecting the health of millions of people. It’s a major problem today because our exposure to it is rising, from the air we breathe to the food we eat. One of the primary ways we are exposed to mercury is by eating large fish such as tuna, shark, and swordfish. The bottom line is that we want to reduce our exposure to mercury as much as possible.

One of the biggest challenges is that most practitioners and researchers are not aware of the latest science that shows elevated levels of mercury can take a serious toll on our health. Exposure to this heavy metal has been linked to increased incidents of chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune conditions, ADHD, autism, as well as memory loss, irritability and blurred vision. Even if you don’t have one of the ailments listed above, mercury exposure could still be having an effect on your health. When I see a lingering health issue that hasn’t been cleared after significant lifestyle, cleansing, and dietary changes, I look to see if mercury is one of the causes.

DOES MERCURY EXPOSURE JUST COME FROM FISH?  WHAT ARE ALL THE SOURCES?

There are different types of mercury, but most of our immediate exposure comes from just a few major sources:

  • Fish that are high in methylmercury, also known as organic mercury. Typical examples are the big fish mentioned above, like tuna, swordfish, shark, etc.
  • Mercury amalgam—also known as inorganic mercury—dental fillings.
  • We can also be exposed to mercury through drinking water (especially private water systems like wells that are often untested and municipal systems), occupational exposures, and by coal heating in homes.Most of the mercury tht finds its way into the environment is from coal-fired power plants, artisanal gold mining, and processing plants that make plastics and chlorine. The mercury is sent into the air, then rained down on lakes, into soil, and carried off by rivers. It all eventually makes its way to our oceans where the organic compound is then accumulated into the fatty tissue of fish. Finally, it ends up on our plates.

When we eat high-mercury fish, the mercury is distributed throughout our body but primarily takes hold in the kidneys and brain. Once there, the mercury can cause slow havoc to a variety of organs especially the heart, brain, and gut.

In pregnant mothers, mercury is transferred to the fetus through the placenta causing increased risks of poor neurological performance, language skills, and verbal memory.
New cases of mercury poisoning have also been connected to certain skin lightening face creams. I recommend that people check if their products are free from toxic chemicals at the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.sushi2

industrial or environmental mercury sources may require both industrial and governmental assistance to design ways to prevent exposure to forms of mercury.

Mercury Poisoning Prevention at Home                                                                      

At home, there are a few mercury- containing items (for example, thermometers, medical devices, some disinfectants, fluorescent light bulbs) that potentially can be the source of mercury poisoning. People are advised to read the labels on products to see if they contain mercury, have warning labels about potential toxicity, or have directions about how to dispose of a broken or non-useable product.

Mercury Poisoning Prevention – Vaccines

Another source of concern by people is the use of thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in vaccine preparations. Except for some influenza vaccines, it is not being used in most vaccines.

What a major drag it would be to not be able to eat my favourite sushi anymore.  Let’s try to clean up our act ASAP!  Anyone??

Source: Goop.com & emedicinehealth.com

 

 

health MATTERS – Diet RULES to flawless skin

flawless4We’ve all done it: overdosed on movie theater popcorn or pizza and woken up the next morning feeling bloated but what you don’t realize is that a sprinkling of pimples a few weeks later can be traced back to your onetime indiscretion. flawless2

Now, armed with new research on the biochemical processes of digestion, scientists, clinicians, and dermatologists are revisiting the idea that a healthy diet is the key to a glowing, acne-free complexion.  Save face by eating right. Here, experts tell us what foods to eat for a flawless visage.flawless3Be IN THE CLEAR:

Move over, MILK: the mix of growth hormones, proteins, and testosterone precursors like 5-alpha-androstanedione – the stuff that makes it an effective growth agent for babies – can tamper with adults’ hormone levels, which critics argue leads to acne and health problems like diabetes. The reason?  Milk bumps up cell proliferation and sebum production, resulting in clogged pores.  If you’re acne prone, Danby advises avoiding milk for at least six months, and trying unsweetened vitamin D – supplemented almond, rice, coconut, hemp or soy milks instead.  I prefer a mix of almond & coconut with granola/ cereal.

Skip Starchy Carbs: Refined carbs increase insulin secretion, which is thought to promote acne by helping testosterone clog pores and ramp up oil gland secretion.  An occasional croissant won’t hurt, but eat processed carbs daily and you’ll notice problems. So swap your lunchtime sandwich for a leafy green and lean protein.

Fill up on Fruit: Experts say that acne is a disease of post-industrial Westerners: In countries where natives eat just fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean proteins, it hardly exists, thanks in part to the population’s low levels of free radicals and high concentrations of antioxidants.  We’ve heard about the connection between free radicals and wrinkles, but a 2012 study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that oxidative stress, or damaging cellular activity, in pores allows acne-causing bacteria to flourish.  When cravings hit, try eating produce and drink green tea for its free-radical busting polyphenols.

Go with your Gut: Your skin and digestive tract are linked, says cardiologist and cleanse expert Dr. Alejandro Junger, author of the best-selling book Clean; your facial skin merges with your lips and mouth, which connect the esophagus, stomach, and intestines.  “If you want beautiful skin,” says Junger, “you need a beautiful gut.” Take a probiotic daily to replenish healthy bacteria, like Lactobacillus acidophilus, or add natural sources, like tempeh, into your diet.

Get Fishy: The heart and brain health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acid DHA found in salmon, haddock, and sardines have gotten lots of attention.  But according to a study published in the journal of Lipids in Health and Disease, another fatty acid, EPA, seems to inhibit pro-inflammatory compounds, like prostaglandins, which can act as a “starter gun” for acne.  Aim for 6 ounces of fish a week, says naturopathic physician Dr. Alan Logan, co-author of Clear Skin Diet.

Credit: Joanne Chen for Marie Claire Beauty