Toxins in Food and the Environment
Most people would be unaware of the concept of the action of everyday chemicals as ‘endocrine disruptors’. Our body reacts to them as if they were hormones produced in us or intentionally taken. They are hormonally active substances which means they can cross placental barriers and may have profound effects on the offspring of animals which ingest them. The types of chemicals that mimic hormones are as diverse as pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, plastics, solvents, and more.
Richard M. Sharpe, research physiologist with the Medical Research Council in Edinburgh, hypothesized that estrogens in the environment can disrupt the body’s hormonal balance, possibly explaining phenomena such as earlier puberty, lowered sperm counts, and other reproductive anomalies exhibited by late 20th century females and males of many species. “Of all the hormones we know, the estrogens are the most potent. You can get biological effects from estrogen at levels so low you cannot measure them by any analytical method,” Sharpe has found through his research. Other environmentalists and scientists postulate effects ranging from behavioral changes to motor, intellectual, reproductive and immune system impairment.
Ingestion or exposure to these substances can have dramatic effects on our state of health and the development of disease.
From the Journal of Complementary Medicine March/April 2003 Vol2 No2:
In estrogen sensitive breast tumors it is important to regulate estrogen metabolites. There are 2 pathways which estrogen may be metabolized to estrone. Altering the ratio of these two pathways has a dramatic effect on the long term survival of the patient. One pathway (C16) that is influenced by xenoestrogens eg: DDT and other pesticides and herbicides, provides markers for the increased risk of breast cancer. The other pathway (C2) is associated with a decreased risk of malignancy and is stimulated by the brassica family. (cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli).
Pesticide is a term encompassing a wide variety of substances used in food production to control undesirable plant, insect, and other animal populations. These may include chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides, organophosphates, plus others. Many factors influence the persistence of pesticide residues in or on food. Residues may vary depending on the time between application and harvest, exposure to wind, rain, or sunlight, and the amount removed during processing (washing, peeling or cooking). Residues of pesticides can be found in many foods including breast milk. Particular care in assessing the safety of exposure to pesticide residues needs to be exercised for pesticides which could be transferred from food into breast milk and result in a relatively high exposure level to babies, and also to those which leave residues in foods which may be consumed in relatively higher amounts by children.
Certain anti-parasitics are fat soluble and will therefore persist in the fat component of foods containing animal fats such as dairy products and the fatty parts of meat. This means that foods such as fatty meats, cheese, butter and other dairy products should be avoided when trying to lower the workload of the liver. Similarly, it is these fat soluble toxins that may be tucked away in our fatty deposits.
Hormones may be used to accelerate the growth rate of animals so that they can reach market earlier. They may also be used to improve or manage breeding programs. Natural and synthetic hormones are used. In some countries inadequate monitoring and education of the users of these hormones resulted in meat (both beef and chicken) and eggs to contain high levels of hormonal residues. This caused health concerns in the population consuming these foods including early puberty, breast development and ovarian cysts in young girls. Some scientists believe that the potential for hormones in food to cause metabolic and reproductive problems in humans needs further evaluation.
Hormonal Growth Promotants (HGP) are in implants designed to slowly release small quantities of hormones from the ear of cattle to the tissues. The hormone is similar to natural hormone found in animal species and humans, or they mimic the effects of natural hormones. They can also act as hormone replacements for castrated animals (steers, spayed heifers). HGPs increase weight gain and the efficiency of food conversion in cattle.
Use of hormones and growth promotants in Australia
Some HGP have been approved for use in Australia since 1979. The levels of these hormones in meat, milk, etc. are tested for in the Commonwealth Government’s National Residue Survey program.
Australian authorities state that no growth promoting hormones are used in the rearing of chickens. Estrogens were once administered to young male chickens as a hormonal alternative to castration to produce sterile roosters, however this practise was banned in Australia in the early 1960s. Some antibiotics are used therapeutically if a chicken has some sort of disease that can’t be cured by normal methods. These are used under veterinary prescription. But antibiotics are used in products called digestion enhancers also known as growth promotants. What these antibiotics do is adjust the gut in the chicken so it gets rid of the unwanted bacteria, so the bacteria that aid the digestion of the chicken’s food can proliferate. They are used specifically for growth promotion.
Use of hormones in the USA
Most of the beef raised in the United States today is produced with the use of hormones of some kind, which have been used for more than 40 years. Low levels of hormones, delivered through pellets placed in animal’s ears, are commonly used as growth enhancers. The arguments for using hormones in meat production are mostly economic. With hormones, conversion of feed into meat is more efficient, thus theoretically lowering producer’s costs. In the United States, there are six FDA-approved hormones: three naturally occurring hormones (estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone) and their synthetic surrogates (zeranol, melengestrol acetate and trenbolone acetate). There is an ongoing dispute on the subject of hormones used in cattle. The US government and beef growers associations maintain that the use of hormones as growth promoters is safe and has no adverse effect on human health. However In 1988, the EU (European Union) prohibited the use of oestradiol 17 , testosterone, progesterone, zeranol, trenbolone acetate and melengestrol acetate (MGA) for growth promotion in farm animals. This prohibition applies to Member States and imports from third countries alike. This had major implications for trade and has caused an ongoing dispute. As a result the United States has opposed the EU prohibition on the use of these hormones since its implementation.
Use of hormones in dairy cattle in the US
BGH stands for Bovine Growth Hormone, a substance naturally produced by the pituitary gland of cows. It is otherwise known as Bovine Somatotropin (BST). The actual hormone injected into cattle is rBGH. R stands for recombinant and means that it is a synthetic version of the natural hormone. This hormone is marketed under the brand name “Posilac”. Monsanto is the only company that markets this hormone to the dairy industry. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Posilac in 1993. The hormone is used to increase milk yields from the cow – however it can cause serious health concerns for the animal which can then affect its milk supply in other ways – namely increased udder infections leading to higher levels of pus and infective matter in the milk.
Monsanto prints the following on the warning label on each package of the hormone: “Cows injected with Posilac are at an increased risk of clinical mastitis (which results in visibly abnormal milk). The number of cows affected with clinical mastitis and the number of cases per cow may increase. In addition, the risk of sub-clinical mastitis (milk not visibly abnormal) is increased. In some herds, use of Posilac has been associated with increases in somatic cell counts…Use of Posilac is associated with increased frequency of use of medication in cows for mastitis and other health problems…”
Since 1993, there has been a National Drug Residue Milk Monitoring Program to test raw milk for the presence of antibiotics—but only for antibiotics in the penicillin (betalactum) family.
Hormone use in dairy cattle in Australia
A number of hormonal products are commercially available for use in the improvement of reproductive performance of dairy cattle.
This hormone is injected into the cow. Use: synchronization – to bring a group of heifers all into ‘season’ at once and improving fertility. This hormone can cause retained fetal membranes, ovarian cysts in the cow, infections of the uterus and induced abortion.
Vaginal implants (CIDR®) and a system of ear implant and intramuscular injection (CRESTAR) are used in Australia. Only CIDR is registered in Australia for use in lactating dairy cows.
Use: Synchronization of cows to all be on heat at once, improved conception rates, stimulating the breeding state in non-cycling heifers and cows.
Gonadotrophin Releasing Hormone (GnRH)
Use: Improving conception rates. Commercially available GnRH products are either identical to the naturally occurring hormone or synthetic.
Used for preventing conception.
Use : Inducing calving, aborting calves, ovarian cysts – Corticosteroids may be used in cases of cystic ovaries that do not respond to other treatments.
Bovine somatotrophin (also called rBGH)
Bovine somatotrophin is NOT used in Australia but is approved for use in dairy cattle in the US (see above) and several other countries for increasing milk production.
(From Research Notes ” Hormone treatments for better reproductive performance” Dairy Research and Development Corporation).
This is a group of drugs approved for use in animals to stimulate growth and improve feed efficiency (so that less feed is required for growth), and also to reduce infection and stock loss. There is no doubt that antibiotics are used widely in the Australian livestock industry. The continuous in-feed use of antibiotics began in agriculture in the early 1950s, especially in the pig, poultry, cattle and aquaculture industries. They are administered to the animal via coating of feed grains, drenching, injection or addition to water.
The use of antibiotics in food animals has been a human health concern since the 1970s when the American FDA first called for restrictions on antibiotics used in animal feed.
Resistance of dangerous bacteria is proportional to use, therefore overuse of antibiotics in animals, especially as growth promoters, poses unnecessary dangers to human health via the food chain. Resistance to antibiotics is not harmful in itself, but it may create health hazards if humans become infected with a strain of micro-organism that cannot be controlled by available antibiotics. In other words, antibiotics not working against bacteria that they’ve managed to kill before.
- Intestinal parasite cleanse
The large intestine can harbor unwelcome guests that may be sapping your energy. These parasites, such as E. coli bacteria, Candida, Giardia, worms and a host of other unfriendly micro-organisms may exist in your intestines and use the nutrients from your food.
- Olive Life Tablets
Olive leaf – a natural antibiotic – may be helpful in the battle against many new infections caused by antibiotic resistant superbugs ranging from viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.
- Selenium Complete
Selenium is useful in supporting immune function and also exerts an anti-inflammatory effect.
- LivaTone® Plus Capsules/Powder
Liver tonics containing St Mary’s Thistle may help to enhance the liver’s ability to break down toxic chemicals via the Phase One and Phase Two detoxification pathways. Milk Thistle has remarkable liver protective effects protecting against some severe liver toxins.[generate shop,product]2013,2015,2012,8200,99917,99913[/generate]
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any diseases.