Endocrine Disruptors – A Reason For Weight Gain?
Whether you’re trying to lose a lot weight or just shed a few extra stubborn pounds, do you ever wonder why getting the scale to go down often feels like an uphill battle? “We’re finding that weight management is much more complex than just energy-in versus energy-out,” says professor Jennifer Kuk who is a professor of health science at York University in Toronto. According to a study published in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, the researchers hypothesize that environmental factors, such as our food, chemical-filled personal care products, and increased stress, may play a major role in why we’re heavier now [compared to the 1970’s] when all other factors are the same.
“Maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health
and can help you prevent and control many diseases and conditions.”
– National Institute Of Health; NIH
Despite eating healthy and attempting to minimize our exposure to chemicals, it’s still a challenge to avoid them completely. The reason why it’s difficult to avoid them is because they seem to be everywhere. For example, many chemicals such as pesticides, flame-retardants, and preservatives all have an affect on hormones and can often be a cause for the additional weight we seem to put on. Another study, published in the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, found that exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) or ethinyl estradiol (EE) – two common “endocrine disruptors” in the mother’s womb results in a slower metabolism and lower activity in their offspring.
Interesting Video – Endocrine Disruptors Overview
Our First Defense – “Agni”
As per Ayurveda, “Agni” is the cosmic fire – the principle of transformation of all substances and Ayurveda describes the underlying function of digestion and metabolism in our body as Agni [“Fire”]. Regarding the importance of Agni, the father of Ayurveda – Charak stated that when Agni of the individual is balanced then that person would be absolutely healthy and would lead a long, happy and healthy life. The first and foremost level of Agni is the digestive fire, which digests the food we consume. Even further, Agni represents all that we ‘take in’ – from the food we eat, to all sensory impressions we perceive, and all thoughts, feelings, and emotions we “digest”. In essence, our resilience depends upon the state of our Agni.
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The practical solution is to avoid exposure. We should take all reasonable steps to limit our exposure to chemicals which may be endocrine disruptors. For example, consider replacing vinyl shower curtains for a BPA-free replacement or consider storing food in glass containers rather than plastic containers.
“Major loopholes in federal law allow the… cosmetics industry to put unlimited amounts of phthalates into many personal care products with no required testing, no required monitoring of health effects, and no required labeling.”
– Study by Environmental Working Group; 2002
Common Sources Of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals
Epoch Times recently compiled 10 common sources of endocrine disruptors, as well as what you can do about them.
Here are just a few …
Personal Care Products. Shampoo, hair conditioners, moisturizers, and other personal care products often contain endocrine disruptors.
Drinking Water. Atrazine, arsenic, and perchlorate are three endocrine disruptors that pervade many communities’ drinking water supplies.
Canned Foods. Many cans are lined with BPA which are considered a common endocrine disruptor.
Cleaning Products. Common cleaning products often have a large amount of industrial chemicals which may act as endocrine disruptors. Instead, consider greener alternatives or even create your own cleaning products using non-toxic ingredients such as lemon, vinegar, and good old-fashioned soap.
Kitchen Products. Common kitchen appliances such as nonstick cookware, plastic wrap, and plastic containers may all contain endocrine disruptors; especially when heated.
An Ayurvedic Detox Program
For people who want a whole-body cleanse
Three Powerful Detox Ingredients:
- Black pepper. Modern research suggests that black pepper enhances the uptake and utilization of oxygen by brain cells. Likewise, black pepper helps to improve the quality of digestion – therefore, preventing formation of by-products of poor digestion [ama].
- Ginger. Ayurveda describes fresh ginger root as one of the best enhancers of digestion – helping to better assimilate food and prevent the formation of toxic by-products of digestion [ama].
- Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial and has long been used in the Indian system of medicine to treat a variety of conditions.
Panchakarma – An Ayurvedic Purification Process
Ayurveda is a life science which teaches an appropriate art of living in order to achieve longevity. Ayurveda explains unique methods to help guide each and every individual on how to maintain a healthy balance by considering simple changes in lifestyle, eating habits, and exercise. Ayurveda gives priority not only to preventive and therapeutic procedures but also to purification and rejuvenation therapies.
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A Few Stubborn Pounds?
From an Ayurvedic standpoint, weight gain occurs as a result of excess earth and water elements in the body. This creates sluggish/weak digestion which leads to low metabolism. Signs and symptoms associated with obesity include lethargy, breathlessness on exertion, excess sweating, excess thirst as well as weight gain. Usually the etiological factors of obesity are due to poor diet and lifestyle choices. The typical American diet is extremely counterproductive in the maintenance of good health. Fried foods, excess salty and sweet foods as well as sodas have become a part of the ‘norm’ in today’s society. The use of ice in drinks and the popular usage of frozen foods has also contributed to the rising levels of obesity.
There are some simple ayurvedic recommendations to target weight gain. However, it is important to note that each case is different and will require a more individualized approach to best suit ones needs. It is vital to establish the cause of obesity in each person as many different etiological factors can come into play. An individualized health plan created with ones own physician and practitioner is advised.
Easy & Healthy Considerations …
- Drinking a cup of hot water with 1 tsp of honey and 10 drops of apple cider vinegar is a wonderful way to start the day. Honey and apple cider vinegar have scraping effects and can help with reducing excess adipose tissue.
- Eliminating alcohol, caffeine and smoking. There is abundant information on how many negative effects these substances induce in the body. They can alter the digestive fire and create cravings for unhealthy foods.
- Reducing dairy and meats from the diet. These foods are heavy, gross and can lead to slow, sluggish digestion which will increase the same qualities in the body. Therefore one will have excess heaviness, lethargy and poor metabolism with overconsumption of these foods.
- Consume the largest meal at lunch – when digestion is strongest and keep dinner a simple and light meal.
- Incorporate ginger pickles and teas in the diet. Ginger is an effective herb for stimulating digestion and removing toxins from the body. It will also help to increase metabolism.
- Reducing the cold element in the diet and incorporating more hot meals will also bring changes to health.
- Fresh vegetables such as beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, leafy greens, onions, garlic, peppers and sprouts will help increase the light element in the body. Fruits to favor include; berries, apples, pears, pomegranate, raisins, lemons, prunes and apricots. Generally heavier and sweet fruit and vegetables such as potatoes, cucumber, zucchini, bananas, coconuts, avocados, oranges, grapes and pineapples are best avoided.
- In some cases, a 24 hour kichadi or water fast can be beneficial. Fasting in an appropriate manner and under the care of a physician/practitioner, can bring tremendous health benefits. It can reset the body and help one get onto the right track.
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- Exercise is an important part of life. It increases metabolism and burns fat and also brings balance as well as mental clarity. The health benefits of yoga are vast. Taking up a daily yoga practice along with breathing exercises (pranayama) is an effective way for maintaining a healthy body weight.
- At the very least, a 20 minute brisk walk should be incorporated into a morning daily routine. This will move lymph and reduce adipose tissue.
- Napping during the day will increase the qualities that lead to weight gain; heavy, slow, dull, oily, gross and soft. It is best to obtain a good night’s sleep and to establish regular arising and sleeping times to set the body into a healthy routine.
- Meditation and self – love. It is important to nurture one-self and to develop love and acceptance, as negative emotions can offset emotional hunger and depression. Meditation brings peace and harmony into life, therefore a daily 20 minute practice is recommended to bring overall awareness and balance. The many health benefits of meditation and positive affirmations are extensive. It is recommended to be forgiving of one-self and to eliminate the aspect of emotional guilt leading to acceptance, love and peace.
- Herbs such as kutki, chitrak, trikatu and shilajit are extremely efficient in targeting fatty tissues and increasing the digestive capacity of the bodily tissues amongst many other benefits. Taking these herbs under a practitioners guidance will increase metabolism, scrape excess fat, control hunger and improve liver function.
- Drinking triphala at night will also promote healthy bowel movements and cleansing of the colon as well as bringing balance to all the elemental properties in the body.
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The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.