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B12: PEOPLE WHO HAD HIGHER VITAMIN B12 LEVELS WERE SIX TIMES LESS LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE BRAIN SHRINKAGE


Written by Dr. Welsh, Article reviewed and edited by Dr. Fine M.D..
Published on 30 September 2013

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The Importance of B12 for Energy and Health

Vitamin B12 is one of many important and vital nutrients used by the body to foster optimal health. Vitamin B12 is a vitamin which encourages peak function of blood cells while also maintaining the health of the nerves.

The vitamin also has another function central to human life: it is one of the necessary materials for the construction of DNA molecules, which store all of the data which contribute to human development. This nutrient also helps keep the body energized and strong, and Vitamin B12 Deficiency can lead to a condition known as Megaloblastic Anemia.

How Does the Body Absorb B12?

Vitamin B12 is drawn directly from the food that we eat. It is absorbed through a relatively simple process. The first step takes place within the stomach. The stomach contains powerful hydrochloric acid which has the ability to break down the foods we eat and render them into simpler parts.

When consumed as part of a meal, Vitamin B12 is connected to proteins in the food that we eat, and hydrochloric acid breaks the bonds which connect Vitamin B12 to the protein. After the Vitamin B12 Molecule has been freed, it then reacts with another molecule known as Intrinsic Factor.

Intrinsic Factor is a protein which bonds with B12, allowing the nutrient to be taken in by the body. There are some people that actually lack the ability to make Intrinsic Factor, which causes them to absorb very low levels of B12. This condition is known as Pernicious Anemia.

How Much B12 Does the Body Need?

The human body requires Vitamin B12 at all stages of life, but the requirements vary dependent upon age. Children need an amount which slowly grows from 0.4 micrograms in the first six months of life, to 1.8 micrograms per day at 13 years. From 14 years old through adulthood, the body has a relatively steady requirement for B12 which is around 2.4 micrograms.

Women that are pregnant need a little more in order to promote healthy fetal development, around 2.6 micrograms. Women that are breastfeeding need the highest levels, around 2.8 micrograms. This makes sense, because early in life, the child is completely dependent upon breast milk for nutrition, so the mother must increase her own production to compensate.

What Are the best Sources of Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is one of a number of nutrients that are only available to human beings through either animal or synthetic sources. Below are a number of sources of Vitamin B12:

  • Milk Products

  • Eggs

  • Poultry

  • Meat

  • Fish

  • Some Yeast Products

  • Supplements

  • Fortified Cereals

  • Other Fortified Foods

  • Clams

  • Liver

The final two suggestions, Liver and Clams, contain the most significant levels of B12. B12 is processed by the liver in animals that cannot produce it naturally, and it is synthesized in herbivores that do have the capability to make their own Vitamin B12 from plant material. As a result, aside from clams, liver is the single best source for Vitamin B12.

What is Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

A deficiency of Vitamin B12 brings about a rather particular set of symptoms, among which are:

Physical Symptoms of B12 Deficiency

  • Weight Loss

  • Appetite Suppression

  • Constipation

  • Weakness

  • Fatigue

  • Megaloblastic Anemia

Neurological Symptoms of B12 Deficiency

  • Tingling and Numbness in the Feet and Hands

  • Soreness of the Tongue or Mouth

  • Cognitive Decline

  • Dementia

  • Confusion

  • Depression

  • Balance Issues

It should be noted right away that a deficiency in Vitamin B12 can cause neurological symptoms, even if the physical symptoms do not manifest themselves. Some of the neurological damage resulting from B12 Deficiency is also irreversible, so it is incredibly important to diagnose and treat Vitamin B12 Deficiency as soon as possible.

Although the overall need for B12 is lower for children than adults, severe issues can occur as a result of prolonged Vitamin B12 Deficiency early in life. B12 Deficiency can cause many problems for infant patients.

The Symptoms of Childhood B12 Deficiency include:

  • Megaloblastic Anemia

  • Slow Development

  • Disorders of Movement

  • General Failure to Thrive

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with a pediatrician as soon as possible. The symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency share similarities to other developmental disorders, and it is important to get an appropriate diagnosis as soon as possible.

How is Vitamin B12 Deficiency Cured?

Generally, the way to resolve B12 Deficiency is through direct intervention with Injections of Vitamin B12. B12 Injections allow for maximum absorption, because B12 is delivered directly to the body, bypassing more limited digestive absorption. If an immediate injection is not deemed necessary, a physician may recommend taking Vitamin B12 Orally in high doses in order to resolve the Deficiency.

One study compared the effectiveness of Oral B12 versus B12 Injections. Researchers found that oral Vitamin B12 was able to replicate the effectiveness of injections over time. The optimal way to restore B12 through oral supplementation was to take high doses of B12 (2000 micrograms) every day initially, then cutting the dose in half. After cutting down to half doses, it was eventually possible to cut down to weekly, and finally monthly, doses, before simply allowing the patient to proactively make steps to maintain healthy levels of Vitamin B12.

Although both forms of supplementation are effective, the ability of the patient to absorb the nutrient through the digestive tract, and the severity of the deficiency will be the most significant factors which lead the physician to take the appropriate course of action.

How are B12 Shots Injected?

Like Testosterone Injections, B12 Injections are Delivered Intramuscularly.

How are Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid Connected?

Individuals that consume a high level of Folic Acid in their diet can make the dangerous symptoms of severe Vitamin B12 Deficiency less apparent. Folic acid has the ability to resolve Megaoloblastic Anemia without resolving the underlying neurological complications of the condition.

There are even studies which provide evidence that high levels of folate in the blood stream can eventually make anemia worse and amplify the neurological issues related to B12 Deficiency, increasing the risk of cognitive decline.

This combination of Folic Acid Overload and B12 Deficiency can lead to permanent nerve damage. Because of this significant risk, healthy men and women should take no more than 1,000 micrograms of Folic Acid per day.

Who is at Greatest Risk of B12 Deficiency?

There are a number of issues which can lead directly to Vitamin B12 Deficiency. These causes include:

  • Pernicious Anemia

  • Lack of B12 in the diet

  • Inability to appropriately absorb B12

  • Post-surgical inability to properly absorb Vitamin B12

Although these are the four leading causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency, there are many cases in which the cause of B12 Deficiency is unclear.

Who is Most at Risk of B12 Deficiency?

Aging Adults

As men and women grow older, the odds of developing Vitamin B12 Deficiency grow. There is a condition known as Atrophic Gastritis, which causes the stomach to produce abnormally low levels of Hydrochloric Acid. As a direct result of this, B12 Absorption drops.

This condition affects ten to thirty percent of older men and women. This change in hydrochloric acid production can also change the composition of gut flora, leading to the formation of bacteria which consume Vitamin B12 to propagate, reducing the amount available to the body itself.

Because this disorder reduces the body's ability to break down food sources of Vitamin B12, it can be easily treated through direct supplementation. In addition to this, foods fortified with B12 are also a useful source, because the synthetic form of B12 present in most fortified foods is easier to absorb than natural B12 for these individuals.

Because of the risk of Atrophic Gastritis, physicians recommend getting B12 from either fortified foods or supplements after the age of fifty. It should also be noted that elderly men and women that have this disorder should intake more Vitamin B12 than Recommended Daily Values Suggest.

People with Pernicious Anemia

Pernicious Anemia is a medical issue which afflicts between one and two percent of adults over fifty. The main issue with regard to these patients is they either produce no or little Intrinsic Factor, which is necessary in order for the digestive system to properly absorb B12.

The most effective way to treat this medical condition is through the use of Vitamin B12 Injections. Injections bypass the need for Intrinsic Factor and supply usable Vitamin B12 directly to the body. It may also be possible for some patients to use high doses of oral B12 in lieu of Vitamin B12, because around one percent of orally ingested Vitamin B12 can be absorbed even without the agency of Intrinsic Factor.

People with General Gastrointestinal Problems

There are certain diseases of the small intestine and stomach which complicate Vitamin B12 Absorption, including Crohn's Disease and Celiac Disease. These complications can prevent patients from getting the Vitamin B12 that they need from a normal diet.

Because of this inherent deficiency, some individuals with diseases such as these can experience very subtly decreased cognitive ability as a direct result of childhood Vitamin B12 Deficiency. In addition to this, they can also eventually suffer from dementia or Megaloblastic Anemia. For this reason, it is undeniably important for anyone with gastrointestinal disorders to evaluate their B12 Levels on a regular basis as a preventative measure against these conditions.

People that Have Undergone Surgery of the Stomach or Small Intestine

Certain surgeries can impact the digestive system's ability to absorb healthy levels of Vitamin B12. Individuals that undergo gastric bypass surgery or other weight loss surgeries often find that their ability to absorb Vitamin B12 Decreases as a result of less Intrinsic Factor and Hydrochloric Acid release by the stomach.

Any surgery which removes part or all of the stomach also leads to this issue. This has particular effect upon the body's ability to absorb natural forms of B12. Removal of the end of the small intestine, known as the distal ileum, can also inhibit or stop B12 Absorption. Anyone that goes under the knife for gastrointestinal surgery of any kind should be regularly monitored for any nutritional complications.

Vegetarians

Vegans and vegetarians are at a high risk of developing B12 Deficiency if they are not conscientious about their diet. The only natural sources of B12 for human beings are derived from animal products, and, unless vegetarians look to supplemental sources of B12, it will be impossible to get the necessary Vitamin B12 for optimal health.

Vegetarians that still use milk products or eat eggs do not have this same levels of risk, and pescatarians can easily get the B12 they need from fish sources. Luckily for vegetarians, there are now a number of fortified sources of B12, the most common of which is contained within many breakfast cereals.

Lactating and Pregnant Vegetarians, as well as their Infants

During pregnancy, the fetus receives necessary Vitamin B12 through the placenta. After being born, B12 is received through the breast milk. If infants are breastfed by vegetarian mothers, they often receive abnormally low levels of B12, which can hinder their optimal development. If B12 Deficiency is not caught very early, it can cause very serious and potentially life-long problems.

American Dieticians very strongly suggest that both lacto-ovo vegetarians and vegans take ample supplemental B12 during pregnancy in order to ensure the health of the infant. They should also ask their doctors about providing their young children with B12 Supplements to eliminate all potential risk.

Connections Between Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Negative Cardiovascular Outcomes

Among first world countries, heart disease is usually the number one cause of death. In developing countries, the threat of Heart Disease continues to increase as other easily preventable causes of death are eliminated, and changes in diet and lifestyle promote increased odds of the condition. Some major risk factors of Heart Disease are:

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Low HDL Cholesterol

  • High LDL Cholesterol

  • Hypertension

  • High Homocysteine Levels

Vitamin B12 and Homocysteine

Homocysteine levels are strongly associated with Vitamin B12 Consumption. Homocysteine is an amino acid compound that is necessary for a healthy cardiovascular system, the problem is that a lot of individuals produce way too much of it.

Excessively high Homocysteine production causes a number of issues which reduce the function of the heart and increase the risk of heart complications. It encourages the formulation of clots, prevents proper vasodilation, and changes the muscular composition of veins and arteries. It also causes the breakdown of fat in the blood stream, releasing dangerous free radicals into the body.

Vitamin B6, Folate, and Vitamin B12 are vitally important in the metabolism of Homocysteine. In the result of B12 Deficiency, Homocysteine production can rise in a dangerous manner. Vitamin B12 Supplementation in combination with Folate Supplementation has been shown to have an ameliorative effect on Homocysteine Production, encouraging a reduced risk of stroke.

To this point, the evidence is incomplete in regard to whether providing B12 Supplementation improves other aspects of Cardiovascular Health in at-risk patients. This does not, however, diminish the importance of maintaining healthy B12 consumption throughout the lifespan, because, although Vitamin B12 may be limited in its ability to treat heart problems, proper use of B12 throughout the lifespan can help reduce the risk of developing these complications in the first place.

Vitamin B12 and the Brain

B12 May Protect the Brains of the Elderly

In a recent study conducted by scientists at Oxford, a strong correlation was found between the overall volume of the brain, and healthy Vitamin B12 consumption. In this study, researchers collected data from 107 participants. These participants ranged in age from sixty one to eighty seven. None of the subjects displayed any signs of cognitive decline or issues with memory. The median age of the subjects was seventy three, and 46% of the participants were men.

The scientists then proceeded to draw blood in order to assess the Vitamin B12 levels of each patient. Vitamin B12 is found in highest concentrations in milk, fish, and meat. In addition to blood testing, each subject also underwent annual MRI brain scans in order to visually assess the condition of the brain. They also received a yearly physical and memory evaluation.

Among the 107 men and women, none of them were found to have a Vitamin B12 Deficiency. Researchers took the data that they compiled from this study and compared it to studies of patients which suffered from Vitamin B12 Deficiency. They discovered that men and women with Vitamin B12 Deficiency were six times more likely to have smaller brain volumes than patients that had healthy levels of B12.

Although they were able to establish this link, the scientists were not able to provide evidence regarding the impact of brain size on cognitive impairment.

Maintaining Healthy Vitamin B12 Levels Helps Prevent Cognitive Issues Later in Life

The project leader, Anna Vogiatzoglou, explains that there are a lot of different factors which contribute to adverse changes in the condition of the brain, but her study shows that there is a powerful connection between Vitamin B12 and the preserving the size of our brains.

Although her study did not have the ability to establish psychological and cognitive changes related to changes in brain size with age, she hypothesizes that making sure that we get enough Vitamin B12 throughout our lives is a thoughtful and productive step in preserving proper and healthy brain function later in life. By taking this healthy and conscientious step, there is a significant chance that we can preserve our memory more effectively with age.

Although the study provides a positive link in regard to Vitamin B12 Levels and Brain Shrinkage, the study did not analyze the effect of Vitamin B12 Supplementation as a preventative treatment for elderly patients.

It appears that, like the connection between Cardiovascular Health and Vitamin B12, there is a limited ability for Vitamin B12 to be a treatment for conditions related to untreated Vitamin B12 Deficiency, but maintaining healthy Vitamin B12 Levels throughout the lifespan can help prevent significant issues later in life.

Does Excessive B12 Supplementation Lead to any Health Risks?

Vitamin B12 has an extremely low capacity for toxicity. Because of this, there is little to no risk of complications resulting from the over-consumption of the nutrient. Vitamin B12 is water-soluble, and nutrients of this type are generally absorbed by the body as needed, then released into the urine. Fat soluble Vitamins generally carry a certain risk of overdose (Vitamin A being one particular example).

Vitamin B12 Final Thoughts

As you can see, it is vitally important to make sure that your body gets a healthy dose of Vitamin B12. If you are conscientious, this is one of the best ways to preserve your cognitive health deep into old age.

There is really no reason to experience Vitamin B12 Deficiency, unless your body is beginning to have trouble processing the nutrient. If you have a feeling you aren't getting enough Vitamin B12 in your diet, we actively encourage you to seek out a supplement. There is absolutely no downside, and it can have a tremendously positive impact upon your cardiovascular system, neurological system and general energy levels.


CHEMICAL POLLUTION IS DESTROYING MASCULINITY


Written by Dr. Welsh, Article reviewed and edited by Dr. Fine M.D..
Published on 07 October 2018

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Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Pesticides and Plastics

Over the last ten years, clinical and ecological research continues to suggest that many chemicals, both synthetic and natural, have the ability to disrupt the hormone balance of the endocrine system, producing various negative effects in all sorts of creatures, including birds, fish, wildlife, and even human beings.

When discussing the hormonal implication of these chemicals, scientists and researchers have labeled these chemicals endocrine disruptors. In today's 21st century world, these products are everywhere in our lives. Some of the most common places where these chemicals exist are pesticides, cosmetics, toys, foods, flame retardants, detergents, metal food cans, and some plastic bottles.

Today, there is a limited body of scientific data available regarding these chemicals, but there is a legitimate concern over how these chemicals may have an impact on human health. In the environment, there are areas which are polluted with endocrine disrupting chemicals to an extent that ecological populations are experiencing deleterious effects directly as a result. These negative health impacts have also been proven in a laboratory atmosphere.

Although it is clear that Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals are a health risk under certain circumstances and concentrations, it can be hard to study the health impact of these chemicals, because people are generally exposed to a number of these chemicals at varying concentrations at the same time. There are government and non-profit organizations dedicated to clarifying the health risks and implications associated with Endocrine Disruptors, two of which are the National Toxicology Program and the National Institute of Environmental Health Science.

These groups support and fund scientific studies aimed at fostering a more complete understanding regarding how these chemicals impact hormone balance in an effort to protect both human beings and wildlife from the negative impact of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. In the near and distant future, these programs hope to minimize the domestic and global environmental and health impact of these chemicals and to discover ways to mitigate the negative effects.

What is an Endocrine Disrupting Chemical?

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals are synthetic or naturally occurring chemicals which have the capacity to interfere with the secretion or functional capacity of hormones produced by the endocrine system. These chemicals have the ability to significantly alter hormone balance in both humans and animals, leading directly to negative health consequences. A number of these Endocrine Disruptors have been strongly correlated with immune, neural, reproductive, and developmental issues in both captive and wild animal populations.

Many researchers also believe that these chemicals and compounds also have the ability to negatively impact human health at existing concentrations. There is some correlation between reduced fertility and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. These chemicals also appear to increase the risks of certain health conditions, including several cancers.

In addition to Endocrine Disruptors and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, these chemicals are also referred to by a number of other names, including Endocrine Active Compounds, Environmental Hormones, and Endocrine Modulators.

There are forms of chemical pollution that affect various types of hormone balance, but the group of chemicals that have received the largest body of scientific study are those that increase the physiological influence of Estrogen. A number of other chemical disruptors have been identified however, including those that encourage the production of thyroid hormones, androgens, and progesterone, and those that inhibit the production of Estrogens and Androgens.

What is the Importance of the Endocrine System?

Along with the Neurological System, the Endocrine system is the primary way that the body communicates changes from disparate areas of the body. The Endocrine System also plays a central role in the coordination and control of numerous physiological functions. The Endocrine System produces these changes directly through the secretion of hormones from Endocrine Tissues situated throughout the body, including the pancreas, thyroid, pituitary, testes, and ovaries. These hormones then enter the blood stream where they flow to target organs and affect change.

Hormones are able to conduct the complex orchestra of necessary functions which keep us happy and healthy. One example of how hormones function is the complex way that the reproductive system, nervous system, fat, liver, gut, and kidneys work together in order to control and maintain various metabolic functions, including:

  • Reproduction

  • Development and Growth

  • Energy Level of the Body

  • Hormone Homeostasis

  • Response to Injury, Stress, and Outside Influences

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals interfere with the normally-closed set of signals flowing throughout the body to keep us healthy, leading directly to hormone imbalance which causes a variety of negative consequences.

How do Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Work?

Animal research has provided us with a lot of insight regarding the impact of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. There are a number of different mechanisms through which EDCs have the ability to alter the normal function of the human body.

Endocrine Disruptors have the ability to:

  • Substitute partially or completely for hormones produced naturally by the human body, such as Thyroids Hormones, Androgens, and Estrogens. These chemicals imbalance the system by overstimulating the body with the effects of a particular hormone.

  • Block the normal and healthy function of a hormone by blocking cell receptors and preventing hormones from making their connections. In these cases, the target organ does not receive the full physiological signal, and the body displays symptoms and signs of deficiency. Chemicals that produce these effects are categorized under terms such as Anti-Androgens and Anti-Estrogens.

  • Other Endocrine Disruptors actually have the ability to block or alter the way that hormones and hormone receptors are controlled or created. One example is that there are certain EDCs which can prevent the proper metabolism of hormones by the liver.

What are Some Particular Examples of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals?

There are a large number of chemicals which have the capacity to alter normal Endocrine Function in a variety of ways. A few well known Endocrine Disrupting chemicals are, PCBs, Dioxin, and the medication Diethylstibesterol (also known as DES), and pesticides like DDT .

There are other chemicals, commonly plasticizers and pesticides, which have been shown to have Endocrine Disrupting effects in animal studies, such as Bisphenol A (also known as BPA). Bisphenol A is a synthetic chemical that is in many plastic products such as bottles, which leach from certain products when exposed to heat. BPA has many industrial applications, including the creation of beverage and food containers, and well as an ingredient of resins used in dental sealants.

Another large group of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals are known as phthalates. The industrial application of these synthetic chemicals is to improve the flexibility or soften plastics made from polyvinyl chloride. One common phthalate is DEHP. This chemical is used in the production of a large number of polyvinyl products such as food packages, clothes, car products, building materials, children's products, and medical tools. Scientists with the National Toxicology Program have found that there may be a link between DEHP and developmental issues in young children, especially male infants which are seriously ill.

Some of the most common forms of naturally occurring Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals are known as Phytoestrogens. These chemicals are naturally produced in some plants, and have the ability to partially mimic the effects of Estrogen under some circumstances. Some of these chemicals can be found in foods and other products produced from soy, such as daidzein and genestein.

Representatives of the National Toxicology Program recognized the importance of evaluating the risks of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals upon human reproduction, and created The Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction. This group analyzes various products for signs that they may impact normal fetal and childhood development. The Center has determined that seven Phthalate compounds have Endocrine-Disrupting Effects, as well as one particular Phytoestrogen known as Genistein. Genistein is an ingredient in infant formulas derived from soy.

How do People become Exposed to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals?

There are a number of ways that individuals of all ages can become exposed to EDCs. It can enter through their dietary choices, the medicines they are prescribed, and even the make-up they put on their face. Exposure can occur directly through the skin, through the digestive system, and through breathing.

Many chemicals which have these Endocrine Disrupting qualities take a long time to degrade or otherwise dissipate, such as the pesticide DDT. For this reason, many EDC Chemicals can be a health risk for long after they are initially used.

What is the Current State of Endocrine Disrupting Chemical Research?

The National Institute of Environmental Health Science has spent over thirty years researching the impact of medical Diethylstilbestrol on human patients. This chemical was used from the 1940s to the 1970s because medical professionals mistakenly believed that the chemical had the ability to reduce the risk of miscarriage for patients at serious risk.

In 1972, it was discovered that daughters born to mothers that were treated with DES had a significantly increased risk of experiencing a very uncommon form of vaginal cancer. In addition to this, DES produced many other changes in children of both sexes born to mothers that took the drug. The National Institute of Environmental Health Science performed extensive animal studies which proved the link between exposure to DES and the development of birth defects and increased cancer risk.

Leading directly from this initial, stunning series of discoveries, scientists with the NIEHS have continued to study other chemicals which interact adversely with estrogen receptors. Scientists continue to broaden the body of knowledge regarding Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in a number of different ways, including:

  • Creating new tools and models to reveal new information about how Endocrine Disruptors function

  • Uncovering new techniques to discover which chemicals produce Endocrine Disrupting Effects

  • Studying the impact of EDC exposure throughout the lifespan, and how it impacts health

  • Studying the effects of EDCs in existing human patient populations

  • Creating new tests and biological markers in order to measure both toxicity level and exposure to these chemicals

  • Animal studies created to assess the effects of EDC exposure

  • Developing ways to treat patients exposed to EDCs or learn ways to prevent exposure

When are Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Most Dangerous?

Scientific studies show that EDC exposure produces the highest level of risk before a child is born, or in the period after birth in which the organs of the child's body are still developing. In animal studies, there are a number of different issues related to early EDC exposure, including increased cancer risk and reduced fertility, which may not become an issue until a much later point in the lifespan.

In one case, researchers found that animal subjects which were exposed to synthetic BPA or natural, human Estradiol during prenatal development as well as Estradiol during adulthood were much more likely to develop a particular prostate cancer precursor. This study provides evidence that both natural and synthetic estrogen exposure have the ability to impact the way that the prostate behaves at the genetic level, which increases the risk of prostate disorders and cancer.

Low Level Endocrine Disrupting Chemical Disruptor Exposure

Researchers have found that there is credible evidence that EDCs can impact the physiological function of animals even at very low doses. These doses are significantly below what has traditionally been believed to impact health and physiology.

Even though there has been a limited amount of study in regard to the direct impact of EDCs upon human health and function, the body of animal evidence is quite large, and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals have the ability to cause the following issues in animal populations:

  • Abnormal development of male reproductive organs

  • Drop in male fertility

  • Increased female-to-male birth ratio

  • Increased incidence of sexual issues in female animals, including fertility complications and premature puberty

  • Increased incidence of breast, prostate, and ovarian cancer

  • BPA may also negatively impact diabetes and obesity.

Can Endocrine Disruptors in Pesticides and Plastics Affect Future Generations?

Evidence suggests that Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals not only have a negative impact on individual exposure, but EDC exposure may have a hereditary risk as well. There is some research that provides evidence that a patient exposed to Endocrine Disruptors may pass on their genetic abnormalities to future generations. In laboratory animals, the increased risk of cancer passed on three generations after initial exposure.

Another study found that male laboratory rats exposed to two particular EDCs were found to carry on abnormalities to almost every male in proceeding generations. The researchers hypothesize that these EDCs have the ability to alter gene expression without directly causing genetic mutation.

EDC research is a vastly expanding field, and as our knowledge of the effects of these chemicals continues to grow, it will help us to prevent or mitigate the effects of these chemicals on both human and animal populations.


WHAT IS ANDROPAUSE?


Written by Dr. Welsh, Article reviewed and edited by Dr. Fine M.D..
Published on 15 July 2013

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Explaining Andropause

Everyone understands the concept of Menopause, the time at which women's lives change so distinctly as a result of hormonal changes within the body, but many people are relatively unaware that men undergo a related form of physiological change which has been recently defined as Andropause.

The Tale of Man: Hormone Production throughout the Lifespan

Testosterone Peaks during Adolescence

As men age, natural Testosterone Levels within the bloodstream generally follow a stable and recognizable pattern. Around the age of puberty, Testosterone Production by the body skyrockets. This is why adolescent and teen boys have such boundless energy and have such distinct personality traits such as aggressiveness, assertiveness, and a powerful sense of individualism and singlemindedness toward their goals.

The Twenties: Perfect Hormone Balance

Of course, this initial period of adulthood is marked by its ups and downs as boys come to recognize and control their new-found masculinity, but by the early twenties, Testosterone Secretion peaks and stabilizes, and young men finally come into a new and stable sense of hormone balance. Through the course of the twenties, Hormone Production remains high and stable, and men are able to take advantage of all of the amazing benefits associated with a healthy and optimal level of vitality. They love hard and they play hard. They tend to have a powerful sense of self, and they are able to maintain a sense of certainty and assertiveness in tense and abstract situations.

Testosterone Plateaus in the Twenties, Declines in the Thirties and Beyond

Beginning in the late twenties or early thirties, men finally reach the end of this stage of optimal hormone balance, and both Testosterone and Human Growth Hormone Production start to decline. Many healthier men won't recognize these changes for many years. It takes a number of years before Hormone Levels decline from total optimization to a point at which men begin to display issues as a result of that change.

Some Patients Experience Testosterone Deficiency Earlier than Others

In certain patients, however, these changes in hormone production can produce significant changes beginning in the thirties. Some individuals naturally don't produce the same amounts of these vital hormones as others. This is especially true among men that are overweight or obese, or men who are excessively sedentary and do not go out and get enough exercise.

Contributing Factors to Testosterone Deficiency: Obesity, Inactivity, and Poor Sleeping Habits

Fat accumulation has an incredibly negative impact upon hormone production and metabolism. Adipose fat converts Testosterone in the body into Estrogen, which causes numerous problems throughout the body, especially in the cardiovascular system. The unhealthy diet that accompanies obesity causes Insulin to assert dominance over Human Growth Hormone, both decreasing the amount of HGH that is secreted by the pituitary, and decreasing the ability of HGH to activate at target sites throughout the body.

Sedentary men experience many of these same problems for different reasons (although the issues of a sedentary lifestyle often lead to the characteristics of obesity). Large amounts of Testosterone and Human Growth Hormone are produced when we engage in vigorous physical activity, and lesser amounts are still produced as a result of any form of exercise. If we do not engage in exercise, then the body produces significantly lower amounts of both of these important hormones.

Men in their thirties that have poor sleeping habits are also more prone to experience issues related to Andropause at an earlier age than people that have healthier and more natural sleeping habits. HGH is produced in its largest amounts periodically during the deepest phases of sleep. There are also studies that correlate Testosterone Deficiency with unhealthy sleeping habits.

All three of these issues: Poor Sleeping, Sedentary Lifestyle, and Fat Accumulation, exacerbate the natural decline in Testosterone production known as Andropause, causing its symptoms to occur earlier and more severely. There are a number of other factors which can increase the rate by which hormone decline can impact the body, including negative attitude, alcohol consumption, excessive stress, infections, medications, surgery, or physical injury.

Even among the Healthy, Andropause Still Occurs

As time continues to pass, this decline in Hormone Production can even start to have its effects upon men that are perfectly healthy. Even though there is a clear and abrupt sign of Menopause for a woman: The Final Period, after which Estrogen production declines quickly and abruptly, Andropause is different. There is no hard experience in a man's life which signifies the change that occurs.

Although there is no easily recognizable marker in regard to Andropause, both Estrogen and Andropause have the potential to lead to significant changes that negatively impact a person's life. The period in which Andropause generally happens is between the ages of forty and fifty-five. Andropause is best defined as the period of Male Hormone Deficiency in which patients are most likely to become symptomatic and begin to experience a marked decline in quality of life as a result of their deficiency.

Causes of Andropause


Beginning around the age of thirty, Testosterone Production declines by around ten percent every ten years. At the same as Testosterone Secretion naturally drops, the body's production of hormones which elicit negative feedback mechanisms begins to increase.

The primary inhibitor of Testosterone Activity is a hormone known as Sex-Binding Hormone Globulin. This hormone, abbreviated SHBG, latches onto circulating Free Testosterone, preventing it from producing its positive effects. Testosterone that has not been intercepted by SHBG is able to impact beneficial changes upon the body. Free Testosterone is also referred to as Bio-Available Testosterone. Today, it is estimated that thirty percent of males in their fifties are experiencing Clinically Low Levels of Testosterone which may warrant Testosterone HRT.

Early Changes Associated with Andropause


As Testosterone Levels start to Decline as a result of Andropause, a number of major changes begin to take place. Two of the earliest markers of Testosterone Deficiency are fatigue and issues with energy production. Men start to lose the spark which helps them seize the day.

Another early symptom of Andropause is a change in state-of-mind and well-being that can often sneak up and drastically change a person over a relatively short period of time. Testosterone is what encourages and fosters Masculine tendencies such as assertiveness and confidence, and as Testosterone Secretion Declines with age, men often start to lose their touch before many other physical Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency manifest themselves.

It becomes harder to mentally prepare oneself for the day, and the positive aggression and assertiveness that men display primarily through their twenties and thirties starts to erode, turning into feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and agitation which can cause a man to lose control of his inner sense of self, and can hinder both his working life and his home life.

Physical Changes of Andropause

Over time, as these internal symptoms of Andropause start to take root, the physical changes start to occur as well. As Testosterone and HGH Production decline, the body's ability to maintain itself aesthetically starts to erode as well. It becomes harder to maintain lean muscle, and it gets easier to put on pounds of fat without even changing lifestyle habits in any appreciable way. Without proper hormone balance, the maximum benefits of exercise and physical activity simply don't take, and the aging process begins to occur more rapidly as the years continue to pass.

Sex and Andropause

The most impactful markers of Testosterone Deficiency, however, are related to Sex Drive and Sexual Function. Testosterone is the key hormone related to male sexual desire and potency, and as Testosterone Levels start to drop, men start to experience a gradual decline in sexual ability that can end with impotence and infertility.

First, Andropause leads to a declining sense in sexual interest and libido. Some men have claimed that at first they felt that their sexual frustration was the result of anxiety or personal issues, but as the symptoms worsened, they realized that it was likely something going on inside their bodies and not inside of their minds that was causing the issues leading to their grief and dissatisfaction. Severe Testosterone Deficiency starts to lead to significant changes in sexual ability. It becomes harder to keep and maintain an erection. Sperm count starts to decline which can reduce a man's ability to conceive as they grow older. The entire process of sexuality breaks down.


Physiological Symptoms of Andropause


Long Term consequences also arise as a result of Hormone Decline related to Andropause. Testosterone plays a significant role in heart health, and as Testosterone Deficiency becomes worse, it leads to issues regarding cardiovascular health, including changes in cholesterol balance, an increase in triglycerides, and the buildup of harmful and dangerous plaque which can eventually lead to stroke, heart attack, or other life-threatening conditions.


Testosterone is also central to the proper maintenance of bone health. Testosterone is the hormone which primarily controls the proper cycling and remodeling of bone tissue, and Testosterone Deficiency causes the bones to literally begin to seep calcium, which can eventually lead to severe issues related to Osteoporosis and Osteopenia.

The Quiet Menace of Andropause

One thing that can make Andropause such an insidious form of physiological change is the manner in which it simply sneaks up on you. Andropause generally starts to occur during a period in many men's lives associated with tumultuous psychological introspection.

Many men think that the changes taking place in their minds and their bodies are related to anxiety, depression, or a lack of motivation correlated with their changing perspective of their place in their world, but very often, the reverse is true. Changes in hormone production may be simply souring their outlook on life, prohibiting their ability to enjoy themselves and make the most of their wisest years.

Even though Andropause is a well-recognized and studied phenomena, and it is a physiological certainty that all men will one day deal with the effects of the Change, there is no way to predict how an individual male will experience Andropause. There are numerous contributing factors that we recognize, and there are likely many others that we have yet to scientifically come to understand. Because of this, every man will have a unique experience in regard to Andropause.


Is Andropause a Modern Phenomena?

No. Andropause is a biological inevitability throughout the entire animal kingdom. This process of hormonal decline has been documented among all species. Our knowledge of Andropause, however, is all relatively new. The first discussion of Andropause in medical journals began over seventy years ago, in the 1940s.

Even though we essentially discovered Andropause over seventy years ago, only in the last few decades have we developed meaningful ways to treat the disorder. Even as we began to treat the issue, it has become increasingly clear that our first efforts to diagnose Andropause were woefully inadequate, and many were left under-served and under-treated.

Today, as medical technology has increased in sensitivity, and the availability and affordability of Bio-Identical Testosterone has made the treatment more financially palatable, there is an increasing openness and interest in Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Andropause which has allowed countless men to experience the amazing benefits of Testosterone for Andropause.


Increased Capacity to Positively Diagnose Andropause in the 21st Century

Another factor which has led to the under-diagnosis of Andropause and Testosterone Deficiency is that Andropause shares many symptoms with other medical disorders, making it historically difficult to attain a diagnosis with certainty.

The relative sensitivity of the subject of male masculinity also often makes it hard for men to admit to their doctor that they have a problem. As a result of this, physicians don't always get all the data that they need to make an informed diagnosis, which causes them to miss the underlying Testosterone Deficiency and simply treat the symptoms of that deficiency rather than the cause.

As knowledge about Testosterone Deficiency and Andropause continues to change, the conversation between doctor and patient is becoming more open, and physicians more readily consider Testosterone Replacement Therapy as a result of new and effective means to monitor male Testosterone Production via blood testing.

The burgeoning interest in Testosterone Replacement Treatments have led to a veritable explosion in research dollars and national awareness of the disorder, which is getting help to more and more men that need it.

Don't Let Andropause Take Control of Your Life!

There is no reason to live with the life-draining symptoms of Andropause. New treatments such as Testosterone Creams, Sprays, and Injections are becoming more sophisticated every year, and our knowledge regarding Andropause and how to subvert this aspect of the aging process continue to evolve as well.

If you feel that you may belong to this large group of males which may benefit significantly from Andropause Treatment, we encourage you to contact the Conscious Evolution Institute for more information regarding treatment options.


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