“Help me get pregnant!” I hear those four words almost on a daily basis. Out of many factors which can make it difficult for you to conceive I’d like to single out heavy metals for the purpose of this article, particularly Mercury and Lead.
High levels of mercury interfere with sperm production and protection causing low sperm count in men. Heavy metals damage neurotransmitters in the nervous system. They also affect the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). GnRH secretion is necessary for the reproductive system to function properly. Mercury stored in the pituitary gland can affect production of gonadotrophins such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Gonadotrophins are responsible for stimulating ovulation in women and sperm generation in men.
Heavy metal deposits in the adrenal gland can cause hyperandrogenemia or partial hypoadrenalism. Exposure to lead or cadmium can cause hypo- and hyperthyroidism.
Accumulation of heavy metals in the ovary impairs the production of progesterone and estradiol. Abnormal levels of these hormones in the body can affect oocyte development. Oocytes are immature ovums found in the ovaries. Heavy metals may also cause chromosomal abnormalities in the oocyte.
If you get pregnant with elevated levels of heavy metals in the body, you are more likely to have a miscarriage, thin placenta, abnormalities in the fetus and premature childbirth.
Help Me Get Pregnant Tip 1 – Eat less Seafood
There are 3 classes of mercury. Organic mercury is the mercury you find in fish, seafood, herbicides, fungicides and wood preservatives. You can find inorganic mercury in antiseptics and skin products. Elemental mercury is what you find in batteries, thermometers and fluorescent lamps.
Dental amalgam fillings contain 50% elemental mercury and are the major contributors to elemental mercury deposits in the body.
Keep your intake of fish to a minimum. If you ingest mercury during pregnancy, your fetus may have developmental problems and even brain damage. Shark, king mackerel, tilefish and swordfish have high levels of organic mercury. Canned tuna has lower levels of mercury but you should still avoid it. Sushi also has high levels of mercury and should be avoided during pregnancy (raw fish can be contaminated with salmonella, predisposing you to miscarriages).
According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, long term exposure to lead may lower sperm count, decrease sperm quality and may contribute to male infertility.
Help Me Get Pregnant Tip 2 – Avoid Exposure to Paint Fumes
Lead can be found in industrial products such as paint, galvanization by-products and fuel. Lead can find its way to our homes through water systems that use leaded pipes for distribution. Lead can be also found in pottery. Long term exposure to lead may increase the risk of poisoning and mental retardation in the mother and the baby.
Paints used in the 1970s and earlier were predominantly lead-based. It is best you let someone remove old paint for you in order to avoid inhaling solvents and paint fragments. Even if you excited and eager to remodel your nursery for your coming baby, you may have to be less hands-on with the job. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports most of today’s paints are lead-free and safe. But to be sure and to keep your lead levels at a minimum, have someone else do the remodeling altogether. Remove yourself from the area and only enter the room a few days after the paint job is complete. Make sure to keep the area well aired during the paint job and after.
Heavy metals don’t decompose. They are dangerous because they tend to bioaccumulate in our bodies over time. Every time they enter the body, they are easily and deeply absorbed into the tissues (mainly bones and organs). Next time you hear someone say “Help me get pregnant” point out the dangers of heavy metal exposure to them.
What are your thoughts on heavy metals? Do you use aluminium based deodorants? What about teflon cookware? And how about amalgam fillings – do you have any? Have you ever had your heavy metal levels tested? Would like to hear from you.
Iva Keene is co-founder and director of Natural-Fertility-Prescription.com. She has been a qualified, accredited Naturopathic Physician for over 13 years, holds a Bachelor's degree in Health Science and a Masters degree in Reproductive Medicine. Since founding NFP in 2008, Iva's articles, videos, guides and reports have reached over 1.3 million people. Iva has dedicated her professional life to supporting couples on their path to parenthood with scientifically grounded information, protocols and coaching around preconception care, natural infertility treatments and integrative reproductive health.