Nancy's Health Talk Blog

What We Need to Know about Breast Milk Toxicity and Heavy Metal Toxicity

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I recently did an interview with Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur on "How to Prevent Breast Cancer or Heal Yourself." This interview illustrates perfectly how the contaminants around us can create breast milk toxicity and affect breast health. This is particularly important to understand if you're pregnant, are currently breast feeding, or are thinking about starting a family.

Here's an excerpt from that interview which focuses on breast milk toxicity and heavy metal toxicity.
Nancy Desjardins: Let’s talk about breast milk toxicity. How can we detoxify the breast milk?

Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur: The toxicity in the breast milk is primarily from environmental chemicals, many of which mimic estrogen or are carcinogens.

The ones we have to be particularly concerned about in terms of breast health are pesticides, plastics like Bisphenol A and the phthalates, strong solvents that might be used in strong industrial detergents, PCBs, which are phased out now in manufacturing but are still around in the environment, and fire retardants.

They’re called brominated fire retardants, or PBDEs, and they’re really common everywhere. Then there’s dioxin, which is a breakdown product of vinyl, polyvinyl chloride. PVC is another problem.

That’s polyvinyl chloride. All of these are quite common in the environment now, and many of them act like weak estrogens in our bodies. Our bodies don’t have really great mechanisms to push them out to detoxify because they’re fairly new chemicals.

All of these started in the 1940s, and humanity simply hasn’t evolved yet to be able to detoxify them in a satisfactory way. The answer is that we have to try to get rid of our lifetime burden of environmental chemicals before we even conceive.

If we do that before conception, then we won’t have that in our breast milk, and we won’t pass on that load to the fetus in utero or to the young child in the first six months of breastfeeding.

Some studies have shown that in the first six months of breastfeeding, we dump 50% of our lifetime burden of environmental chemicals into our child, and that’s not acceptable.

The answer is this: if you spend 150 hours in a sauna, you can eliminate approximately 90% of your lifetime body burden of environmental chemicals. What we need to encourage is teenage girls and young women in their 20s, and even in their 30s, to do that 150 hours in the sauna, sweating out these environmental chemicals.

Maybe once every 10 years you do 150 hours. Otherwise, you try to have two to three hours of saunas a week or vigorous exercise so you sweat. That will help to push out these chemicals so that they don’t interfere with the fetus and so that they don’t cause breast cancer in the woman.

That’s really what we have to do, adapt some of the lifestyle choices that the Finnish may have done. They have family saunas once or twice a week as a matter of course. That’s what we have to encourage.

Nancy Desjardins: Sweating removes toxicity from the fat cells?

Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur: Yes. The breast milk has a lot of fat in it, and so what happens as we nurse is the breast milk is made from the blood.

After a while, the fat stores of the body are emptied into the blood to provide the fat in the breast milk. Most of the fat in the breast milk happens in the latter part of breastfeeding. If someone didn’t do all of those saunas before they conceived, another option would be to nurse the child.

Then keep pumping the breast milk out but throw the latter part away. Just nurse a little longer than you would and throw it away so that at least you dump more of your toxins out and fewer are going into the child.

That’s real prevention. That’s where we need to be putting our money, not so much in research but in prevention. Real prevention is getting rid of that toxic load before conception.

Dr.Sat Dharam Kaur: The other surprising thing there is this. We know that many environmental chemicals mimic estrogen. What I mean by that is they can bind to the receptor that estrogen attaches to.

All the hormones only work when they attach to a receptor. That’s the key. If they don’t attach to a receptor, they don’t do anything. They need a receptor for the hormone to act.

It turns out that mercury, tin, cadmium, lead, aluminum, and many heavy metals also attach to the estrogen receptor. They’re called metalloestrogens.

They can mimic the hormone estrogen, too. What we have is this huge amount of estrogens—chemical estrogens, metal estrogens, estrogens in our food, estrogens in the birth control pill, and estrogens in hormone replacement therapy.

We just have way too much estrogen affecting us and our breasts, causing breast cysts, breast cancer, uterine fibroids, and ovarian cysts. All of these things are due to excess estrogen—the environmental estrogens the body doesn’t know what to do with—and it hangs onto them so they stay there for decades. The plant estrogens like flaxseed, on the other hand, are protective.

They can attach to that receptor, and they’re about 1,000 times weaker than the body’s estrogen. They bump off the strong estrogens, and in that way they can be protective.

What we have to do is have a regular supply of the phytoestrogens, the plant estrogens, to displace the strong estrogens from the body and the chemical estrogens, so that those receptors have something weak and protective attached to them.

If you have questions or comments, please share them below!

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