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Guys: Is Your Water Turning You Into a “Girlie-Man”?

Written by Wellness Club on January 18, 2010 – 2:40 pm -

Guys: Is Your Water Turning You Into a “Girlie-Man”?

 

By Nurse Mark

 

Fellas, this is a subject near and dear to my, uh, heart (and other important parts too…)

 

Did you know that some drinking water supplies in the US can change the gender of a fish? A US Geological Survey team reports finding a large number of male fish with female traits. In some Potomac River tributaries, nearly all the male small-mouth bass caught in the survey were abnormal. In the Potomac River itself, 7 out of 13 male largemouth bass had female characteristics. Some of them were even producing eggs!

Gender-bending fish might not sound like a big deal to you, but this actually affects your health far more than you might imagine. The reason so many of these male fish are “turning female” is that they are exposed to environmental toxins in the water — toxins that resemble human estrogens. We call these toxins “estrogen mimickers,” and these estrogen look-a-likes have profound effects on humans.

Estrogens in Men

All men have a small amount of the “female” hormone estrogen. That’s normal and we need that little bit to keep all our parts running right. But when estrogen levels become elevated because of an outside source — like drinking water — serious health changes can result. Estrogen mimickers cause high estrogen and low testosterone levels in men.

This altered estrogen/testosterone ratio causes the onset of feminine features. Once muscular “pecs” (you know, the chest muscles you used to have!) turn into soft, female-like “breasts buds” – AKA “man boobs.” A “spare tire” forms around the middle and the risk of prostate cancer goes sky-high. The high estrogen-to-testosterone ratio wreaks havoc with libido and sexual function and often results in a lack of energy. If all that isn’t bad enough, these sex hormone changes can cause feelings of hopelessness and depression. They can even elevate cardiac risk factors in men.

You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide

Estrogen mimickers can show up in drinking water from agricultural runoff (many pesticides and herbicides are estrogen look-alike’s), but here’s the real kicker. Chlorine — the stuff used to purify all municipal water supplies — is highly toxic and forms estrogen-mimicking organochlorides when it binds with organic matter. This means that unless you are drinking tested pure well or spring water, you are likely consuming estrogen-like compounds in your drinking water.

Additional problems come from a couple of chemicals that have been in the news recently: BPA and Phthalates. BPA mimics estrogen, while phthalates block testosterone – a double-whammy for us guys! (and not so good for the girls either!)

Bisphenol A, (BPA) is everywhere. Created more than 40 years ago, millions of tons are used each year in a wide variety of products including plastic bottles and food can liners. More than 90% of Americans have detectable BPA in their bodies.

Phthalates are just as ubiquitous: these chemicals – used to make plastic soft and flexible – are even more widespread than BPA, found in everything from food packaging and plastic pipe and tubing to shower curtains and cosmetics.

If you think buying bottled water is safer, I have bad news for you. Bottled water is no better than tap water, and may even be worse, on two counts:

First, the FDA standards for bottled water are much lower than they are for municipally-delivered tap water. Much of what you buy as “purified drinking water” is nothing more than tap water that has been filtered. More than 25 percent of bottled water is actually just tap water from municipal water supplies, and another 30 percent of bottled water has chemical and bacterial  contamination above the levels considered safe by state and industry regulations.

Second, bottled water “lives” in plastic bottles. The bottles themselves can leach chemicals that are “estrogen mimickers.” Can you say “BPA?”  Now do you see why bottled water isn’t such a good “alternative choice”?

Your Best Bet for Safe Drinking Water

Your best bet for safe, clean drinking water is install an under-sink or countertop water purifier. The reverse-osmosis type is very reliable. If you don’t want to invest the money to do that, a simple pitcher with a charcoal filter is better than most bottled water. You say you are on the road or away from home and you want pure drinking water? Here is a great idea, and really inexpensive – a filtered sports bottle!

And don’t forget your shower-water! When you’re hot (and your skin’s pores are wide-open), you can absorb toxins from the water. Shower-head filters are inexpensive and reliable.

A Good Water Filter is a Cheap Investment in Your Health

A reliable, highly-effective under-sink water filter is an excellent health investment, especially when you consider how important water is to health. The human body is about 60% water. That means we can have 60% of our total body weight contaminated with estrogen-mimicking toxins if we drink lousy water. (And NO, beer, coffee and other beverages are not “safer”! Beer in particular can turn you into a “girlie man,” because it is made with hops, an estrogenic herb. Sorry guys – I love beer too!).

The highest-rated water filters cost about the same as the cheap junk.

Aquasana Water Purifiers  makes some of the highest-rated filters at the best prices.

Bottom Line? “Just say no” to becoming a “girlie-man” and start drinking and bathing in estrogen-free water!

References

1.) McLean M. More “Intersex Fish” Found in the Potomac. Associated Press. Sep 6, 2006.
2.) Persistence of pharmaceutical compounds and other organic wastewater contaminants in a conventional drinking-water-treatment plant. Sci Total Environ. 2004 Aug 15;329(1-3):99-113.
3.) Pre-treatment optimisation studies for secondary effluent reclamation with reverse osmosis. Water Res. 2003 Mar;37(5):1177-84.
4.) Comparing microfiltration-reverse osmosis and soil-aquifer treatment for indirect potable reuse of water. Water Res. 2003 Sep;37(15):3612-21.
5.)Bisphenol A Mimics Estrogen, Phthalates Target Testosterone. Kristina Fiore, Staff Writer, MedPage Today. February 05, 2009
6.) Estrogenicity of xenobiotics in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) using in vivo synthesis of vitellogenin as a biomarker. L. B. Christiansen, K. L. Pedersen, B. Korsgaard and P. Bjerregaard. Institute of Biology, Odense University, Odense, DK, Denmark 28 June 1999

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