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3 Natural Fertility Remedies that Work

natural fertility

You were cautiously optimistic that it would be easy to get pregnant…

…but after months of trying…still no baby.

But WHY?

You’re young enough, healthy enough, and can’t understand why you have “fertility issues.”

It seems to be a modern-day burden all too many couples face, and conventional medicine has answers but…cannot explain WHY.

In my experience as a Functional Medicine Doctor, most fertility experts are quick to label couples “infertile” and recommend drastic measures, rather than ask WHY and dig deep to uncover causative factors.

The good news is, many “infertility issues” have very little to do with your fertility.

Rather, they are symptoms of common health deficiencies that can be quickly corrected through natural remedies, nutrition, and lifestyle changes.

It is my wish that through today’s post more couples will begin turning to integrative doctors as a FIRST fertility resort and medical procedures as a second.

Here are 3 safe and natural fertility remedies you can use to prepare for a healthy pregnancy:

Natural Fertility Remedy #1: Balance your blood sugar

This seems like such simple advice, but very few people understand the blood-sugar-hormone connection and how it can inhibit fertility.

When your blood sugar is out of whack—which happens if you’re not getting enough sleep, are too stressed, eating too much sugar and refined carbs, aren’t eating the right balance of nutrients, or aren’t eating enough period—it affects your insulin levels.

This, in turn, causes an imbalance in other hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

Remember, insulin is a hormone and all hormones are interconnected.

So, what’s the best way to keep your blood sugar balanced and help increase fertility?

  • Eat small frequent meals every 2-4 hours
  • Have a little protein with every small meal, like nuts, seeds, eggs, legumes, or meat
  • Eat plenty of healthy fats such as coconut oil, avocado oil, nut butters, pastured butter, hemp seeds, fish oil, etc.
  • Sleep 7.5-9 hours per night. If you don’t get enough sleep it affects the hormone, leptin, which is responsible for controlling your appetite and satiety
  • Replace refined sugar with natural sweeteners like stevia and limited amounts of raw honey, coconut sugar, and maple syrup
  • Cut back on refined carbs like white flour, white rice, pastas, etc.
  • Exercise 15-30 minutes a day
  • Cut out alcohol. It’s full of sugar, messes with your hormones, and has been linked to lower sperm quality in men
    • If you need a relaxing beverage, try Kombucha

Natural Fertility Remedy #2: Give Extra Love & Support to your Detoxification Pathways

Infertility is often a symptom of toxicity.

It’s your body’s way of saying: “Hey! We have to clean house before we host a new life in here.

You can work with a practitioner on a specific detoxification program, and/or support your detox pathways through nutrition and lifestyle changes.

  • Liver: Eat plenty of green vegetables and have a green drink every day.

Vegetables from the Brassica family, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, turnips, are particularly helpful for supporting Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detoxification.

  • Kidneys: Proper hydration is key for healthy kidney function…but water quality matters as much as quantity.

For quality: choose either spring water or filtered water, and avoid water in plastic bottles—they’re loaded with endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

For quantity: aim to drink half your body’s weight in ounces or 8 glasses per day.

  • Lympathic System: Your lymphatic system is one of the most important, largest, and most overlooked detoxification pathway.

Think of it like a river running from your neck to your ankles, sweeping away toxins and unwanted debris from your vital organs and systems.

To keep your lymphatic system flowing you need to stimulate it. You can do this through exercise (rebounding, walking, running), body brushing with a dry brush, massage, and deep breathing exercises.

Pick two methods and practice them daily.

  • Gall Bladder: The best and most gentle way to cleanse your gall bladder is to drink fresh lemon tea 1-3 times per day.

Just squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into a cup of hot water, drink it, and watch your skin, digestion, and elimination improve.

  • Colon: Your bowels should be moving 1-3 times per day and producing well-formed stool that is easy to pass with no overly offensive odor…if they’re not, you need to address that.

My favorite gentle remedies for colon health are probiotics, drinking enough water, exercise, green drinks, cultured foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, and a simple fiber supplement like psyllium, flaxseeds, or chia seeds.

  • Skin: Also known as your “third kidney”, the skin is your largest detox organ. Help it by dry brushing daily, sweating, and sticking to all-natural skin care products.

Natural Fertility Remedy #3: Optimize These Key Nutrients for Men and Women

Women still tend to shoulder the infertility burden…even though over 35% of fertility cases are a guy thing!

With that understanding, try working together as a couple to help optimize these key nutrients in your diets:

Key Nutrients for Healthy Fertility in Women:

  • Vitamin B12: Found in animal products like meats, fish, eggs, liver, etc.
  • Iron: The most absorbable iron comes from red meats like grassfed beef, bison, lamb, and liver (you can also take a desiccated liver supplement if you prefer)
  • Folate: Lentils, dark leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, pinto, garbanzo, navy, black and kidney beans
  • Vitamin D: Often supplementation is needed, so I recommend having your levels checked. Good food sources include: mushrooms, salmon, grass-fed beef liver (or supplement), pasture-raised eggs, sustainably caught, low-mercury canned tuna (I like Safe Catch® brand)
  • Magnesium: Crucial for maintaining over 500 biochemical processes. Since it’s tough to get enough from food, you can take a supplement or use a topical product safely. Food sources include leafy greens, legumes, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, kefir, almonds, dark chocolate, figs, black beans, and bananas
  • Vitamin A: In traditional cultures, women in their child-bearing years were encouraged to eat plenty of Vitamin A-rich foods like fatty fish, cod liver oil, paprika, dark leafy greens, and liver

Key Nutrients for Healthy Fertility in Men:

  • Zinc: oysters, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, and peanuts
  • Selenium: Brazil nuts, meat, seafood, mushrooms and cereals
  • Vitamin C: strawberries, broccoli and kiwi fruit
  • Lycopene: tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit
  • Vitamin A: paprika, carrots, dark leafy greens, and liver
  • B vitamins: dark leafy greens, legumes, nutritional yeast, pomegranates, and lean meats

As you can see, nutrition is QUEEN (and King) when it comes to nourishing your fertility. And with good nutrition comes healthy detoxification pathways capable of supporting new life.

I encourage you to try these three steps I’ve outlined today, AND to consider working with an integrative practitioner to help you balance health markers and make individual suggestions.

Blessings, love, and strength be with you on your natural journey to parenthood.

Warmly,

-Dr. Alex

15 No-Brainer Ways to Get Enough Veggies

15 Ways To Get More VeggiesDo you struggle with getting enough vegetables into your family’s diet?

How about fruit? Everyone likes fruit, right?

Well…according to data collected by the CDC, the average American eats only 1.1 servings of fruit (including fruit juice) and 1.6 servings of vegetables (including fried potatoes) per day.

I have to admit, I was a little shocked. This is nowhere near the current government health recommendations of 5-7 servings per day.

Plus, many integrative health experts believe we need a lot more than that to optimize your health, support detoxification, and prevent chronic disease.

So…how Many Vegetables Do You REALLY Need per Day?

If you ask a traditional dietician or medical doctor, they’ll likely recommend 5-7 servings per day of fruits and vegetables.

They may even tell you to count fruit juices, canned fruits, and processed foods like French fries towards that number.

Now, if you sit down with a Functional Medicine doctor or holistic nutritionist, you will get an entirely different story…and one that could save your life. [Read more…]

What’s in Dr. Alex’s Pantry?

What's in my pantry

I get a LOT of questions from patients and readers about the types of foods and ingredients I use at home.

So today I’m throwing open my pantry doors (yikes!) and giving you a full list of the must-have staples we cook with at home.

As you read through, please know I believe everyone’s nutritional needs and food sensitivities are unique and I don’t expect everyone to eat, shop, and cook like we do.

The purpose of this post is to give you some starting points on how to stock your pantry with REAL foods that support optimal energy, immunity, digestive health, and longevity.

Also keep in mind…

  • We are working a family of four, with two small children…this makes convenience and high-quality nutrition a double priority.
  • That said, we aim to eat as many vegetables as possible and limit sweets, refined carbs, juices, dairy (because of sensitivities) and certain grains.
  • We buy organic/sustainably grown foods as much as possible to maximize nutrient uptake.
  • We shop at local farmer’s markets, natural foods stores, AND take advantage of Costco for great savings on bulk organic items…yes, Costco.
  • Even WE enjoy healthier treats on occasion.

Now that you know what motivates my pantry choices, let’s take a peak! [Read more…]

Chilled Beet Soup with Avocado

Beet Soup

Sweet beets, a feast for the eyes, are also body beautiful since they are high in folate – a heart and cancer protective compound.  If you prefer the taste of cooked beets, shop for pre-steamed beets in your local grocer or roast them if you like a richer roasted flavor.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 ½ pound raw beets, peeled, grated

1 quart home made chicken broth

¼ cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 pound cooked shrimp or chicken

2 avocados, diced

1/2 cup thinly sliced radish (optional)

¼ cup chopped herbs

 

Directions:

Place the beets, broth, onion, garlic, salt, and black pepper in a blender and process until smooth. Divide into four bowls and top each with a 4 to 5 shrimp or sliced chicken, 1/2 avocado, radish, and herbs.

Nutritional Stats Per Serving (2 cups): 385 calories, 34 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 14 g sugars, 17 g fat (7 g saturated), 92 mg cholesterol, 8 g fiber, 407 mg sodium.

Meet Vitamin G…the ultimate antioxidant

Vitamin GHave you heard of Vitamin G? It’s been called “the most important health discovery”, yet most people don’t know about it.

It’s NOT a nutrient found in food, drinking water, sunshine, or pills.

It IS freely available for no cost, has zero side effects, and no chance of overdose.

AND it boasts an impressive list of health benefits from reducing chronic inflammation to boosting your emotional well-being.

So, what is this mysterious “new” vitamin and how can you get your hands on it?

The “g” in vitamin G stands for “grounding”, and you get it from walking around outside barefoot—also known as “earthing”.

Sound too good or too simple to be true (the best things in health usually are).

Then fasten your seat belts, because there are dozens of published studies proving the long-term health benefits of reconnecting skin-to-ground with the earth’s surface.

But…how does it work? Whom can it help? And how do you know you’re getting enough Vitamin G? [Read more…]

How to Beat Brain Fog and Boost Cognition Naturally

Brain HealthDo you frequently walk into a room and forget why you’re there?

Do you have a hard time staying focused?

Or do you just not have the same mental endurance you used to in college?

The good news is, you are not alone.

I see dozens of patients a week, in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, who complain of a lack of mental energy, brain fog, and cognitive issues they can’t chock up to a “senior moment”.

The not-so-good news is, despite its growing prevalence, this is NOT normal for young to middle-age adults.

But there is a LOT you can do to fix it without resorting to drugs, sugar, or other stimulants.

Get ready to clear your mental cobwebs and boost your brain power, and reset your memory with today’s tips on natural ways to improve cognitive function.

Brain Fog Tip #1: Take a nature break at least once a day every day

There have been a lot of studies surfacing lately about the beneficial effects of nature and greenspace for children with attention and other cognitive disorders.

The same rings true for adults.

This peer-reviewed, published study completed by two professors of psychology proved that time spent immersed in nature improved cognition by increasing the creative problem solving abilities of their subjects by a whopping 50%!

Likewise, this report from the University of Michigan demonstrated the restorative benefits of brief encounters in nature, or looking at pictures of natural landscapes, to cognitive function and control.

But the benefits of time spent in greenspace don’t stop there. For a full look at all the proven benefits of taking “nature breaks”, check out this article from the University of Washington.

Brain Fog Tip #2: Reduce these inflammatory foods

Chronic inflammation is a leading cause of cognitive issues in adults, children, and seniors.

What better way to feed and nourish your brain than cutting back on the foods that add inflammatory fuel to the fire?

Here’s a list of the worst inflammatory foods to restrict in your diet

  • Refined sugar—sugar binds to amino acids in your body to form compounds called advanced glycation end products, or “AGEs” for short, that cause premature aging.

Plus it feeds the “bad” bacteria in your gut which contributes to the “brain fog” so many experience daily.

  • Refined grains and white potatoes—some people find reducing ALL grains helps them immensely
  • Alcohol—depresses your memory, immunity, and causes the same effects as sugar
  • Excess caffeine—coffee and green tea are rich in antioxidants and a cup a day, or a couple cups of green tea is fine, but don’t go nuts
  • Processed foods—are loaded with mind-altering chemicals, loads of sugar, and other unsavory ingredients. Limit them as much as you can.
  • High-fat foods—as in the ones with refined oils. Instead, stick to moderate amounts of healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, and pastured butter.

Brain Fog Tip #3: Take up a mindfulness practice

I’ve shared before about how learning mindfulness is what saved me during my health crisis in college.

Mindfulness, the practice of calming and focusing your mind and intention on the task or experience at hand, has been practiced since the beginning of time.

And modern psychological science is starting to catch up to its cognitive benefits.

A variety of published studies prove mindful meditation helps with improving memory, reducing anxiety, increasing focus and concentration, and increasing productivity.

In addition, this study from the American Journal of Hypertension proved mindfulness meditation helps reduce blood pressure. This is significant as imbalances in blood pressure can negatively affect your cognition, no matter what your age.

Brain Fog Tip #4: Grab the right type of nap

I mentioned in a previous post “Help and Hope for the Sleep Deprived” how even a 6-minute nap can improve you long-term memory.

But what’s the right type or ideal length of a nap?

Research suggests healthy adults keep their power naps under 30 minutes to maximize the benefits of improved learning, wakefulness, and enhanced overall performance.

Brain Fog Tip #5: Try these brain-boosting supplements

Though there are a lot of products that claim to improve memory and boost cognitive function, these are some of the ones I frequently recommend:

  • Bacopa—though most of us think “Ginkgo” when it comes to herbs for memory, the Ayurvedic herb Bacopa is backed by an impressive body of research on its ability to enhance cognition by nourishing and protecting our neurons.

Again, just because brain fog is common (especially during the parenting years) doesn’t make it normal.

Don’t spend years and years functioning at sub-optimal brain power when you could be out living your dreams and changing the world.

With so many easy, natural, and affordable ways to naturally improve your memory, enhance your focus, and boost cognitive function there is no reason to miss out on your best self…

…or keep forgetting why you walked into the kitchen (-:.

-Dr. Alex

Superfood Guacamole

Superfood Guacamole

Avocado is one of my favorite foods.  And guacamole is a staple in my diet.

I’m sure you are aware about the superfood status of avocados…And if you need proof,  just look at their nutritional stats:

• Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA.
• Folate: 20% of the RDA.
• Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA.
• Potassium: 14% of the RDA.
• Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA.
• Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA.
• Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA.

Today’s recipe is a supercharged, superfood guacamole that’s loaded with extra good-for-you ingredients.  It’s the perfect summer side dish!

Watercress, rich in a long list of vitamins likes A, C, and K, pumps up the nutrition in your standard guacamole and supports your detoxification pathways.

Dipping in with veggies, instead of corn chips, keeps the calories in check and gives you a little more hydration and lots more nutrition.

Pomegranate a symbol of hope and abundance in many cultures, are also greatly anti-inflammatory and good for your heart.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 Hass avocados
  • 1 cup watercress, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced onions
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced, seeded

Directions:

Place the avocado, watercress, cilantro, jalapeno, onions, lime juice, and salt.  Mash the avocado with the back of a wooden spoon.  Top with the pomegranate arils and serve immediately with the peppers.

Nutritional Stats Per Serving (3/4 cup): 168 calories, 2 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 8 g sugars, 10 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 162 mg sodium.

Which Water is Healthiest? Part 2: Well Water and Bottled Water

Which water is the healthiest

I’m back with part 2 of “Which Water is Healthiest”.

In Part 1, I focused on why and how to clean up your tap water for vastly improved health.

In today’s post, I’ll focus in on well water, bottled water, plus tips on choosing the best water filter brand.

Should well water be filtered?

If you have a well you are blessed to have no fluoride, no chlorine, and no other chemicals added to your water. Yay!

However… you should still be filtering your well water.

Why?

Thanks to the industrial era and modern agriculture, wells are vulnerable to many of the same toxins, chemicals, pesticides, petroleum products, and other unsavory pollutants found in municipal water supplies.

And because the government doesn’t regulate the safety of private wells, it is up to you to do your homework and make sure your water stays pollutant-free.

Let’s take a look at some toxins found in groundwater that could be lurking in your well.

Common (and uncommon) contaminants in well water

According to the CDC, well water can be become contaminated by naturally-occurring chemicals and minerals, local land use practices (such as agricultural pesticide use, confined animal feeding operations, and meat processing plants), and malfunctioning of waste water treatment facilities.

Here’s the list direct from the CDC website:

  • Arsenic
  • Copper
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Campylobacter
  • E. coli
  • Enterovirus
  • Giardia
  • Hepatitis A
  • Lead
  • Nitrate
  • Norovirus
  • Radon
  • Rotavirus
  • Salmonella
  • Shigella

Based on what we learned in last week’s post about the prevalence of heavy metals in public drinking water, it stands to logic (and has been proven through testing) that other heavy metals can wind up in well water too.

Health issues surrounding excess minerals

We mentioned naturally-occurring minerals above, and all wells have a different mineral profile based on their location.

Minerals are a GOOD thing and are essential to our health and well-being, I mean we pay extra for mineral water and minerals supplements, right?

The concern in wells is with an imbalanced excess of one or more minerals, as that can cause a mineral imbalance in the body leading to a cascade of health concerns.

Radon and arsenic are an obvious concern, but many don’t know that an excess of copper can cause gastrointestinal issues and too much calcium can lead to kidney stones.

If excess minerals are a concern in your well, a water softener may be in order PLUS a Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filtration system.

I’ll go into this a more coming right up.

The easy method for choosing a filter for your well

First, you need to test your well water to find out what’s in it.

Before you order a test, contact your local health department to ask which local contaminants to test for (some states will provide you with free testing depending on your location’s conditions).

Next, you can order a DIY testing kit or hire someone to do it for you.

There are a variety of tests to choose from, but I’d strongly suggest testing beyond the basics (coliform bacteria, nitrates, local contaminants) for heavy metals, pesticides, minerals, and inorganic compounds.

Once you know what you need to filter out choosing the best filter is easy.

Tips on the best water filter brands

In Part 1 on tap water, I shared the Environmental Working Group’s Water Filter Buying Guide, which serves as an excellent tool for well water too as it lets you “filter” your results by specific pollutants.

As mentioned above, if you have excess minerals in your water a Reverse Osmosis Filter could be a great choice.

RO filters strip out nearly all contaminants, including minerals, leaving you with crystal clear water. Note: If you have excess calcium you will probably need a water softening system as well.

If you do go with an RO filter, it is good idea to re-mineralize your water with a balanced trace mineral supplement.

I have also heard great things from my patients and colleagues about the following water filter brands:

  • The Berkey Water Filtration Systems are a favorite among the Functional Medicine community. They are are stand-alone portable devices, come in a variety of sizes, are 100% stainless steel, they take out all the bad stuff (including endocrine disruptors), and can even filter rain water.
  • Aquasana has many endorsements from integrative MDs, and offer a variety of filtration systems and water softeners to choose from.

Now, onto bottled water…

Why you should ditch bottled water (and what to do instead)

In my opinion, one of the biggest issues surrounding bottled water, health wise, is: plastic.

The chemicals found in plastic bottles leach into the water.

This includes BPA of course, but also lesser known toxins such as BPS have been found to be just as harmful as the BPA they were engineered to replace!

Why? Plastics act as hormone-mimicking endocrine disruptors just like those found in our municipal water systems.

So, one could argue that you’re not doing yourself (or the environment) any favors by choosing bottled water over tap.

The bottled water industry is also highly unregulated. Case in point, according to a recent German study reported in Prevention magazine, 1 bottle of water can contain over 24,500 chemicals.

No matter how you slice it or doctor it up, bottled water in plastic is NOT healthy for you.

What to drink instead when traveling or out and about

Take your filtered water with you using a glass or stainless steel water bottle.

Wow, we covered a lot in this series on “Which Water is Healthiest?”, but I wanted to make sure you had all the information needed to make the best water choices for your family.

I said in part 1, water is more essential to your livelihood than nutritious food. But, when you combine pure, chemical-free water with nutritious foods and supplements, you are arming your body with everything it needs for optimal well-being.

Cheers to healthy hydration for all!

-Dr. Alex

Phenomenal Pho

Phenomenal Pho

Soup soothes the soul.

Generations upon generations of people from every corner of the globe have used soup as a healing and health giving aid across the millennia.

And bone broth is the base of traditional recipes around the world.

Pho, a traditional Vietnamese soup, is both hearty and loaded with antioxidant rich ingredients like spices, ginger, and onions. This “all purpose” soup makes an excellent breakfast, lunch or dinner, so don’t be afraid the double the recipe.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds or 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 5 whole star anise
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 quart bone broth
  • 2 onions, halved
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 4 cups veggie noodles, such as zucchini, beet or butternut 
  • 1/2 pound flank, thinly sliced or leftover cooked pork loin
  • 1 cup chopped mint, cilantro, or basil
  • 2 fresh chili peppers, such as jalapeño, sliced (optional)
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts or 1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • Sriracha hot sauce for serving

Directions:

  • Prepare the spices for the broth:
    • Place the cinnamon stick, coriander or fennel seeds, star anise, and cloves in the center of a coffee filter. Using a piece of twine, tie the top of the coffee filter to create a little packet.
  • Place the broth in a large stockpot over medium heat.
  • Add the spice bag, ginger, and fish sauce.
  • Simmer 10 to 15 minutes to flavor the broth.
  • Add the veggie noodles and meat cook an additional 5 minutes until they soften.
  • Top with the herbs, peppers, and bean sprouts.
  • Serve immediately with the limes and Sriracha.

Nutritional Stats Per Serving (2 cups): 374 calories, 31 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 12 g sugars, 11 g fat (6 g saturated), 26 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 567 mg sodium.

Which Water Is Healthiest? Part 1: Tap water

Healthiest water

If you’ve been part of the Nourish community for a while, you know that food and healing are a passion of mine. I love educating about nutrition, whole foods, and sharing my favorite recipes.

I truly believe food and nutrition are foundational to true and lasting health.

However, there is one essential piece of the health puzzle I have neglected up until now….water.

Specifically, how to choose the cleanest, purest, healthiest type of water to support your well-being.

Why I waited so long to address this topic

The reason I’ve waited to broach the topic of water and water filtration is that it is controversial, misunderstood, and it can get technical and boring real FAST.

However, understanding what’s in our water supply (the good and the bad) and how to best purify it is vitally important to every aspect of healing.

Water makes up around 80% of our bodies, is crucial to detoxification, and is more essential to your livelihood than nutritious food.

Though our nation is blessed with a sanitary supply of drinking water, the processes, transportation systems, and chemicals used to sanitize it creates a chemical cocktail that is anything BUT life-giving.

Since water purity is such a big topic, we’re going to spread it out over two weeks and keep the information short, relevant, and easy to grasp.

In today’s post we will focus on the little-known pollutants and toxins found in city water (this goes far beyond chlorine and lead), plus I’ll show you a really cool free tool to help you find the best water filter.

Then in next week’s post we will tackle health concerns and solutions surrounding bottled water, whether or not you should filter your well water, and more water filtration recommendations.

But first…

You’ll never guess how many pollutants are lurking in your tap water…

It doesn’t take a doctor or scientist to tell you city water tastes (and smells) pretty darn gross.

The flavor of the chlorine alone is enough to drive most people to bottled or a filter pitcher.

But it’s not just chlorine you need to be concerned about.

City water usually comes from public water sources, like rivers and lakes grossly polluted with heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, raw sewage, motor oil, gasoline, PCBs, and notable traces of pharmaceuticals…but these are just the tip of the iceberg.

A study done by the Environmental Working Group, proved the average city water supply was tainted with over 300 pollutants…that’s BEFORE it goes through water treatment…where it is treated with more chemicals.

If you’ve ever wondered where to start eliminating toxins in your life, laying off tap water would be the best place to start.

You can view information on Austin’s drinking water contaminant levels here. The list of pollutants over safe limits is uninspiring to say the least—and we are in the top 10 best cities for water treatment. Yikes!

The 3 little-known water pollutants that worry me most

With over 300 to choose from it was tough to narrow the field to just 3.

However, though many people are conscious of filtering obvious toxins like chlorine and lead, there are 3 little-known classes toxins that should be of great concern.

1. Endocrine disruptors

Endocrine disruptors are man-made chemicals, such as plastics or pharmaceuticals that alter your body’s hormones.

This has become a significant public health concern, as endocrine disruptors can negatively impact child development and have been linked to chronic diseases in adults and children including types of cancer.

These nasty characters get into our drinking water via sewage, plastics (BPA), pesticide and herbicide run-off, personal care products, and a host of other environmental sources.

It takes a specific type of water filter to remove these endocrine disruptors, and I’ll have some recommendations for you below.

2. Heavy Metals—Recent events in Flint, MI served as a painful reminder of how lead in drinking water still impacts public health.

However, lead is one of several deadly heavy metals that are commonplace in our public water systems.

Heavy metals can cause a cascade of health issues ranging from brain damage and cognitive dysfunction, to organ failure and cancer.

And if you’re drinking tap water, 8 glasses a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year you can bet those heavy metals are slowly accumulating in your body.

Which heavy metals are of concern in public water? Hold onto your hats.

  • Arsenic—much of this comes from pesticide run-off. Arsenic doubles as an endocrine disruptor.
  • Mercury—much of this comes from industrial pollution that ends up in our lakes, soils, and streams.
  • Copper—many major cities replaced their lead pipes with copper, which is toxic to the body in large amounts.
  • Cadmium—though small amounts of cadmium occur naturally in water, excessive amounts from landfills have become a public health concern.
  • Fluoride—I know listing fluoride is controversial and many health-minded people choose to use fluoride-containing oral health products to protect their teeth. Fluoride is added to all US municipal drinking water to help prevent tooth decay and health experts tell us it’s safe.

However, I would humbly suggest this is not something you want to swallow with every drink of water you take.

Despite its prevalence in our toothpaste and water, fluoride was recently declared a neurotoxin by the world’s oldest and most prestigious medical journal, The Lancet. And, in my opinion, should not be regularly ingested.

Though I am not a dentist and won’t lecture you on oral health products, I urge those on city water to consider filtering fluoride out.

How to purge vile toxins from your water

Now that you know what to watch out for, let’s look at the best ways to protect yourself from common toxins in your water.

If you want toxin-free water you have two options:

#1: Get it from an untainted spring or other source.

Or, if you don’t have one of those handy…

#2: Purchase a heavy duty water filtration system.

But with so many water filters out there ranging from $25-$10,000 and up, how is a person to choose?

I’ll make it easy for you with this free water filtration tool

The Environmental Working Group has an awesome tool you can use to find your perfect water filter.

Visit: EWG’s Water Filter Buying Guide, type in your specifications including which toxins you want to remove, and view your results.

We’ll talk more about specific water filters in our next post, but for today I would encourage you to use the tool above and start doing some more of your own research.

Next week we’ll dive into everything you need to know about bottled water and well water plus more info on my favorite water filters.

Cheers!

-Dr. Alex