Studies have linked endometriosis to poor detoxification. This may be partly due to genetic defects in detoxification pathways such as MTHFR, COMT, SOD1, SOD2, GSTM1, and various CVT genes. If there is a mutation in any of these genes, detoxification suffers, toxins build up in the system, and detoxification gets backed up even further. If your “toxic load” (amount of toxins you are exposed to) is high, the result is gene expression as illness.
One common gene mutation is the MTHFR or methyl tetrahydrofolate reductase gene. This gene is responsible for a process called methylation. Methylation is a biomolecular, nutritional pathway that is critical to many functions in the body. For example, methylation is responsible for cellular repair (production and repair of DNA and RNA), detoxification, making and disassembling neurotransmitters (example, dopamine, and serotonin), and formation and maturation of red and white blood cells and platelets.
Related health problems from a defect in MTHFR include autism, addictions, miscarriages, infertility, depression, anxiety, psychiatric disorders, multiple chemical sensitivities, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, strokes, migraines, breast cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, and others.
In addition, a defect in MTHFR will decrease the amount of glutathione your body produces. Glutathione is a potent antioxidant (protects against cellular damage) and a critical player in cellular detoxification. This significantly lowers your body’s ability to protect itself against toxins and remove unwanted waste materials. Furthermore, methylation is a critical step in the process of removing old estrogen from the body. If this process is not working at optimal function, estrogen can build up and increase endometrial growth.
So what can you do for your endometriosis and lessen the toxicity in your body?
First, you can be tested for a mutation in MTHFR as well as other genetic defects. There are several options for testing, and Vital Health Endometriosis Center can guide you with appropriate testing. Second, you can decrease your toxic load and increase your body’s ability to detoxify.
You can do this by taking the following steps:
Decrease your exposure to xenoestrogens (Bisphenol (BPA), phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), some pesticides, some herbicides, triclosan, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)). Xenoestrogens are man-made compounds that mimic the action of estrogen in the body. In addition to behaving like estrogen, they have a much stronger action and increase estrogen dominance. You can do this by making the following dietary, consumer and lifestyle changes:
- Eat organic produce, dairy (or eliminate), and meats
- Use natural pest control in your home and garden
- Avoid synthetic flea shampoos, flea collars, and flea pesticides on your pets
- Avoid shampoos and beauty products with parabens, phenoxyethanol, and phthalates (go to www.ewg.org and use their “Skin Deep Guide” to find non-toxic products)
- Avoid nail polish
- Avoid DEHA cling wrap
- Never heat food in plastic containers in the microwave or put hot foods into plastic containers (better yet, use Pyrex containers)
- Avoid Teflon and non-stick cookware
- Avoid plastic water bottles
- Avoid consuming foods from tin cans (they are lined with BPA)
- Avoid drinking from Styrofoam cups or containers
- Use natural cleaners
- Avoid BHA and BHT in processed foods
- Avoid FD&C Red No. 3 in processed foods
- Limit coffee and other caffeinated beverages
- Drink clean, filtered water
- Avoid marijuana.
- Eat organic, whole, REAL food
- Clean with Natural cleaning products
- Sweat often – sauna, yoga, Epsom salt baths
- Exercise – increases glutathione (but do not over-exercise – you should feel energized when you complete your workout)
- Avoid exposure to mold and other toxins
- Do stress reduction daily – for example, do 5 minutes of deep
- Eat the rainbow daily
- Eat from the onion family such as onion and garlic
- Eat cruciferous vegetables such as kale, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, and dandelion greens
- Drink half your body weight in clean, filtered water
- Increase your fiber intake
Those of you who suffer with endometriosis, we’d love to get your feedback. Have you lightened the “toxic load” on your body? What effect did it have on your endometriosis? Please share your story for the benefit of others.