July 2024

PFAS are Being Absorbed Though Your Skin

Toxic PFAS absorbed through skin at levels higher than previously thought

We all want to feel confident in our health choices, especially when it comes to what we put on our bodies. But recent studies have uncovered a surprising and somewhat unsettling fact: toxic PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” are being absorbed through our skin at higher levels than previously though.

This revelation suggests that our skin could be a significant source of exposure to these harmful substances. We’ll dive into what PFAS are, how they impact our health, and what steps you can take to reduce your exposure.

Understanding PFAS and Skin Absorption

What Are PFAS?

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of about 16,000 man-made chemicals used in various industries because of their resistance to water, stains, and heat. Often referred to as “forever chemicals,” they do not break down naturally and can accumulate in the environment and in our bodies over time.

According to the NIH, PFAS “keep food from sticking to cookware, make clothes and carpets resistant to stains, and create firefighting foam that is more effective. PFAS are used in industries such as aerospace, automotive, construction, electronics, and military.” In June 2022 the EPA released a report stating that there are no safe levels for human consumption of PFAS. Current peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown that exposure to PFAS may lead to:

    •    Reproductive effects such as decreased fertility or increased high blood pressure in pregnant women

    •    Developmental effects or delays in children, including low birth weight, accelerated puberty, bone variations, or behavioral changes

    •    Increased risk of some cancers, including prostate, kidney, and testicular cancers

    •    Reduced ability of the body’s immune system to fight infections, including reduced vaccine response

    •    Interference with the body’s natural hormones

    •    Increased cholesterol levels and/or risk of obesity

The Chemicals In Our Environment

PFAS are all around us every day. They are in our cosmetics, furniture, shampoo, toothpaste, cooking utensils, rain gear, food wrappers, and even our dental floss. One study indicated PFAS chemicals are in 98% of all Americans’ blood.

In 2019, researchers tested breast milk and found that every one of the women tested had PFAS in their breast milk. PFAS are endocrine and hormone disruptors. Babies born in the 21st century are already contaminated from birth.This doesn’t account for the micro plastics found in plastic baby bottles, sperm and food packaging.

How PFAS Enter the Body

PFAS can enter the body through several routes, with ingestion, inhalation, and dermal absorption being the most common. Traditionally, the primary concern has been ingestion, particularly through contaminated drinking water and food. However, recent studies highlight that skin absorption is another significant pathway.

When products containing PFAS, such as cosmetics, waterproof clothing, or personal care items, come into contact with our skin, these chemicals can penetrate the skin barrier and enter the bloodstream. Notably, research has shown that up to 60% of certain short-chain PFAS compounds can be absorbed through the skin. This is concerning because these shorter-chain PFAS are increasingly used in products, under the assumption they are safer.

Recent Findings on Skin Absorption

Recent studies have shed new light on the extent to which PFAS can be absorbed through the skin. Researchers applied samples of 17 different PFAS compounds to a three-dimensional tissue model and found substantial absorption rates. For example, the skin absorbed approximately 13.5% of PFOA, one of the most toxic and common kinds of PFAS.

Even more concerning, longer application times increased the absorption to 38%. Shorter-chain PFAS, often considered safer, were absorbed at even higher rates—up to nearly 60% for some compounds. These findings challenge the industry’s assumption that ionized PFAS molecules, which repel water, won’t be absorbed through the skin. The research indicates that skin exposure to PFAS could be a more significant source of contamination than previously understood, underscoring the need for further investigation and regulatory action to mitigate these risks.

READ MORE about this study at The Guardian

The Gut-Brain Connection: How Your Belly and Brain Chat Over Dinner

Ever wondered what kind of gossip your belly and brain share over dinner? It turns out, they’re quite the chatty duo, and their conversation is all about your well-being. The gut-brain connection is a fascinating and crucial aspect of our health, affecting everything from mood swings to digestion.

The Importance of Probiotics: Tiny Helpers with Big Benefits

Imagine having a team of tiny superheroes working around the clock to keep your gut in tip-top shape. That’s essentially what probiotics do, and they’re an essential part of the gut-brain conversation! Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of organisms in your intestines. They play a crucial role in digestion, nutrient absorption, and even in regulating mood and mental health. These miniature miracle workers can be found in a variety of gut health foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and, of course, kombucha!

Why You Need Probiotics in Your Life

  1. Boosts Immunity: Probiotics help strengthen your immune system by ensuring that harmful bacteria are kept in check. Think of them as the friendly neighborhood watch for your gut.

  2. Aids Digestion: These good bacteria assist in breaking down food, making it easier for your body to absorb nutrients. No more feeling like a bloated balloon after meals!

  3. Improves Mental Health: Believe it or not, your gut produces about 95% of your body’s serotonin, the happy hormone. A healthy gut means a happy brain.

  4. Reduces Inflammation: Probiotics can help reduce gut inflammation, which is linked to various health issues including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and even depression.

  5. Promotes Better Skin: A balanced gut microbiome can also reflect on your skin, reducing acne and promoting a clear complexion.

How to Incorporate Probiotics into Your Diet

Adding probiotics to your daily routine doesn’t have to be a hassle. Here are some friendly and tasty ways to make sure your gut gets its daily dose of good bacteria:

  • Kombucha: This fizzy, fermented tea is not just delicious but also packed with probiotics.

  • Yogurt: Look for labels that mention live or active cultures for a gut-boosting breakfast or snack.

  • Sauerkraut and Kimchi: These fermented veggies are great additions to salads and sandwiches.

  • Kefir: A tangy, probiotic-rich drink that’s like yogurt but drinkable. Perfect for smoothies!

  • Probiotic Supplements: When all else fails, a daily probiotic supplement can ensure you’re getting the good bacteria you need.

By incorporating these foods into your diet, you’ll be giving your gut and brain the support they need to keep chatting happily over dinner. Remember, a happy gut means a happy you!

The Gut-Brain Connection

How Food Systems Affect Us

Food systems in the United States have a huge impact on our gut health and, consequently, our brain health. The mass production of food often relies on pesticides and chemicals, which can disrupt the delicate balance of our gut microbiome. These disruptions can lead to poor digestion, inflammation, and even mood disorders.

Moreover, the prevalence of highly processed foods means that essential nutrients are often stripped away, leaving our bellies and brains starved for what they need most. By understanding how food systems work, we can make better choices about what we eat.

Opting for organic and minimally processed foods can help maintain a healthy gut microbiome, which in turn supports brain function. Paying attention to where our food comes from and how it’s produced is a crucial step in learning how to improve gut health naturally.

Pesticides are Endocrine Disruptors

Ever wondered why your stomach feels like it’s auditioning for a role in a horror movie after a meal? You might just be navigating the chemical jungle of US food! From pesticides sneaking into your salad to social media influencers pushing the latest gut health supplements, it’s a wild world out there.

Navigating the US Food System

Understanding the Gut-Brain Connection

The gut-brain connection is more than just a catchy phrase. It’s a critical link between your digestive system and cognitive functions. Your gut is your second brain; it’s home to trillions of microbes that affect everything from mood to immune response. When your gut is happy, your brain often follows suit. This relationship explains why gut health foods and probiotics are more than just dietary fads—they’re essential for overall well-being.

The next time you feel anxious or down after a meal, consider what you’ve eaten. Pesticides and chemicals in food can disrupt your hormonal balance, leading to a range of issues. As many of these chemicals are known endocrine and hormone disrupters. Understanding how to improve gut health naturally can help you make smarter choices, leading to a happier gut and a clearer mind.

Pesticides and Fertilizers

Pesticides, designed to kill pests, frequently find their way into our bodies and waterways. In combination with fertilizers help in producing larger and more visually appealing crops, the downside is their impact on your health and the environment. Pesticides can alter the gut microbiome, the delicate ecosystem of bacteria in your digestive system, leading to imbalances that affect everything from digestion to mental health.

Sex Changes In Fish And Frogs

We can see the hormonal effects in the species living within contaminated waterways. Scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey undertook studies in 19 national wildlife areas in the Northeast United States. They found that 60-100% of male smallmouth bass are intersex.

In Vermont, at the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge—which happens to be one of the most productive and pristine wetland ecosystems in the Northeast—about 85% of male smallmouth bass are intersex. In this case meaning they are growing female egg sacs in their testes. Feminized male fish have been found in 37 species all over the world.

This is also prevalent in frogs which are turning from males into females, something not known to happen naturally in amphibians. One culprit is a pesticide known as atrazine which affects testosterone production.

Even when you go fishing in the most pristine wetlands and think you are catching a clean ‘natural’ fish, when you eat it you are consuming atrazine or pharmaceuticals. This is the new “natural” world we live in. Understanding how to improve gut health naturally includes minimizing exposure to these hidden enemies, thereby fostering a healthier gut environment. Eating locally grown organic produce really can make a difference in how you feel. With the added benefit of being better for the environment as well.

Chemicals in Our Food Supply

Beyond pesticides, a slew of other chemicals lurk in our food supply. Preservatives, artificial colors, PFAS, BHT, BVO and flavor enhancers are just a few examples. While they may extend shelf life or make foods more appealing, these chemicals can wreak havoc on our health. Many of these chemicals are also known endocrine and hormone disruptors.

Many additives disrupt the gut microbiome, leading to issues like inflammation, poor digestion, and even mood swings. A diet focused on gut health foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can help mitigate these effects. Reading labels and being mindful of what you consume are essential steps in how to improve gut health naturally.

The fewer chemicals you ingest, the better your gut can function. So next time you’re grocery shopping, think twice about that brightly colored snack or overly processed meal. Reach for the organic. Your gut—and your overall health—will thank you.

Pesticides and Your Gut

Ever wonder what’s really going on in your gut after a meal? It’s a lot more than just digestion—it’s a complex dance involving your immune system, mental health, and overall well-being. With the rise of processed foods and the liberal use of pesticides and chemicals in our food systems, particularly in the United States, it’s time to take a closer look at what’s on our plates. Social media often adds to the confusion with its mix of fad diets and dubious health tips, making it harder to know how to improve gut health naturally. So, let’s cut through the hype and get the lowdown.

The Gut-Brain Connection

Your gut and brain are like old friends constantly texting each other. This relationship is known as the gut-brain axis. When your gut is out of balance, it sends confusing signals to your brain, which can affect your mood, well-being and mental health.

Understanding this connection can be crucial in how to improve gut health naturally. Eating gut health foods and incorporating probiotics will help maintain this delicate balance, promoting better mental and physical health. So next time you feel off, give a second thought to what’ you’ve been eating—it might just be the key to feeling better overall.

How Food Systems Impact Gut Health

The food systems in the United States heavily rely on pesticides and chemicals to increase crop yields and shelf life. While this makes food more affordable and accessible, it also introduces substances that can disrupt your gut health. Pesticides can alter the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut, leading to issues like inflammation and digestive discomfort.

Processed foods, often high in sugar and low in fiber, provide little nutritional value to your gut microbiome. This imbalance can wreak havoc on your immune system and overall well-being. To counteract these effects, consider filling your plate with healthy foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

The best thing to do is try to find natural probiotic sources like those that come in fermented foods, or fresh raw greens. By being mindful of what you eat, you can significantly improve your gut health and, in turn, your overall health.

Pesticides and Chemicals in Food

Pesticides and chemicals are commonplace in modern agriculture, but their impact on gut health is increasingly concerning. These substances are designed to kill pests, but they can also harm the beneficial bacteria in your gut. When your gut microbiome is disrupted, it can lead to a range of issues, from digestive problems to weakened immunity. Common chemicals like glyphosate, found in many herbicides, have been linked to many different types of illnesses.

To mitigate these risks, consider opting for local, organic produce whenever possible. Especially, things like greens, potatoes, and strawberries. These can be the worst pesticide offenders. Additionally, washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly can help reduce your exposure to not only chemicals but also bad bacteria that may have been picked up along the way.

Incorporating gut health foods rich in fiber and antioxidants can also support your microbiome. Lastly, eating prebiotics like apples, bannas, garlic, oats and beans will keep the good bacteria happy.