by Dr Warwick D Raymont, Ph.D., D.Sc., Grad.Dip.Sc.Tech.Comm., M.A.C.S., M.N.Y.A.S., D.G., O.I.A.
Much has been written in recent times of the health and wellness problems faced by humankind as a direct or indirect result of our changing environment.
It is perhaps a pity that more authorities - both Government and Industry alike - have allowed our environment to have become degraded to the state it is today. Not only are we faced with the direct problems of the pollution in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat, butv the world is facing much more serious problems directly related to industrial activities ranging from simple over-farming to the wholesale destruction of the world's oxygen-producing rainforests and algae.
The more personal effects of pollution are, perhaps, much more insidious. Little do most realise that the environment may be the prime cause of the enormous increases, over recent decades, of menstrual and menopausal disorders. These include and range from simple PMT symptoms and period pain through excessive bleeding, fibroids, mood swings and hot flushes/night sweats and even breast, uterine and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.
The causative agents are, for example, pesticides, countless millions of tonnes of which have been dispersed through the planet (over 1,000 tonnes of active DDT and its derivitaves are, even today, estimated to be contained in the Antarctic ice shelf!)
Plastics, especially the nonylphenyls and terephthallates, are adding to the list of environmental woes that are adding to the list of environmental woes that are virtually unavoidable as we approach the third Millennium.
Environmental toxins are having a devastating effect upon the health of humankind - female and male alike.
These unnatural, man-made chemicals act as hormone (oestrogen) mimickers in the human body and can lead to imbalance which may have drastic effects in both females and males.
In the female, these oestrogen mimickers are reported to lead to an oestrogen dominance and subsequent progesterone deficiency. Such imbalance is now believed to be a prime cause of the many afflictions faced by women today and may be the hidden reason for so many hysterectomies being deemed necessary.
In the male, current hypothesis is that the endocrine system, upon detecting an apparent oestrogen overload (from the same oestrogen mimickers that affect females), begins immediate, unnecessary and often excessive testosterone production. It is believed that this testosterone over-production may be one of the prime causative agents in male intolerance, impatience, aggression and violence.
Much more frightening is, however, the spectre of BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy) and which is often becoming the almost inevitable prostats cancer!
Small wonder that growing opinion is that there is, indeed, a link betwen menopause (and all the related female disorders) and prostate disorders. But none of these multitudinous conditions is natural!
Through virtually all of recorded history such have been known, but not in the least common. It is becoming inreasingly apparent that these conditions are late Twentieth Century phenomena. Reasons for the exponential increase in these conditions, besides those of environmental toxin origin, almost certainly must include nutritional factors.
Changes in the dietary habits of Westerners have led to a marked decrease in certain nutritional components freely, ableit seasonally, available in the diets of our forebears and in many societies in today's world where a traditional diet has been maintained.
These former and traditional diets contain substances which are now well established as beneficial, not only to the specific conditions already referred to, but also to wellness in general. For example, the natural chemical (phytochemical) diosgenin is used to produce, in the laboratory, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and thence progesterone. DHEA is often touted as "the mother of all hormones" due to the body's ability to use this substance as a base for the production of numerous other hormones, including testosterone, oestrogen and testosterone. DHEA has also been demonstrated to exhibit powerful anti-cancer, anti-ageing and anti-viral properties - even the HIV virus!
The world's most magnificent laboratory, the human body, has also demonstrated this ability as has been demonstrated by Pacific Islanders on traditional (native) diets rich in the Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa).
Another phytochemical, isoflavone, has been identified as beneficial for both menopausal symptoms and prostate conditions. Natural sources of isoflavone include Soy, Lentils and Red Clover (Trifolium pratense).
Still other herbs again have been generally accepted as prostate and/or PMT/menopause specific and the list is very extensive, including Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), Chaste Berry (Vitex agnus-castus) and Saw Palmetto (Serenoa serrulata), to name a few.
While many of these herbs etc. have provided significant benefits to Westerners with their adulterated diets, they, by themselves, are only part of the answer. In addition to the herbal remedies, it is also essential to scavenge from the body the numerous free-radical producing toxins and oestrogen mimickers. Such can only be achieved with good, preferably powerful and long-term, antioxidant therapy.
Disclaimer: This article is reproduced for personal health information only and is not intended to refer to any particular proprietary or other remedy or product available either in Australia or elsewhere.