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- Ashley’s top environmental factors that can impact futility and pregnancy planning are heavy metals, especially mercury, plastics, household chemicals, personal care products, herbicides and pesticides in food, hormones in food and water sources, and EMF.
- It is estimated that there are over 70,000 non-natural chemicals and one thousand new ones being produced every year, which, a good percentage of are toxic to humans.
- BPA in plastic, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate in hygiene products, pesticides and herbicides found in food, PERC found in dry cleaning, flame retardants found in mattresses and baby clothes etc, triclosan found in soaps and hand sanitizers, and volatile organic compounds found in paints, cleaning supplies, pesticides, and building supplies, create xenoestrogens, carcinogens, and can lead to cancer and developmental issues in children.
- Reducing exposure to BPA by using glass bottles, and glass Tupperware, using non toxic pans while cooking, using non paraben and SLS free shampoos, soap detergents and lotions, removing perchlorate from water by using filtration, eating organic foods without pesticides and herbicides, using natural cleaning products, using a shoes off policy so that outside toxins aren’t being introduced in the home, avoiding toxic disinfecting wipes, avoiding phthalates in some fragrances, and getting an air filter for the home are great ways to prevent toxic exposure.
- Although the placenta helps to filter some toxins from the mother to the child, higher levels of toxins can be found in the fetus of mothers who have toxic exposure, especially that of mercury.
- The first step for woman in child bearing years is to look at the major toxic exposures in the house and replacing as much of it as possible with healthier products, especially before getting pregnant.
- Ashley tells all woman who are wanting to get pregnant to avoid sugar that effects yeast, candida, and blood sugar levels in the body, avoid commercial dairy that is packed with hormones, and reducing gluten because herbicides and pesticides are so high in it, and it is highly inflammatory.
- Using healthy oils, instead of processed vegetable oils that cause a lot of inflammation in the body, as well as avoiding processed foods, are great ways to stay healthier.
- Deficiency of folic acid has been associated with spinal cord defects, so it is important to have normal levels.
- Many women are unable to absorb folic acid because of genetics and absorption issues, and instead need to take folic acid in a form called methylfolate.
- Ashley says it is important to take a Liver and candida cleanse before getting pregnant.
- Ashley’s top tips for anyone who’s wanting to get pregnant or planning for pregnancy is to start working on childhood and family issues, learn physical and emotional self care, eat organic and non GMO food, eliminate unhealthy items from the diet, remove toxins from the home, start a healthy sleep and relaxation routine, cleaning up the gut, rebuild gut health, and avoid heavy metals in foods, and drinking clean water.
- Ashley suggests getting tested for methylation defects so that you can determine if you need to take a prenatal supplement that is methylated.
- Ashley tells most woman to supplement their prenatal with an extra 500 mg of calcium a day, 200 to 300 mg of magnesium a day, 4000IU of vitamin D3 a day, extra omega 3’s, choline, and probiotics.
- Before pregnancy Ashley also suggests taking gentle liver detoxing teas, doing a gentle heavy metal mercury detox, taking bitters to support the liver, eating a diet high in vegetables and low sugar fruits, and eating herbs for immune system support.
- During pregnancy there are many nutritional things you can do to help gentle detox, like using a variety of spices in cooking, and eating a variety of fruit and vegetables.
- Staying hydrated is also an extremely important thing to do before and after pregnancy.
- You can learn more about Dr. Ashley Salomon and work with her at ashleysalomonmd.com, on Instagram @drashleyhealth, and on Youtube on her channel Dr. Ashley.
Wendy Myers: Hello, my name is Wendy Myers at myersdetox.com. Welcome to the Myers Detox Podcast, where we cover all kinds of topics related to heavy metal and chemical detoxification, supplements and detox protocols and all kinds of biohacking and natural alternative health. Today, we have Dr. Ashley Salomon on the show. She is going to be talking about natural pre-pregnancy planning and where do you fit in detox within the scope of planning of pregnancy. We’ll be talking about the top foods for detoxification, can you detox or what can you do when you’re pregnant and/or breastfeeding. We talk about all the top metals and chemicals that affect pregnancy that can affect your baby and how they affect your baby and a lot of the issues surrounding why people are having trouble with conception, with fertility, just a really, really interesting show and Dr. Ashley’s top 10 tips for detoxing your home.
Wendy Myers: I know so many of you listening are a concern about the level of heavy metals you may have in your body. That’s why I created heavymetalsquiz.com. You can go there and take this two-minute quiz and learn about your relative levels of heavy metals you may have in your body. I also have a free video series there, where you can learn more about heavy metals and how to detox from your body and more importantly, the next steps that you can take, what you can do today to begin removing heavy metals and chemicals from your body. Go to heavymetalsquiz.com. Dr. Ashley Salomon is a licensed medical doctor, board certified in family medicine and a board member of the Academy of integrative and Holistic Medicine. She also holds a BS in materials science and engineering from MIT and a master’s in electrical engineering from Princeton. In addition, she completed the specialty fellowship in Integrative Medicine from the University of Arizona, which is Andrew Weil’s program. She specializes in integrative, functional, natural and supportive approaches to many chronic illnesses. You can learn more about Dr. Salomon and work with her at ashleysalomonmd.com.
Wendy Myers: Dr. Salomon, thanks so much for coming on the show.
Ashley Salomon: Oh, it’s my pleasure. I’m so happy to be here.
Wendy Myers: We’re going to be talking about pre-pregnancy planning and the importance of environmental factors and heavy metals that can affect a baby. Let’s talk about this. What are the environmental factors that can really dramatically impact fertility and pregnancy planning?
Ashley Salomon: Well, not to scare anyone, but I would say at the top of my list are heavy metals, especially mercury because it is actually a hormone and estrogen mimicker. It’s kind of in the category of estrogen mimicking hormones. It can wreak quite a bit of havoc on fertility really high levels. Certain types of plastics, household chemicals, personal care products, herbicides and pesticides and food hormones and food and water sources, those would be my main ones. I think something that we’re going to in the future start thinking about more as well are EMF fields, so electromagnetic field exposure from Wi-Fi and cell towers and our cellphones.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I agree with you, EMF is a huge, huge problem. Really, we’re guinea pigs. I mean there’s not really any kind of research out there that shows the impact of 5G on fetuses, is there?
Ashley Salomon: Not yet. It’s interesting, I really like to liken this to smoking in the 50s, where so many people were smoking and nobody was really thinking about the health impact. Of course, now we have a completely different view on smoking to the point, where it’s even banned in many social places and bars and restaurants and airplanes. Yeah, I do think over time, it will change, but unfortunately right now, we’re in those early stages. I would say this, you can’t control every factor with EMF, if we’re talking about that specifically right now, but cellphones have to stay out of the pockets and off the body for one thing. I see a lot of men walking with a cell phone pocket in the front of their pants and there is potentially some association with testosterone levels. It’s just not a great idea to keep something with even low level ionizing radiation that close to your body. That is one thing people can do right away.
Wendy Myers: Dr. Salomon, tell us about the different chemicals and how they affect or it can impact fertility and pregnancy?
Ashley Salomon: A great question, it’s estimated that there are over 70,000 non-natural chemicals and then, there’s a 1,000 new ones we’re making every year. A good percent of those are toxic to us in some form unfortunately. The ones I think about in the home and that are really easy to get exposed to are many people know this one BPA, which is in plastic. Fortunately, there’s a lot of BPA-free plastic now to look for, but it is a major estrogen mimicker and thus, can affect fertility. Using glass Tupperware, just finding ways to cut down, not drinking plastic bottles, all really great ideas to cut down a BPA. Next, parabens, which are found in shampoos, conditioners, shower gels and lotions are also xenoestrogens or what we call estrogen mimicking. That as well can affect fertility by imbalancing proper estrogen to progesterone ratios. Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, SLES and SLS are also in many soaps, detergents, shampoos, cosmetics and cleaners. Same issue of most likely an estrogenic and potentially carcinogenic effect. Then, pesticides and herbicides, which are unfortunately are in very high levels in foods in this country, especially non-organic food. There is research directly linked to infertility and then, brain and developmental issues in babies and children.
Ashley Salomon: Then, PERC, which is from dry cleaning is likely carcinogenic, so that would be both to the mom and to the baby. Then, flame retardants, which are found in mattresses, even some baby clothes, foams, carpets, furniture, we don’t even totally know everything they’re doing, but we know they’re probably carcinogenic and those chemicals probably have other effects that we should be concerned about long-term. Then, triclosan, which is really common in certain soaps and then, non-natural hand sanitizers is a major hormonal disruptor. If you’re washing your hands and cleaning them with a certain hand sanitizers every day, it’s not a great idea. Make sure you get a really organic natural one. Then, the volatile organic compounds can be cancer-causing and those are found in paints, cleaning supplies, pesticides and building supplies. Of course, try to get cleaner paints if you decide to paint your house when you’re pregnant is a really good idea.
Wendy Myers: Or the baby’s room.
Ashley Salomon: Or the baby room exactly when you’re redoing the baby’s room, sure. Then, trichloroethylene is actually directly a reproductive toxin and that’s found in paints, carpet cleaners and varnishes.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I mean it’s no wonder why a lot of people today are having trouble conceiving. Can you talk a little bit about the fertility issues that so many women are struggling with today and how toxicity is contributing?
Ashley Salomon: For sure, I mean unfortunately we don’t have enough studies to say, “It’s exactly this is affecting this.” What we do know is we’re just being bombarded by so many things. Our heavy metal, especially mercury levels are so much higher and as I mentioned that’s also as estrogens that can cause estrogenic infertility issues or bombarded by these plastics all day. A lot of it’s the high load we’re getting over a year. Of course, there’s nothing we can do to fully prevent it. We just have to be as clean and careful as possible once we start understanding this better. Then, the other point is a lot of us are having children older and the reality is it’s the times we live in. I think women are going to continue to having children older, so that just means we have to take care of our bodies better and keep them as toxin free as possible within the world we live in.
Ashley Salomon: A couple tips on how to do that. I think I mentioned this by reducing BPA, so use glass water bottles, glass Tupperware’s great idea really. You’re going to get exposed to plastic, I mean when you go to a lot of grocery stores, even some organic foods are in plastic containers. There’s only so much you can do, but when you’re at home and you can control it in the kitchen. Number two, use non-toxic pans and there are now ceramic non-toxic, non-stick pans because obviously everybody loves non-stick pans, are a lot easier to clean. Be really aware that you have a more environmental one. Then, number three, purchase paraben free and SLS free shampoos, soaps, detergents, lotions. It’s a lot easier to do now. Number four, perchlorate that can be gotten out of water with a reverse osmosis water filtration system. Again, getting good water filtration in the house. Number five, pesticides and herbicides, as we talked about eating organic when you can, can’t always, but you try most of the time.
Ashley Salomon: Then, six, the cleaner products on the house. Vinegar is a great agent. Now, essential oils are so strong, they kill so many bugs naturally and they’re good for the immune system. Orange oil for instance is a great, great essential oil for the house. Then, a shoe off policy, one other thing a lot of people don’t think of that would be number seven because people often bring in pollutants and particulate on their shoes. I tell people, “You can have like a slipper box at the front door,” but taking shoes off is great. Eight, avoid using toxic disinfecting wipes like at the gym. Some of those wipes and they just smell so strong and you take them in your hand, you wipe down the machine, but then you’re absorbing chemicals in your skin. Another thing to think about. Then, nine avoiding phthalate. Those are other plastics that are really bad for you.
Ashley Salomon: The good news is that if you avoid fragrances that helps, anything that has fragrance in any product, be it a detergent or a soap. Then, avoiding plastic with the numbers three and seven. Numbers one, two and five are actually safer. Couple other things to think about. Then, 10 if you have carpet and this is again one of financial thing, you have to do this when you’re ready, but if you are going to reinstall carpet, you should get really clean carpet. You can look at Environmental Working Group and some other places. Lastly, depending where you live, a HEPA filter in the house to get out pollutants is a great idea.
Wendy Myers: Regarding perfume, also perfume contains perfume-
Ashley Salomon: Yeah.
Wendy Myers: Contains fragrance.
Ashley Salomon: Perfume, right.
Wendy Myers: So avoid products that have fragrance in them, but also don’t spray it all over your body every day, probably a good idea.
Ashley Salomon: That is true as well. They are coming out with new like, “Fragrances,” but they’re made of essential oils only. That’s great. They’re really finding ways around this, which is great.
Wendy Myers: Yeah and I really wanted to do this show with you because I think it’s so important for women if they’re in their childbearing years or they’re planning to get pregnant soon that they want to be thinking about doing a detox. They want to be thinking about getting mercury and lead and arsenic and other metals out of their body because that transfers via the umbilical cord to the fetus. Can you talk a little about that, about how mom’s toxins are inherited by the fetus, by the baby?
Ashley Salomon: Sure, I mean one study I’m thinking of right off the top of my head … Well, actually two interesting studies. One is from Japan, where they were looking at women who were taking chlorella in pregnancy, not that that’s recommended in this country and I’m not saying to go and take that in pregnancy. It is a mercury binder and they were finding significantly lower levels of mercury in the fetus. That’s really interesting, so that does tell you what is going on in the bloodstream of the mom is definitely affecting the bloodstream in the baby toxicity wise. Then, there was another study, similar looking at how much mercury and heavy metal in the mouth from dental work was accumulating in the baby. Basically, what we see in our bloodstream is going to be reflected in the fetus. Yes, we have a placenta that’s a great barrier, but it cannot detox everything out, especially in modern day.
Wendy Myers: Does the placenta work to help to as a barrier from mom to the fetus?
Ashley Salomon: For heavy metals specifically or toxins?
Wendy Myers: Any toxins.
Ashley Salomon: To some extent, it is definitely a filtration system, but given what the studies we’ve seen, looking at levels in the mom and the levels in the fetus, they’re always higher in the fetus with moms that have higher levels, for example, of mercury. There’s a definite impact. Not all of it is getting filtered out for sure.
Wendy Myers: Would you recommend that women remove their mercury fillings prior to getting pregnant? I mean I know the answer to this, but really just for any woman out there that’s thinking about getting pregnant, you want to think about the mercury filling. There’s lots of studies that show the higher number of mercury fillings, the higher likelihood of autism and other developmental delays in the child.
Ashley Salomon: From this European study, the higher levels of mercury in the fetus as well, so I’m not a dentist. There are conflicting views, but I would say this, there are dentists called biological dentists that are certified to safely remove mercury amalgams. Women can look at iaomt.org, which is a database for the Biological Dentistry Society for dentists certified in removing amalgams. That being said, as a medical doctor, I’m not really supposed to be saying whether to get them removed or not, but if you are going to that is the safest way to do it.
Wendy Myers: Okay, great. Yeah, good point there. What ways do you recommend detoxing the home before getting pregnant? The environment is critically important and actually, I sort of really learning a lot about detoxification when I was planning to get pregnant and reading the baby books, like remove all the toxins, organic cotton and all this stuff. I thought, “Why am I not doing this for myself, I’m only doing it for my child?”
Ashley Salomon: Right and great point. I do think the first step for women in childbearing years and really before getting pregnant, so it just kind of becomes a way of life is to look at the major toxic exposures in the house. With that I mean cleaning solutions. There are so many great organic cleaning products out there now and even just white vinegar is great for cleaning. There’s so many ways to clean more naturally or even just with soap and water. Looking at your cleaning products to make sure that they are non-toxic, looking at your products in the bathroom like shampoos, conditioners, soaps. A lot of the liquid soaps have parabens in them or sodium lauryl sulfate, which are toxic chemicals and may affect cancer rates and a number of other problems, so getting cleaner products.
Ashley Salomon: Fortunately, nowadays, there are so many great natural products out there. It’s a lot easier that either are essential oil based or herbally based. Then, also Environmental Working Group is a great resource too if you want to check out products like sunscreens, creams, makeup. Organic makeup is another great new business that is really taking off, just cleaner makeup.
Wendy Myers: I mean it’s so important to be thinking about every little thing that you’re putting on your body or in your body. You have to evaluate it. We’re not talking about throwing out everything you’ve ever bought, which for some of us is pretty extensive and expensive. Just when you go to buy something new, just think about it, maybe research what a better product could be out there. You’ve got the ewg.org/skindeep, the Skin Deep Database, so lots of resources out there to find healthier products. Let’s talk about nutrition in pregnancy. Nutrition, obviously very important, so what nutritional changes do you recommend and even supplements for women that are wanting to get pregnant?
Ashley Salomon: That’s a great question. I would say we’re all a little bit different and our blood type and constitution can affect if we might be better on a more Mediterranean diet or more paleo diet or a more plant-based diet. What I would say for sure is I tell all women to avoid sugar. Sugar affects yeast and Candida levels in the body and it causes blood sugar dysregulation. It’s just basically not good for us and find substitutes, which we can talk about in a moment. Also, commercial dairy is full of hormones and it’s really not that healthy for us. I tell women, if you do dairy, goat and sheep are more digestible and then, for cow and then, in general if you can get more grass-fed, small farm, noncommercial sources of dairy, it’s a lot cleaner, a lot more nourishing. Lastly, I do tell women across the board to start reducing gluten in their diet because the levels of glyphosate and the herbicides and pesticides are so high in it and it’s so inflammatory, specifically in the US. Most gluten grains are really high in gluten and there are a lot of great other options like buckwheat and quinoa and millet and amaranth and other great options.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I mean you do. In the US, you have to go gluten-free. I mean it’s just, like my mother was even having the recurrent bladder infections and as soon as she quit gluten, she stopped having them. She had like for a year plagued with constant bladder infections. Then that leads to antibiotics. A lot of people are just not really aware of the many different ways gluten can affect them. You just don’t want that for you and your baby.
Ashley Salomon: Absolutely, I have so many women coming to me with a younger and younger age now with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune thyroid condition. Not that gluten directly affects it for everyone, but I can tell you the women I take off gluten, their antibodies starting coming down a lot faster. It’s so inflammatory to the digestive system. There are studies that at least for women with celiac and maybe even more major gluten reactions and sensitivities that there can be issues with miscarriage and other birth issues. I think across the board, reducing inflammation in the digestive system is really important before getting pregnant.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, before I realized I was gluten sensitive, I eventually started making the connection that every time I would eat gluten, I’d have this terrible stomach ache for hours. Then, all of a sudden, it dawned on me, “Oh, it’s the bread. When I bread, I don’t feel good, okay. Maybe I should stop hitting my head with a hammer.”
Ashley Salomon: Then, a couple other points I’d like to make about nutrition, one that I don’t know if everybody thinks about that often, but are oils and healthy fats. Staying away from processed vegetable oils is huge. They really cause inflammation in the body. From a nourishing standpoint, before or during pregnancy, I feel like extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, grass-fed butters and ghees are much better source and even avocado oil, much better nourishing source of healthy fats than a lot of the processed oils out there, which are in so many products. That brings me to the last point, which is that processed foods in general, the more you can cut that down in your diet, the better off you’ll be health wise.
Wendy Myers: Yeah and let’s talk about folic acid and prenatal supplements. Folic acid is generally recommended by most medical doctors and gynecologists for women that are wanting to get pregnant. Talk about what women should actually be taking and why?
Ashley Salomon: Well, deficiency of folic acid has been associated with spinal cord defects, so it’s very important to have normal levels. What we are finding is that folic acid in its pure natural form that is highly absorbable is actually in a form called methylfolate. Most supplements now, most prenatals have folic acid. Certain genetics suggest that women are hardy enough that the regular folic acid form in certain prenatal vitamins is probably okay, but many women because of their genetics and then absorption issues, do much better with folic acid in a form that’s called methylfolate. Fortunately, there are many, many brands of prenatals now that do have folic acid in a methylfolate form.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, it’s a good idea. I mean some of them can handle it, but I think there’s roughly 30% of the population, they can’t take that folic acid, which is the B vitamin and convert it into the methylated form to even use it. It’s about 30%, so unless that you’re not in that percentage, it’s just better to err on the side of caution and do a methylfolate vitamin.
Ashley Salomon: Interestingly, there’re thoughts now as well are that if you do have those genetics that 30%, you probably also want to be taking 1 gram or even more, 1.2 up to 1.6 grams of methylfolate a day in pregnancy, not just 400 to 800 micrograms. It’s also the higher dose.
Wendy Myers: That’s a good point. Yeah, also in prenatal vitamins, they tend to be really high in iron or higher in iron than a regular multivitamin. Is that recommended?
Ashley Salomon: That’s a really great question. For many women, yes. Many women, because of their menstrual cycles and how much they may bleed every month have lower iron levels and then, it is really important because anemia in pregnancy can cause all kinds of issues. That little bit of iron every day in the prenatal can often help prevent that. That being said, there are a number of genetic disorders, where people do not process iron well or have a partial or full defect called hemochromatosis. They store too much iron in their liver. Their levels are always high and then, they should never be taking a supplement that has iron in it. On average, most women, it is not a bad thing to have a little bit iron in the prenatal, but then there are some reasons to take a prenatal without iron.
Wendy Myers: Yeah and so, let’s talk about gut health. What ways can we optimize gut health to improve fertility and have a healthier pregnancy?
Ashley Salomon: Well, the first point would be and as we already discussed is really diet and reducing sugar and inflammatory gluten in the diet is really helpful. Then, from there, what I would say is organic food is really important. The amount of herbicides and pesticides in non-organic food in this country is so high and that in itself can inflame the digestive system and bring in other toxins as well. I think organic food, non-processed food [inaudible 00:24:24] great ways to heal the gut. Then, a third point because many of us have weakened immune systems, specifically in the digestive tract because of our diet and living in urban environments, where we’re not running around in the woods anymore, eating soil and getting in contact with a greater diversity in the ecosystem when we are younger, we don’t have a strong immune systems in the gut. A lot of us have an overgrowth of Candida and yeast and parasites. If you have any digestive issues, figuring out if that’s something going on and then, working with a functional medicine or some type of licensed health care practitioner to help what that would be really important.
Wendy Myers: Are there any kind of cleanses that you’d recommend before getting pregnant, so liver or Candida cleanses or anything of that nature?
Ashley Salomon: Yes, both of those. The nice thing with both of them is they can be gentle and over a very long time, just by doing the right things for nutrition and then, for the liver, eating bitters and foods and vegetables that support the liver or doing it in a more serious way, taking some herbs and supplements along with a clean diet to help rebalance your gut a little bit more quickly.
Wendy Myers: What would your top tips be, so like anyone that’s wanting to get pregnant or planning for pregnancy, what would your top tips be to kind of clean up their environment and prepare for pregnancy?
Ashley Salomon: Great question about the top 10 tips. Number one would be start working on childhood and family issues, so that’s actually the emotional part. Once you have a kid, there’s so little time. If there’s any relational issues, childhood traumas, things that are affecting you on a more mind/body/spirit level, it’s a great time to start working on that before getting pregnant. Some women see therapists. There’s all kinds of healers out there now that can really help support emotionally. Then, the next point to me, number two, would be learn physical and emotional self-care. I don’t know any woman that becomes a mom and doesn’t start neglecting themselves to some level and sleep goes down the drain for at least the first year or so after having a child. At least learning inherently what you need to take care of yourself is so important. It will help prevent and reduce depression and adrenal fatigue and exhaustion down the road.
Ashley Salomon: Then, number three, eating organic and non-GMO food because of the reasons we talked about with reducing toxin exposure and just overall getting in more nutrients. Number four and we talked about this, the nutritional changes are incredibly important, no processed foods, healthy fats and oils only like we discussed. Getting sugar out of the diet, getting commercial dairy out of the diet, getting gluten out of the diet and then, eating also a lot of, for those who aren’t vegan, but bone broths and more nurturing foods for the body as you’re trying to prepare for pregnancy. Number five, cleaning up your home from toxins like we discussed. Again, from an emotional standpoint, not feel like you have to do it overnight and spend all this money, it’s just a slow transition over time.
Wendy Myers: Yes, Rome was not built in a day.
Ashley Salomon: No, right, Rome was not built in a day, but start thinking about organic food. If you get your house painted, get the low VOC paints. Start slowly changing out your shampoos, conditioners, soaps, makeup over time as you run out of things. Slowly change out your cleaning products. These are all really, really important steps. Then, number six, sleep and rest, I think in the 21st century, so few of us really understand what good sleep is. If you could really start to get a good eight hours, eight and a half hours of sleep at night or at least try and be in bed that long, I mean so many people lie down expecting they have to get up five, six hours later even sometimes. I’m sure binging on Netflix doesn’t help, but that’s such an important stuff and learning how to rest some because the body does need to regenerate. We’re always on the go now.
Ashley Salomon: Then, number seven would be cleaning up your gut as needed. That would be including what I mentioned before of getting rid of yeast and parasites, if you have an issue with those or if you’ve had too many antibiotics in your life and you don’t have enough healthy bacteria, working on that with a health care practitioner is a great idea.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, because you pass on your bacteria to your child. If they have a healthier microbiome, they’re just generally going to have a healthier immune system and better health in general.
Ashley Salomon: Absolutely and it’s interesting, as much as there’s a lot of discussion back and forth about how good probiotics are, one area that we see again and again that is very important is in pregnancy nursing. I [inaudible 00:29:28] to start even before pregnancy on a good probiotic. Studies are showing when women take a quality probiotic in pregnancy in a nursing that there’s a good 20% reduction in eczema and allergies, so really, really important.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, it’s really interesting you say that when my daughter Winter was a baby, I was giving her baby probiotics. Then, maybe about year three, she was three years old, I wanted to take her to an allergist. I was just curious, I just wanted to see if she had any allergies that maybe are there some foods she should be avoiding. She didn’t have any allergies. She was like slightly allergic to oatmeal. The doctor said he almost never sees that. It’s because-
Ashley Salomon: Oh, so interesting.
Wendy Myers: … I had given her probiotics. It just wiped out any potential allergies she might have had. I suffered with a lot of allergies, taking tons of allergy medicine in growing up, all through childhood. I assumed she was going to have a ton of allergies, but I wiped them out I think with the probiotics.
Ashley Salomon: Oh that’s great. These studies are so interesting too because it’s how the mother is conferring some kind of immunity to the child by taking oral probiotics themselves. That’s so interesting in pregnancy and in nursing. I don’t think we totally understand all of it, but it’s fascinating. Yes, there are so many great probiotics for mom and for even newborns and babies now and toddlers and moving on up in years, but there’s a lot of terrific probiotic options out there at this time.
Wendy Myers: What’s awesome about planning for pregnancy is you’re reading all these baby books and you just get that message over and over and over. You got to detox your home. You have to buy products for baby. You have to get out all the fragrance, all of the healthy baby clothes, organic cotton baby clothes and you really start thinking about everything in your environment. This is what really propelled me on my journey to start detoxing and start really paying more attention to what I’m putting on in my body. Planning for a baby is a wonderful place to begin really thinking about this because you have to be more concerned about what you’re putting on in your child because they’re dramatically more effective than we are as adults.
Ashley Salomon: Absolutely and from a fertility standpoint, there are so many chemicals and then, mercury as I mentioned, which is a heavy metal that can affect fertility directly by confusing the hormones in our bodies. It’s so important for fertility as well to keep a cleaner environment around us.
Wendy Myers: You told us about seven tips, so what are your next three, your last three?
Ashley Salomon: Number eight, avoid too much heavy metal contamination and that would be by avoiding heavy metals in certain foods, which I’ll talk about in a moment and then, clean water. Getting a really good reverse osmosis with carbon block filtration system in the house is a great idea. It filters out heavy metals and arsenic and a lot of the pharmaceuticals and other chemicals in water that our water plants and even though, they do a great job of filtering the water, the city water plants, they can’t keep up with how toxic are water has become. It’s always good to get an extra water filtration. Then, avoiding foods too high in heavy metals like tuna and larger fish and then, certain wines, although of course once you’re pregnant, you [inaudible 00:32:54] drinking wine anyway. Wines can be very high in heavy metals unless they’re from Italy, Argentina or Brazil. Then, rice can also be very high in arsenic. California basmati rice is a lot lower in arsenic levels. Just some things to think about.
Ashley Salomon: Then, number nine, drink lots of clean water. Number 10, balance rest and exercise. Those would be my top 10 tips.
Wendy Myers: Is there anything else you want to add to the conversation that maybe we haven’t touched on regarding detox and pre-pregnancy planning?
Ashley Salomon: Absolutely, I have a supplement list I usually recommend. There’s one that’s in actual pregnancy, but I tell women really get started on these supplements, A, to find ones that don’t bother your stomach, that you feel good on, that are right for your genetics. Then, start taking them before you even try and get pregnant. A lot of women get pregnant and then, they start taking a prenatal. My suggestion is get yourself tested for these methylation defects, which even regular labs like LabCorp and Quest can do now. They’re called MTHFR defects. Then, if you know that take a prenatal that’s methylated. There are a number of good brands for that and one that suits you. If you can’t take iron, don’t get one with iron. If you need the iron, get one with iron. Then, only a few prenatals have enough calcium and magnesium in them, so a lot of times, I tell women to supplement with at least an extra 500 milligrams of calcium a day and about 200 to 300 milligrams of magnesium a day.
Ashley Salomon: The American Pregnancy Association is actually now recommending a total of 4,000 IU, international units of vitamin D a day. Most prenatal supplements only have anywhere from 400 to 1,000 IU, so additional vitamin D3 supplementation is really important. Then, omega-3s, there are studies linking omega-3s and also reduced risk of certain immune and allergy dysfunction. There’s even a study showing that there’s a 31% reduction in egg allergy when women take omegas in pregnancy. You only need about a gram a day, a total of EPA DHA and a minimum of 300 milligrams of DHA. You can get ones that are third-party tested, high quality, don’t have heavy metals in them. They’re all really important things.
Ashley Salomon: Lastly, choline, which actually can be found in eggs, but choline is very important [inaudible 00:35:19] pregnancy and not all prenatals have that. Then, we already discussed probiotics. Just start those now, find one that your tummy likes that you feel good on that has at least 10 billion colony forming units and a really wide range of different strains. I tell people to go with at least 10, 11 different strains. Then, the other supplements I talk to when thinking about [inaudible 00:35:40] and definitely not to take in pregnancy, but before are gentle liver detoxing teas, like stinging nettle tea, turmeric tea, dandelion tea, milk thistle teas. You can drink teas every day or take bitters every day. Those are great for the liver and eat a diet very high in vegetables and good low sugar fruits like berries. That’s always very good for the liver. Then, immune system support, there are a lot of great herbs out there for immune system, elderberry, garlic astragalus, olive leaf, oregano. There a lot of great herbs you can take just to really bolster immune system. That’s not something you would take in pregnancy, but so you might as well do it before.
Ashley Salomon: Then, lastly and this is also not in pregnancy, but before and I think I mentioned this is doing some kind of a very gentle heavy metal mercury detox. That means getting the amounts of the current quantity you have in your diet reduced as we discussed, but then also a lot of sea vegetables like spirulina and chlorella and seaweeds can be really good to gently help reduce the metals in the body and then, foods high in vitamin C are good for detoxing heavy metals out too. Garlic and onions, there a lot of like gentle natural ways. A lot of women like to take a really quality source of chlorella, can be a little constipating, but it’s a great way to very gently, gently get mercury out of the system over months to years.
Wendy Myers: Yeah and I mean the top five detox foods are garlic, ginger, onions and broccoli sprouts and egg yolks. Those are the best detox food you can be eating to help you detox naturally.
Ashley Salomon: Absolutely.
Wendy Myers: Yeah and so what about detoxing during pregnancy and during breastfeeding? I get this question a lot, “Can I take detox supplements while I’m breastfeeding,” or “Is there anything I can do while I’m pregnant,” because some women start having awareness of their need to detox while they’re pregnant. What are your thoughts on that?
Ashley Salomon: There’s so much we don’t fully know about what is going to affect the outcome of a pregnancy. Delivery and labor can be so difficult anyway, but what I would say is this, nutritionally, there’s so much you can do to detox in pregnancy, meaning a little bit of ginger. The study showed ginger is great for nausea. You just don’t want to do more than about a gram a day in pregnancy, but some ginger, garlic, onions, cilantro, parsley, a lot of really good cooking spices are great gentle way to detox every day and bolster the immune system. Just cooking gently with spices, not the hot kind of spices that burn your mouth, but seasonings is one great way. Then, also to support your liver in pregnancy, you can’t do wrong with a rainbow of vegetables. Many women I find tend to crave more fruit in pregnancy, so provided they don’t have blood sugar issues or aren’t getting into diabetic gestational issues that having some fruit in the diet is a great idea too because there’s so many minerals and nutrients. For example, like apples are very great for gently detoxing the liver.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, like they have malic acid in them, which really helps the liver.
Ashley Salomon: Yeah and you can even get fresh dandelion and cut it up and add it to your salad. They’re just gentle way, as I mentioned and this is especially true in pregnancy, rather than doing a real intense cleanse, just gently daily eating foods that detox into your system is really the best way to go. Then, of course, avoiding exposures.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, because we are detoxing every day, even if we’re not actively doing a cleanse or even if we’re pregnant, your body has detox mechanisms that are always active to try to shuttle out toxins. You just want to ramp those up as much as possible. It’s perfectly safe doing that with foods.
Ashley Salomon: Even exercise, of course, you never want to start doing more exercise when you’re pregnant, so you want to train and be healthy before pregnancy, you don’t want necessarily ramp it up, but just in general, exercise, they’ve done some interesting studies, looking at heavy metal levels in urine after exercise. It seems like they go up, so your body kind of dumps heavy metals and exercise [inaudible 00:40:10]. Exercise is a great way to detox as well on a day basis.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I had zero danger of that happening when I was pregnant by over exercising.
Ashley Salomon: Yeah, most women don’t have the energy. [inaudible 00:40:22] sleep a lot. Then, sleep itself, sleep is so important for the body detoxing, you’re regenerating and most women say they have to drag themselves out of bed in the first trimester anyway.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I slept a lot definitely when I was pregnant. Yeah and I couldn’t exercise very much because when I would start exercising, if I got hot, I get super nauseated. I was like, “Well, there goes that. I might as well just lay around.”
Ashley Salomon: Right, exactly. That actually brings me to great other point, which is hydration. That’s a great way to also keep your body clean in pregnancy and it’s really important to prevent preterm labor is to keep yourself properly hydrated.
Wendy Myers: Yes.
Ashley Salomon: Then, in lactation, the interesting thing is there are some herbs you can take in lactation. A lot of those mother’s milk teas, some of the herbs in those teas actually are really good for the liver. Just a really gentle easy way to do liver detox when you’re nursing is to do the certified mother … I don’t know if I can say the brand, but [inaudible 00:41:21] much of great organic, of course organic herbal mother’s milk teas that help breast milk, but are actually supportive to the liver as well.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, a lot of them have fenugreek seed.
Ashley Salomon: Exactly.
Wendy Myers: It’s trying to support the breast milk and whatnot. I took those [inaudible 00:41:37] trying to get more milk. Tell us a little bit more about to how can women work with you that are wanting to do pre-pregnancy planning and detoxification, how do they find you?
Ashley Salomon: I’m in Los Angeles and in Santa Monica. The easiest way to reach me, well, they’re a couple ways. Actually, one is through my Instagram, drashleyhealth. I also have a lot of what we talked about in different forums on environmental exposures and detox on that account. Then, my website is www.ashleysalomonmd.com, A-S-H-L-E-Y-SA-L-O-M-O-N-M-D.com. There is a phone number there to my clinic, to the front desk in my clinic. Then, I also have a whole bunch of videos on these topics. It’s on YouTube. It’s just on the channel, Dr. Ashley.
Wendy Myers: Okay, great. Well, Dr. Ashley Salomon, thank you so much for coming on the show. I so appreciate you imparting your knowledge to us. This is a topic I really haven’t talked about enough, but I get a lot of requests and I just don’t have any blog post about it. It’s really, really important because women that are of childbearing age need to be thinking about the toxic body burden that they have that they could pass on to their child and doing something about it. Don’t wait to take action because I wish I had been more aware of pre-pregnancy planning. I wish I had gotten my metals and my high levels of aluminum and arsenic and uranium and mercury and other metals that I had in me out before I got pregnant because my daughter had a lot of problems and had a lot of high metal levels and aluminum and things that caused her some issues that I then had to deal with. It was extremely stressful. She had an autism diagnosis at one point. She’s better now, but that was after $100,000 of intervention and all the stress and everything that came with that. You’re better off learning about this stuff, detoxing your body and mitigating that risk of your child dealing with developmental delays and the other things that we know in the research can happen when children’s and fetuses’ developing brains and bodies are exposed to metals and hormone mimicking chemicals.
Ashley Salomon: Absolutely.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, so everyone, thanks so much for listening. Ashley, thanks for contributing to the toxic conversation.
Ashley Salomon: Yeah, thank you, thank you so much.
Wendy Myers: Yeah and everyone, thanks so much for listening to the Myers Detox Podcast, where every week we’ll explore topics related to heavy metal and chemical toxicity. Look forward to talking to you guys next week.