Phytoestrogen is a major endocrine disrupter, and can be found in high concentrations in the food we feed our dogs every day. This chemical blocks the action of your dog’s hormones by keeping them from binding to their usual receptors. This blocking causes there to be a detrimental chemical imbalance because the natural hormones are not binding and instead pass by as waste.
When phytoestrogen is present, the body receives less signals from the right hormones and so development and health are hindered even though a blood test may show perfect hormone balance in the bloodstream. These disruptive effects build up over time, even across generations. As they build up, their impact is more noticeable because they impede your dog’s hormones and change their internal biology with greater frequency. This results in a variety of ailments including lower sperm counts, smaller litter sizes, and most importantly dogs that can’t reach their full potential.
Women consuming a fertility diet were shown to increase their fertility by over 80 percent, according to a paper published in the November 1, 2007, issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. The study was led by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and did not even examine the risk associated with other kinds of infertility, such as low sperm count in men. (9)
Another study followed over 17,000 women and showed that a fertility diet and proper exercise led to a 69% lower risk of ovulatory disorder infertility. (7) A study on mice where doses of phytoestrogen were given to female rats showed actual morphological changes to their ovaries and showed reduced fertility and in the highest doses even infertility. (8) Cows and ewes fed estrogenic forage may suffer impaired ovarian function, often accompanied by reduced conception rates and increased embryonic loss.
Eating a fertility diet to boost fertility is one of the most powerful health changes you can make. Numerous studies have shown that specific changes to the diet can improve fertility, prevent recurrent miscarriage and support a healthy pregnancy.
Sperm count is also affected. Men in one study were fed varying degrees of phytoestrogen-filled foods. (1) Men in the highest category of phytoestrogen intake had 41 million sperm/ml less than men who did not consume a high phytoestrogen diet. Another study was done in which researchers wanted to examine the influence of dietary soy and phytoestrogens on testicular and reproductive functions. (2) One set of mice were fed a high phytoestrogen diet from conception to adulthood, another group was fed a low phytoestrogen diet. Both grew up to be fertile, but the male mice fed a high phytoestrogen diet had a 25% reduction in sperm count, and a 21% reduction in litter size.
Keep in mind that there were reductions in litter sizes when male rats on high phytoestrogen diets were bred with female rats on a low phytoestrogen diet. Imagine the effect it would have if both male and female were on a high phytoestrogen diet. In a separate study, adult rats were fed a high phytoestrogen diet for 24 days resulting in significantly decreased sperm counts. (6)
Phytoestrogen even has its effects at birth weight. It was shown that pregnant rats fed a diet rich in phytoestrogen had lowered birth weights. Phytoestrogens were also transferred to the offspring through the milk.
No matter how we look at it, high doses of phytoestrogens are bad news for the reproductive health of our animals. (4) One study even proposed that phytoestrogens are a phytochemical defense that plants have against animals that consume them. As I studied this, I could see a definite parallel to what I was experiencing and I knew something had to be done. Anything that could be harming our litter sizes and the health of the puppies was inexcusable in my mind.
The good news is that most of the effects of phytoestrogen are reversible or somewhat reversible. Reversing its effects is accomplished by switching to a low phytoestrogen diet. It is a somewhat gradual process but before long these endocrine disruptors begin to dissipate from the bloodstream. (8)
In the study in which cows and ewes were fed phytoestrogenic forage, the results included impaired ovarian function, often accompanied by reduced conception rates and increased embryonic loss. The infertility seemed to resolve itself within one month after removal from the phytoestrogenic feed. However, some ewes exposed to estrogen for prolonged periods suffered a second form of infertility that is permanent, caused by developmental actions of estrogen during adult life. Only the developmental effects are left and there may be some hope for improvement, and a lot of promise for the next generation.
(1)Soy food and isoflavone intake in relation to semen quality parameters among men from an infertility clinic Jorge E. Chavarro1,2,7, Thomas L. Toth3, Sonita M. Sadio4 and Russ Hauser3,5,6
(2)Potential detrimental effects of a phytoestrogen-rich diet on male fertility in mice Christopher R. Cederrotha, Celine Zimmermanna, Jean-Louis Benyb, Olivier Schaadc, Chantal Combepinea, Patrick Descombesc, Daniel R. Doergee, François P. Pralongd, Jean-Dominique Vassallia, Serge Nefa, ,
(3)Flaxseed and Its Lignan Precursor, Secoisolariciresinol Diglycoside, Affect Pregnancy Outcome and Reproductive Development in Rats1,2,3 Janet C. L. Tou, Jianmin Chen, and Lilian U. Thompson4
(4)Phytochemical mimicry of reproductive hormones and modulation of herbivore fertility by phytoestrogens. C L Hughes, Jr
(5)Soybean phytoestrogen intake and cancer risk Herman, C; Adlercreutz, T; Goldin, Barry R; Gorbach, Sherwood L; et al. The Journal of Nutrition125.3 (Mar 1995): 757S-770S.
(6)Adult-only exposure of male rats to a diet of high phytoestrogen content increases apoptosis of meiotic and post-meiotic germ cells Stephen Assinder, Ryan Davis, Mark Fenwick and Amy Glover
(7)Disruption of the female reproductive system by the phytoestrogen genistein Wendy N. Jefferson, ,Elizabeth Padilla-Banks, Retha R. Newbold
(8)Detection of the effects of phytoestrogens on sheep and cattle. N R Adams
(9)Diet and Lifestyle in the Prevention of Ovulatory Disorder Infertility Chavarro, Jorge E. MD, ScD1,2; Rich-Edwards, Janet W. MPH, ScD2,3,4; Rosner, Bernard A. PhD2,5; Willett, Walter C. MD, DrPH1,2,4
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