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Types of Food Toxins and Their Effect on Fetal Development
Nourishment could be healthy or it may hold poisons and these poisons could be chemical, environmental, or it could be installed in our food that attacks the human body. They cause acute, sub-acute, or chronic manifestations for fetus, children, adults, and elderly people. For these reasons and others, nourishment analysts have discovered that hundred types of food and what we consume everyday could be harmful, thus influencing destructively the fetal development. A pregnant mother or a mother that is willing to get pregnant must take this issue into consideration in order to provide for her and her child a complete health and safety environment. In particular, food toxins vary in types and actions where these toxins includes lead, mercury, pesticides, smoking, raw meat, unpasteurized milk and soft cheese, junk food, and caffeine. But in overall, food toxins have one similarity where they cause harm to the fetus, in addition to that severe complications can occur if there was no control over food diet.
Toxins from a general point of view are substances or proteins that are poisonous and can cause diseases that range between acute, sub-acute, or chronic. Toxins can deal with many fields and could be derived from environment, chemicals, or food. So, in particular, food toxins can pass from mother to fetus during pregnancy and cause congenital defects like neurological disorders or minor physiological changes like low birth weight. Some of these food toxins that were interesting to know showed the facts of the consequences of these toxins that were perfectly experimented under scientists and many pregnancy organizations. These toxins include lead that mainly cause neurodevelopment issues, mercury that can cause impairment of body senses, pesticides that can cause birth defects, smoking that can lead to low birth weight, raw meat that causes mainly toxoplasmosis, unpasteurized milk and soft cheese that lead to bacterial infection caused by Listeria monocytogenes that leads to listeriosis, junk food that can decrease IQ levels, and finally, caffeine that can alter the growth of the fetus.
The first toxin that will be discussed is the lead, it is a toxin that can result in a harm impacts for creatures and people, particularly for the developmental baby. It is found on earth's covering as a metal and it has been found in different spots, such as paint, toys, soil, air, ceramic productions, nourishment, and water. Pregnant ladies who drink from the tape water, it may be exposed to high amounts of lead present in water channels which will hurt the fetus and can cause hypertension. Lead might be transmitted to food by dust particles that enters into it while food preparations. Besides, lead could be found in diet holders like jars, in the plates or pans that contains lead and it break out more when acidic juices like squeezed orange, salsa, soy sauce, and tea are placed inside then heating them in these plates.
Hence, lead works by attaching the calcium in the bones and by attaching to the platelets, where it enters the body and cross the placenta of the fetus to cause chronic manifestations that could result in a neurological improvement for the fetus bringing on issues with hearing and learning disabilities; it reduces the IQ levels, and results in a low birth weight baby.
The second toxin is mercury, is a heavy metal that could be a silver liquid found in thermometers, found in light bulbs, in air, and in sea food like fish, tuna, swordfish, and shellfish and this is caused by the mercury in air that falls in the oceans, lakes, and rivers where these fish absorb the mercury and then released to us by eating them. Thus, mercury could be exposed for the human being through air, skin, eating, and drinking contaminated food with mercury specially fish.
Since fish is the brain food and rich in proteins and nutrients like omerga-3 fatty acids, vitamin B and iodine, pregnant women must have this source of food but in a limited way. Although fish is an excellent source of protein however it had a dark side which is the presence of high levels of mercury inside. A high mercury fish source should be avoided for pregnant women since it leads to impairment in fetal development. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the mercury is passed to the fetus by crossing the placenta and the brain-barrier and causes memory impairment, language skills impairment, sight and hearing impairment, neurons impairment which can damage the spinal cord, abnormality in movement, and neuron loss in the cerebrum cortex and the cerebellum. Therefore, the mercury can cause a neuron loss and impairment by inhibiting the protein, disruption of neurotransmitters, destruction of the neurons and in the function of mitochondria.
The third toxin are the pesticides which are chemical substances that is sprayed on plants in order to protect them from the attack of pests and insects, so these substances will kill those insects by inhibiting their nervous system leading to their destruction, and at the same time those plants could be either vegetables or fruits that will absorb these chemical substances, and will be released to us after ingestion.
In 2014, the Environmental Working Group, identified food of non-organic and updated them the food that contains the highest number of pesticides which are in the order form ascending to descending; it includes apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, nectarines, cucumbers, potatoes, and hot peppers. Therefore, pesticides will cause birth defects in the growth and development of the fetus like abnormalities in the heart, eyes, and face; and incomplete development of the bile ducts and the skull bones.
The fourth toxin which is a very harmful one, it can affect anyone in a dangerous and deadly way, and permit them to enter in a huge cycle of diseases. So if this happens to an adult which he/she has a strong immunity then how the smoking will be affecting a pregnant women and her tiny fetus. According to different studies, smoking while pregnant will affect the baby strongly and aggressively. One cigarette contains more than 4000 types of different toxins and chemicals. Unfortunately, they will enter into the bloodstream of the mother and cross the placenta and starts penetrating inside the fetus body causing first, a disorder in the brain function leading to low IQ levels causing learning disorders and behavioral problems for later to be deduced. Second, it enters into lungs which causes asthma and may lead to sudden death. Third it causes heart defects where studies showed at U.S in February 2011 associated by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that 20% to 70% of babies of whom their mother is a smoker, have a congenital heart defects more than the babies of whom non-smoker mothers. And this works by the constriction of the blood vessels that will in parallel decrease the blood flow from the heart into the lungs; thus red blood cells that carries oxygen and release it to the body will instead carry carbon monoxide leading to the reduction in the amount of oxygen supply. Moreover, smoking will allow a premature delivery and a low birth weight where the mother could give a birth of a baby with less than 5 pounds of weight Although, studies have done by Rick Nauert that deals with smoking issues which was proved that it causes defects in the fetal development. Still these causes didn’t ring a bell for some women in USA where 13% to 30% continued to smoke during their pregnant interval.
In addition to that, studies started in 1959 to prove the addiction of adults to smoking of those their mothers used to smoke during pregnancy and this study embraced 50,000 pregnant women. And 1086 of mothers joined in the measurements of their cortisol and testosterone levels. These children who were delivered from these mothers, 649 of females and 437 of males where addicted to smoking when they reached adulthood and records were taken. The studies revealed that the high levels of maternal smoking and prenatal cortisol in female’s offsprings helped to increase the risk of nicotine as adults. The outcomes revealed that the sex differences in stress hormone regulation in the embryo and the ways of exposure to the prenatal environment can really affect both females and males in many different ways. Thus this study shows who is at greater risk to be a smoker later in adulthood which showed that the females are at higher risk than males due to hormonal issues.
In general, meat is a good source of protein and vitamins; however raw meat or uncooked meat is not healthy as others think. It can develop many diseases and parasites inside the body of the human being. The exposure of pregnant women to raw meat is not recommended at all since it can harm the mother and the fetus as well. One of the major parasites that are caused by eating raw meat is toxoplasmosis where it can infect the mother and fetus respectively. In the reference to the Organization of Teratology Information Services (OTIS), claims that when a pregnant women gets infected between the weeks of 10 and 24 there will be a severe issues in newborns about 5% to 6%. The fetus will develop after infection with that parasite, mental retardation, abnormal head size, calcification of brain, retina defects, low birth weight, and premature birth
Milk and milk products as known are an excellent source for calcium and vitamin D, and every pregnant woman must have these sources in order to complete their appropriate intake of diet. However, sources like unpasteurized milk and soft cheese could affect the mother and the fetus since they are contaminated with bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes that causes listeriosis. Pregnant women are at a higher risk to get this infection rather than the un-pregnant women. This bacterium is not limited to soft cheese or unpasteurized milk but also eating contaminated and unsanitary food and vegetables. This bacterium is found mostly in cold areas like the refrigerator, where the infection is passed to the fetus and causes premature labor, low birth weight, mental retardation, paralysis, abnormalities in heart, brain, and kidney; and it could cause meningitis after birth. On the other hand, a pregnant woman will suffer also from symptoms caused by this bacterium including fever, chills, diarrhea, headache, stomach ache, loss of balance, and confusion.
Pregnant women are recommended not to eat these subtypes of soft cheese like brie, blue cheese (danish blue, gorgonzola, and roquefort), camembert, and ripened cheese made with goat’s milk. Thus it is preferable for them to eat hard cheese since it is less acidic and less juicy so the bacteria will be less likely to grow in it and does not contain as much water as soft cheese.
The seventh toxin that usually half the populations are addicted to is the junk food. When a pregnant mother eat these types of food frequently she is not aware at all how many calories she is eating per meal; junk food contains a very high amount of sugars, sodium, and fat and these three lineages could lead in further to clinical diseases. Such as the high amount of sugar will lead to diabetes and the person will crave for more sugar; whereas, high amount of sodium will increase the blood pressure and will affect the kidney; on the other hand, fat content could lead to high amount of cholesterol levels in the blood and these will accumulate and can form a plaque in the blood arteries. Thus, a pregnant mother will be harmed and could suffer from depression also after eating these kinds of food frequently. Therefore, these bad three contents will cross the placenta, enters the blood stream, and will cause cognitive problems, decrease IQ levels and it can lead the fetus for further cravings for sugar and carbohydrates at childhood stage.
The last toxin is caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, and soft drinks like soda. Caffeine is an accelerator that stimulates the nerves and increases the blood vessel volume, blood pressure, and heart rate; also it binds iron and calcium and reduces their absorption. After the ingestion of caffeine it will reach the baby within 15-30 minutes and will stay in blood for 12 hours according to the Australian Drug Foundation. Thus, the caffeine intake must be less than 200 mg per day during pregnancy. A study in BMC medicine claims that the baby will suffer from a low birth weight and low growth.
In conclusion, all essential nutrients will pass from the mother to child and cross the placenta in order to flush the fetus with all the healthy diet, but what if instead some toxins pass and cause health damages to the embryo. The job here is for the mother to provide excellent protection and diet for her and her fetus, since she is holding inside her another soul that needs extreme protection and care. Thus, she must prevent herself from exposure to all of these toxins that are mentioned above and other toxins as well, and to be moderate while eating unhealthy food in excess that would cause serious issues.