Exposure to certain metals can cause women to have a lower egg count, a new study has revealed.
New research has shown that middle-aged women who are exposed to toxic metals may have fewer eggs in their ovaries as they approach menopause.
Having fewer eggs compared to other women your age, also known as diminished ovarian reserve, may be linked to health problems such as hot flashes, weak bones and a higher chance of heart disease.
Heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead are commonly found in our drinking water, air pollution and food contamination and are considered endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
To find out the impact those metals have on women’s ovaries the team studied 549 middle-aged women who were transitioning to menopause and had evidence of heavy metals in their urine samples.
The results, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, showed that women with higher levels of metal in their urine were more likely to have lower levels of the Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) in their blood.
This indicated that these women have a diminished ovarian reserve and are more likely to have health risks in middle age and later life.
Associate professor Sung Kyun Park, from the University of Michigan, said: “Widespread exposure to toxins in heavy metals may have a big impact on health problems linked to earlier aging of the ovaries in middle-aged women, such as hot flashes, bone weakening and osteoporosis, higher chances of heart disease and cognitive decline.
“Our study linked heavy metal exposure to lower levels of Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) in middle-aged women.
“AMH tells us roughly how many eggs are left in a woman’s ovaries – it’s like a biological clock for the ovaries that can hint at health risks in middle age and later in life.
“Metals, including arsenic and cadmium, possess endocrine disrupting characteristics and may be potentially toxic to the ovaries.
“We need to study the younger population as well to fully understand the role of chemicals in diminished ovarian reserve and infertility.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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