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PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

Certain sunscreens mimic estrogen

July 06, 2009|Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon

I am a breast-cancer survivor and have heard that some sunscreens contain estrogen-like compounds. I cannot have anything that contains estrogen in or on my body. I would like to know which brands to avoid which are safe.

Benzophenone-3 (BP-3 or oxybenzone) has estrogen-like activity. Try sunscreen with physical blockers such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

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My husband has COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and suffers when he retains water. It seems that when the water retention is at its worst, the diuretic Lasix just doesn't work.

I started thinking about what foods might work as a diuretic and remembered that when we went on a low-carb/high-protein diet, we immediately lost a lot of water weight. We tried it for three days, and it was miraculous. Now when he is retaining water we do three days of strict Atkins and he's back to normal. Why don't doctors recommend this?

Perhaps they don't know about it. We checked with Dr. Eric Westman of Duke University Medical Center, who has done research on the Atkins diet. He told us that sodium restriction and carbohydrate restriction have a diuretic effect. Most people don't know that insulin leads to sodium retention, which leads to water retention. Dietary carbohydrates make insulin rise, so a high-carb diet leads to sodium and fluid retention. "Both the low-sodium rice diet and the low-carb Atkins Induction diet will lead to water loss during the first week or so," Westman says.

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Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. www.peoplespharmacy.com

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