What’s the deal?
Hormonal imbalances are known to many in the population as we increasingly face exposure to more chemicals inside of the products we’re using, and inside the food we are consuming. Many of these chemicals and elements are hormonal disruptors because they are so similar in structure to our own hormones that once they are absorbed by the body (either on the skin or via consumption) the body thinks that since we are now sourcing these hormones from external means, it doesn’t need to produce any. This is causing some serious havoc in many of our lives. From men producing excess adipose tissue in the breast region, women producing experiencing painful cervical cysts, and other cases of emotional irregularity, breast cancer, decreased immunity, metabolism dysfunction, pregnancy complications, and so much more.
One of the hormones that these endocrine disruptors has been known to mimic is estrogen, the female reproductive system hormone. Many studies have proved this will increase mood swings, symptoms of PMS, painful cramps during menstruation, excessive bleeding, infertility, and cervical cysts, breast cancer, and premature puberty. The biggest culprit for estrogen impersonating is BPAs, found in many plastic products. Recently, consumer awareness has been raised enough to prevent BPAs in some of our plastic water bottles, and other products. Still do be weary as there is no actual regulation on production using this ingredient in the U.S.
Androgens, the male reproductive hormone, can be mimicked by phthalates and this has been shown to cause low potency, premature testicular cell death, and less mobile sperm. On another note, exposure to Dioxin while in the womb has been shown to reduce sperm count in a man’s prime reproduction years.
Thyroid dysfunction is another very real outcome of contamination to these elements. The thyroid controls overall metabolism of the body such as skin cell turnover, hair growth, nail growth, cell metabolism, and of course turning your food into energy. Don’t forget that if the metabolism processes are not met at the cellular level, many organ functions, and cognitive maturation in infants and children can be greatly interrupted. Perchlorate is a contaminate found in most of our water supply, and food supply from produce to meat. It’s extremely hard to avoid, but with adequate intake of iodine you can avoid absorbing perchlorate mistakenly. Iodine deficiency is the most widespread cause of goiter. You can attain this by using iodized salt in some of your food, but be conscious of your sodium intake as well.
Am I at risk?
Consider taking more precaution when buying products, by informing yourself on the meaning of the ingredients listed on the labels. Sometimes, they can be a bit tricky to decipher so here are a few hormonal disruptors to keep an eye out for:
- Phthalates commonly found in products labeled with the sneaky, and opaque “fragrance” ingredient which usually is code word for hidden phthalates. Also found in many plastic products.
- Bisphenol-A (BPA) commonly found in receipt paper, plastic products, and lined in canned goods.
- Phytoestrogens commonly found in soy, lentils, barley, hops, carrots, clary sage oil, tempe, yam, oats, coffee, and many more. (This has much controversy as phytoestrogens have been proven to help prevent certain types of cancers, as well as causing breast cancer to grow. Essentially, they do disrupt the hormonal system negatively, and therefore make the list.)
- Dioxin commonly found in animal products as they have experienced exposure the the chemical reaction that creates dioxin in the industrial setting.
- Altrazine commonly found in inorganic corn crops, and contaminating our main water supplies.
- Perchlorate found in most of our food supply, and contaminating most of our water.
- Arsenic commonly found lurking in our water supply.
- Lead commonly found in paints, and sometimes in our water supply.
- Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) commonly found in nonstick cookware, and stain resistant carpets, clothing, and so on.
- Glycol Ethers commonly found in cleaning products
- Organophosphate Pesticides commonly found on inorganic produce
While avoiding some of these things can be difficult in our modern society of mass production and contamination along the way, the body generally absorbs these and mistakes them most when your body is in need of something similar in molecular structure. So staying nourished with trace minerals in your diet, as well as the macro, and micro nutrients you need will ensure you to be less prone to absorption. Avoid using plastic at all costs, including toys for your children because they unfortunately are loaded with Phthalates, and BPAs. Also, switching to natural and organic cleaning products, cosmetics, as well as linens and clothing can keep your delicate endocrine system aligned, and protected from these harmful invaders.