Go figure, this article started out as a list of Xenoestrogens that I was making for a hormone workshop, however I decided that this information needed to be shared with more people to help shed the light on what can cause hormonal issues in men and women. So what is a xenoestrogen? Xenoestrogens are chemicals that bind to estrogen receptors of the cells in your body. This can lead to an interference of your normal hormonal functions – hence disrupting your endocrine system. Xenoestrogens are considered endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and are linked to chronic diseases. Xenoestrogens are one of the contributing factors of estrogen dominance in women. Now that you know about xenoestrogens, here is a list of where you find them most often. Naturally you wouldn’t even think a moment that the environment or product you use would affect your hormones. However, it seems that we are exposed to xenoestrogens through multiple types of exposure and they appear to be all around us.
1.MEAT AND DAIRY PRODUCTS
Commercially grown farm products are contaminated with bovine growth hormones. Animals you eat are being injected with growth hormones and other chemicals to make them produce more, quicker. When you don’t see rBGH or rBST FREE on the label anywhere, you should know that this is milk produced from a cow treated with a genetically modified (GMO) growth hormone to increase milk production. Just in recent years, according to National Institute of Health, evidence has increased how some estrogens and the insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1) initiate and provoke breast, prostate and endometrial cancers.
INSECTICIDE & PESTICIDE RESIDUES
You will find insecticides and pesticides on basically everything we eat. Fruits, nuts, veggies, legumes, grains etc. With over 2000 new chemicals being introduced annually, it is uncertain if there is adequate time to study if they pose a risk for human health or the environment. This is bad news for females according to this study by the National Institutes of Health. “Disruption can occur in all stages of hormonal regulation: 1. hormone synthesis; 2. hormone release and storage; 3. hormone transport and clearance; 4. hormone receptor recognition and binding; 5. hormone postreceptor activation; 6. the thyroid function; and 7. the central nervous system.” Look no further than synthetic chemicals like glyphosate and atrazine and this is just the start. These are xenoestrogens and sprayed onto grains, which is fed to the animals you eat and produce you buy.
You will find parabens in personal care products such as toothpaste, moisturizer, hair care products, soaps and cosmetics. Paraben or phenoxyethanol chemical compounds are widely used by cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries as preservatives. What a way to keep that young look! Parabens are known to mimic estrogen and have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues. Cosmetic products do not require FDA approval for their ingredients before they go on the market.
Xenoestrogens that enter through the skin (as in sunscreen) move directly to your tissues without passing through the liver for detoxification. That means they are fully absorbed by the body and can be way more potent than orally consumed parabens.
Phthalates are chemical compounds used to soften plastic material or increase plastic flexibility. Phthalates are known to damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and the reproductive system. The majority of Americans tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have metabolites of multiple phthalates in their urine. Research also shows that Woman have higher amounts of phthalates in their body then men due to the use of soaps and cosmetic products. Still drinking hot liquids out of Styrofoam cups? Also check cosmetic product labels for phthalate, DEP, DBP, DEHP and “fragrance”.
- TAP WATER
Check with your local water department and see what chemical are being added. You’ll be surprised to find petroleum derivatives, a primary source for xenoestrogens. A huge amount of estrogen is released into the water supply from women taking oral contraceptives. This is now a world-wide issue, with fish being intersex and more female than male fish.
- ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES
Synthetic estrogen in birth control pills fool the pituitary gland into thinking you are pregnant. These xenoestrogens not only disrupt your natural hormone metabolism but are also not biodegradable, meaning they are stored in your fat cells.
- DRYER SHEETS
Full of xenoestrogens meant to soften your clothes. The xenoestrogens can go directly into your cells, your skin can absorb up to 60% of what touches it. Consider using wool laundry balls with essential oils in the dryer. We use distilled vinegar in the rinse cycle on the washing machine.
- PROCESSED FOODS
Pretty much all commercially processed and packaged foods from chicken soup base to gum and candy contain food additives that affect your estrogen. Food coloring, preservatives and flavoring agents are made using xenoestrogens. Two recently identified xenoestrogens are propyl gallate, a preservative used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling (used since 1948), and 4-hexylresorcinol, which is used to prevent discoloration in shrimp and other shellfish. Did I mention Red #40?
- CHEMICAL OFF-GASING
Harsh cleaning products, paints, solvents, chlorine, lubricants, fuel, new carpets, insect repellents, air fresheners, contain xenoestrogens. Many household cleaners contain xenoestrogens, if you smell it, you are exposed to it.
- SOY PROTEIN AND SOY PROTEIN ISOLATES
Soy has been getting a bad rap, however unprocessed soy is not bad for you, it may even help lower certain cancer risks. Soy contains phytoestrogens, “phyto” means plant so they are plant-based estrogens and can be managed by your body unlike synthetic estrogens. The issue with soy protein and soy protein isolates is the way they are processed. The process involves soaking the soy bean in hexane, which is a petroleum by-product when making gasoline and is also used in solvents, ink and degreasers. Hexane has also been identified as a neurotoxin by the National Institutes of Health.
What can you do to protect yourself from xenoestrogens? Start by taking simple steps like not heating food in plastic in the microwave. Use glass containers to store food and drink out of. Check out this website from the Endocrine Society for more tips and learn about EDCs.
Ready to make a change but not sure how? Connect with me for a 30 minute call to learn what life could look like with a coach.