We are all silent victims to an In-Humane Hurricane of Hazardous Hormones! Ok, that was dramatic. We are exposed to many more toxic forms of Estrogen than we might be aware of. That’s better.
Foreign Estrogens, or Xeno-Estrogens, are a type of hormone that mimic Estrogen but are not the natural form of the hormone that you create in your own body. They are chemical compounds that can be synthetic, like the Estrogens from medications or birth control pills. They can also be from a natural source, like Phyto-Estrogens from plants or Myco-Estrogens from fungi.
The complicating issue with these estrogenic compounds is that they fit right into an Estrogen Receptor in your body like a puzzle piece and activate hormone-like activity without the brain telling the body to do so. When foreign hormones are bound to a hormone receptor your natural Estrogens cannot be used properly. Creating hormone driven actions in the body WITHOUT the brain being in charge of it will normally start a problem. A good example;
Women often ask “why are young girls menstruating so much earlier than they used to”?
The incredible increase in exposure to Xeno-Estrogens in our food, cleaning supplies, personal care products, hormones in livestock, dryer sheets and even in our water supply activate estrogenic effects in our bodies. These foreign hormones can actually stimulate the early onset of a female menstrual cycle years before it is supposed to start.
A common term, Estrogen Dominance, does not particularly mean the body is creating too much estrogen. The body, in many cases, is creating its own Estrogens and is also exposed to countless sources of estrogens that are added to the total hormone load. Here are a few symptoms of this proverbial Over-Estrogenation of the Nation; (Estrogenation is not a real word it just flowed).
- Ovarian Cysts
- Irregular Menstrual Cycles
- Pre-Menstrual Syndrome
- Hot Flashes
- Mood Swings
- Thinning of Hair
Too much Estrogen is not just a female problem though, in men the symptoms are no less problematic;
- Sexual dysfunction (low libido, decreased erectile function)
- Enlarged breasts
- Lower urinary tract symptoms associated with prostate swelling
- Increased abdominal fat
- Feeling tired
- Loss of muscle mass
- Emotional disturbances, especially depression
- Type 2 diabetes
What are some of the sinister sources of this Estrogen Madness?
- Atrazine (prevents weeds in crops, on golf courses and lawns)
- BPA (plastics, lined cans, straws, cash register receipts)
- BPS (replaces BPA)
- Dioxins (herbicide production, tampons, bleaching paper)
- Endosulfan (insecticide on foods and in water runoff)
- Medications (Birth Control, HRT, Hormone Patch, NuvaRing)
- Pthalates (plastics, perfumes, lotions, air fresheners, slow release meds)
- Parabens (lotions, cosmetics, sunscreen)
- Zeranol (growth hormone for livestock)
Another serious problem with these Estrogen Disrupters is that they are a type of toxin that is not easily removed from the body. Some toxins are hydrophilic, meaning water-soluble. If you hydrate properly you can urinate them out or sweat them out easily. Estrogenic toxins happen to be lipophilic, meaning fat-soluble. There are a number of things that can make it difficult to excrete these fat soluble, foreign estrogens.
- Genetic inability to excrete these toxins so they are more readily stored in the body.
- Environmental exposure that interferes with breaking down and excreting fat-soluble toxins.
- Frequent Alcohol consumption.
- Increased exposure to xeno-estrogens. (check your personal care products)
- Epstein Barr Virus
- Lack of Gall Bladder
- Gut Dysbiosis (lots of bad bacteria, fungus, parasites in the intestinal lining that interfere with optimal detoxification).
- Consumption of a high refined carbohydrate diet.
- Exercise Deficiency/Sedentary Lifestyle (not getting regular exercise).
There are xeno-estrogens everywhere. The ones that come from the environment, plastics, personal care products, cash register receipts, dryer sheets, air fresheners etc. are not good for us and daily chemical exposures can accumulate slowly over time causing significant health issues. So as not to sound all “Dooms Day” about it, our bodies are fully designed and equipped to manage these toxic exposures. Unfortunately, the perfect storm is upon us with foreign estrogens coming from such a broad range of sources.
So, what are some of the simple steps that we can take to decrease this toxic load of hormone disrupters?
- Start with limiting the direct exposures. Check your personal care and beauty products for Phalates, BPA, Parabens & Dioxins. If it touches your skin you will absorb it in.
- Get rid of the dryer sheets and air fresheners. In the dryer place 4-5 drops of essential oils on a cloth or dryer ball before turning the dryer on. For clearing the air try something more natural like diffusing an essential oil or pot-pourri.
- If you are over-weight, consider dropping a few pounds. These Xeno-estrogens are stored in your body fat so lowering the storage tank will also minimize exposure proportionately.
- Avoid hormone therapies and birth control pills if at all possible. These are direct sources of problematic foreign hormones.
- Try to eat organic to minimize pesticide exposures that are estrogenic and do your best to drink clean water. There are hormone disrupters in your tap water.
- One of the most powerful tools you have to decrease the risk of Estrogen Complications is your Diet. The more broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts and cabbage you eat, the more-healthy your estrogen receptors in your body will be. Avoid a diet that is full of soy products and try to minimize consuming animal proteins that have hormones injected.
- Lower your estrogen dominant stress by using vitamin therapies that promote mobilization and removal of toxic estrogens and their metabolites. Some of my favorites:
- DIM / Indole 3 Carbinol
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Vitamins B6 (P5P), B9 (folate) and B12 (Methyl or Hydroxy-cobalamine)
- Milk Thistle
- Calcium D-Glucarate
Lastly remember the importance of pacing yourself in the pursuit of health. I suggest that patients replace products as they run out. Rushing out and replacing everything that is toxic right away from your fridge, pantry, bathrooms, showers, cleaning cabinets and laundry room can be costly and could cause “Health Burn Out”. When you are nearing the end of a personal care product start to research and look around for alternatives. Read on line reviews and educate yourself. Start small, use smaller sizes of new products first to be sure you like them. Just because they are toxin free does not mean that you will like using them.
Give yourself time come up with a healthier internal environment. You will be much more balanced and healthier in the long run for spending some time re-creating a healthier space for you and your family to live.
Remember, Health is a choice.