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Endocrine Disruptors

Kbuti Group August 27, 2020

Endocrine disruptors interrupt the body’s normal hormone production by putting them off kilter with how they function.

When hormones are out of whack or aren’t functioning the way they should, they can cause major issues for various life processes that rely on this system operating optimally. Everything from our sleep and digestion can go to disarray.  Even landing a pregnancy can be affected.

Endocrine disruptors have the power to halt or increase hormone production, mimic hormones, interfere with the signals hormones make and they can even bind to them.  When the intricate hormone system is disrupted even just a teeny bit, it can bring a whole lot of chaos to our lives

The large majority of endocrine disruptors you ingest or inhale are the result of synthetic chemicals released into our environment. They’re also known as EDC’s – endocrine disrupting chemicals and are typically found in products, services, and/or food items that are part of our everyday.

The worst offenders are:

BPA (bisphenol A).  BPA is a chemical widely used in in polycarbonate plastic for items such as tableware, microwave ovenware, food containers, water bottles, milk and beverage bottles, water pipes and epoxy resins are used as protective linings of canned foods and beverages and as a coating on metal lids for glass jars and bottles.

It mimics estrogen tricking the body into thinking it has more estrogen than it actually does – but not well enough to enhance fertility. BPA is also a known cancer causer. 

Choosing BPA free products is one solution but switching out plastics for glass or other alternatives is the best way to go  – like buying in bulk to minimize plastic packaging or using glass jars and glasses!

Dioxins. These are found in the environment all around the globe and they accumulate in the food chain, mainly by landing on food such as grass pastures which animals graze and end up being stored in their fatty tissues which people end up eating. So it’s all around us and can be difficult to get rid of.  Dioxins disrupt how both male and female hormones communicate with one another in the body and if they aren’t chatting all hell breaks loose. 

Reducing animal products consumption is one of the best ways to reduce your intake of dioxins.

Atrazine and glyphosate.  These are herbicides widely used a weed deterrent on a range of crops. Which means the potential for runoff into our water systems is very real and is happening. It has a potent “gender-bending” effect with studies showing that it has the ability to turn men into females.   Eating certified organic foods that are grown without the use of herbicides and pesticides is the obvious response. Using a water filtration system that can remove chemicals from tap water is a smart move if you haven’t got one installed already and avoiding processed foods that have corn products or by-products in them such as sweeteners, binding agents, and starches.

Phthalates. Used in plastics and in a large majority of cosmetics and personal care products such as perfumes, nail polish, skin creams, shampoo and conditioners.  Phthalates basically tell testicular cells to die, which of course negatively impacts sperm count and productivity. These toxins can also cause thyroid issues that are linked to obesity, which is also linked to infertility. 

Reducing exposure to phthalates by drinking tap water rather than plastic bottled water, minimizing plastics in your life and using sustainable beauty products. 

Parabens. These are preservatives found in all sorts of foods, personal care items, and pharmaceuticals.  They have been linked to diminished ovarian reserve. In other words, parabens AGE YOUR EGGS.  Only buy products that state they are “paraben-free” and avoid any other ingredients that include the word paraben.

Organophosphate pesticides. Used commonly as an agricultural pesticide today, but back in the day, organophosphates were used as a biochemical weapon – nerve gas, to be precise in Nazi Germany. When the war was over, all those chemicals needed to be put to use (and profit, of course) and were eventually converted into a toxin that affected nerve capabilities in insects so it could be used in insecticides. Unfortunately, exposure to these toxins can hinder brain development, lower testosterone levels and interfere with thyroid hormone levels.  Again, purchasing pesticide/herbicide-free foods as well as those with the organic label are the best way to avoid ingesting or inhaling organophosphate pesticides.

From here on out ALWAYS read the labels when you are shopping.

You can continue learning about other common endocrine disruptors from the: 

EWG’s Dirty Dozen list

References:

http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/fs_management/No_05_Bisphenol_A_Nov09_en.pdf

http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dioxins-and-their-effects-on-human-health

Studies:

Atrazine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2842049/

https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=336&tid=59

Ovarian Reserve:   https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1205350/