So what exactly are these xenoestrogens & how do they affect our health??
Put simply xenoestrogens are man -made chemicals that have a similar molecule structure to oestrogen they have the ability to mimic our natural hormones; blocking or binding hormone receptors. When xenoestrogens enter the body they increase the total amount of oestrogen resulting in oestrogen dominance. Xenoestrogens are not biodegradable so, they are stored in our fat cells, making them very difficult to clear by the body.
How do they affect our health?
Xenoestrogens may temporarily or permanently alter the feedback loops in the brain, pituitary, gonads, and thyroid by mimicking the effects of oestrogen and triggering their specific receptors or they may bind to hormone receptors and block the action of natural hormones. Xenoestrogens are a sub category of endocrine disruptors meaning they interrupt the balance to the endocrine system, which is imperative for homeostais. The endocrine system is the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, among other things.
Some common health conditions linked to high exposure of xenoestrogens & subsequent hormonal imbalance are -
Breast, prostate and testicular cancer
obesity & issues loosing weight
Infertility & miscarriages
Endometriosis & PCOS
Early onset puberty
So HOW can we avoid these xenoestrogens?
Unfortunately, we are constantly exposed to these chemicals in the world we live, but we can limit our exposure to them - the following a list of some of the sources of xenoestrogens (by no means it is complete list), instead of listing all the chemicals, it is easier to list where you commonly will find them- to make it easier to avoid -
SKIN CARE -
Parabens – found in shampoo, toothpaste, lotions, sunscreen, cosmetics, deodorants, women’s hygiene products, nail polish and nail polish remover - in this instance xenoestrogens are entering the body directly to tissue without passing through the liver for detoxification, they are absorbed 100% by the body and can be 10 times more potent than those consumed orally.
Phthalates, Bisphenol A, DEHP, Polybrominated biphenyl ethers & Polychlorinated biphenyls– Soft plastics, plastic wrapping, Styrofoam cups, plastic drink bottles, canned foods.
Erythrosine / FD&C Red No. 3
Phenosulfothiazine (a red dye)
Butylated hydroxyanisole / BHA (food preservative)
Tap water - agricultural pharmaceutical runoffs into our water supply. Chlorine and chlorine by-products.
Commercial meat and dairy products – such as beef, pork, chicken, milk, butter, cheese & ice cream – bovine growth hormones & antibiotics.
Foods that contain soy protein and soy protein isolate – unnaturally high amounts of plant oestrogens.
Insecticide & pesticide residue - nonorganic fruits & vegetables, grains, nuts & legumes.
Weed killer - of any sort
Birth control pills and conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT)- both of which contain synthetic hormones that interrupt our natural hormone balance.
Household cleaners – Particularly dangerous are laundry detergents and fabric softens as residues on clothing and towels are worn against the skin and are absorbed straight into the blood stream.
Air fresheners and insect repellents and perfumes contain cancer causing hormone disruptors.
Clothing – unfortunately even our clothing can have residuals of xenoestrogens due to the type of fabrics used, pesticides and dyes used.
Now we know where they are found, why they are dangerous - how can we make sure we avoid them? The following are some simple ways to avoid Xenoestrogens in your daily life -
Used filtered water
Cut down on your consumption of meat and dairy. If you are to have any make sure it is certified organic, hormone free, grass fed and humanely raised.
Use natural Paraben free body and hair care products –AVOID PERFUME!
Use organic cotton women hygiene products like tampons and pads and this is an extra sensitive area that can be exposed and in turn absorbed by xenoestrogens - or better yet use period underwear.
Cut back on processed foods. Cook it yourself or go without.
Avoid plastic at all costs – including plastic water bottles, plastic containers, use glass and when wrapping sandwiches or other foods items, use natural biodegradable products like beeswax or bamboo.
Buy loose, bulk products that are not packaged.
Drink organic tea and coffee as non -organic coffee is the 2nd most sprayed crop in the world.
Choose organic, locally growth products, peel non-organic produce
Use natural methods for birth control (advice can be given on appointment) and menopausal symptoms can be managed naturally instead of using HRT.
Use a simple laundry detergent with few chemicals, like baking soda, Borax, and vinegar whenever possible. Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets.
Ventilate the home naturally using essential oils like eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, lavender oil to name a few.
Use a natural insect repellent– the essential oils of citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, neem, geranium, lavender have long been used to ward off insects.
Purchase clothing that is made from natural fibres such as hemp, wool, silk, cotton, bamboo, natural rubber where possible organic.
Be aware of noxious gas such as from copiers and printers, carpets, fiberboards, and at the petrol pump.
Xenoestrogens are everywhere & whilst we can't totally avoid them in this life, we can definitely do our best to limit our exposure, leading to balance health & happy hormones. If you suspect you have a hormonal imbalance, get in touch to book a consultation as there is various dietary & lifestyle tips along with herbal medicines & supplement to support the body to bring in back to balance.
In health & happiness
Sarah Emily Herbalist