What is a hormonal disruptor?
It is something that dysregulates the way your hormones function. We experience these every single day. For some people the effects of these disruptors are greater than others.
What hormones are we talking about?
Can be all of them but often we see this around estrogen clearance and xenoestrogens (the damaging ones). These disruptors can also affect your thyroid, adrenal glands, thalamus, pancreas any gland that produces hormones.
How do they disrupt?
They can affect your hormones in three ways.
- They can mimic hormones or partially mimic your natural hormones and potentially over stimulate them
- They can block or interfere with your natural hormones and potentially change the way they are metabolized, especially in the liver
- They can bind to the cell receptors and block the natural hormones binding causing hormonal disruption.
What can do this?
It includes many things especially found in our food and environment. Even something as simple as handling a thermal receipt. These are full of BPA’s, BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages.
BPA can imitate the body’s hormones, and interfere with the production, secretion, transport, action, function, and elimination of natural hormones. BPA can behave in a similar way to estrogen causing them to become xenoestrogens, these are the more harmful estrogens that have been found to contribute to breast cancer.
So what can we do?
Think about how many times you may handle these receipts and try and reduce it. When asked do you need a receipt? Say no or get it emailed rather than taking the thermal paper receipt. I am very conscious of this due to also working in retail where these products are handled on a regular basis.
We can minimize the amount of chemicals we expose ourselves to. We can choose toxic free products in our homes and personal care. We can choose organic foods or at least fresh so you have less packaging. We can reduce the amount of plastics we use in the home.
What else can be a hormonal disruptor?
Check your bathroom for chemicals in your skin care, personal care and hair care ranges.
And maybe rethink the next time you pick up your bottle of round up to kill your weeds! Pesticides, herbicides along with many other environmental pollutants, act as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). These have been found to cause cancer, diabetes, obesity, metabolic diseases and developmental problems.
How can I avoid these endocrine disruptors?
In reality, you can’t but you can certainly reduce the amount you expose yourself too. There is a staggering fact that estimates by the time the average women reaches for her morning coffee, she has already applied 126 different chemicals in 12 different products to her face, body and hair. And that is only at the beginning of the day.
If you are experiencing niggling health issues and are unsure why, then maybe consider the environment you live and work in. Start at home and assess one room at a time and look at what products and chemicals you are using?
What can you change to reduce exposures?
If you want to some help with this then download the “Understanding your Exposures” brochure.
You can also head over to www.theconsciousspender.com.au for all your needs to help create a safe and low toxic home environment.
S. Lance & T. MvIntosh, One Bite at a Time: Reduce Toxic Exposure and Eat the World You Want,
This is a great book by the way, especially if you are wanting to understand more about the overall effects of chemicals in your surroundings.
This article was written by Jan Caton BHSc-Nat, Owner and Naturopath at Magnolia Apothecary, Owner at The Conscious Spender. Jan practices in the Yarra Ranges.