If you are curious as to what an endocrine disruptor is you opened the right blog!
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals and sometimes natural substances that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.
Bare with me I get a little into the science on the subject. After all, most endocrine disruptors come from man made chemicals that we are ingesting into our body and absorbing through our skin by choice.
Endocrine disruptors can mimic or partly mimic naturally occurring hormones in the body like estrogens (the female sex hormone), androgens (the male sex hormone), and thyroid hormones, potentially producing overstimulation. Research shows that endocrine disruptors may pose the greatest risk during prenatal and early postnatal development when organ and neural systems are forming. Animal studies have linked exposure and ingestion of endocrine disruptors to lowered fertility and an increased incidence of some cancers and endometriosis.
To understand endocrine disruption, we must first have knowledge of the endocrine system. It is made up of a complex system of hormones and glands that are in control of mood, metabolism, growth, development, reproduction, maturation, organ function and more. The endocrine glands include thyroid, testes, ovaries, pituitary, adrenal, thymus and the pancreas.
When absorbed or ingested endocrine disruptors interfere with development and reproduction by blocking signals from hormones. They are chemicals that mimic sex hormones in your body like estrogen in women, androgen in men and the thyroid hormones in both men and women. These chemicals interfere with how hormone receptors and hormones are made and/or controlled in the body, by altering their metabolism in the liver causing an unnatural decrease or increase in hormone levels. Thyroid issues in men and women are skyrocketing and synthetic thyroid medications meant to mimic thyroid hormones are being prescribed like candy instead of focusing on the root cause of the issue. Cleansing, diet, vitamin and mineral deficiency treated through proper supplementation should be the first issues addressed. If these endocrine disruptors are causing havoc in the body by mimicking natural hormones how is a prescription that mimics a natural hormone going to fix anything? From the studies I have read on Synthroid and from what I have witnessed in many of my friend and clients, many thyroid medications do nothing but make thing worse. Even if they do work for a short time the long-term outcome is usually grim unless diet and lifestyle are changed.
Endocrine disruptors are commonly found in medicine, personal care items, cosmetics, sunscreen, bug spray and pesticides, cleaning products and detergents, flame retardants, plastics bottles and containers, toys and certain processed foods, genetically modified foods, and foods in a metal can for starters.
Side effects of daily long-term exposure to endocrine disruptors
- Obesity/weight gain
- Cardiac disease
- Hormonal Imbalances in men and women
- Genital deformities in the womb
- Shortened reproductive lifespan
- Male Infertility
- Learning difficulties
- Adult-onset diabetes
- Memory problems/dementia
- Low IQ in children
- Developmental effects on the nervous system of children
- Thyroid Cancer, Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Goiters
- Prostate Cancer (men)
- Non-descended testes in young men
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHA) in children
In this blog, I am going to bombard you with a serious list of Endocrine disruptors so that you can get an idea of how serious the problem is and how many ways we are exposed to these harsh chemicals that change how our hormones work. When we hear a discussion about hormones we often only think of a woman. However, these chemicals affect boys, girl, men and woman alike. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) also have “gender-bending” qualities and even induce transgenerational effects.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals always seem to find their way from human products into rivers, lakes and oceans and often back into our drinking water. This can have a significant impact on the ability of fish to breed properly and several long-term studies have witnessed how these chemicals alter the biology of fish, changing male fish to make them more female.
They can cause low sperm count in men and even the feminization of young boys. It is well known with plenty of medical evidence that we are living in an estrogen dominant society, so we must ask ourselves, did this happen by accident? Or, is it a form of social engineering? The rate of infertility in men and women keeps climbing causing many couples to seek medical intervention to try an conceive a baby. It will be years until we find out if this intervention has long-lasting effects on the fetus. Young girls are going into puberty earlier and earlier, some at the age of 5 and 6 years old! Just because this is becoming the norm does not mean it is normal. It is imperative for you and your family’s health to eliminate as many of these harmful chemicals as possible. I will have future blogs on each specific endocrine disruptor and better choices for each, so you can gradually make the changes necessary to protect your health.
My intention is not to overwhelm you, nor to confuse you but to inform you of the facts. And don’t worry, you don’t have to remember every fact we go over or the scientific names for these chemicals to learn how to eliminate them from your life.
It is nearly impossible to avoid all endocrine disruptors, you and I encounter them several times a day, every day. The most common one being water bottles, the plastic packaging of food items and paper money. I think that this information is imperative for you to know. If you have an autoimmune disease, if you can’t lose weight no matter what you do, if your child is always sick, if you suffer from eczema, psoriasis, strange rashes, infertility, overwhelming PMS symptoms, brain fog, severe lack of energy and motivation or aches and pains that your doctors can’t diagnose, endocrine disruptors of some kind are probably playing a huge role in your symptoms and underlying illness. Again, knowledge is power and if you have the facts in front of you it often makes it easier to say no or to purposely avoid and eventually eliminate some of these things out of your life for good. When changing over your products it is not necessary to go to some fancy overpriced health food store, many healthy clean products can be purchased online, made at home from natural ingredients and delivered to your front door by online shopping at Amazon Prime, Amazon Pantry, Thrive Market and Brandless.
Examples of Endocrine Disruptors
- Dairy: Milk, Cheese, Ice Cream, Yogurt, Butter (if you can’t give it up, switch to goat milk and/or buy raw dairy and cheese)
- Soy: Edamame, Meat Alternatives, Miso, Soymilk, Soy Baby Formula, Soy Nuts, Soy Sauce (Tamari, Shoyu and Teriyaki), Tempeh, Textured Soy Protein, Soy Lecithin
- Gluten:Wheat, Varieties and derivatives of wheat, such as: wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, KAMUT® khorasan wheat, einkorn wheat, Rye, Barley, Triticale, Malt in various forms including: malted barley flour, malted milk or milkshakes, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring, malt vinegar, Brewer’s Yeast, Wheat Starch that has not been processed to remove the presence of gluten to below 20ppm
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) & Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES): Personal care products
- Alcohol: Alcohol Denat (denatured alcohol), Benzyl Alcohol often synthetically created; may cause contact allergies, Dioxanepropylene Glycol; An organic alcohol commonly used as a skin conditioning agent; may cause an allergic contact dermatitis and itchiness, Ceteareths PEG 7 glyceryl cocoate; a synthetic polymer used as an emulsifying agent, this helps pull ingredients into deeper layers of skin including all the other chemicals in the product.
- Phytoestrogens/ 17a-Ethynylestradiol (synthetic estrogen): Found Soy and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Genetically Engineered Foods (GE)
- Dioxin: is a bi-product of industrial processes which accumulates in fat and can remain there for years. Conventional meat and products containing animal products are the most common way for Americans to be exposed. (US government recognizes Dioxin as an Endocrine Disruptor).
- Bisphenol A (BPA) & Bisphenol S (BPS): Plastics, Cash register receipts, Paper money, Cell phone protectors, Plastic water pipes, Baby bottles (before 2013), Paper money, Pacifiers, Plastic baby bottle liners, Plastic bags used to store breast milk, Sippy cups, Plastic teething toys, Plastic plates, forks and spoons designed for toddlers, Canned juices, Canned foods, Water bottles, Soda and beer cans, Plastic food containers, Plastic Sports Bottles, Plastic toys, Cell phone covers, Plastic spatulas, Plastic containers containing food, Plastic supplement containers
- Fluoride: Dental work, tap water, toothpaste, mouth wash and many antidepressants
- Perchlorate: found in rocket fuel, fireworks and fertilizers, Fire retardants (PBDEs)
- Perfluoroctanoic acid (PFOA): chemicals used to make non-stick cookware
- Pesticides, Organophosphate Pesticides
- Tetra-Pak: trade name of carton looking containers that have nut milks, soup, kids juice boxes and more
- Placenta Enzymes: Derived from the uterus of slaughtered animals, it contains waste matter eliminated by the animal fetus. It can be found in a wide variety of skin creams, shampoos, and masks; may be contaminated with progesterone, estrogen, and estrone.
- Parabens: A class of preservatives widely used since the 1950’s, to prevent bacteria growth, commonly found in cosmetics, personal care products and pharmaceuticals.
- Arsenic: Ingested foods, from food crops grown in arsenic-contaminated soil and/or irrigated with arsenic-contaminated water, arsenic-contaminated water in lakes, rivers, or underground water by dissolving in the rain, snow, or through discarded industrial wastes, air-pollution for industrial factories, cosmetics
- Mercury: Eating large fish or shell fish, contaminated air, water and soil, vaccinations,
- Phthalates (added to plastics to aid in durability and flexibility)
Here’s a list of the most common phthalates, which may come in handy for checking labels. Keep in mind when reading a label you don’t need to remember all these words. If you are reading a label and you have to google half the words in the list you may want to look for something with fewer ingredients that have things in them that you can picture in your head like coconut oil, apple, almond flour, honey etc..
- DBP (dibutyl phthalate
- DNOP (di-n-octyl phthalate)
- DiNP (diisononyl phthalate)
- DEP (diethyl phthalate)
- BBzP (benzyl butyl phthalate)
- DEHP (di 2-ethylhexl phthalate)
- DiDP (diisodecyl phthalate)
- DnHP (di-n-hexyl phthalate)
- DMP (dimethyl phthalate)
- DnOP (di-n-octylphthalate)
- BPA (Bisphenol A)
- BPS (Bisphenol S)
If you think you may be affected by endocrine disruptors I suggest reading the article on Pubmed.com titled Human Infertility: Are Endocrine Disruptors to Blame References : PMCID: PMC3845732 PMID: 23985363. This article references 50+ article sand studies also found on Pubmed. When something is wrong with me and there have been many different occurrences along this journey in life and health. I always want to know what caused it. If something hurts, I let it hurt as long as I can before acting to see if I can figure out when it is coming from before masking it. Stomach ache, muscle ache, Menstrual ache, kidney ache, headache it doesn’t matter, I want to know why this is happening to my body and what caused it. No one knows my body better than I do.
I thank my mother for teaching me that at a young age. Being born with kidney issues I had to learn how to tell my mother what I was feeling. Often the medicines they gave me made something else in my body break down and not work properly. Like antibiotics, they always had a side effect, from yeast infections to common cold and flu symptoms. I knew then that if I could avoid taking medicine I would. They made me weak and I didn’t like that feeling. Most of my mother’s natural remedies were way better than the medicine and some tasted just as bad but they made me feel better, not worse. A little bit of discomfort never killed anyone and often time it’s needed to figure out the root cause of a situation. And other times emergency medicine is needed, always listen to what your body is trying to tell you.
References and Resources
Epigenetic Transgenerational Effects of Endocrine Disruptors on Male Reproduction PMCID: PMC3562087 NIHMSID: NIHMS291603 PMID: 19711250
Environmental Carcinogenesis and Transgenerational Transmission of Carcinogenic Risk: From Genetics to Epigenetics
Are EDCs Blurring Issues of Gender?PMCID: PMC1281309 PMID: 16203228
Disclaimer: The strategies, suggestions and techniques expressed here are intended to be used for educational purposes only. The Author, Kira Miller, is not rendering medical advice nor is she trying to diagnose, prescribe or treat any disease, condition, illness or injury.
If you are under the care of a physician, it is imperative that you consult their advice before beginning any new exercise or nutrition program.
Kira Miller claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss or damage alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application or interpretation of the material presented here.