Endocrine disruptors according to the NIH (National Institute for Health) are chemicals that interfere with the body's endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects in both humans and animals. Eeeeek!
Endocrine disruptors can usually do one of three things:
- Mimic or partly mimic naturally occurring hormones in the body --> potentially producing overstimulation.
- Block naturally occurring hormones from being activated
- Interfere or block the way natural hormones or their receptors are made or controlled
All women should know that xenoestrogens are endocrine disruptors that are man-made and often mimic the effects of estrogen. Xenoestrogens, in other words, are estrogen 'wannabes.' They get absorbed from our environment most commonly through ingestion or absorption. Instead of estrogen being allowed to function in the way it is supposed to, xenoestrogens play a HUGE role in causing hormone imbalance. Eeeeeek again!
Below are just of many some ways you can decrease xenoestrogen absorption/ingestion:
- Avoid heating food in plastic containers
- Avoid produce heavily sprayed in pesticides (I use ewg.org's dirty dozen list)
- Minimize the use of solvents like nail polish & nail polish remover
- Reduce consumption of alcohol, cigarettes, and other stimulants
- Avoid farmed varieties of fish
- Use organic cotton pads/tampons during periods (This makes a HUGE difference!)
- Avoid the use of household chlorine containing bleach or use gloves when using
- Avoid bleached paper such as coffee filters, tissue paper, napkins, etc.
Keep in mind that you & I can only control so much of our environment and hence our exposure to endocrine disruptors. Do not fret about what is not in your control. Rather use this awareness to make informed decisions about what you put in & on your body day to day. Awareness is the first step in making more informed decisions. Also remember for the environments that are not in your control - high quality vitamins, weight management and consuming phytonutrients can aid in offsetting hormone disruption!