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Endocrine Disruptors: What Women Need to Avoid to Protect Their Hormones

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From the moment of conception all the way into adulthood and beyond, there exists an unseen force inside you that keeps you alive, healthy, and vibrant: hormones. These tiny chemical messengers comprise what’s known as the endocrine system and control virtually every system of the body – from mood to muscle development to food metabolism to reproduction, and everything in between.

Hormones are what facilitate the constant knitting together and sustaining of human life both inside the womb and out. They spend all of their time traveling to and from organs and tissues via the bloodstream performing important maintenance tasks and other necessary duties.1 Without hormones, human life would cease to exist. This is why it’s vitally important to maintain healthy dietary and lifestyle habits to help support the proper balance of your hormones and to avoid harmful endocrine disruptors.

The Correct Hormone Balance for Women Vs Men

If you’re a woman, this means aiming to achieve a homeostatic balance that favors a higher level of estrogens compared to androgens  (male sex hormones). The opposite ratio needs to happen in men with men needing more androgens such as testosterone and less estrogen. The key word here is balance though, as too much or too little estrogen in relation to testosterone can wreak tremendous havoc on a woman’s body. (An imbalance of testosterone respective to estrogen can do the same thing to a man’s body).

It’s a delicate and complex nudging process that, thankfully, the human body is designed to handle all on its own. At the same time, there are a number of endocrine disruptors that can throw this hormone production autopilot effect completely out of whack. Factors such as poor diet, stress, and exposure to toxins represent a few of the more prominent examples of endocrine disruptors. When this scenario occurs, grabbing hold of the hormone wheel and taking over may be necessary to help steer your hormones back on course.

Signs & Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

It all starts with identifying a hormone imbalance, which can paradoxically be both simple and challenging. Simple in the fact that the symptoms of hormone imbalance are common, but challenging in that many of these symptoms are shared by a host of other health conditions. The hormone-related abnormalities that many women experience, in other words, may point to a number of other health conditions. This is why it’s advisable that any woman who believes that she might be suffering from a hormone imbalance undergo proper blood work under the guidance of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Some of the symptoms a woman can look out for that may point to a deficiency of estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, thyroid function, or testosterone (yes, even women can be deficient in testosterone) include the following, many of which cross over into the other categories:2

Signs of Estrogen DeficiencyPersistent headaches can be a sign of estrogen deficiency

  • Hot flashes / night sweats
  • Problems sleeping
  • Persistent headaches
  • Problems focusing and retaining memories
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dry skin
  • Depression
  • Low libido / painful intercourse
  • Osteoporosis / bone loss
  • Yeast infections

Signs of Progesterone Deficiency

  • Weight gain
  • Swollen breasts
  • Anxiety
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Cramping
  • Acne
  • PMS (postmenopausal symptoms)
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Joint pain
  • Acne
  • Infertility

Signs of Cortisol Deficiency

  • Craving for sweets
  • Allergies

Signs of Low Thyroid

  • Constipation
  • Low body temperature / intolerance to cold
  • Cold extremities
  • Low blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Brittle nails

Testosterone Deficiency

  • Muscle weakness
  • Incontinence
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Thinning skin
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Male-pattern hair growth
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of hair on scalp
  • General aches and pains
  • Chronic fatigue

It may seem strange, but many of these same symptoms are also associated with having an excess of estrogen hormones, or with having an overactive thyroid. Once again, it’s all about balance when it comes to hormones and how they affect the body. But it’s also important to remember that fixing an imbalance isn’t necessarily as simple as just popping a pill to raise one hormone or decrease another. Doing this can actually make the problem worse, especially when it fails to account for why the imbalance is occurring in the first place.

The average modern diet is an absolute nightmare for women's hormonesThe Big 3 Causes of Endocrine Disruption in Women

There are three primary categories that lend to endocrine disruption which women need to be aware: diet, lifestyle, and environment.

What a woman eats directly affects how her body produces and expresses hormones, as does the way she lives her daily life. The environment in which a women lives – and especially the types of toxins she’s exposed to on a daily basis – are another major contributing factor to endocrine disruption.

#1: Diet

Let’s cut to the chase: the average modern diet is an absolute nightmare for women’s hormones. All that sugar and all those cheap carbohydrates really do a number on blood sugar levels, ramping up production of insulin and consequently altering the way estrogen is metabolized throughout a woman’s body.

High-glycemic foods might as well be called high-stress foods, because the body tends to respond in kind by producing more cortisol, aka the stress hormone. This results in a systemic inflammatory response that further damages bodily systems, and the rest goes progressively downhill from there.

When women avoid sweets and refined grains, and instead stick with low-glycemic, higher-protein foods such as bone broths, grass-fed meats, and organic vegetables, they help their bodies to better support a healthy inflammatory response. This also aids the body in producing the right amounts and types of hormones for systemic balance in all the right areas.

This further includes avoiding alcohol, which actively decreases human growth hormone, or HGH, as well as consuming foods that are naturally high in magnesium.3 And don’t forget to always stay hydrated, sticking with properly filtered or spring water whenever possible.

#2: Lifestyle

Speaking of stress hormones, paying close attention to work-life balance will do wonders in helping a women to maintain a healthy hormone profile. Stress is one of the most damaging factors that contributes to endocrine dysfunction, and it can arise from many different things.4 Overworking yourself or getting bogged down with anxiety over the everyday affairs of life can contribute to an unhealthy stress response that leads to the body feeling the need to compensate by producing more cortisol.

This excess cortisol production can place an enormous strain on a woman’s adrenal glands, which can result in this important gland become fatigued and unable to produce other needed hormones. Prolonged stress that isn’t mitigated through proper rest, relaxation, and prayer, meditation, or other calming activities that give the body and mind a break is a recipe for hormone disaster.

#3: Environment

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that target virtually every glandular system responsible for producing hormonesIn the beginning, the earth was perfect and free of chemical toxins that interfere with human biology. But today, humanity faces a barrage of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that target virtually every glandular system responsible for producing hormones. These include the pituitary, pineal, thyroid, thymus, and adrenal glands, as well as the pancreas, testes (in men), and ovaries (in women).5

Limit Your Exposure to These 8 Endocrine Disruptors

EDCs can both supplant and mimic natural hormones, obstructing the way the body responds to and uses the real thing. EDCs are essentially hormone impostors that confuse the body into either producing too little or too many of its own natural hormones. This results in all kinds of systemic damage, much of which starts out small and worsens over time.6

While it’s certain to be an endless battle trying to avoid EDCs entirely, there are ways to help minimize exposure, so long as a woman knows what to look for and what to avoid. Start with minimizing your contact with these 8 categories of endocrine disruptors to the best of your ability: 7

  1. Non-organic produce laden with pesticides – Atrazine, organophosphates, and other “feminizing” crop chemicals are prolific in non-organic fruits and vegetables. They’re almost impossible to avoid, in fact, which is why it’s important to stick with organic or certified chemical-free varieties whenever possible. And don’t be confused by the term “feminizing.” These chemicals harm women just as much as they harm men, directly interfering with both sexes’ ability to maintain optimal hormone balance.
  2. Plastic bottles and other consumer products made from petrochemicals – Whether it’s the plasticizing chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) or phthalates like di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), many plastic-based products are loaded with EDCs. So are various other common consumer products like food cans, personal care products that contain “fragrance” chemicals, plastic wrap, and even thermal paper receipts at the grocery store.
  3. Unfiltered water – This is an important one because all sorts of chemicals and drug residues are now being found in municipal water supplies, many of which aren’t being properly filtered out using standard methods at the treatment plant. Such chemicals include perchlorate, a byproduct of rocket fuel that displaces iodine in the body and can cause thyroid problems. Another harmful chemical found in most municipal water supplies, at least in North America, is fluoride, which is very difficult to remove except with activated alumina, deionization, or reverse osmosis water filtration systems.8
  4. Furniture, carpeting, non-stick cookware, and other household products – Many household products that people spend a lot of time either lying on or cooking in – things such as couches, carpeting, and cookware – are often hotbeds of EDCs. In furniture, the threat usually comes from fire-retardant chemicals like polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs). In cookware, it’s often perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) that pose the greatest risk.
  5. Air fresheners, candles, hand soaps, laundry detergents, tampons, and diapers – Many scented household products are plagued by undefined “fragrance” chemicals that existing law allows to be used as a blanket term to define more than 3,000 individual chemicals, many of which are known EDCs. Hand soaps are also problematic, as many contain a hormone-altering antibacterial chemical known as triclosan that studies have shown accumulates inside the body and interferes with hormone production.Then, there are laundry detergents, many of which contain highly toxic chemical byproducts known as dioxins that possess their own hormone-disrupting properties.10 Dioxins are also being found in tampons, as well as disposable baby diapers.11 The latter is exceptionally concerning because tiny humans are most prone to suffering severe health consequences from having their hormones disrupted during early childhood development.
  6. Phytoestrogens in food – Perhaps the worst phytoestrogenic food that millions of people eat daily (whether they realize it or not) is soy. Besides often being genetically-modified (GMO) and doused in toxic herbicides like glyphosate, this legume and its many derivatives are highly estrogenic, containing phytoestrogens like genistein and daidzein that can mimic natural estrogen in the body and lead to hormone disruption.12
  7. Old paint and children’s toys – Especially in older homes, wall paint is a common source of lead, a known neurotoxin that can directly interfere with normal hormone production. Old children’s toys are similarly problematic, though instead of lead they often contain arsenic, another hormone-disrupting compound.13
  8. Synthetic hormones – Many women going through menopause are told by their doctors to take synthetic hormones like diethylstilbestrol, a synthetic form of the female hormone estrogen that’s marketed as helping to re-balance hormone levels. However, some of the latest evidence suggests that such drugs can actually do the opposite, which is why many alternative practitioners now recommend bio-identical hormone replacement therapy instead.14 Anti-estrogenic drugs like estrogen antagonists and estrogen blockers also fall into this category, as they inhibit estrogens like estradiol from mediating their biological effects inside the body, potentially leading to an imbalance.

Women… Want a Simple Solution for 
Balancing Your Hormones and Feeling Better?
Click Here to Learn More

 

Sources:

  1. What are Hormones?
  2. Conditions Improved by BioIdentical Hormone Replacement Therapy: Female Symptoms Lists
  3. The Links Between Your Diet and Hormone Levels, and How Estrogen May Protect You Against Dementia
  4. Factors that Affect Endocrine Function
  5. Types of Hormones
  6. Estrogenic Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals
  7. How Endocrine Disruptors Destroy Your Body + The Dirty Dozen to Avoid
  8. Top 10 Ways to Reduce Fluoride Exposure
  9. The Dirt on Antibacterial Soaps
  10. The best, and worst, laundry detergents with 1,4-dioxane contamination
  11. Exposure assessment to dioxins from the use of tampons and diapers
  12. Endocrine Disruptors
  13. 4 Sources of Arsenic You’d Never Expect
  14. The bioidentical hormone debate: are bioidentical hormones (estradiol, estriol, and progesterone) safer or more efficacious than commonly used synthetic versions in hormone replacement therapy?

Article Summary

  • It is vitally important to maintain healthy dietary and lifestyle habits to help support the proper balance of your hormones and to avoid harmful endocrine disruptors.

  • If you’re a woman, this means aiming to achieve a homeostatic balance that favors a higher level of estrogens compared to androgens (male sex hormones).

  • Factors such as poor diet, stress, and exposure to toxins represent a few of the more prominent examples of endocrine disruptors.

  • 3 causes of endocrine disruption in women:

    • Diet
    • Lifestyle
    • Environment
  • Limit your exposure to these 8 endocrine disruptors:

    • Non-organic produce laden with pesticides
    • Plastic bottles and other consumer products made from petrochemicals
    • Unfiltered water
    • Furniture, carpeting, non-stick cookware, and other household products
    • Air fresheners, candles, hand soaps, laundry detergents, tampons, and diapers
    • Phytoestrogens in food
    • Old paint and children’s toys
    • Synthetic hormones

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. I know you are covering the ‘norm’; however, a growing number of women are suffering from Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and, even doctors, are not well educated about what this condition means in today’s world. I respectfully request that you at least give some mention of the condition in this article about ‘hormones’. Thank you for all your good work and information.

  2. Please provide an article specifically for men. There are many men out there that need the information, but don’t want to wade through women’s issues. Thanks

    • It’s not bad. The article is saying we need higher levels of magnesium. I re-read and clicked on the reference number “(3)” and further researched. I agree, it’s not clear when you first read the article.

  3. Great article with important
    Information.
    I eat & drink as healthy as possible, do low impact excerise 4-5 days weekly.
    Drinks lots of water & take whole Food supplements.
    &
    @ 69 Yes old, I’m able to maintain a good active life.
    I have also found & importantly, taking Progest-e bilingual drop daily certainly benefits my health. Since @ age 35 I had a complete hysterectomy, @was on premarin for 15 years, until I found out the truth about how bad synthetic hormore replacement was, and stop taking it.
    Thank God I did!
    I did my own re- search & incorporated healthier changes.
    It pays to learn about what doctors don’t tell us, like the information you provide.
    Thank you

  4. Wonderfully inspiring ingredients. You know how devastating aggressive cancer treatments are… much is needed to renew and repair… $49 or $39 for ONE month supply is way too expensive! People on a fixed income would have to cut out other elements of nutritional support. I do not purchase one-month supply of any supplement… I purchase large bottles with large quantities for the most cost efficient way for supporting my precious health/body/mind! God Bless…
    Lucy E. Larson

  5. Went to the next page and though nicely done up, there is nowhere so see or click to see the exact amounts of ingredients per capsule and the amount of capsules per bottle. Information needed by the smart consumer.

  6. Vaccines also disrupt hormonal balance starting with insulin, causing overproduction (hyperinsulinemia) of this most important hormone which controls everything..

  7. What kind of damage does blocking hormones do when used as part of Cancer treatment to a woman’s body system ? If not good for your system then is there another treatment that is not as bad. I am 61 years of age and need to know a natural way to deal with this problem if possible. Thank you in advance .

  8. I definitely will be ordering E-Plexx in a couple of days. I wish I could order more of your products on a monthly basis but my income will not allow it at this time. I have much inflammation that I deal with. Rhuematoid Arthritis, hypothyroid. ( I take nature thyroid 65mg or 1 grain each day) and perimenopause.
    I have read much on mercury fillings and the havoc it causes. I have several mercury fillings and a few crowns. I feel the mercury is a big part of my health issues that I deal with. My hopes are to have them removed and replaced one day soon hopefully. So I hope E-Plexx can help with many of my issues and give me much support.
    Thank you for making high quality products we can trust and are safe.
    Rachel Salcido

    • In the meantime, havingvlemon in warm water daily is great for your health.
      Chlorella, activated charcoal tablets and corriander (the fresh herb) are greay at helpinfvremovecheavy metals and toxibs from the body.

  9. This is an good start for women completely unaware of diet, environment and health. Problematic in your premise, however, is the contention that meat is a needed component in a healthy diet. I suggest you read Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s book and come up to speed on the facts. See the Netflix movie, “What the Health.” Further, I suggest that you get your biochemistry straight on the soy issue, specifically organic soy. Phytoestrogens are actually protective against the synthetic endocrine disrupting hormones and have, as sterols, only a fraction of the estrogenic activity, as do steroids. Certainly one doesn’t make an entire diet of organic soy. 7th Day Adventists have a much better track record on chronic disease than do meat eaters. This is basic biochemistry. You are getting your information, apparently, from the Westin A Price Foundation which is not a scientific organization. Though well meaning it has its own agenda to promote. Not once did you mention the detrimental effect of dairy protein in stimulating inflammation and disrupting human hormones. It is the major driver for acne. It is a significant source of bovine estrogen, not something from which most women benefit.
    I have practiced medicine for 20 years and started with the Atkins/Westin A Price approach, evolving to the Cenegenics/Age Management Medicine program and finally to the approach that actually works every time in addressing chronic disease and balancing hormones. It’s quite simple really, one must get off dairy, take the best multi on the market (Optimal Daily Allowance from ObrienRX) and get on bioidentical hormones via troches made from wild yam at 5 microns or less. A plant based diet with meat eaten a maximum of once per week is needed and more strictly vegetarian if the person is more chronically ill with fibromyalgia, cardiovascular disease, MS, Parkinson’s, kidney failure, Crohns, IBS, rheumatoid arthritis, endometriosis, etc. The centurions of Okinawa eat this way and are the only society that has actual birth records to prove their ages.

    • I SO agree, Arden. I have been a vegetarian for 33 years and a vegan for 7, organic for most everything I eat at home (I do eat out upon occasion). I eased through menopause by consuming organic soy milk and tempeh and tofu. I still had those “lovely” hot flashes, but no trouble with sleeping or moodiness or the other issues that tormented my peers. Now 9 years post-menopause, I consume less soy, but I really feel it is an important part of one’s diet. I have NO health problems at the age of 63. My sister, 2 years younger than me, is under treatment for type 3 breast cancer, She eats the standard American diet and has never done anything to tweak her environment. She also takes medications for elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, and anxiety. I know, a sample of two, but… (PS, I also LOOK 10 years younger than her, even before her chemo and radiation.)

      Love The Truth About Cancer, Ty and his supporters! Thanks for all you do.

  10. I avoid that shiny paper that all receipts are made of, it’s seriously and EDC! I call it CHEMO PAPER!

  11. I appreciate that you mentioned our earth as perfect in the beginning. Most people don’t think of that. The Bible promises restoration during the kingdom Jesus said to pray for. Earth’s cycles function under a heavy load now, as well.

  12. Soy is bad because its genetically engineered not because of the phytoestrogens it contains. Phytoestrogens are plant based estrogens which the body needs to protect the body from the harmful estrogens found in plastics and other products containing toxic chemicals, prescription drugs, synthetic hormones and estrogens found in animals that are consumed through the consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs. Phytoestrogens and other phytochemicals do not harm us in any way. Phytochemicals actually strengthen our immune system protecting us from disease causing pathogens. It’s not just the synthetic hormones used in conventional animal products but the naturally occurring hormones that animals produce found in all meat, dairy, and eggs whether organic or conventional, grain fed or grass fed, free range, pastured raised, or factory farmed that are the problem. The real cause of these hormone imbalances are pathogens and these pathogens love to feed off hormones, processed sugar and processed carbohydrates and the highly concentrated fats and proteins found in meat, dairy, and eggs and toxic oils such as canola oil. Fruits and vegetables are the foods that are anti-inflammatory because they strengthen our immune system, kill off pathogens, and are easily digested. Meat, Dairy, and eggs on the other hands are acidic, pro-inflammatory foods that feed the pathogenic organisms that cause disease and hormone imbalances. Its time for all these alternative health frauds to stop promoting the high fat, high protein diets that create an acidic environment in the body which promotes the growth of pathogenic organisms that cause disease both by feeding the pathogens and by weakening our immune systems. High fat foods like meat, dairy, and eggs are just as harmful to people’s blood sugar levels because they block the absorption of glucose causing insulin resistance. Our bodies need the natural sugars and carbohydrates from fruits and starchy vegetables but when we combine these healthy sugars with the fats from meat, dairy, and eggs the fats block the absorption of these healthy natural sugars.

  13. I dealt with hot flashes, problems sleeping, focusing, dry skin, depression, etc for over 25 years (yes the hot flashes lasted 25 years). The problem was not estrogen deficiency but progesterone deficiency. Just a slight amount of too much estrogen and things are over the top imbalanced. I have helped many women learn balance. Only once was there a deficiency in estrogen where she was on progesterone and estrogen therapy.

    We should have a saliva test before ever thinking of hormone therapy.

  14. Good article. However, if you drink RO water it’s essential to REMINERALIZE it. RO water can leach minerals from your body. Watch for premature wearing of primary teeth in children, poor eyesight, nervous ticks, lower bone density, et al. Our bodies will pull from bones and organs to meet a mineral or hormonal deficit. Drinking RO water alone may over time, further complicate hormonal balance.

    We use brands such as CONCENTRACE Trace minerals liquid drops. Remember, natural water creates CLOUDY ice cubes.

  15. I agree that ideally we want to avoid mercury in our bodies, but, sometimes, not all mercury fillings leak and may be better left where they are. Do your research first and find what’s best for you and your own health situation. If they are leaking, removal needs to be carefully controlled with procedures to prevent ingestion or inhalation of the mercury, and detox your body with chlorella: take chlorella supplements for 6 months before and afterwards to help absorb the toxins released. I didn’t and was very sick afterwards, triggering a relapse of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. I don’t want to alarm you, but feel you would wish to be aware. Hope this helps!

  16. Thank you all. I need to see an endocrinologist for gut problems. I am in LA. I take 3/4 grain of thyroid and lots of probiotics…..no help.
    I had No symptoms of menopause.

  17. I am aware soy is not good however I am unsure what alternative to give my 18month old who cannot have dairy. Any suggestions?
    Thanks

    • Goat milk is the closest to human milk. Important to use organic as the regular goat milk is allowed to contain up to 40% cows milk, which is the craziest food regulations I’ve seen yet. Hope this helps.

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