Part 1

It has become more challenging to be healthy, when living in a world with an abundance of environmental toxicities.  Even if you eat right, exercise and take your vitamins, you may still be faced with not feeling 100%.

Environmental impacts on our health are wide reaching, but what I want to discuss today is how our hormones are affected by the environment.  Many of the most common health conditions we treat at Vitalia, are due to a hormonal imbalance known as estrogen dominance.  We see this more in women, but men are not excluded from the damaging effects of excessive levels of estrogen.  The incidence of this condition seems to be increasing and the environmental sources of estrogen could account for part of this.

Estrogen dominance is simply a condition of excess amounts of estrogen in relation to other hormones like progesterone.  In women’s health, estrogen dominance has been linked to PMS symptoms, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, infertility, fibrocystic breasts, anovulation (lack of ovulation during menses), breast, uterine and ovarian cancers.  It can also be related to symptoms including headaches, irritability, poor libido, allergies, excess weight around the abdomen and fatigue.  Estrogen dominance is a complex condition that can have a complex array of overlapping causes.  Some of the added estrogen influence that leads to estrogen dominance comes from sources like the birth control pill, poor detoxification status in the liver, obesity, poor diet and negative lifestyle choices like smoking and alcohol use.  However, what most people don’t know is that they are significantly exposed to estrogen through their environment.

There are many hidden sources of estrogen that you may not be aware of, they are called environmental xenoestrogens.  Xenoestrogens are man made chemicals, which are confusing to the body because of their ability to mimic or block natural estrogen in the body.   These fake estrogens seriously interfere with the natural hormonal rhythm and are also dangerously toxic.  There are countless scientific research studies regarding xenoestrogens and the devastating consequences they have on our health.  Much of the research puts an emphasis on the deleterious effects of xenoestrogens on our hormonal balance, as well as male and female reproduction/fertility.

Here are some examples of xenoestrogens found in the environment:

  • bisphenol A (aka BPA), a chemical used in countless plastic products and canned foods
  • atrazine, a herbicide used to control weeds in major crops
  • pthalates, a chemical found in plastics, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, baby care products, children’s toys
  • parabens, found in thousands of cosmetics, personal care products (deodorants, lotions, hair products, etc.),pharmaceutical products, food
  • organochlorines, used in perfumes, dry cleaning, household cleaning products, clothing, foods

Unfortunately, the list goes on from here.  Estrogenic chemicals are everywhere: in the air, water, food, soil and as a result of exposure, are accumulated and stored in our bodies.  It’s overwhelming to think about and can feel like there isn’t a way to avoid these toxins.  However, having this knowledge is power and when we know better, we can make better choices.  In my next blog, I will discuss some basic things you can do to help reduce your exposure to environmental xenoestrogens.

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