Endocrine disruptors, also known as hormone disruptors, are compounds that can interfere with the normal functioning of hormones. These compounds can affect the way hormones are made, used, and broken down in the body, which can lead to a variety of health effects. In this post, we will discuss what endocrine disruptors are, how they affect the body, and what steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from hormone disruptions.
What are Endocrine Disruptors?
These are natural or man-made substances that can interfere with the body’s natural hormones. They are found in a variety of products under many names. Many you may have heard of, but others may not be something you would come in contact with under normal circumstances. However, it is important to ensure that you are aware of where they are and how to avoid them to ensure that you are doing all you can to protect your health and the health of those you care about.
Common items that are endocrine disrupters include:
- BPA: Found in plastic food storage containers
- Dioxins: Can be present in paper products that are bleached
- Perchlrate: Found in drinking water as a result of certain fuels
- PFAS: Used to make non-stick pots and pans/cookware
- Phthalates: Generally present in cosmetics and children’s toys
- Phytoestrogens: Naturally occurring in soy and tofu, including soy milk
- PBDE: Used as a flame-retardant material in furniture and carpets
- Triclosan: Present in many personal care products like soap or hand-sanitizers
How do Endocrine Disruptors Affect the body?
The most recent evidence shows that endocrine disruptors impact our hormones by causing an increase or decrease in hormone productions in our bodies.
Basically, there are confusing signals and it can result in many health issues and complications including:
- Sperm quality
- Cardiac disease
- Nervous system disorders
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself from Endocrine Disruptors?
Read labels, if there is an alternative to something you are using, buy it. For example, instead of using a plastic water bottle, opt for one with “BPA free” on the label or use a stainless steel water bottle.
Minimize consumption of processed foods and opt for fresh foods whenever possible. This is true for so many reasons, but by cooking fresh foods, you can avoid many of the endocrine disruptors that may be present in processing of the food as well as the packaging.
Avoid heat with your plastics and cans! Don’t leave bottled or canned food in a hot place, like your car. Also, try to use ceramic or glass to heat your food in the microwave. Replace your non-stick cookware with regular pans and use healthy oils like avocado or virgin olive.
Buy organic foods when you can, but if you can’t, always WASH all produce. There are several at home washes you can make, but in a pinch, just use water and a little bit of friction to remove as much of the pesticides as possible.
What Are the Long-term Effects of Endocrine Disruptors?
The EPA or Environmental Protection Agency notes that many endocrine disruptors are now associated with:
- Developmental issues, including malformations
- Increased risk of certain cancers
- Immune system deterioration
- Issues with neurologic function
- Decreased fertility and reproductive challenges
Endocrine disruptors are compounds that can interfere with the normal functioning of hormones and potentially have long-term effects on our health. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your exposure and protect yourself from these compounds. Taking simple steps such as avoiding certain products, eating organic foods, and avoiding plastics can help to minimize your risk of hormone disruption.
Here is the latest information from the National Institutes of Health:
If you are interested in learning more about endocrine disruptors and how to protect yourself, or how to fortify your overall health, please leave a comment below or reach out to me on my social media channels.