THE NAKED TRUTH ABOUT YOUR HORMONES
Hormones are the chemical substances manufactured by the endocrine glands and secreted directly into the bloodstream. The glands are made up of the Pituitary, Thyroid, Parathyroid and Adrenal glands.
Hormones act as messengers, transferring information from glands to receptor sites in cells. When hormones circulate in our blood, they are seeking the right site on our cells to plug into, so that their message can be both sent and received by our cells and body. When the connection is made, oestrogen’s and other hormones are meant to control a wide range of physiological functions. Hormones are not selective, they will unknowingly accept a wide variety of synthetic hormone-like strangers into their receptor sites, blocking the message of the naturally occurring hormone – this leads to imbalance. In addition, because these synthetic hormones are constantly present, they may attach at the wrong time and disrupt the precise timing of the developmental order. We can see the physiological effects of synthetic hormones all around us, in ourselves and the ones we love.
Hormone dysfunction and imbalance in both sexes is currently at an all-time high. The symptoms are numerous and include dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), infertility, lowered libido, uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breast disease, chronic headaches, fatigue, insomnia, menopausal problems, hot flashes and weight gain. If left unresolved, hormonal imbalances can lead to breast, uterine and ovarian cancer for women, and prostate colon cancer for men.
Birth control medication, Infertility treatments and Hormone replacement therapy dramatically increase the risk of cancer due to the proliferation of synthetic hormones in the human body. Bio-identical hormone replacement is a healthy and balanced option, as it uses natural hormones rather than man-made hormones.
What is the Root Cause of Hormonal Imbalance?
The answer is two fold: Chemical Toxicity and Nutritional Deficiency – both can be naturally reversed with changes in diet and lifestyle. Environmental toxins wreak havoc upon our bodies’ hormone balance. Chemicals are contained the food you eat, the water you drink, the clothes you wear, the cosmetics you apply, the medicines you take and the air you breathe.
Since the end of World War II, some 100,000 synthetic chemicals, pollutants (waste products), and toxicants (such as pesticides and herbicides) have been released into our air, water, or soil. Of the 10,000 or more different substances manufactured and released into the environment each year, most are not tested for safety or efficacy. This means we are needlessly being bombarded with destructive chemicals that have little or no proof that they actually work as intended.
Our bodies have an incredible capacity to heal and regenerate, however when we reach toxic overload from synthetic hormones, our liver cannot break down and process the chemicals, by safely removing them from the body via the organs of elimination. In order to protect the major organs the body encases these toxins in fat cells leading to ever increasing weight gain, cellular inflammation and cellulite. It is important to note that when the body is toxic and inflamed; no amount of calorific reduction and restriction will stimulate weight loss. This is because the body will not release the toxins from the fat cells, or they will poison the entire body. Therefore any weight loss protocol must begin with an intensive and ongoing detox.
Xenoestrogens and Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen is a natural hormone produced in the pituitary gland and released in both men and women. In men it regulates sperm health and supports a healthy libido. For women they regulate the menstrual cycle and support the reproductive process.
Estrogen mimickers in the form of chemicals (xenoestrogens) mimic the action of estrogen produced in our cells and can therefore alter hormonal activity within our bodies.
One of the main causes of excess Estrogen in the body of both sexes is caused by the ingestion of Xenoestrogens via industrial chemicals and food preservatives. Xenoestrogens are artificially made compounds produced by industry. Xenoestrogens mimic the effects of true estrogen and interact with cellular receptor sites. This process contributes to estrogen excess and blocks the effects of true estrogen.
Due to the numerous chemicals we are ingesting orally, via the lungs and through the skin, there is no industry or consumer data on how one form of chemical interacts with another. Chemical manufacturers are only required to provide safety data on the chemicals they produce at their own discretion, in other words they regulate themselves. As they are motivated purely by profit and not the health and wellbeing of the consumer, we have no way of knowing the consequences of these compounds combining and changing their own chemical structure within the body.
What we do know is that even the combination (synergy) of 2 chemicals within the body will dramatically increase the strength and effect of each chemical.
In order to apply this at a practical level: walk through, in your mind, your own daily routine – how many personal care products do you use, how many foods do you eat that are processed and sold in plastic, aluminium and how many medications do you take. For the average person you are ingesting in excess of 100 chemicals a day and our bodies’ simply cannot neutralise this toxic arsenal without detrimentally affecting our health.
Aging and high levels of physical, chemical and emotional stress are associated with the loss of Progesterone in women and Testosterone in men. When these key hormones are depleted it causes a state of Estrogen dominance. This state of estrogen dominance is one of the major factors associated with degenerative diseases including: uterine fibroid tumors, fibrocystic breasts, breast cancer, glandular dysfunction, male infertility, endometriosis, hair loss, weight gain, and depression.
“As a species, we`re on a fast track to extinction,” says Ori Hofmekler, author of The Anti-Estrogenic Diet. “In the past few decades, men have lost 50% of their sperm count and within only one generation, the average man’s sperm count and testosterone have dropped by 20%. Women are no better. Staggering figures show that most women today are suffering from female disorders and three out of ten women between the ages of 35 to 60 will develop breast cancer.”
The Disruption of the Endocrine System
The Endocrine System comprises of the following ductless glands Pituitary, Thyroid, Parathyroid and Adrenal glands.
Damage to the Endocrine system is leading to devastating effects for children, as I sadly see in my clinic on a regular basis. In many cases, both sexes are losing their childhood’s and experiencing puberty and the chaos that brings to their bodies’ as young as 7. At this age, the body is woefully unprepared to deal with the influx of hormones produced by puberty and the muscular and skeletal changes that occur simultaneously.
The health issues are not restricted to children. In the case of men, the phrase ‘man boobs’ has become part of modern parlance but do we know why men are growing mammary tissue? We make fun of men with this embarrassing problem and presume they are lazy and overweight. It is wrong to presume that man boobs are caused by excess weight. In fact, it is Xenoestrogens that produce the hormonal stimuli which contributes to inappropriate growth of mammary tissue cells in men.
Where do these xenoestrogens end up?
The liver is the largest and hardest working gland in the body, it works in close association with the pancreas to detoxify all foreign compounds that enter via the bloodstream and the digestive system.
This excessive bombardment of artificial hormones taxes the liver, which desperately tries to breakdown the chemical compounds and eradicate them from the body. Over time, the hormones are eventually stored in fat cells that the body will continue to accumulate, in order to safely store the continued influx of chemicals. When the liver is under stress and working too hard, the knock on effects are experienced by damage to the digestive system and the metabolic system. This means that our ability to properly digest our food and extract nutrients from it, becomes compromised. This leads to vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and enzyme deficiencies in the body, which results in lowered immunity and poor health. The metabolic system will slow down, resulting in poor conversion of glucose to energy, leading to fatigue, exhaustion, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inflammation and weight gain.
Compromised liver function leads to an inadequate breakdown of older hormones, allowing these back into the bloodstream in a more potent toxic form than when they originally entered the liver.
Nourishing Nutrition for the Liver
The liver is one of the biggest routes for xenoestrogens to leave the body, primarily through the blood and bile. However, the liver has an incredible capacity for healing and regeneration if given the right stimulus. You can support the liver by eating only organic foods and increasing your intake of parsley, lemon, turmeric, green tea extract, and avocados. Start the day with warm, pure water with the juice of half an organic lemon and a pinch of Himalayan salt. Add lemon and pink Himalayan salt to an organic avocado for a nutritionally superior snack, and supplement liberally with life affirming turmeric.
Where Can Endocrine Disrupting Xenoestrogens Be Found?
The most common endocrine disruptors are:
Atrazine – Herbicide used on numerous crops, and also applied to Christmas trees, residential lawns, golf courses, and other recreational areas.
BPA – used as a lining in most food and beverage cans.
Butylated hydroxyanisole, BHA – Food preservative.
Bisphenol A is monomer for polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin; antioxidant in plasticizers.
Dioxin – a group of highly toxic chemicals released during the combustion process, pesticide manufacturing and chlorine bleaching of wood pulp. Dioxin is discharged into waterways from pulp and paper mills.
Erythrosine, FD&C Red No. 3 used in a wide range of processed foods and medications.
Ethinylestradiol (combined oral contraceptive pill) is released into the environment as a xenoestrogen via tap water.
Endosulfan – Insecticide used on vegetables, fruits, cereal grains and trees.
Nonylphenol – Pesticide and commercial cleaning
PBB are chemicals added to plastics used in computer monitors, televisions, textiles and plastics foams to make them more difficult to burn.
PCBs are man made organic chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons. PCBs were manufactured primarily for use as insulating fluids and coolants given their chemical stability, low flammability and electrical insulating properties. PCBs were banned in 1979 but like DDT continue to persist in the environment.
Phthalates are plasticizers providing durability and flexibility to plastics such as polyvinyl chloride. High molecular weight phthalates are used in flooring, wall coverings and medical device such as intravenous bags and tubing. Low molecular weight phthalates are found in perfumes, lotions, cosmetics, varnishes, lacquers and coatings including timed releases in pharmaceuticals
Parabens are used in a huge variety of cosmetics, and personal care products.
Propyl gallate – Food Preservative to keep fats stable.
4-hexyl resorcinol is used to prevent shrimp, lobsters, and other shellfish from discoloring.
4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) – Active ingredient in sunscren.
Simple Ways To Reduce Xenoestrogens In Your Life
Organ chlorines, are one of the largest sources. They are found in pesticides, dry cleaning, bleaching of feminine-hygiene products and the manufacture of plastics. Choose organic feminine hygiene products.
Avoid plastic goods – they leach into the environment and will eventually come right back to your plate.
Avoid new carpet – it can give off noxious fumes.
Be aware of noxious gas such as that from copiers and printers, carpets, fiberboards, etc.
Do not breathe in the steam from your dishwasher, it contains high levels of chloroform.
Do not inhale and protect your skin from: electrical oils, lubricants, adhesive paints, lacquers, solvents, oils, paints, fuel, industrial wastes, packing materials, harsh cleaning products, fertilizers.
Food and water
Avoid all pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides on produce. Wash the fruits and vegetables in a solution of one part vinegar and 3 parts water before consuming, to remove the pesticides – washing in tap water add chlorine to the mix.
Have a good water filter for your source of water. Do not drink water from plastic bottles – my choice on the go is Aquapax and at home Kangen Water system.
Use only organic based whole foods. Buy organic, pastured, hormone free, antibiotic free meats and dairy products, ideally from your local farmers market.
Propyl gallate, the preservative used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling can be found in a range of foods including baked goods, shortening, dried meats, candy, fresh pork sausage, mayonnaise and dried milk.
Do not microwave food in plastic containers, and especially avoid the use of cling film to cover food for microwaving.
Use glass or ceramics whenever possible to store food.
Medication and Conventional Medicine Procedures
The birth control pill contains high concentration of synthetic estrogen. Choose a condom or diaphragm gels without surfactants. Use a condom without spermicidal.
Don’t use hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Avoid X-rays as much as possible.
Personal care products and cleaning
Don’t use fabric softeners as it puts petrochemicals right on your skin.
Use a simple laundry and dish detergent with less chemicals – Soapnuts are a fantastic alternative or make your own using zeolites, bicarbonate of soda and lemon.
Buy non-toxic house cleaners or make your own, using basic and effective ingredients like vinegar, lemon, baking soda, and borax.
Use organic soaps and toothpastes. Avoid fluoride.
Only use genuinely natural skincare and personal care – read the labels and if you cant spell it or pronounce it, don’t use it on your precious skin.
Avoid regular nail polish and nail polish removers – I recommend Zoya and Spa Ritual and Fresh Therapies (100% natural) to remove them.
Wash Away Your Hand Soap
One of the worst offenders in the home for high levels of Xenoestrogens is Antibacterial soap and Antibacterial cleaning products. Marketed as a health product and germ killer, it does more harm than good. Aside from the fact that humans contain more bacterial cells than human cells, and so destroying the delicate balance between good and bad bacteria is a disaster for our health. Antibacterial soap contains an ingredient called Triclosan which acts as a potent xenoestrogen or artificial estrogen mimicker – studies show that long term use damages Thyroid function, advances ageing, suppresses the immune and central nervous system, making us vulnerable to illness and disease.
A further problem arises from the combination of Antibacterial soap and Chlorinated water. The synergistic chemical outcome of these two compounds is Chloroform – a potent neurotoxin and carcinogen.
A solution is to use natural citrus-based cleaners or use 3% hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. Simply have a spray mist bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide and another with white vinegar. Hydrogen Peroxide sounds scary, but it’s natural and can be purchased in Chemists and Pharmacies. Research done at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University found that this method killed virtually all Salmonella, Shigella, and E Coli on heavy contaminated food and surfaces.
Please don’t invest in BPA free products, the chemicals that are used to replace the BPA are just as toxic, however, the research has not yet made it into the public domain, due to the plethora of commercial interests that do not want us to know the truth about their products.
NUTRITION TO DETOX XENOESTROGEN
My top tips for Anti-Estrogenic Foods include foods rich in nutrients known as Indole-3 Acetate, Indole-3 Carbonyl and Diindolylmethane. Top sources are: Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower Brussel sprouts and cabbage. These cruciferous veggetables also contain sulfur containing nutrients such as Sulfuraphane and Phenyl Isothiocyanates that enhance liver detoxification processes within the body and destroy cancer cell formation.
Anti-inflammatory foods that are rich in saturated and Omega-3 fatty acids such as 100% organic, grass fed beef and dairy, organic poultry, wild-caught Salmon and wild game are anti-estrogenic. New Zealand lamb and cheese comes from livestock that is only fed on grass. Visit your farmers market and invest in animal fat to cook in, for an exceptional source of skin loving saturated fats. Raw milk is not only delicious and packed full of nutrients, it also helps to detoxify the body and balance hormones. Plant based fats such as avocados, coconut oil and olive oil are all powerful anti-estrogenic superfoods – remember to eat them cold as Avocado oil and Olive oil become carcinogenic (cancer forming) at high temperatures. This is why I recommend cooking only using real butter, duck fat, beef fat, Tallow, Ghee or Coconut oil for vegetarians. Raw nuts and seeds such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, chia and hemp seeds are rich in anti-estrogenic plant sterols.
Onions, garlic and scallions are rich in sulfur containing amino acids and the powerful anti-oxidant quercetin that both help the liver detoxify at a higher level and reduce the production of estrogen. Herbs such as oregano thyme, rosemary, sage and turmeric are loaded with volatile oils that promote liver detoxification. Turmeric has a potent ability to destroy estrogen receptor positive cancer cells, which are the most commonly found cells in breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate cancer.
Another approach would be to ingest Adaptogens, these incredible compounds have the ability to normalize and stablilise the entire Endocrine system restoring balance and health to the body. My favourite adaptogen is Tahitian Noni juice, followed by Ginseng, Gotu Kola and Echinacea.
Using organic acids is an advanced strategy for liver and gut health, which simultaneously enhances the bodies’ ability to remove these unwanted estrogenic molecules. Squeeze fresh lemon, which is rich in citric acid, on salads, vegetables, meats and other dishes. Apple Cider Vinegar contains acetic acid, raw dairy from grass-fed cows contains lactic acid.
The 3 Biggest Changes You can Make:
1. Change the Meat you Eat: Switch to Organic and ideally locally sourced via a Farmers Market. Supermarket meat, dairy and poultry are loaded with antibiotics, synthetic hormones and pesticides and other toxic chemicals. They are also loaded with inflammatory omega 6 fats and are
2. Eat Your Greens: Cruciferous vegetables are loaded with indole-3 carbonyl (I3C) which binds and eliminates toxic xenoestrogenic chemicals that interfere with healthy hormone function. These vegetables include kale, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, mustard greens, watercress, and brussel sprouts among others. They must be organic or the levels of herbicides and pesticides will destroy all the active nutrients in the plant. Juice or lightly steam to break down the tough outer cellulose that is challenging to digest. Lightly steaming maintains a very high percentage of original nutrients while making the vegetable more digestible and bioavailable to the body.
3. Purify Plastic from Your Life: Plastic contains harmful xenoestrogenic chemicals such as BPA and many others. Plastic leaches these dangerous toxins into water and oil and anything you would cook in plastic. Opt for glass, ceramic and stainless steel to cook and store food. Do not drink water from a plastic bottle, or you will ingest many toxins that have leached into the water at the time the bottle was filled.
Those seeking better health and vitality will accelerate towards this goal by consciously removing toxins from their every day lives. There are positive steps you can take to rebalance your hormones using the power of natural, organic food.
We the people posses the power to reduce the proliferation of chemicals used on this planet. By working collectively to turn our back on synthetic chemicals by not buying them, the manufacturers falling sales will stimulate them into action. Remember, they are motivated only by profit. If you care about the future of this planet, for you, your children and your grandchildren then now is the time to act. Not, when we have gone past the toxic tipping point when mother-nature can take no more. One only needs to look to Vietnam for an example of the future, if we continue to dump chemicals into the environment at the current rates. Numerous studies have found plastic in the digestive systems of Sea birds and plastic bags in the stomachs of sea mammals – plastic is pernicious in that it does not break down and continues to leach chemicals for decades.
Through collective action and positive thought patterns we can force the chemical industry to retreat, and pivot towards using bio-plastics made from organic matter. In a world where resources are finite and wars are fought for the very petrochemicals used to make plastic, our health and the survival of our civilisation depends on it.