Curebiome Naturopathic

10 Toxins That Are Messing With Your Hormones

10 Toxins That Are Messing With Your Hormones

Common hormone disruptors affecting your weight, sex drive and health

 

#1 BPA (BPS and BPF)

BPA has been around for a long time, and one of its properties is that it mimics estrogen. For that reason it was even researched at one time for use as an artificial estrogen replacement, though wasn’t found suitable. The main concerns around BPA are the increased risk of certain cancers (estrogen linked), it negatively impacts thyroid and cognitive function, creates an increased risk of obesity and has even been shown to inhibit testosterone production (and more). BPS and BPF are sister molecules to BPA and have very similar impacts on disrupting hormones.

How to avoid

While it might seem like “BPA free” plastics are safe, they generally aren’t since these plastics commonly contain BPS and BPF, molecular brother and sister to BPA, which also disrupts hormone function.

  1. Avoid Canned foods
  2. Caution with receipts (thermal paper is often coated with BPA)
  3. Specific plastics marked “PC” and #7 are much more likely to carry BPA, BPS or BPF. (Though no plastic is guaranteed “safe”)

#2 Dioxins

Dioxins are a class of hormone disrupting toxin we are commonly exposed to. They are a by-product of many industrial processes, they last a long time and bio-accumulate in the food chain and in our body. Food products with high dioxins levels are dairy products like milk and butter, and animal sources like meat, eggs and fish.

How to avoid

  1. Avoid the status quo for these high risk foods. Always choose organic and when possible go for the cleanest local sources you can find.
  2. Bump up your plant based food intake – increasing foods like beans and legumes will both balance out your diet, help bind and eliminate toxins with fiber and decrease consumption of these other foods.

#3 PCBs

PCB stands for polychlorinate biphenyls, which is a mouthful for a chemical that is carcinogenic and known to disrupt immune function, hormones, the nervous system and more. PCBs are a persistent pollutant that were banned for production in the US back in the 1970s. They are commonly found in electrical devices as a coolant – things like transformers, they were also used in hydraulics and carbonless copy paper among other applications. The problem being that the persistence of PCBs means it is found commonly everywhere as it has invaded the ecosystem, including food products – particularly animals and dairy.

How to avoid

  1. Similar to dioxins, the goal here is to focus on the cleanest sources of dairy and animal products and increase plant based foods in the diet

 

#4 Phthalates

Phthalates are a chemical commonly found in many plastics and cosmetic products. Because of the common use of plastics many of us are exposed on a daily basis, and phthalates have a long list of negative health effects. Studies link phthalates to hormone disruption, decreased sperm count and motility, birth defects, weight gain (aka “obesogen”), diabetes and thyroid problems.

How to avoid

  1. Reduce and eliminate plastic from your life as much as possible
  2. Migrate to glass and stainless steel food containers
  3. Carry a glass or stainless steel water bottle with you
  4. Use phthalate free cosmetic products

 

#5 Perchlorate

Perchlorate is a common additive in rocket fuel, and also a common contaminant of produce and milk (strange connection, I know). In humans perchlorate is shown to compete with iodine – causing problems in the thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism and energy.

How to avoid

  1. Drinking clean water – Reverse Osmosis is the current gold standard, though many other options like carbon block filters are a good choice too
  2. Unfortunately we don’t have any great avoidance tips for foods, but if you’re eating a healthy diet it will help reduce the overall impact of perchlorate in your body

#6 Flame retardants

Flame retardants are a large class of chemicals that are very persistent and very hard on the hormone system. These chemicals have been found in animals around the globe, even those in remote locations like the arctic (another great reason not to eat any polar bears). Flame retardants can look like thyroid hormone in the body and disrupt normal thyroid function, again affecting metabolism and energy among others. There are also associations of negative impact on intelligence and brain function.

How to avoid

  1. Keep your house clean, leave your shoes at the door. Dust is commonly contaminated with this class of chemicals

(House plants, air purifiers, and good vacuums can help with this)

  1. When possible choose furniture untreated with flame retardants, special companies offer mattresses like this. Basic wood furniture is usually safe, reduce any foam filled furniture when possible

 

#7 Lead

What’s a list of toxins without lead? Well this list is no different, though there are many negative health effects of lead (like decreased brain function and cardiovascular health) it is another hormone disruptor. It’s been linked with miscarriages, premature birth, decreased levels of sex hormones and signalling problems between hormones and the brain.

How to avoid

  1. A good water filter
  2. Taking shoes off at the door (http://www.curebiome.com/10-tips-for-your-healthier-home/)
  3. Have any lead paint, lead pipes or lead soldering replaced by a professional

#8 Arsenic

I’m a fan of the old movie “Arsenic and Old Lace” (Cary Grant is the man), but I’m not a huge fan of actual arsenic. This is another heavy metal which also is a known poison, increases cancer risks and also disrupts hormones. The hormones affected by arsenic are those involved in blood sugar regulation leading to increased weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure and a lowered immune system.

How to avoid

  1. The best way to reduce arsenic exposure is keeping it out of your water with a high quality water filter
  2. Also don’t use or eat rat poison (see #3 below)
  3. Thoroughly rinse rice before cooking and avoid rice milks. Many rice storage facilities use rat poison (arsenic) to manage rodent problems

#9 Mercury

Mercury, like lead, seems to always make an appearance when we talk about environmental toxins. Mercury affects the nervous system, immune system, the pancreas increasing diabetes risk and the female hormone cycle. Higher mercury levels can disrupt normal ovulation and menstruation cycles, among other problems. Most common sources of mercury exposure are fish and dental amalgams. It’s also recently come to my attention that the processing of High Fructose Corn Syrup involves a mercury heavy ingredient in many cases, which leads to contamination of most HFCS – which on it’s own can be considered a hormone disruptor.

How to avoid

  1. Eat clean, sustainable seafood https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/walletcard.pdf . My favorite choice is wild-caught salmon
  2. Opt for resins over mercury amalgams for fillings
  3. Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup containing foods

 

#10 Organophosphates

Organophosphates are one of the more commonly used pesticides with roots from World War II. They kill insects through disrupting the nervous system and for this reason negatively affect our brain function, too. They also disrupt hormones through lowering testosterone, disrupting its normal function and interferes with thyroid hormone levels. It’s more common in non-organic produce.

How to avoid

  1. Choose organic, or at least choose organic for the fruits and vegetable most sprayed with pesticides https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php

Make a big difference in your hormones and your health by reducing your exposure to these ten toxins. Remember that it’s not about being 100% clean, it’s about taking your current exposures and lowering them by 5-10% or more when and where you can. Every little bit counts and a detox lifestyle means both avoidance and elimination (who tracks muddy shoes through the room they just cleaned?).

 

Worried about your exposure to hormone disrupting toxins? Call 415-385-2621 or contact us today to schedule a consultation!

 

10 Tips For Your Healthier Home

10 Tips For Your Healthier Home

Make sure you’re doing these 10 things to protect your family and yourself from the most common harmful toxins.

1. It starts at the door

Take those shoes off at the door, the EPA recommends this because of it’s the most likely way kids get lead exposure. What? The dirt and dust on the bottom of shoes often has high levels of lead, due to the history of lead being an additive in automobiles. Beyond lead there is the concern that you might be tracking in other harmful substances in small amounts. Think of cars with oil or antifreeze leaks, animal poop or anything else you really don’t want in your house.

2. Ventilate

Fresh air and sunlight can make an impact on your health and wellbeing. Good air-flow is helpful because we all have something in our house that off-gasses. Off-gassing is what happens when glues, solvents, flame retardants and other chemicals used in furniture or flooring are released in the form of gas. These levels are often low, but they can build up and become another obstacle on the path to optimal health.

Sunlight in the home can play two important roles, first sunlight is the best natural alarm clock and

helps set your biological clock to be awake. Another great benefit is that sunlight stimulates the natural production of Vitamin D in our body. Correcting low levels of Vitamin D can improve symptoms from depression to osteoporosis and more.

3. Purify your air

Since we can’t leave the windows open all the time, particularly on hot summer and cold winter days, what are our options to keep the indoor air clean of toxins and allergens?

High quality air filters

  • A good air filter is more expensive than you would expect, and bigger too. They are fantastic for keeping the air clean consistently, especially at night when you’re sleeping when it can be important for many with chronic diseases, allergies or asthma.

Natural air filters

  • A lot of easy to find house plants reduce the level of common indoor air toxins like formaldehyde and ammonia. Here’s a few good starter plants that aren’t too difficult to care for.
      • Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)
      • Spider plant
      • English ivy

4. Cleaners and chemicals

What are you using and why?

Take a quick look under your sink, or wherever you store your cleaning products for your home. Are there many things that you don’t know what’s actually in them? Are there any that you wouldn’t want to inhale or spill on you? There are some good options for simple non-toxic cleaners.

Where are they stored

That being said, sometimes you know the right tool for the job and it’s nice to have around. Store these somewhere with ventilation and avoid getting hit in the face with an intense chemical vapor when you open that cabinet. It’s going to be better for your entire household if there are minimal harsh cleaners, and that they’re in a place that can circulate and remove the gases from the house.

Basic Natural cleaner

Part of getting rid of harsh chemicals is finding a better alternative. There are 3 basic cleaners that can take care of almost any job.

Baking soda and vinegar

    • In combination or alone these two food items do a great job in cleaning surfaces. Vinegar can make a great multipurpose cleaner for the kitchen and bathroom.
    • Baking soda is a good scrubbing agent, and can give an extra boost if scrubbed in then sprayed with vinegar before wiping off.

Peroxide

    • Hydrogen peroxide is better for more than causing pain and cleaning cuts and scrapes. Hydrogen peroxide is great for cleaning moldy corners of showers, sinks, tile and  grout.

Essential oils

    • These are nice additives to your cleaners, they can increase the antimicrobial action and leave behind a great smell. Be careful because some are quite strong, can be toxic to kids and animals if ingested.

5. Pure water

A lot of us have water filters, for a number of reasons. Knowing you have a quality water filter (I’ll give you a hint, most pitcher filters don’t do much) and making sure you change/clean the filter as often as recommended. Old water filters can grow bacteria or fungi that can create health problems.

6. The food zone

Plastic free: many plastic containers contain chemicals that leach into foods and liquids and which disrupt hormones – the most commonly known is BPA, which has estrogenic effects on the body. More than this there is no hard evidence that any plastics are “safe” and even those labelled as “BPA-Free” tend to contain BPS or BPF, which are chemically very similar to BPA and have been shown to cause (big surprise) the same and possibly worse problems than BPA. Win this by switching over to glass and stainless steel containers for your food storage and water bottles.

Clean: It’s common sense these days that you want kitchen surfaces to be clean. Specifically cutting boards and any places that come in contact with raw produce and/or meat.

Food placement: One of the best things we can do to limit our intake of junk foods is to place these foods in places that are harder to get to. Top shelf in the cupboard or in the back behind other things. Increase the difficulty of accessing junk foods and make it easier to just grab the healthier snack (carrot or piece of fruit and nut butter) can make a bigger difference than you think.

7. Support your sleep

Three tips for better sleep

    1. Sound: Silence is blissful when you’re trying to sleep, since this isn’t always possible or perfect another great option is a white noise machine or app that can make a huge difference.
    2. Light: Did you know that light, especially blue light, can actually suppress your body’s chemical signals to go to sleep. Making sure your bedroom is as dark as possible creates more restful sleep.
    3. Temperature: Ever notice how hard it is to fall asleep if it’s too hot, most people find it most comfortable to sleep in a room around 68 degrees fahrenheit.

8. Healthy bathroom

Clean: One of the most common things to find in a bathroom is mold, because this is a room with high moisture due to showers and all of the water usage. Cleaning out mold in the bathroom with baking soda and peroxide usually does the trick. A great shower spray to prevent mold recurrence is plain hydrogen peroxide which prevents any mold from taking hold.

Ventilation: This further helps preventing any mold, as well as makes for a clean smelling bathroom.

9. Check those nooks and crannies

Clean and dry: Think about places in your house you don’t visit too often. It could be the back of a closet, a basement, or attic. Make sure to keep an eye on these spaces especially during and after any major rain or snow melts. Catching any leaks, mold or pest growth early will make a huge difference in cost of repair and prevent aggravation of allergies and asthma common from mold and fungal invasions.

10. A better work/play space

Create an office or relaxing space that encourages focus and movement: Having the room encourage standing, movement and good posture is one of the most helpful things you can do. Some great options are using something like the pomodoro technique when you’re working/playing on the computer or watching tv – have an egg timer or app that goes off every 45-90 minutes to signal you to stand, stretch, move around or get a drink of water. Another favorite of mine are standing and walking desks, which help improve focus and overall health.

We hope you enjoyed some of our tips for making your home a healthy one. If you have any questions, comments or want to learn more get in touch at (415)385-2621!