Are Endocrine Disruptors Hurting Your Hormones?
Endocrine Disruptors can cause hormonal havoc. Here’s what to do about them.
Updated September 19, 2014.
Have you heard of Endocrine Disruptors?
Endocrine Disruptors (or “EDs”) are chemicals that mess up your hormonal systems.
They can harm your physical, mental and reproductive health, and even make it harder for you to lose weight.
And they’re everywhere: in your food, your furniture, the walls of your house, and even the soil your house is built on.
Sound scary? The good news is: small changes can help. By making yourself aware of EDs and implementing some simple measures, you can minimize your family’s exposure.
EDs: What the heck are they and why should you care?
Your endocrine system consists of glands that release hormones.
Your hormonal system is critical to body function and health. Once released, hormones act like chemical messengers. They travel around the body, bind to target receptors on specific cells, and cause predictable cellular changes.
Endocrine Disruptors interfere with that system. They can wreck havoc with:
- Reproductive health (e.g. altered testicular function, suppression of testosterone synthesis)
- Mental health (e.g. psychiatric disorders, anxiety, depression)
- Weight & body fat (eg. altered metabolism, fat cell signaling, glucose uptake, inflammation, appetite)
- Overall health (e.g immune function, bone health, cardiac function)
Where to watch out for EDs
In our industrialized society, we produce a lot chemicals, which make their way into our environment.
As a result, EDs are found in:
- personal care products
In other words, they’re around us all the time.
What can you do?
There are some simple things you can do to minimize EDs and their effects:
– Make efforts to reduce your exposure. Keep as many harmful chemicals as possible out of your house. Make substitutions for common household pollutants to improve the air quality at home. Read the labels and choose safer self-care products (like shampoos and shaving creams).
(Read the book Healthy Home by Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz. Project Body Smart)
(Check out USANA Health Sciences skin and body care line Sense – Project Body Smart)
– Use less fossil fuel. Fewer fossil fuels mean fewer EDs. When possible, carpool or take transit. Or ditch the car and walk or cycle – you’ll get a workout in as a bonus.
– Use containers like glass, steel, ceramic, and aluminum when possible. Research suggests these are safer and better for the environment. Don’t heat things in plastic or Styrofoam containers; switch to wooden or metal utensils instead of plastic.
– Help your body get rid of toxins. Eat the best quality, freshest food you can afford. Stay active and sweat. Make sure your liver is functioning well, and eat plenty of fiber.
Here’s the bottom line: every improvement helps. I didn’t write this article to make you lie awake at night, worrying about endocrinology and hormones and the scary EDs lurking under the bed. (After all, you need a good sleep!)
Rather, I encourage you to make simple changes in the name of overall health, for you and your family. Because those small changes really add up.