#hormonedisruptors #hormonebalance #toxicload #hormoneimbalance #endocrinedisruptors #detoxsolution #hormonesupport #thyroidhealth #guthealth #endotoxins #estrobolome #phthalates #bpa #heavymetals #organophosphates #pesticides #mycotoxins
How full is your bucket ?
I like to use this analogy with clients to explain to them why their body is reacting to so many things or they feel they have every bug on the planet: it all depends on how full your bucket is! If your bucket is almost empty = high resilience and plenty of space or resources still to deal with foreign invaders, chemicals etc.
That’s how just smelling a scented candle can trigger a migraine for instance or just the smallest effort will require you to rest for days to recuperate.
It is impossible to avoid exposure to these things altogether, however, it is critical to minimize your exposure and open up your drainage pathways to eliminate these chemicals from your body.
So what kind of chemicals are we talking about and how do they impact your hormones?
Glyphosate and other pesticides
Glyphosate is the most widely produced chemical in the world that’s used in herbicides and over 700 agriculture, forestry, and home products. Other pesticides are said to be less strong than Glyphosate, which may even have a carcinogenic effect.
Other pesticides like Organophosphates (used as pesticides or insect killers in both household and agricultural applications) can lead to serious neurological, neuropsychological, and/or psychiatric outcomes (Source).
Why are pesticides so bad? They will destroy the good bacteria in your microbiome, causing immune issues, leaky gut, hormone imbalance & neurotransmitter deficiencies.
So what can you do? Eat organic or grow your own crop! If budget is an issue, the dirty dozen & clean fifteen list is a good guideline. Check out the dirty dozen and clean fifteen list here.
BPA is a chemical used to make hard plastics. It is typically found in water bottles and in the lining of food cans, but you’ll also find it in plastic flip flops, in the coating of receipts, in the chemicals used in conventional dry cleaning and in the lining of your restaurant to-go containers.
Why is BPA bad?
According to this study, BPA inhibits ovarian follicle growth by disrupting the estrogen pathway. So it means that it has a negative impact on how many eggs your ovaries are producing. BPA has also been associated with PCOS, endometrial disorders, increased implantation failure, miscarriage, and preterm birth. (Source)
Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are most commonly found in cosmetics and body care products, but are also found in other products like toys, vinyl flooring and wall covering, detergents, lubricating oils, food packaging, pharmaceuticals, blood bags and tubing, and personal care products, such as nail polish, hair sprays, aftershave lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfumes, and other fragrance preparations.
Why are phthalates bad?
They are incredibly toxic and weaken immunity.
Exposure to phthalates may increase the risk of breast cancer. Source
Chronic exposure to phthalates has been linked to hormone disruption as it has a negative influence on the endocrine system and functioning of multiple organs Source
Whaaaattt? Well yes, there’s actually several ways in which coffee can impact your hormone balance:
Mold and pesticides: most coffee is contaminated with mold and pesticides (I actually was getting a rash from my coffee until I finally found a good organic version)
Caffeine will impact your Cortisol levels and can contribute to stress and inflammation by impacting your blood sugar levels. A good rule of thumb is that the more tired you feel, the less you should drink coffee - sounds counteractive right? But yes, if you’re already tired and your pushing your body even more with caffeine, you’re wearing out your HPA system which will lead to even more fatigue and hormone imbalance.
Depending on where you live, your tap water may not be too bad, but consider all the medication, hormones, fluoride that everyone consumes and that will not be filtered out completely of your drinking water.
Some cities also add chlorine to the water to kill off parasites and germs, but if you drink it, it will also kill off the healthy bacteria in your microbiome (gut & vagina) and on your skin -don’t forget you also use that water to take a shower or bath, so anything in the water will enter via your lungs and skin pores….
Your water can also contain heavy metals like aluminium, cadmium, lead or copper (which often comes from your pipes) and in some countries like the U.S. there’s also often parasites in the water.
Well, now you may think, ok I’ll have to buy bottled water… Yes you certainly can, but do make sure you opt for glass bottles (they are widely available again) or there’s also paper boxes or tetra packs which are better than the plastic that often contains BPA or other microplastic.
The other option is to use a water filter. At a minimum, you want to use a BRITA filter. Many colleagues in the US swear by the Berkey water filter they have different ones also for your shower. Another one with a good reputation is Aquatru (also available in the US). Or one I recently discovered and probably will invest in once my BRITA filters are used up, is this non plastic option from Aarke.
Heavy metals are one of the major toxins you may get exposed to. Mercury, lead, cadmium and aluminum are probably the most common, but also arsenic.
Mercury: dental fillings, larger fish like Salmon and Tuna and anything that comes from Norway, some vaccines
Lead: vapor of gas, paint, tap water, cosmetics, food & tobacco
Arsenic: pesticides, commercially grown produce, conventionally raised chicken, apple juice, rice products, glass work, smelting, and semiconductor production
Cadmium: chocolate, tobacco, coffee (from soil and from the bags that are used to transport and store these crops), metalworking, soldering, battery manufacturing, and contaminated foods.
Aluminum: cookware like coated pans, espresso makers or woks & casseroles often used in Asia, coffee capsules, some vaccinations, antiperspirant deodorant, municipal tap water, canned food and drinks, and some processed foods.
Why are they bad? Not only do heavy metals have a toxic effect on your body and mainly your brain where they usually settle, but they will also create nutrient deficiencies and hormonal issues. They bind to proteins in your body that would otherwise be activated by minerals like zinc and magnesium. This means that they cause a lack of magnesium and zinc which again has a negative impact on your hormone production as both are vital for your progesterone production. They can cause oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, and cellular interference. People with heavy metal toxicity often suffer from brain fog and digestive issues.
Mold and mycotoxins are some of the most prevalent toxins in your environment. Molds are a specific type of fungi-like mold. They are very adaptable and can grow almost anywhere as long as the conditions are moist, damp, and warm. Molds produce mycotoxins in order to proliferate, these spores fly everywhere and mainly settle on fabric, paper, carpets etc.
They are often found in your bathroom, damp basements, kitchen, wallpaper, ceiling tiles, fiberglass insulation, and elsewhere. Mold is not always obvious and visible - it can be somewhere more hidden.
These mycotoxins are extremely toxic and can cause a wide range of health problems.
Molds may also grow on your food typically found on fruit.
Here are the top mold exposure symptoms:
1. Fatigue and weakness
2. Headaches, light sensitivity
3. Poor memory, difficult word finding
4. Difficulty concentrating
5. Morning stiffness, joint pain
6. Unusual skin sensations, tingling, and numbness, flaky or peeling skin
7. Shortness of breath, sinus congestion or a chronic cough
8. Appetite swings, body temperature dysregulation
9. Increased urinary frequency or increased thirst
10. Red eyes, blurred vision, sweats, mood swings, sharp pains
11. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating
12. Tearing, disorientation, metallic taste in your mouth
13. Static shocks
14. Vertigo, feeling lightheaded
How badly you and your family members are affected depends on your genetics, total toxic load of other toxins, timing and length of exposures. Family members can be affected in different ways, with some having no symptoms. Women and children are more susceptible for many reasons.
Mycotoxins are very tiny and fat soluble, get into cell membranes and into the mitochondria, disrupting the body’s ability to produce energy and often causing chronic fatigue, as well as a disruption of many hormonal and immune functions of the cell.
Mycotoxins can stay present in fat cells and cell membranes for many years after exposure, even once removed from the moldy situation itself. So a previous exposure- i.e. growing up in a home with a moldy basement, may prime you to get sick later in life.
Endotoxins or Lipopolysaccharides (LPS), are toxins that are found inside of your body and often come from bacterial overgrowth in your intestines. Candida (yeast) or parasites will typically produce endotoxins. So you see that endotoxins are closely linked to your gut health. Gut dysbiosis (an imbalance in your gut microbiome that creates a compromised gut flora, lowers your body’s ability to fight invaders, and increases your risks of endotoxins and biotoxin illness). Gut dysbiosis is a breeding ground for Candida and other yeast infections, bad bacteria, parasites, viruses, and pathogens.
How is this linked to your hormones?
Your gut produces all three estrogens: Estrone (E1), Estradiol (E2) & Estriol (E3). Mainly though E3 (our protective estrogen) which is essential for pregnancy and helps with reducing symptoms of menopause and osteoporosis.
Dysbiosis has an impact on the bacteria of the estrobolome which is a collection of bacteria that will metabolize and modulate the body’s circulating estrogen. So it can have an impact on development of fibroids, but also impact our mood and energy
Progesterone is also produced in the microbiome which then signals when and how much to produce.
Thyroid hormones regulate digestion and motility. Normal function plays a role in the secretion of hydrochloric acid, pepsin, and secretin to facilitate the breakdown of nutrients and assimilation. The gut bacteria will also influence the conversion of thyroxine (T4- inactive thyroid hormone) into the active form of thyroid hormone, T3. About 20 % of T4 is converted to T3 in the GI tract by healthy gut bacteria. Intestinal dysbiosis can significantly reduce the conversion of T3 (the result will be a hypothyroid or under-active thyroid gland, leading to weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, constipation, feeling cold, ...). Inflammation in the gut also reduces T3 by raising cortisol. Cortisol decreases active T3 levels while increasing levels of inactive T3.
Additionally, the key nutrients that are necessary to support thyroid health are often poorly absorbed if digestive function is not optimal.
A low diversity of bacteria in the gut is linked to an increase of thyroid hormone production which will result in a hyperthyroid condition.
When dealing with toxic exposure and a high toxic load, the first step is to do your best to avoid the main sources as best as you can, so that you stop your bucket from running over. That frees up resources of your liver to clear out the existing toxins. Now if you’re dealing with nasty things like mold/mycotoxins or heavy metals, that doesn’t go so easy, I recommend that in such cases you absolutely work with a professional (like me or a practitioner you trust and who’s knowledgeable in this kind of deep detoxification.
Once you have removed the main toxic exposure, you can focus on opening up our detoxification and elimination pathways: your lungs, skin, kidneys, and colon. You need to increase respiration/oxygen, sweating, peeing and pooping so that your body can move out these toxins.
Besides “cutting out the crap” as I mention in that article, I also recommend to eat plenty of greens, low glycemic vegetables and fruit, healthy fats and clean protein from pasture-raised animals or wild caught fish (also see previous article for more info). Your liver especially loves anything bitter so all the bitter herbs and veg that you can get are a great way to extra support your liver.