Healthy Minds and Body Awareness Series spotlights the harmful effects of estrogen that is found in every day foods, plastic containers/ bottles, cleaning products and beauty products.
Definition of the body’s natural Estrogen:
“Oestrogens or estrogens are a group of compounds named for their importance in both menstrual and estrous reproductive cycles. They are the primary female sex hormones.” – read more at Wikipedia
Did you know?
There is plant based estrogen and man made/synthetic estrogen that the public needs to be concerned about. They mimic the natural forming hormone in the body and are known to cause health issues when eaten or absorbed into the body. This topic in my Healthy Minds and Body Awareness Series is important because the community at large needs to be aware of the dangers of exposure to these forms of estrogen..
My personal experience that alerted me to the existence of estrogen/synthetic estrogen in my diet
I recently received a call from my doctor’s office explaining to me that my latest blood- work could not give accurate results because my hormone levels were extremely high. I was advised the test would have to be redone, earlier in the day, on an empty stomach. Soon after the test was redone as requested, I followed directions and did not consume food, the results were favorable.
This incident got me to wondering what I had consumed that contained estrogen. So I did some research only to find out some alarming facts. Estrogen is naturally contained in many foods and in addition it is added to foods, most plastic containers/ bottles, cookware, cleaning products and beauty products. Who would have guessed that a synthetic estrogen hormone is added to many brands of laundry detergents, drier sheets, makeup (even lipsticks), and almost all African American hair grooming products.
I had just added Flax Seed, because of it purported health benefits, to my smoothies and now I know Flax Seed is loaded with estrogen! Read about Flax Seed’s dangers and side effects here.
The culprit Estrogens -Xenoestrogen, and Phytoestrogens:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –
“Xenoestrogens are a type of xenohormone that imitates estrogen. They can be either synthetic or natural chemical compounds.
Synthetic xenoestrogens are widely used industrial compounds, such as PCBs, BPA and phthalates, which have estrogenic effects on a living organism even though they differ chemically from the estrogenic substances produced internally by the endocrine system of any organism. Natural xenoestrogens include phytoestrogens which are plant-derived xenoestrogens. Because the primary route of exposure to these compounds is by consumption of phytoestrogenic plants, they are sometimes called “dietary estrogens”. Mycoestrogens, estrogenic substances from fungi, are another type of xenoestrogen that are also considered mycotoxins.
Xenoestrogens are clinically significant because they can mimic the effects of endogenous estrogen and thus have been implicated in precocious puberty and other disorders of the reproductive system.” – read more
“Phytoestrogens are plant-derived xenoestrogens (see estrogen) not generated within the endocrine system but consumed by eating phytoestrogenic plants. Also called “dietary estrogens”, they are a diverse group of naturally occurring nonsteroidal plant compounds that, because of their structural similarity with estradiol (17-β-estradiol), have the ability to cause estrogenic or/and antiestrogenic effects, by sitting in and blocking receptor sites against estrogen.
Chemical structures of the most common phytoestrogens found in plants …(read more at wikipedia.org)
Their name comes from the Greek phyto (“plant”) and estrogen, the hormone which gives fertility to female mammals. The word “estrus” – Greek οίστρος – means “sexual desire”, and “gene” – Greek γόνο – is “to generate”. It has been proposed that plants use phytoestrogens as part of their natural defence against the overpopulation of herbivore animals by controlling male fertility.
The similarities, at molecular level, of estrogens and phytoestrogens allow them to mildly mimic and sometimes act as antagonists of estrogen. Phytoestrogens were first observed in 1926″ – read more click here
Informational online link sources on food and products containing Estrogen (Xenoestrogen and Phytoestrogens):
“1. Soy, 2. Sugars, grains, 3. Meat and dairy, 4, BPA plastics, 5. Teflon pans” From the following source:
“The Top 5 High Estrogen Foods to Avoid (and listed side effects) -Watch video. Link -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8W9kTQgXQ0
“4 Surprising Foods Packed With Estrogen — The Chemical Linked to Obesity and Sexual Dysfunction” the following informational list was found at this link – http://www.alternet.org/food/4-surprising-foods-packed-estrogen-chemical-linked-obesity-and-sexual-dysfunction
A list of foods and products that contain a form of estrogen; which is a chemical linked to obesity and sexual dysfunction
1. Flax, 2. Soy, 3. Other Legumes and Common Health Foods (list includes the following but there are more) Legumes like chickpeas (garbanzo beans) red beans, black-eyed peas, green peas and split peas are also estrogenic and black beans pack,/ Sesame and sunflower seeds are among the highest of all estrogenic foods./alfalfa sprouts, licorice and the flavorings red clover and fennel, sometimes found in teas. Food ingredients in personal care products can also have estrogenic effects. Tea tree oil found in some shampoos, soaps and lotions/alfalfa sprouts, licorice and the flavorings red clover and fennel, sometimes found in teas. Food ingredients in personal care products can also have estrogenic effects. Tea tree oil found in some shampoos, soaps and lotions 4. Animal Products On most lists of products containing estrogen, animal products like milk and beef are at the very bottom.
Known dangers of Estrogen and Xenoestrogen: (click on hyperlinks/highlighted words!)
* How having too much estrogen can make you gain weight” Informative article
* “Fibroids Endometriosis ( Estrogen Dominance ) 062509” – Video is very in depth on women/men issues!
* “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Estrogen Dominance” -Informational Video
* ” Xenoestrogens the cause of Breast Cysts by Elizabeth Smith, MD” – read more
*”..estrogen was linked to lung cancer, ovarian cancer, skin cancer, gall bladder cancer, cataracts urinary incontinence and joint degeneration.” -read article here
*”Your Breasts Don’t Lie: Soy, Flax and Other Estrogenic Foods and Herbs Trigger Precancerous Breasts” read article
*”Weight Gain May Be From Estrogen Dominance” (weight gain, obesity, and female ailments;e.g. Endometriosis) -Estrogen dominance causing female health disorders and weight gain. Watch informative video – Link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t06Qjqm2feo
To learn more about this featured topic in this Healthy Minds and Body Awareness Series
Additional information is available by watching the featured video and clicking on the highlighted words contained within the article to go to additional videos and articles. There are many resources online so use the online search engine of your choice.
I will conclude this article with a List of Xenoestrogens found at https://endojourney.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/a-list-of-xenoestrogens/
* Commercially-raised, non-organic meats such as beef, chicken, and pork
* Commercial dairy products including milk, butter, cheese, and ice cream – Use only organic products that do not contain bovine growth hormone
* Unfiltered water, including water you bathe in – Use reverse-osmosis filtered water such as Dazani or get your own filter
* Laundry detergent – Use white vinegar, baking soda, or tri-sodium phosphate (TSP)… According to some experts, avoid even the Seventh Generation and Eco brands
* Dryer sheets and fabric softeners – Use white vinegar is a marvelous natural fabric softener, no smell after it dries
* Avoid Primpro, DES, Premarin, Cimetidine (Tagamet), Marijuana, and Birth Control Pills (BCPs are often prescribed FOR endo. Talk to your doctor).
* Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
* Progesterone creams or other lotions made with paraben preservatives
* Ground flaxseed – If you’re looking for the Omega-3 effect, use fish oil instead
* No sunflower oil, no safflower oil, no cottonseed oil, no canola oil – Use olive oil or grapeseed oil
* Avoid Tea tree oil (melaleuca) – I know, I love tea tree oil, this one is tough
* No lavendar oil
* Avoid coffee and caffeine
* Sage and rosemary
* Shampoos, lotions, soaps, cosmetics that contain paraben or phenoxyethanol – Almost all contain them, you have to look far and wide. Be diligent, you’re getting hundreds of times more exposure through your skin than through your diet. So far, I’ve found Kiss My Face brands to be okay.
* Shampoos that purposely include estrogen (these are shampoos that cater to the African-American market)
* Avoid reheating foods in plastic or styrofoam containers
* Avoid drinking out of plastic cups and containers
* Air fresheners that contain pthalates
Avoid naturally occurring plant estrogens:
* Clover, red clover tea, alfalfa sprouts
* Sunflower seeds
* Queen Anne’s lace (wild carrot)
* Pomegranate – The Greeks used this plant as a contraceptive!
* Licorice, red clover, yucca, hops (beer) and motherwort
* Bloodroot, ocotillo, mandrake, oregano, damiana, pennyroyal, verbena, nutmeg, tumeric, yucca, thyme, calamus rt., red clover, goldenseal, licorice, mistletoe, cumin, fennel, chamomile, cloves
* 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) (sunscreen lotions)
* butylated hydroxyanisole / BHA (food preservative)
* atrazine (weedkiller)
* bisphenol A (monomer for polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin; antioxidant in plasticizers) – also known as BPA
* dieldrin (insecticide)
* DDT (insecticide)
* endosulfan (insecticide)
* erythrosine / FD&C Red No. 3
* heptachlor (insecticide)
* lindane / hexachlorocyclohexane (insecticide)
* methoxychlor (insecticide)
* nonylphenol and derivatives (industrial surfactants; emulsifiers for emulsion polymerization; laboratory detergents; pesticides)
* polychlorinated biphenyls / PCBs (in electrical oils, lubricants, adhesives, paints)
* phenosulfothiazine (a red dye)
* phthalates (plasticizers)
* DEHP (plasticizer for PVC)
Here is another list from Dr. Peter Eckhart, MD:
1. Do not heat food or water with plastic in the microwave. Do not drink hot liquids in foam styrofoam cups or receptacles.
2. Change your laundry detergent because it cannot be fully washed from the clothes and can be absorbed through the skin. Do NOT use dryer sheets or fabric softener.
3. Do not use anything on the skin with parabens or phenoxyethanol in them. This includes shampoo, soap, makeup, hand lotion, body lotion, and toothpaste. Oral substances are 90% filtered by the liver. Skin-absorbed substances are 100% absorbed by the body, thus, a skin dose is 10 times an oral dose.
4. Avoid coffee. Avoid decaf coffee. No caffeine. No tea. No colas. Caffeine increases estradiol levels by 70%!
5. No sunflower oil, no safflower oil, no cottonseed oil, no canola oil. (Guess that leaves olive oil).
6. Avoid shampoos that are “rich in hormones” and have estrogen added to them.
7. Avoid estrogenic herbs especially TOPICALLY such as sage and rosemary. (Good to know coming up on Thanksgiving!)
8. Avoid weak estrogens such as soy and ground flax seed.
9. Many sunscreens are estrogenic. Use a hat and long sleeved shirt.
10. Use cosmetics with minerals or grapefruit seed extract as a preservative.
According to Dr. Elizabeth Smith, MD, there are some things you CAN do:
* Use glass or ceramics whenever possible to store food and water. Heat up your food using a glass or ceramic bowl covered with dish. When plastic is heated, it diffuses very rapidly into food.
* Use a simple detergent with less chemicals; Nature Clean is a good choice for both laundry detergent and dish washing detergent.
* Simple Soap is a safe choice for shampoo and a body soap.
* Use natural pest control not pesticides.
* Avoid Synthetic Chemicals – Healthy Living in a Toxic World by Cynthia Fincher PhD. is a good place to start.
* Don’t use herbicides; use a cup of salt in a gallon of vinegar.
* Buy hormone free meats to eat.
* Buy “Organic” produce, produce grown without pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizer or hormones.
* Use Condoms without spermicide for Birth control instead of Birth Control Pills. Use Natural Progesterone instead of HRT.
* In general, the hormones taken orally are first pass metabolized by the liver 80%-90%. However, when these hormones are applied to the skin, the hormones are directly absorbed by the body. Thus, any skin dose is 10 times that of an oral dose. The vast majority of skin lotions and creams use the parabens as a preservative. Avoid them at all costs. Instead apply a vegetable oil right after a shower to hydrate the skin and lock in the moisture.
References (for above list):
http://www.breastcancerfund.org / (also http://www.breastcancerfund.org/clear-science/environmental-breast-cancer-links/food/