Have you ever wondered with so much technological advancement in healthcare industry, why the people are getting sicker? We see an increase in the number of people suffering from Cancer, Thyroid issues, PCOD, Diabetes etc. Of Course, the reason for these diseases is multifactorial but one of the most important reasons is present in your household.
Your lifestyle plays an important role in maintaining the health of your body. Along with balancing the 4 pillars of Health – Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep and Emotional health, you need to be careful about the things you put in and on your body.
Each and every one of us are made up of trillions of cells. These cells are useless if there is no communication between each other. Hormones make this communication happen. Each cell in your body has to communicate with one another for an action to happen whether you are lifting your finger or ovulating or your muscle is growing or you are burning calories or burning fat – the hormones work as chemical messengers. When all these hormones work in perfect harmony with each other, everything works well in the human body. This is called hormonal harmony. When this balance is disrupted, the communication is disrupted leading to health issues.
One such compound which creates this disruption is called ‘Xenoestrogen’. Xeno means foreign hence Xenoestrogen refers to foreign molecules whose molecular structure is similar to estrogen hormone but are not biodegradable hence stored in fat cells. Our body’s endocrine system produces estrogen for various functions including bone growth, reproductive function in women & men and blood clotting. The hormone regulation is done based on the body requirements. Stored Xenoestrogens create imbalance leading to estrogen dominance which then act as the root cause of many health issues including the most hormone dependent cancers like ER positive breast cancer, ovarian cancer, infertility, endometriosis, obesity, early onset puberty and miscarriages. These Xenoestrogens also disrupt the function of neurotransmitters in the human body.
Sources of Xenoestrogens
- Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers
- Car pollution,
- Some deodorants, antiperspirants (Aluminium)
- Shampoos and skin creams – (parabens)
- Most sun tan creams
- Polychlorinated biphenyls PCBs,
- Fuels and car fumes
- Polycarbonate plastic bottles including some babies bottles,
- Plastic food containers
- Plastic film
Harmful Effects of Xenoestrogens
- These xenoestrogens are related to development of various hormone dependent cancers in humans. Estrogen is a hormone that fuels growth of cancer cells, so excess of it could lead to growth of rogue cells sometimes. According to research there are some 160 xenoestrogens that may be involved in breast cancer development. As a matter of fact, women are the largest consumers of cosmetic products which are a significant source of xenoestrogens!
- Heavy metals and dioxins present in industrial emissions also have estrogen like activity which has a significant association with the risk of developing lung cancer.
- Further a study has also shown that consumers of fried meat run a higher risk of pancreatic cancer development probably due to exposure to benzo(a)pyrene and other food contaminants that have xenoestrogenic properties.
- Another study was conducted to study the relationship between petrochemical air pollution and brain cancer (29 year of age or younger). People who lived in municipalities with the highestlevel of petrochemical air pollution showed a significantlyhigher risk of getting brain cancer after controlling the possible confounders.
- Apart from being one of the risk factorsfor cancer, there are researches to show that Xenoestrogens are involved in developing heart diseases, childhood obesity, Diabetes mellitus, Infertility and disturbing the neuropsychiatric development.
How to reduce exposure to Xenoestrogens?
- Choose organic/ chemical free produce as much as possible
- Wash fruits and vegetables under running water or can dip in ACV water (mix 5ml of ACV in 200 ml water) for 5-7 minutes and then rinse with plain water before consuming or can peel the skin
- Avoid consumption of non organic meat, egg and dairy. Choose from the sources which are hormone free and practice organic farming
- Avoid eating food from plastic containers, cans, Styrofoam disposables or aluminium foils and disposables
- Avoid use of non-stickcookwarein the kitchen. Use clay, cast iron or glass.
- Do not use plastic containers for microwave cooking or reheating.
- Avoid drinking or storing water in a plastic bottle
- Avoid packing hot lunch in plastic containers or wrapping food in aluminium or plastic foil
- Do not use chemical based detergents, fabric softeners or dyes. Use natural and biodegradable detergents
- Avoid use of air fresheners, mosquito liquids as they release chemicalsin the house. Use natural ways of ventilating the house and letting the sunlight in
- Personal Care
- Choose essential oil based perfumes and creams
- Make use of natural shampoos, soaps, cream and lotions.
- Do read the label of your cosmetics and avoid the ones which contain Parabens, Phthalates, SLS and parfum or
- Make use of organic and unperfumedmenstrual pads and tampons. Explore menstrual cups.
- Choose toothpaste which does not contain Triclosan
- Use natural ways to color your hair and avoid the artificial dyes and hair colors using henna, indigo.
- In Office or Outside home
- Be careful of the gas exposure at petrol pumps
- Stay away from the emissions of vehicles
- Avoid touching inksfrom printers, copiers etc.
- Never use your fingernails to scratch off the coating on any scratch card . The silver stuff you see contains xenoestrogens that have a direct link to skin and other cancers. Use a coin instead
It might be difficult to completely avoid the exposure to these xenoestrogens and harmful chemicals, hence we need to periodically detoxify the body to ensure elimination of the harmful compounds. Below mentioned are few ways to do the same:
- Drink plenty of water to eliminate toxins via kidney filtration
- Make sure to exercise on a regular basis and break into a sweat as it’s one of the ways body eliminate toxins from the skin
- Increase the intake of fibre as it binds to excess estrogen and helps eliminate it from the body.
- Practice intermittent fasting or dry fasting to harness your body’sown intelligence to detoxify.
- Make sure to sleep well as this is the time when the bodydetoxifies itself naturally.