Environmental stressors undoubtedly influence our biology, specifically the endocrine system. For example, endocrine disruptors (chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system) have been on the rise from sources like cleaning products, cosmetics, and the increased use of plastics and aluminum. Below are a few steps you can take to help kickstart hormonal optimization to keep your body’s hormones in balance.
Do you use plastic bottles? This may be impacting your health, as plastic has been proven to be one of the primary sources of endocrine disruptors. As many companies are switching to BPA-free plastic bottles, we are left wondering what new plastic is being utilized.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical substance produced worldwide and a common endocrine disruptor. Endocrine disruptors are substance that interferes with your hormones and negatively impact health leading to reduction in fertility, behavioral changes, cancer, obesity, and so much more.
BPA is commonly found in many everyday items including water bottles, canned foods, sodas, and cash register receipts. Many companies have made the switch from BPA-free bottles to bottles containing bisphenol-S (BPS) and Bisphenol-F (BPF). While BPA-Free sounds alluring, research shows these sister compounds aren’t any better. They have a similar effect including, increasing the risk of premature births, promotes diabetes , and even brain hyperactivity.
So what should you use? There are many companies making headway. Try opting for bottles made of glass or metals. And, always clean your bottles daily.
Eat your vegetables!!
Cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. contains a special compound, Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is converted into 3,3’-Diindoylemethane (DIM). These compounds can aid in restoring hormonal balance by binding excess estrogen to be removed from the body.
Estrogen dominance is plaguing so many women across the world and can contributes to endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, infertility, heavy periods, and increased risk for breast cancer. Estrogen dominant states occurs for several reasons:
- the body produce too much estrogen
- utilization of endocrine disrupting products that contain estrogen-mimickers
- the body does not rid of estrogen byproduct efficiently
- genetic variations
- lack of progesterone
- irregular bowel movements
- exposure to endocrine disruptors
I3C is the precursor to DIM. Once you consume I3C rich foods, stomach acid helps to convert it into DIM. Vegetables are also high in fiber. Fiber is another binding agent, which promotes proper bowel movements.
Not to get too yucky, but bowel movements are important in the process of removing waste. If you’re not poo-ing at least every 1-2 days your body can reabsorb some of those estrogen metabolites furthering hormonal imbalances.
Clean, non-toxic feminine care and cosmetic products
Many women notice once they make the switch to clean, non-toxic feminine car brands their cycles changes resulting in reduced cramping and not-so heavy periods. Why is this?
The vagina is highly absorbable and many feminine products contains harsh chemicals, fragrances, and bleach that are xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are estrogen mimicking substance, as well. Once absorbed by the vagina, these chemicals enters the system and are transported through the body via the bloodstream to impact fertility, as well as, development of estrogen dependent cancers.
Since pads and tampons are considered medical grade products, manufactures are not required to list ingredients. However, recent studies have shown phthalates and other potentially questionable substances are linked to feminine pads and tampons, thereby making these endocrine disruptors. Phthalates are also associated with increased risks of endometriosis, uterine fibroids, etc, reduction in fertility, etc.
In order to reduce your exposure, opt for clean, sustainable brands such as The Honey Pot, Rael, DevaCups, LOLA, to name a few.
Krishna Muhammad ND earned her doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2017. After earning her ND, her residency was focused in regenerative medicine, functional medicine, hormonal health, and fertility. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Middle Tennessee State University in 2013. In her spare time, Krishna enjoys trying new foods, and exploring local museums.