Why Men and Women Should be Concerned about Xenoestrogens
What the heck are Xenoestrogens and why are they so dangerous to our health?
In my ongoing effort to keep you all feeling vibrant, healthy and free of disease, I thought it was time to discuss Xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are environmental toxins that can severely dysregulate our endocrine system and put us at risk for cancers, obesity, birth defects (including hermaphroditism) and more. Unfortunately, we humans have been manipulating our environment to the point where it is now affecting our own reproductive and endocrine system. Fascinating concept, right? We are manipulating our own evolution through the introduction and use of chemicals.
Girls are starting puberty much earlier than ever before. Most girls reach puberty at the age of 12 or 13, which is nearly 3 years earlier than at the turn of the last century. By the age of 10, 68% of Caucasian girls and 95% of African American girls exhibit signs of puberty and 7% of Caucasian and 27% of African American girls by age seven. Yes, you heard that correctly, by the age of 7 a girl could now conceive a child.
There has also been an increased incidence in breast cancer. The risk rate for women in 1950 was 1 in 20 and today it is 1 in 8.
In 2018, an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,960 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
And about 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2018. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is now about 1 in 1,000.
Numerous studies have implicated Xenoestrogens as the responsible agents for these cancers.
For instance, high concentrations of pesticides, especially DDT, have been found in the breast tissue of breast cancer patients. It is well established that excess estrogen from any source can be tumor promoting.
And what about our boys and men? I already gave a statistic about their increased risk of breast cancer, which is alarming. There has also been a dramatic worldwide increase in testicular cancer (young men in their 20s and 30s). For example, England and Wales - a 55 percent increase over previous rates between 1979 and 1991. Denmark- increased rate of testicular cancer by 300 percent from 1945 to 1990.
Studies have found high concentrations of Xenoestrogens in the breast milk of women whose sons have exhibited defective genitalia. There have been increased rates of children being born as hermaphrodites.
Boys and men also have lowered sperm counts and increased gynecomastia (breast enlargement).
Why could this be happening? You guessed it, our environment.
What are they?
Xenoestrogens - xenos means foreign
These synthetic compounds and plant products have been manufactured and are present in the environment which have been found to have estrogenic activity or mimic hormonal functions involving estrogen metabolism, AKA environmental estrogens, ecoestrogens, or estrogen mimics. These compounds bind to estrogen receptors, and sometimes with as great an affinity as estrogen itself. They can trigger a normal response, trigger an abnormal response or they block estrogen receptors completely and prevent estrogen from binding all together therefore disrupting regular hormonal action. Binding to estrogen receptors alters signaling pathways through a number of cellular proteins that turn on certain genes, which results in cell injury, errors in DNA and tumor promotion, i.e. cancer. The problem is that these Xenoestrogens won’t show up when testing estrogen so someone can be estrogen dominant but the tests don’t reflect it clearly.
Examples of these Xenoestrogens are;
PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)
Bisphenol-A (and the newer plastics BPB, BPC and BPM – which are just as toxic but less known and studied at this point)
(lesser known to many people are dieldrin, endosulfan, 1-hydroxyclordane, kepone, methoxychlor, toxophene )
Xenoestrogens can make you fat
The principal metabolite derived from DDT is DDE (dichloro-diphenyl-dichloroethylene), a xenoestrogen that lingers in fat deposits in the human body for decades. Can you say “why can’t I lose weight despite doing everything right?” Or another question “why do I feel terrible now that I’ve lost a lot of weight?”
You guess it, it could likely be Xenoestrogens!
These toxins can make it challenging for you to lose weight and if you do lose weight they can be released into the blood stream causing a new level of toxicity for you. Both are problematic of course.
So the next question you may be asking me, how do I get these in my body?
Sources of Xenoestrogens
Microwaving food in plastic and foam containers or having plastic on top of the food saturating the food below. Often there is a coating on the frozen foods that contain BPA/plastic
Plastic bottles especially if microwaved or left in the hot sun
Plastic wrap in contact with fat containing foods, especially if heated or microwaved
Beef (commercial sources which are non-organic) have PCBs and they are also injected with synthetic estrogen to stimulate weight gain prior to butchering.
Eggs (commercial sources) chickens have been given synthetic estrogen to increase egg production
Milk (commercial sources) cows have been given growth hormone to increase milk production which has estrogenic effects
Fish from The Great Lakes and other contaminated areas
Pesticides in the air, water and food
Herbicides in the air, water and food
The good news! You can control what you eat, drink and get exposed to through awareness and lifestyle changes. Strategies to avoid exposure
Whenever possible, purchase organically grown fruits and vegetables.
I often hear my client’s say “organic food is too expensive”. The truth is that eating organic and locally raised food is not much more out of pocket, typically 10-15% more which is nominal if you add up the cost of potential treatments to combat disease and especially if you get Cancer.
Buy organic, free range meat and dairy products but if this is not possible, at least make sure they are hormone-free.
Avoid all plastic bottles! Glass, stainless steel and most ceramics (unless from Mexico and China as they may have Lead). BPA free means nothing- the chemical structure of BPB, C and M are similar and are just as dangerous but don’t have the same publicity yet.
Avoid getting receipts at stores as they have a BPA coating of most of them
Canned goods are typically lined with BPA
Find out the composition of consumer goods you use regularly, including personal-care products and cosmetics. (EWG.org)
Read labels or call manufacturers and ask about synthetic materials in their products.
Use organic pesticides and biodynamic ways of pest control.
Avoid having your home sprayed by an exterminator.
How can I support my body to get rid of these Xenoestrogens?
The most important key in supporting your detoxification comes down to your liver. The liver is where estrogens are degraded and if they are not eliminated properly they will recycle into the body and also get stored back into fat cells. The liver is possibly the most important organ in our body. If you can be kind to your liver you will live a healthier and longer life and look good in the process!
Our liver has 2 phases- Phase 1 and 2 (see image below) You must open Phase 2 detoxification first by ways of taking in foods rich in amino acids, glycine, Taurine, Glutamine, Cysteine and sulfur-based compounds. Then you can support Phase I detoxification which needs foods rich in B Vitamins, Folate, Calcium, Glutathione, Fat-soluble vitamins such as A& C, Antioxidant Vitamins C & E (and there are plenty of supplements to assist with this as well)
Here are some ideas!
Balance your pH! (please visit the portal library for a handout on how to balance your body’s pH- enable pop ups in order to access) Your body needs to be alkaline, not acidic to detoxify properly. Plus cancer thrives in an acidic environment.
Eat more Garlic
Eat Whole grains as they have Vitamin E , trace minerals, especially manganese and fiber
Increase green veggies as they have Chlorophyll and fiber
Sprouted seeds and beans – high amount of Folate and Vitamin C ( gallon jar- 3/4 inch seeds and add 3 inches water- soak over night- clean and drain a few times. Cover with a cheese cloth and place in a dark cool area for 3-4 days and then remove, rinse and drain and place in the sun to “green up” and then you have nutritiously dense seeds and beans! Keep in the fridge to use in salads, green drinks etc.
Eat Organic liver
Eat Organic grapes and lemons- high in anti oxidants
Eat Veggies with more color as they are better for Detox (raw or lightly steamed as they lose nutrients if overly cooked)
Cruciferous veggies- sulfur foods and fiber
Organic Whey of no dairy sensitivity
Eat Organic Eggs (unless allergic)
Nutrients to consider adding to supplemental regimen
Vitamin E – mixed tocopherols
ALAMax by Xymogen- alpha lipoic acid is a huge antioxidant and it also recycles glutathione
NAC by Xymgoen or Liposomal Glutathione by Quicksilver Scientific
Medcaps DPO by Thorne - to support phase I and II detoxification
Fibermend by Thorne – to bind toxins like PCB’s and eliminate through the bowels
Crucera by Thorne – Sulforaphanes are simply amazing
NiaVasc by Xymogen - Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3) and Pantothenic Acid (B5) 1000mg daily (both B3 and B5 is early in the Kreb Cycle and supports energy as the body uses a lot of energy to get rid of toxins)
Methylated B12- not oral- it needs sublingual or liquid
Trace Minerals - copper/zinc/manganese/magnesium / selenium
Resources EWG.org A great book to read Clean, Green and Lean by Walter Crinnion