This is Part 2 of this Series of Articles on Hormone Balance. In Part 1 last month (May 2015) we discussed what is menopause, why it occurs and the symptoms (you can read last month’s article with this link: https://charicenter.com/facts-need-know-menopause-part-1/).
In today’s article (Part 2) we will give an overview of a reversible cause of hormone imbalance and go into more detail on everyday tips of what you can do to support your endocrine (hormonal) system!
There are several causes for imbalances in the endocrine (hormonal) system including:
- Food sensitivities
- Digestive disturbances
- Nutritional deficiencies
Under the category of toxins we are going to discuss what you may be exposed to on a daily basis and practical tips of what you can do to protect yourself and your family.
We are exposed to plastics everywhere in our daily life. However, plastics made from certain chemicals such as bisphenol-A (known as BPA) are xenohormones that can mimic hormones. They bind to hormone receptor sites and can disrupt the body’s natural hormonal balance. Unfortunately all xenohormones affect endocrine system function and can affect how our natural hormones are produced, metabolized and eliminated from the body.
One of the most harmful chemicals found in harder plastics is bisphenol-A (BPA) which was found in baby bottles, some water bottles and other containers. BPA isn’t used in all plastic bottles. It is found in polycarbonate plastic and has a number 7 recycling code, a category that includes several types of plastics.
Initially in 2008 the FDA said BPA was safe, but they repealed the decision after studies linked BPA to hormonal disruption, miscarriage, risk of infertility, diabetes, cancers and attention deficit disorder in both children and adults. In 2012 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of baby bottles that contain bisphenol A (BPA). The ban came after several studies found the chemical mimics estrogen and could harm brain and reproductive development in fetuses, infants and children.
BPA is known as an “environmental estrogen” and “endocrine disruptor” because it can actually mimic the effect of sex hormones such as estrogen on the body.
According to numerous studies, plastic bottles made from bisphenol A (BPA) can leach BPA into the water when heated.
Since then store shelves have “BPA-free bottles” for both baby bottles and adult water bottles. However, recent research shows that a common BPA replacement known as bisphenol S (BPS), may be just as harmful.Approximately 81 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPS in their urine. In a 2013 study by Cheryl Watson at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, they found that even picomolar concentrations (less than one part per trillion) of BPS can disrupt a cell’s normal functioning. This could potentially lead to metabolic disorders such as diabetes, obesity, asthma, birth defects or even cancer.
A 2011 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that almost all of the 455 commercially available plastics that were tested leached estrogenic chemicals.
In fact, studies have shown that products currently marketed as BPA free are not EA (estrogenic activity) free.
Practical Tips to Protect Yourself:
- Avoid buying water in plastic bottles.
- Instead choose stainless steel or glass containers to carry water (we personally mostly use stainless steel or glass bottles to carry water).
- * For children use stainless steel sippy cups!
- Avoid drinking water from a plastic bottle that has been left in direct sunlight or heat (i.e. when water sits in the car heat leaches xenohormones and other chemicals into the water).
- Store leftover food in glass or stainless steel containers.
- Avoid microwaving food in cellophane or plastic wrap. The heat causes the plastic to release harmful chemicals as a gas which then goes into your food. Originally plastic wrap was made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and PVC-based plastic wraps are believed to leach plasticizers when they are heated. In addition, heating up plastics can cause phthalates (a toxic petroleum derivative) to leach into your food. Phthalate exposure has been linked to insulin resistance and obesity.
- Instead, reheat last night’s dinner in glass or ceramic dishes.
- Cover food with a plate or lid to avoid the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic wrap.
- If you reuse plastic containers in the refrigerator or freezer, only reuse those which are numbered 2 (HDPE), 4 (LDPE), or 5 (these numbers and letters are found on the bottom of most containers and lids). These three types of plastic (#2, #4 and #5) leach the least amount of toxins.