Our bodies are made to naturally function and produce the necessary substances that allow us to thrive in perfect balance, but, same as in nature, when we come in contact with certain substances or chemicals that were not produced naturally by our bodies, our system reacts by provoking a domino effect of multiple negative responses. Let’s look into what provokes these negative changes that end up in hormonal imbalance.
how does the endocrine system work
Our endocrine system affects mostly all parts of the body via the release of hormones. Hormones are produced in what we call glands, these being: thyroid gland, pituitary gland, parathyroid gland, adrenal glands, sex glands and pancreas. Hormonal responses play a highly important role in some of our most vital and important functions: development, metabolism and reproduction.
Hormonal imbalances might happen due to many reasons, diet included, but some of the most threatening and common ones are what we call ”hormone disruptors”. The reason why these chemicals are extremely dangerous to our body is because they are a perfect copy of our naturally produced hormones, hence they attach with great ease to our hormonal receptors provoking hormonal reponses at a greater level.
Once hormones are released from the glands, they travel throughout the body and attach to target receptors producing cell-level changes. This is the reason why no matter how little the hormonal imbalance is, the response will always be perceived by the body and probably by you as well.
WHAT ARE HORMONE DISRUPTORS and why they are dangerous
Normally, your hormonal system would produce naturally the necessary components for your organs to function appropriately, however, chemically made hormone disruptors imitate to perfection your hormones and hence attach to the receptors provoking changes in your body but not on the behalf of your own hormonal system.
At the same time, hormone disruptors block your natural production of hormones, taking their place and making changes that often are not welcome such as: altering the metabolism, changing your glucose uptake, modifying your appetite, irregular menstrual cycles, hair loss or hair growth in strange places, fatigue, anxiety and even memory loss.
WHERE TO FIND HORMONE DISRUPTORS
Unfortunately, they are literally everywhere and the more we consume, the more difficult it becomes to avoid them.
Your cleaning products, your personal-care products, even the receipt that the cashier has handed you out, your nail polish, clothes, even your mattress, your kitchen is filled with them probably and same with your baby’s toys. Most plastics, non-stick cookware, fragrances, food and food packaging, the water you drink, everything you use on your body and face, hair products, and the list goes on.
To make things easier, let’s have a look at a list with the most common toxins that can be found on products. You can try to avoid them or at least acknowledge their presence:
- BPA (Bisphenol): found in plastics, most food packaging, water bottles
- Dioxins: found in water (fish) and feminine hygiene products. If you live in Sweden please read information here as you might need to avoid certain fish from specific areas
- Flame retardants: found in your mattress (including children’s bedding), furniture, car seats and some electronics
- UV filters: found in clothing, sunscreens, lip balms and lip sticks
- Phthalates: found in plastic toys, PVC, plastic wraps and food containers, cosmetics and cleaning products (including dishwashing and laundry detergents)
- Pesticides: found in food, tap water
- Parabens: found in both spray and stick deodorants, antiperspirants, liquid and solid soaps, face creams (even the high-end ones), sunscreens and make-up
- Perfluorinated chemicals: found in food packaging and non-stick cookware
LEARN HOW TO AVOID THESE CHEMICALS
As we mentioned before, no, it’s not easy at all and most likely you will need to make some swaps in almost everything, if not a lifestyle change. It might come at a cost, of stopping to use certain product or just paying a little extra for those companies that do look after your wellbeing. Nonetheless, take the time to go through the following list and learn what you can start doing already now to avoid contact with the chemicals that inhibit your hormonal balance.
- Check the label of the products you purchase all the time
- Decline paper receipts from the cashier after shopping. You can ask for them to be emailed if your items is due to guarantee
- Swap personal-care products to natural formulas. Use natural make-up instead of your regular, whether cheap or expensive
- Swap hygiene products to natural ones. These are alternatives in the market to use natural made out of cotton pads. Watch out the formulas for deodorants and antiperspirants as the 99% products of the market still use parabens and titanium dioxide
- Make your own home cleaners or look for natural formula ones
- Do not buy canned food that is NOT marked as BPA free
- Use a water filter if you drink tap water no matter how clean the water of your country is said to be (this includes Scandinavian water)
- Avoid plastics and swap with glass containers or water bottles
- Choose organic and local products. Imported foods are often sprayed for longer shelf life and to overcome the transportation length
- Choose essential oils instead of using a fragrance and use fragrance-free care products
- Choose a natural sunscreen or better, just avoid it completely and rather use white cotton in summer as a protective shield for warmer sun rays. Most sunscreens contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
- Use cast iron skillets instead of non-stick pans and same applies to kitchen appliances such as sandwich grill or waffle grill
- Use wooden chopping board instead of plastic ones also swap your plastic and silicone utensils to wooden tools