by Dr. Katka Novakova, MD (Europe), ND
Many medical problems that women are dealing with today come from high levels of estrogen in the body which can be caused by internal hormonal imbalances as well as external factors.
External estrogens, or so called “xenoestrogens” (xeno=foreign), are chemicals found in food, plastic, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, drugs, personal care products, household cleaners, detergents, solvents and paints. They exhibit estrogen-like activity in the body, however they do not follow the “rules” of the body’s own natural estrogens. They do not bind to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), like most of natural estrogen does, which allows them to circulate freely, binding to estrogen receptors, passing through the placenta, and getting stored in fatty tissue – all of which contributes to estrogen induced conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, fibrocystic breasts, immune disorders, PMS and menstrual cramps, infertility, as well as breast and uterine cancer.
Although we cannot completely eliminate xenoestrogens from our lives, we can significantly reduce our exposure to them with a few simple steps.
- Do not microwave in plastic or put plastic wrap over food to be microwaved. All plastic contains estrogenic chemicals which get released into our food and water, especially if heated. Try to store your food and water in glass or ceramic containers, or use hard polycarbonate plastic water bottles.
- Buy organic and non-genetically modified (non-GMO) food whenever possible. Conventionally raised animals are injected with growth hormones and fed GMO grains that have been sprayed with pesticides, and conventional produce is exposed to high amounts of herbicides and pesticides as well – all of which are xenoestrogenic.
- Buy organic, natural and biodegradable personal care products and household cleaners. Cosmetics, lotions, sun screens, shampoos, soaps, dish and laundry detergent, fabric softener, all-purpose cleaners, etc. are full of chemicals with estrogenic and carcinogenic properties. There are many effective and much less toxic choices for us, our children and the planet.
- Use natural and environmentally friendly pesticides and pest control companies in your house and your yard and consider having a “shoeless” household. Studies have shown that many environmental toxins and heavy metals are brought into the house on the soles of our shoes – it’s especially important to remove your shoes after being at a golf course because the grass there is often aggressively sprayed with pesticides.
- Use more natural building and construction materials and minimize your exposure when new carpets are being installed or walls painted. Formaldehyde from carpets and solvents from paints and glues are highly toxic and estrogenic – if you can’t avoid them, try to air out the area thoroughly afterwards. While you may not be able to make all of these changes right away, remember that every little bit helps to keep you and the planet healthy!