If you haven’t yet taken steps to prevent it, you are probably eating hormones along with your dinner.
Food manufacturers widely use hormone-mimicking chemicals. Incredible to me, the FDA not only allows this, but also claims that this practice is safe. How could anyone know this? These chemicals send powerful and confusing messages to the cells in your body.
In today’s Health Alert, I’ll show you some of these hormone look-a-likes. And I’ll share new evidence that these toxins begin affect your health even before birth. To determine your risk, I’ll give you a quick guide to recognize these poisons come from.
Good Health Starts in the Womb
Hormones are your body’s messenger service. When there’s a job to do, your glands send hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones carry instructions to the rest of your body.
When the hormones find their target – the cells of a tissue or organ – they deliver the message by connecting to a receptor. The tissue or organ will then carry out a specific set of instructions. In this way, your hormones regulate the growth, development and maintenance of your body.
Some of the modern chemical added to your environment have the same look and structure of hormones. When they get into your body, they gain access to receptors just like real hormones. But the messages these alien hormones deliver can wreak havoc on your delicate system of regulation.
For a child these fake hormones can interrupt the basic processes that set the stage for who that child will become. Estrogens mimickers can cause baby boys to have smaller-than-normal penises and young girls to hit puberty sometimes as early as seven or eight years old.1
And a recent study showed that exposure to these chemicals during the early stages of a child’s development – especially in the womb – can lead to permanent damage. In many cases, this damage goes undetectable for years.2
In adults, excess estrogen raises the risk of many cancers and has a feminizing effect on men.
Eliminate These Toxins
Many of these hormone disruptors come from products you use every day. Plastics, detergents, soap, shampoo, hair spray, and food packaging all contain chemicals that resemble hormones.
The food you eat is also pumped full of hormones that find their way into your body. Growth hormones allow faster growth of livestock and poultry. Estrogens make them fatter and retain more water. This means increased profit for the industry but how can we possibly predict what a lifetime of eating these extra hormone will do to your health and aging?
To help lower your exposure, start by ask yourself these questions:
- Do you eat commercially grown food?
- Do you eat standard meat or poultry?
- Do you consume any canned foods or drinks?
- Do you microwave food in plastic containers or cover foods with plastic wrap?
- Do you use pesticides on your lawn and garden?
- Do your pets wear flea collars?
- Do you use laundry detergent?
- Do you use air fresheners in your home or car?
I bet you answered “yes” to some of these questions. If you did, you very likely have been exposed to chemicals that resemble hormones.
The problem of hormone disruptors is a product of our industrial age. A first step is simply to revert to unprocessed whole foods. To learn more about how to get these toxins out of your system, stay tuned for a future Health Alert on detoxification.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
P.S. – The easiest way to sidestep estrogens in your food is to eat organic produce and hormone-free grass-fed meat and free-range poultry.
1 Berkson L. Endocrine disruption: update and relevance in clinical practice. ACAM Update. Sep/Oct 2005.
2 Weise E. Are Our Products Our Enemy? USA Today. Aug 2, 2005