Hormone balancing can be more difficult to achieve with some patients for a variety of reasons. Lifestyle, adrenal function and even the chemicals introduced into our body can interfere with progress. There are several chemicals that are actually toxic to our body and are known to interfere with our body’s hormone system. These chemicals could be introduced to our body through diet, personal care products, or from our environment. So often it is helpful for a person to assess their toxic load when trying to optimize health.
Chemicals to Avoid in Personal Care Products
Parabens – These are strong endocrine disrupters and are known to mimic estrogen. As a result, many have been linked with breast cancer. They are used in products as a preservative and can be found in MANY products. Anything listed that ends in paraben should be avoided (Methylparaben, tetramethylparaben, etc.).
Oxybenzone – This is an endocrine disruptor as well, and is the active ingredient found in most sunscreens. It also causes our body to create free radicals which increase our risk of cancer.
Aluminum – This is a heavy metal that can bio-accumulate in your system to a toxic level and has been linked to breast cancer. It is found in most deodorants.
Synthetic Dye – These are derived from coal tar and petroleum and are categorized as a carcinogen. They can also be contaminated by heavy metals. This is toxic to our brain. Examples are FD&C Blue 1, Yellow 5 & 6, Red 33, etc.
Dimethicone – This is a siloxane, which is an endocrine disruptor and can impair fertility. It has been linked to uterine cancer.
Triclosan – This is actually a pesticide and is an endocrine disruptor. It also disrupts thyroid function. It is the active ingredient in antibacterial soaps.
This is not an all-inclusive list of chemicals that should be avoided, but it is some of the major endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are a class of chemicals that disrupt your hormones. They can mimic a hormone, causing symptoms of elevated hormones. As a result, the body does not produce as much hormones since it perceives the levels as high. They can also disrupt function of reproductive organs causing cancer or infertility. They should definitely be avoided with hormone imbalances.
Diet Related Chemical Exposure
In order to reduce the amount of chemicals in your food, you should choose organic when possible. It is especially important to consume organic when consuming the dirty dozen, which are peaches, apples, bell peppers, potatoes, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes, spinach and lettuce. Also, avoiding preservatives whenever possible is a good way to decrease your toxic load. Food dyes are also toxic to our bodies. So the best advice is to eat whole, real food. Avoid processed foods as they often add many additives to get them to be shelf stable. Also choose meat that has no added hormones or antibiotics. A good assessment if a food is real food – does it have an ingredient list? Are there more than three to five ingredients listed? Do you recognize all those ingredients?
It is hard to live in a bubble so we never get exposed to ANYTHING. But remember, our skin is the largest organ in our body. We can definitely minimize our risk if we just commit to eating whole foods and reading labels of what we put on and in our bodies.