(Health Secrets) If you have mysterious symptoms that nobody can make sense of but they just won’t go away, there is probably one or several potent endocrine disruptors in your life. What are endocrine disruptors? They are chemicals that are added to many of the products we use on a daily basis that cause mysterious symptoms to occur in our bodies. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a consumer protection organization, has just identified a Dirty Dozen of the worst endocrine disruptors. But before we go to them, let’s see how endocrine disruptors manage to create mysterious symptoms and cause so much trouble.
Endocrine disruptors wreck communication in the body
The organs of the endocrine system produce hormones, which are the great communicators of the body. Hormones are the chemical messengers that transfer signals and instructions from one set of cells to another. When you become involved with a endocrine disruptor, this communication system no longer functions like it should, and a host of mysterious symptoms can be the result.
Hormones influence and regulate almost every cell, tissue, organ, and function of the human body, so it is easy to see how a disruption in this system can create the havoc in the body that can produce many mysterious systems. Hormones orchestrate the maintenance and balance of our internal environment through a process known as homeostasis. A body in homeostasis is a healthy body and one without symptoms.
Hormones circulate in the blood stream and come in contact with cells throughout the body. But each hormone is able to affect only a limited number of cells, the cells that have specialized receptor proteins for receiving that particular hormone. When a hormone is secreted into the blood and binds to a receptor site, biological effects from that binding produce a specific physical change.
Chemicals can mimic hormones and gain admittance to our hormone receptors. When they do, they block the receptor so the hormone that needs to bind there cannot complete that action.
Chemical endocrine disruptors have a tremendously negative effect on the body. When foreign hormones bind to the body’s hormone receptors, the body is unable to achieve and perpetuate homeostasis, resulting in a cascade of events that lead first to mysterious symptoms, and then to full blown disease.
This cascade starts off with symptoms you may be experiencing already, such as rapid heart beat, irritability, mood swings, sleep disturbance, fatigue, anxiety, feelings of dread or doom, panic attacks, inflammation, mental confusion, difficulty concentrating, allergies, arthritis, migraines, indigestion, weight gain or bloating, thinning hair, arthritis, muscle or tendon aches, dizziness, itchy or crawly skin, sugar intolerance, skin problems, yeast infections, hypoglycemia, and plenty more.
One good way to make sure this does not happen to you is by keeping all your hormones at optimal levels. If you do that, your hormone receptors will be occupied by the hormones that should be there, and not be open to invasion from endocrine disruptors. When levels of hormones fall, receptors for them go unoccupied and are wide open to be occupied by endocrine disrupting foreign chemcials.
It’s clearly important to minimize your exposure to endocrine disruptors, and this is where EWG’s Dirty Dozen comes in.
Chemicals that cause endocrine disruption
Many of these are potent chemicals found in the immediate environment and even in your home. Products containing them can be bought from such places as your local grocery store, Target or Walmart. There are plenty of them in products sold at drug stores such as Walgreens or CVS too. But endocrine disrupting chemicals are not ingredients, so you won’t find them on labels.
Here is a sampling of the endocrine disruptors from EWGs Dirty Dozen:
Some may say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but do you really want a chemical used in plastics imitating the your natural estrogen? Fortunately, this foreign hormone can trick the body into thinking it is the real thing. BPA has been linked to everything from breast and other cancers to reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease. It is especially hard on men, According to government tests, 93 percent of Americans have BPA in their bodies.
How to avoid BPA? Go fresh instead of canned! Virtually all can food cans are lined with BPA or other similar chemicals that can leach into the food you eat. Canned tomatoes are probably the worst. And skip paper cash register receipt, since the paper used is often coated with BPA. Avoid plastics marked with “PC” which is polycarbonate, or recycling label #7. And be sure to say no thanks to the plastic water bottles that tout themselves as being BPA-free. They are made with another form of the same chemical that is even more dangerous!
Dioxin is a byproduct of production processes when chlorine or bromine are burned in the presence of carbon and oxygen. Dioxin disrupts hormone signaling in both men and women. Research has shown that exposure to low levels of dioxin in the womb and early in life can permanently affect sperm quality and quantity during men’s prime reproductive years. Doxins build up in the body and in the food chain, and are very long lived chemicals. They are powerful carcinogens that can affect the immune system too.
How to avoid Dioxin?
Ongoing industrial release of dioxin has meant that the American food supply is widely contaminated. Meat, fish, milk, eggs and butter are the foods most likely to be contaminated, but you can cut your exposure by substituting other foods such as vegetables, beans and grains. Paper products such as toilet paper, paper napkins and paper towels are bleached during their during their manufacturing process, so be sure to buy only unbleached products, such as are sold in health oriented retailers or online sites.
Be sure to read the rest of EWG’s Dirty Dozen endocrine disruptors. And remember that while endocrine disruptors are high threatening to adults, children who are still developing are in the greatest danger.