Xenoestrogens are chemicals that imitate some structural parts of an estrogen compound. Xenoestrogens can be either synthetic or natural chemical compounds that either disrupt or mimic hormone action.
Most xenoestrogens are found in a variety of everyday items such as personal care, plastic container, canned goods, certain food, and household cleaners.
Why Should You Avoid Xenoestrogens?
Xenoestrogenic is a subcategory of the endocrine disruptor group that has explicitly effected similarly to estrogen. Estrogen is a natural hormone in people who are essential for bone growth, blood coagulation and reproduction in men and women. The body regulates the amount required by complex biochemical pathways.
When xenoestrogens enter the body, they increase the total amount of estrogen called the phenomenon, the estrogen domain. Xenoestrogens are not biodegradable; they stored in our fat cells.
Building too many xenoestrogens indicated in many health conditions, including:
- enlargement of man’s breast
- prostate enlargement
- testicular cancer
- low libido
- shrinkage of penis size
- puberty early onset
- and other common male sexual health problems.
The good news is that you can avoid this hormonal disruptor by following the best practices of avoiding the harmful effects of xenoestrogens.
1. Use organic soap and shampoo instead of cheap shower gel.
Commercial soaps and shampoos and other skin and hair care products are chock filled with parabens, sulphates, and other harmful chemicals that we absorb little by little over the years through our skin, culminating in health issues like xenoestrogens.
The obvious alternative is to switch to organic soaps and shampoos. They have the great advantage of being made with all-natural ingredients (like essential oils, cocoa butter, shea butter, oatmeal, etc) and the benefits they come with. These skin care products are cruelty-free, hypoallergenic and grown in a pesticide and pollutant-free soil and water. The care taken into growing these natural ingredients is what makes the product excellent for great skin even in the long run.
It is highly recommended to use Castile soaps as they can be used as shampoo as well.
2. Avoid excessive contact with plastics in food and drink by shopping for fresh food only and not packaged food (freezing fresh food is fine)
Plastics in themselves are not harmful. However, with time and continued exposure, they break down to release non-biodegradable materials like bisphenol A (BPA) and the plasticisers (like phthalates) in PVC. These two substances are proven endocrine disrupters that mess with hormones, including estrogens.
Instead of buying plastic wrapped food, get fresh foods that can be frozen. It is safer and healthier.
3. Avoid water from plastic bottles and stick to filtered water by using a high-quality reverse-osmosis filter or BPA-free bottles (check the plastic for confirmation)
Storing water in plastic bottles causes a slow build-up of BPA, phthalates and ESBO which are all contaminants. At first, their levels are quite negligible and the body works to eliminate them, but as they continue to build, they accumulate more and more in the body.
We reuse plastic bottles to store drinks and food, but it is definitely safer to consider glass and metal alternatives instead. When this is not avoidable or obtainable, a reverse-osmosis filter will do much to remove the impurities and make the water safe for drinking.
4. Review all your personal care (aftershave, sunscreen, cologne, deodorant) and replace all with natural products.
Parabens contained in personal care products are all xenoestrogen compounds that can accumulate in the body and cause potential harm. This methyl-, butyl-, ethyl- compounds combine with human hormones to form estrogen compounds that are potential health hazards.
There are natural alternatives to deodorants, like baking soda, lemon juice and rubbing alcohol. Natural creams like shea butter and cocoa butter can substitute creams. The body more easily absorbs them, and their excretion does not leave trace metals and other harmful by-products.
5. Avoid food that was stored in cans and especially do not eat from cans that have been open for longer than 24 hours
The longer canned foods stay open, the more the risk that the BPA in the lacquer coatings will react with the substances in the air and release xenoestrogens that get leached into the food. Canned foods themselves, even when they are closed, are not free of suspicion. The longer they are stored, the higher the risk.
Instead of opting for canned food, fresh foods are healthier and risk-free. Make the effort to buy your food and prepare it instead of depending on canned foods.
6. Avoid foods that may contain all pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Choose organic, locally grown and in-season foods.
There is a catch with buying fresh food too-you could be buying shiny, steroid and pesticide-loaded foods. This is why it is advisable to get food from small farmers’ markets and reputable sellers that use environmentally friendly products that do not load the food with harmful xenoestrogens.
7. Buy hormone-free, grass-fed meats and dairy products to avoid hormones and pesticides.
Meats and dairy products farmed commercially are pumped full of steroids and hormones that accumulate in the consumers. These products should be avoided for their high toxicity. They don’t cause harm immediately, but the build up over years of eating hormone-filled meat slowly increases the xenoestrogen levels in the body.
Not all meat is contaminated though. Free-range dairy products and meat slaughtered humanely are available, and healthier than getting packaged meat from the mall.
8. Avoid diet drinks and artificial sweeteners (controversy regarding aspartame could link it to health problems)
Diet drinks and artificial sweeteners contained in food (even those touted as sugar-free) like gum are potential landmines of hormone disrupters. These drinks are sweetened with aspartame, which is controversial in itself as a potential landmine. Foods like gum are made out of plasticisers, which are packaged under the guise of “gum base”.
There is a host of alternatives to fizzy drinks. Fresh juices, tea and plain old water are excellent alternatives. Natural sweeteners like those found in organic honey and maple syrup are also preferable. For a fresh breath, chew on mint leaves and employ better dental hygiene. The cost is too high in the long run.
9. Do not eat fast food, much of which contains Monosodium Glutamate, a controversial food additive.
MSG as a flavour enhancer is controversial at best, and debilitating at worst. Not only are some people allergic to this sweetening agent, but it has also been tentatively linked to over-eating and lowering of the “full” impulse; and thus, obesity. The MSG complex is linked to headaches, stomach upset, flushing, heartburn, sweats and a host of other allergic symptoms. Fast foods add in this addictive compound to induce consumers to eat more and more food.
10. Avoid holding ATM or grocery receipts possible BPA
The constant handling of these vinyl and plastic cards could be a potential health problem. Instead of holding them close to the body, put them in a wallet or bad to minimise contact.
11. Use chemical free, biodegradable laundry and household cleaning products.
Cleaning products have the same issues as BPA and other plasticisers that soaps and body cleaning products have. There are so many alternatives to cleaning products like baking soda and apple cider vinegar, which are more natural. In fact, a resourceful homemaker can make his or her own soap and cleaning products to avoid the build-up of these harmful compounds.
12. Be aware of noxious gas such as from copiers and printers, carpets, fibreboards, and at the gas pump.
This goes without saying no one should be inhaling gaseous waste products as a rule. They contain the by-products of air filtration and breakdown of products which contain BPA, phthalates and other harmful heavy compounds. Inhaling them should be avoided. If possible, install air filters in pollution-prone areas to reduce the risk of contamination.
13. Avoid Foods that contain soy protein and soy protein isolate
Soy contains a number of compounds that are estrogen-like and a number of other enzyme inhibitors and endocrine disrupters. Constant ingestion of soymilk and soy products is one sure way of building up a steady level of estrogen in the body, causing all kinds of hormonal imbalance issues.
14. Avoid dryer sheets. They are loaded with xenoestrogens to make your clothes feel soft and fresh.
Fabric softeners are made with xenoestrogen-containing compounds like parabens and phenoxyethanol that attach themselves to fatty tissue in the body and resist absorption and excretion. Constant use of these products means a constant build up that becomes malicious as it increases, and has been linked to the proliferation of infertility in men and women.
The healthy alternative is to use natural fabric scents and softeners like lavender and rose water. They make your clothes smell great while keeping you away from the harmful effects of synthetic fabric softeners.
- Xenoestrogens: mechanisms of action and some detection studies
- Mal-Development of the Penis and Loss of Fertility in Male Rats Treated Neonatally with Female Contraceptive 17α-Ethinyl Estradiol: A Dose-Response Study and a Comparative Study with a Known Estrogenic Teratogen Diethylstilbestrol
- Androgens and estrogens in benign prostatic hyperplasia: past, present and future
- Endocrine milieu and erectile dysfunction: is oestradiol–testosterone imbalance, a risk factor in the elderly?