Before we move on with Xenoestrogens, a brief on Estrogens.
Xenoestrogens are derivatives of Estrogens. Their chemical structure acts like estrogen in the human body. They are highly estrogenic, fat-soluble and non-biodegradable compounds.
Estrogens are a group of steroid compounds, which are part of the hormone cycle and function as the primary female sex hormones in most female mammals. They are also used as part of some of the oral contraceptives, in estrogen replacement therapy of postmenopausal women. They also act as a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Xenoestrogens, in addition to being highly estrogenic, are fat-soluble and non-biodegradable. Prolonged exposure to Xenoestrogens causes early menstruation and can also cause breast cancer, uterine cancer, fibrocystic breast disease, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, premature sexual development, uterine fibromas, heavy periods, and infertility. Though our bodies are amazingly resilient, the immunity to endocrine disruptors is not strong enough.
Sources of Xenoestrogens:
Pesticides are perhaps the biggest source of Xenoestrogens. They are highly estrogenic, and some experts estimate that the average American ingests over a pound of pesticides a year.
Xenoestrogens get into our system through our “food-chain” by means of chemical fertilizers and sprays used to disinfect crops. Most bio-accumulate, meaning they are stored in fat cells of fish, poultry and other food sources in increasing concentration until they reach the top of the food chain — where we consume them. Later, they accumulate in our fatty tissues (breast, brain, and liver) and can cause a variety of aliments as mentioned before.
A second major source of Xenoestrogens is the large amount of growth hormones given to livestock and poultry, most of which contains fat-soluble estrogens. When humans consume such live stock or their milk, we ingest those estrogens.
Organo-chlorides like dioxin (a by-product of chlorine when it is burned or processed), PCB’s, PVC’s, and some plasticizers are just a few of the many manmade chemicals that act like estrogen in our bodies. Many others have the effect of interrupting our normal endocrine function, hence the term “endocrine disruptors.”
Products associated with plastics such as bisphenol A and pthalates. Bisphenol-A was originally designed for use a synthetic estrogen replacement. It was found to work quite well as an antioxidant to prevent plastic from breaking down in the sunlight. Bisphenol-A is used in drinking water bottles, plastics used in baby bottles, plastics used to pack food, and some dental composites. Pthalates along with excess estrogen given to chicken used as food were suspected to cause girls as young as 18 months to begin to menstruate in Puerto Rico between 1970 and 1980. Pthalates are found in cosmetics, shampoos, hair dyes and more.
Preservatives used in skin lotions, shampoos, and body lotions such as the Parabens that include Methyl Paraben, Ethyl Paraben, Proply Paraben, Butyl Paraben. Researchers from the Department of Biology and Biochemistry of Brunel University in the United Kingdom have conducted a study and found that alkyl preservatives (methyl, ethyl, propyl and Butyl Paraben) are weakly estrogenic. The European Union has asked the European Cosmetics and Toiletry industry about these new findings and the implication for breast cancer. These preservatives are found in the vast majority of skin and body lotions, even in natural progesterone creams. Anything absorbed through the skin is 10 times the concentration of an oral dose.
Prevention of Xenoestrogens from entering our system can be done by either avoiding consumption of the very sources of Xenoestrogens if possible or by choosing organic and natural products for consumption. For example, consume organically grown produce and live stock only. Use cosmetics that are prepared without the use parabens. Avoid usage of plastic products that contain Bisphenol-A and pthalates.
Broccoli, and in particular, the indole 3 carbinol (I3C) found in broccoli, interferes with xenoestrogens. I3C increases the good estrogen (2-hydroxyestrone) to bad estrogen (16-alpha-hydroxyestrone) ratio by increasing the detox enzyme CP450 in the liver.
Besides the food we consume the next biggest source of Xenoestrogens could be Cosmetics. Kassie (owner of Kasia Salon/Skin Care.) feels strongly that - what we put on our skin is a major result of our hormonal problems. Skin is the largest organ of the body, acting like a huge sponge. She says. “Purely avoiding parabens, we’ve tagged our retail with broccoli seeds ready to sprout or plant, yielding anti-cancer phytonutrient found in cruciferous vegetables, offering an abundance of Indole-3-carbinol (I3C)”.
About the Author: Kassandra Kuehl, a natural products hair stylist and health coach, and believes that it is important for women pay close attention to the ingredients in their hair, skin, and body care products. Her goal is to help you wake up to the power of the choices you make every day, and how those choices impact your health and well-being.
Kassandra has many educational articles and info about her Organic Salon Services at www.KasiaOrganicSalon.com. Kasia Salon offers high-quality, natural skin care products to help improve your overall health of your skin, body, and soul!