In today’s modern world, we are exposed to numerous substances that can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones in our bodies. One group of these substances is known as xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemicals that mimic the action of natural oestrogen hormones, disrupting the endocrine system and affecting various aspects of health. Keep reading to learning more about Xenoestrogens, their sources, and natural approaches to reduce your exposure to them.
What are Xenoestrogens?
Xenoestrogens, also called environmental oestrogens, are artificial compounds/chemicals that have oestrogenic properties. While oestrogen is a natural hormone primarily produced in the ovaries, xenoestrogens are not naturally present in our bodies. Instead, they enter our system through external sources. Once inside the body, these Xenoestrogens can bind to oestrogen receptors and mimic or disrupt the effects of natural oestrogen.
Some common sources of Xenoestrogens are:
Pesticides, herbicides, industrial chemicals: Many conventional agricultural practices involve the use of chemicals, such as glyphosate-based herbicides, which can act as xenoestrogens when ingested or absorbed by humans. Also, chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins from industrial chemicals.
Plastics and Food Containers: Certain plastics, particularly those containing bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, can leach xenoestrogens into food and beverages when exposed to heat or acidic conditions. Plastic water bottles, food storage containers, and even canned foods lined with plastic coatings can be potential sources.
Personal Care Products: Some cosmetics, skincare products, haircare products, perfumes and sunscreens contain chemicals like parabens and phthalates that act as xenoestrogens when absorbed through the skin.
Potential Health Risks:
Xenoestrogens tend to accumulate in the body where there is the most fat like breast tissue. These then knock out naturally occurring oestrogen off its receptor site. This can cause hormonal imbalances as Xenoestrogens can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones in the body.
Some health issues that have been associated with prolonged exposure to xenoestrogens are oestrogen dominance or poor oestrogen signaling, fertility problems, changes in your menstrual cycle, reduction in sperm quality and potential increase in oestrogen sensitive cancers.
What are some natural approaches to reducing Xenoestrogen exposure and promote hormonal health?
Choose organic/spray free foods where possible: opt for organic, spray free, free range, fruits, vegetables, and animal products to reduce exposure to pesticides and herbicides commonly found in conventionally grown produce and animal products.
Avoid plastic containers: Store food and beverages in glass, stainless steel, or BPA-free containers instead of plastic to minimise xenoestrogen leaching. Choose reusable water bottles made from safer materials.
Use natural personal care products: Select personal care items, including cosmetics, skincare products, and toiletries, that are free from parabens, phthalates, and other xenoestrogen chemicals. Look for products labelled as “paraben-free” or “phthalate-free.”
Choose natural cleaning products: Replace conventional household cleaning products with natural alternatives that are free from hormone-disrupting chemicals. Look for products with plant-based ingredients or make your own cleaning solutions using vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils.
Eat hormone-balancing foods: Include a variety of nutrient-dense foods in your diet that support hormonal balance. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts contain compounds that promote oestrogen detoxification. Flaxseeds and chia seeds are rich in lignans (phytoestrogens), which can help modulate oestrogen levels.
Support liver detoxification: The liver plays a crucial role in metabolising and eliminating hormones and toxins, including xenoestrogens. Support your liver’s function by consuming foods/teas like dandelion, artichokes, milk thistle, and turmeric which aid in detoxification.
Support your gut: A healthy gut microbiome is so important for hormone metabolism and elimination. Include probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi in your diet to support a balanced gut microbiota. Ther are some great gut loving tips in my other blogs on the gut-brain axis and microbiome.
Practice stress management: Chronic stress can disrupt hormone balance. Incorporate stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or regular physical activity to support hormonal and mental health.
Reducing exposure to xenoestrogens is essential for maintaining hormonal balance and promoting overall health. By adopting natural approaches and making conscious lifestyle choices, you can minimise your exposure to these harmful substances and support your body’s ability to maintain hormone balance. If you need more hormonal, gut and liver health support, make sure you seek out an accredited natural medicine practitioner to treat you as a whole and help to get to the causative factors of your symptoms!
Remember small changes can make a significant impact on your well-being and long-term health.