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Ditch the Plastic, it is making you sad, fat, and infertile

Plastic causes hormone imbalance

I am a terrible mom.

At least that is what my 4 year old probably thought the other day when she discovered I had “snuck” her new plastic Minions cup into the trash. 

So there I was explaining myself away again as to why we don’t have plastic in our house. Looking a bit baffled and a lot bit board she stared back at me. I almost caved when her eyes welled up with tears…but the toxin Natzi in me held strong. To my amazement she eventually agreed and said goodbye to the cup…but I still felt sad for her and mostly for this world she has to grow up in. Ugh

Plastics are everywhere we turn and even in hidden sources like lining canned foods, to-go coffee cups, and grocery store receipts. With almost everyone being exposed to some form of plastic on a daily basis our bodies can become burdened with their toxins.

Unfortunately, plastics are xenoestrogens, meaning they mimic estrogens in the body. And an excess of estrogen causes a long term disruption of hormonal balance…which is something we really want to keep in balance. 

Plastic is responsible for altering our natural hormone balance. It is one reason for weight gain, irritibility, low libido, low sperm count, and more.

Why are hormones important anyway?

Being signaling molecules, hormones control the delicate balance of many body functions. Some which include hair growth/loss, skin issues, sleep, mood, libido, and weight. Our bodies have multiple hormones circulating at any one time and all can be effected by internal and external factors like stress, toxins, disease, and eating habits.

You know how I mentioned delicate in the above paragraph, I want to take a sec to emphasize just how delicate I mean. Natural hormones act in extremely low concentrations in the blood, even at the picomolar level (source). That’s like super super small, 1 billion picomole is 1 millimole…didn’t think I would bring you back to high school chem did you? 

This is why a slight change to the levels of hormones can cause symptoms. Some of these changes are from the body naturally maintaining homeostasis. For instance a woman's menstral cycle is full of ups and down of various hormones. However, another cause for these changes are environmental. Endocrine disrupting compounds do act at the nanomolar range (source) and therefore even with extremely low exposure (like daily plastic exposure) of the compounds changes can and do occur in our hormones.

When any hormone is out of balance the body feels symptoms. Also, when one is off usually other hormones are also out of whack in attempts to compensate. This leads to life long problems that can cause chronic disease and generally feeling poor.

Xenoestrogens

Plastics, even BPA free, leach estrogen mimicking compounds (xenoestrogens) into what it contains (source). This means when you drink water from a plastic bottle or microwave your food in plastic you are loading your body up with xenoestrogens. According to a study published in the Environmental Health Prospective journal, “almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled—independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source—leached chemicals having reliably detectable EA {estrogenic activity}, including those advertised as BPA free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than did BPA-containing products,” (source).

The same study also states, along with many others, that, “recent epidemiological studies…strongly suggest that chemicals having EA {estrogenic activity} produce measurable changes in the health of various human populations,” (source). 

Another shocking study funded by the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense found that in animal fetuses exposed to low dose plastic in womb had, “significant increases in the incidence of total disease/abnormalities in…male and female animals from plastics lineages. Pubertal abnormalities, testis disease, obesity, and ovarian disease were increased,” (source). Notice that all of the mentioned diseases are hormonal based disorders. Again, showing plastic exposure alters hormone levels. Sadly, plastic resins are routinely found in human new born babies blood as well as mom’s breast milk, making plastic exposure to this population a particular concern. 

And if you still have any doubt about the correlation of plastics raising estrogen activity in humans, read this

What does all this mean for us?

It means avoid plastic, any and all forms in every way that you can. 

This is especially important for women of childbearing age plus infants to teens. However for everyone else it is also important because…estrogen mimickers throw our body into estrogen dominance. This means our progesterone and estrogen ratio is imbalanced. Often there is little to no progesterone and estrogen is high or even normal. This will effect anyone and everyone, even males, even post menopausal women, even unborn babies. 

When estrogen dominance occurs our body is not happy! Living with a temporary fluctuation of hormones is tolerable, but when this occurs for a long period of time there will ALWAYS be symptoms. Our bodies simply cannot put up with a constant imbalance, somethings gotta’ give. 

Some of the symptoms

  • weight gain especially the muffin top appearance, especially that’s resistant to exercise and diet changes. 
  • acne
  • cold hands and feet
  • mood swings that feel like they are out of nowhere
  • fatigue
  • infertility
  • vaginal dryness
  • irregular periods
  • sugar cravings
  • Endometriois and PCOS
  • low libido
  • brittle nails
  • miscarriage
  • accelerated aging, poor skin recoil, sagging skin
  • PMS
  • Insomnia
  • dry eyes
  • allergies
  • memory loss
  • hair loss…..and more

I am gonna state the obvious here... we should get rid of plastic food containers, plastic water bottles, plastic baby bottles/sippys, plastic toys, plastic wrap, straws, you get the picture. However, there are some super stealthy places plastics lurk. 

Sneaky Sources of Plastics

  • Canned Food (read also why you want to avoid BPA free lined cans here)
  • Frozen food in trays, when you microwave in these plastic or plastic coated cardboard an EXCESSIVE amount of xenoestrogens are released. I beg you stop microwaving in plastic it is one of the WORST offenders.
  • Faux flooring
  • Non-stick cook wear (teflon)
  • Grocery and restaurant receipts
  • Soda Cans
  • Starbucks, or your fav local coffee shop’s, disposable cardboard cups
  • Dental sealants
  • Enteric coated/time released capsules (yes Advil is enteric coated, check out 5 Natural Alternatives to Advil).
  • Faux leather items
  • Your car interior…the perfect excuse to upgrade to leather😉

As if you needed more, here it is...

Unfortunately, there are also other sources of xenoestrogens we need to be aware of as well. Really, it is impossible to avoid them all…unless you are one of the lucky few that lives on a private island with your own organic garden, spring water, and grazing livestock. Then well, you’re set and I am still patiently waiting for your invitation to come join you. You can contact me here if you like.

However, for those of us in the real world limiting our exposure in anyway that we can will help. Other common sources of xenoestrogens are pesticides, hormones in dairy and meats, chlorine, stress, preservatives in conventional beauty products (learn more about that here), food preservatives, birth control pills, and household cleaning products (try my DIY kitchen counter spray or ant killer instead), 

Here are three great resources for further information about hormonal imbalance:

  1. Dr. John Lee
  2. Holistic Hormonal Health 
  3. Natural Fertility and Wellness 

I hope this shows you how seriously we should be taking our hormones. Ban plastic from your home like mine and take a major step towards health. 

Cheers and hugs,

   Jena 💕


Resources

  1. Yang, C. Z., Yaniger, S. I., Jordan, V. C., Klein, D. J., & Bittner, G. D. (2011). Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved. Environmental Health Perspectives, 119(7), 989–996. doi:10.1289/ehp.1003220
  2. Gray J, ed. State of the Evidence: The Connection between Breast Cancer and the Environment. Breast Cancer Fund. 5th ed. 2008. Available: http://www.breastcancerfund.org/assets/pdfs/publications/state-of-the-evidence-2010.pdf [accessed 4 June 2011]
  3. Bittner, G. D., Denison, M. S., Yang, C. Z., Stoner, M. A., & He, G. (2014). Chemicals having estrogenic activity can be released from some bisphenol a-free, hard and clear, thermoplastic resins. Environmental Health, 13, 103. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-13-103
  4. Manikkam, M., Tracey, R., Guerrero-Bosagna, C., & Skinner, M. K. (2013). Plastics Derived Endocrine Disruptors (BPA, DEHP and DBP) Induce Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Obesity, Reproductive Disease and Sperm Epimutations. PLoS ONE, 8(1), e55387. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055387
  5. Vandenberg, L. N., Colborn, T., Hayes, T. B., Heindel, J. J., Jacobs, D. R., Lee, D.-H., … Myers, J. P. (2012). Hormones and Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: Low-Dose Effects and Nonmonotonic Dose Responses. Endocrine Reviews, 33(3), 378–455. doi:10.1210/er.2011-1050
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