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Foods that Balance Hormones in Women

preparingfoods

Foods That Balance Hormones in Females

 

Here’s our top list of foods that help to balance hormones in females.Make sure you include at least 3 items from the list mention below in your daily diet.

 

  1. Whey Protein

 

Apart from giving your body a dose of protein, whey protein happens to be a wonderful source of tryptophan, which helps reduce stress and anxiety felt by the body by increasing your serotonin levels.

 

  1. Flaxseeds

Rich in compounds like phytoestrogen and lignans, flaxseeds not only help maintain your hormonal levels but also fight against cancers like colon, prostrate and breast.

 

  1. Avocados

 

Avocados are hands down one of the best foods that balance hormones in females. Listed below are some of their many wonderful properties:

 

They balance the production of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.

They lower blood cholesterol levels due to the presence of beta-sitosterol in them (avocados).

They help increase the production of a hormone called DHEA, which is produced by the adrenal gland.

  1. Green Tea

 

Green tea contains a naturally occurring compound known as theanine, which inhibits the release of cortisol. This in turn keeps your stress and anxiety levels to a minimum. Do not take this if you have and blood pressure , cardiac, sleep disorders or are pregnant.

 

  1. Coconut Oil

Try and opt for coconut oil as your cooking medium. Don’t believe stories that it’s bad for your heart. Quite the opposite – not only does it work wonders for your hormonal levels, but also keeps your blood sugar under control, increases your immunity, helps with weight loss and improves your metabolism.

 

 

  1. Broccoli

 

Broccoli contains high amounts of isothiocyanates, including indole-3-carbinol, which makes broccoli an excellent option for keeping your hormones under control. How? Well, they help your body in breaking down harmful metabolites that otherwise encourage the growth of tumors, especially in your breast area, which also happens to be sensitive to estrogen. Apart from broccoli, veggies like kale, Brussel sprouts and cauliflower give you the same benefits as broccoli does.

 

  1. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are one of the best sources of omega-3 out there, as well as fiber. Apart from lowering your blood sugar levels, these seeds help you with your blood pressure and insulin levels as well. When it comes to foods that balance hormones in females, none is as versatile as chia seeds – you can add them to practically any food item, whip up a new dish, and consume it on the go!

 

  1. Organic Apples

 

Did you know that continued consumption of apples reduces not only your chances of developing medical problems (osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer), but also help keep Type 2 Diabetes in control? It is all thanks to the flavonoid quercetin present in apples, which happen to be naturally occurring antihistamines. Apples also, you know, contain Phytoestrogens, which are more commonly known as plant derived estrogen.

 

  1. Chaste Berry

 

By stimulating the pituitary gland, chaste berries mimic the effect that progesterone has on the human body. It helps in the regulation of progesterone and estrogen production in your body, which is why it’s considered to be a great natural remedy for the treatment of problems related to PMS.

 

Other Ways to Naturally Balance Hormones in Females

Apart from consuming foods that balance hormones in females,here are other things you can take care of to maintain a healthy balance of hormones inside your body:

 

  1. Making Changes in Your Food Habits

 

These are all pretty standard and obvious things, but they still need to be said:

 

Eat 4-5 small meals instead of 3 big ones.

Eat smaller portions of food.

Include green veggies and fresh fruits in your diet. If fresh fruits aren’t an option, then stock up on frozen fruits.

Packaged foods/meals are a big no.

Drink lots of water. Never skimp on it.

Eat food at regular intervals.

Never skip your breakfast.

Maintain a meal diary to see where you’re over eating, and where you’re lagging.

  1. Use Herbs as Condiments

 

Just make sure you’re opting for phytoestrogenic herbs, as they contain compounds that are high in estrogen. When consumed, they lower your body’s pressure of producing more estrogen by providing the aid hormone directly to your body via food.

 

  1. Limit Your Caffeine and Alcohol Intake

 

Apart from having diuretic properties (aka making you dehydrated), such drinks provide an instant boost to your mind and body at a cost – by permanently changing the way your brain uses your body’s hormones. Plus, drinking alcohol heavily leads to an overproduction of estrogen by your body.

 

  1. Exercise Regularly

Why? Because your body releases endorphins ie the happy hormones when you work out, and true to their name, these endorphins help instantly lift your mood and make you feel better. They also keep your cortisol levels (a hormone known to increase stress) at bay.

 

  1. Other Tips

 

Increase vitamins and minerals in your diet. Vitamins like Zinc, B6, magnesium and vitamin D help your body maintain healthy hormone levels.

Have a regular sleep cycle. This will help restore your hormonal cycles by allowing your body to function normally, so much so that you don’t have to completely be dependent on foods that balance hormones in females.

 

 

Call us if you need a personalized healthcare plan.  No one is like any other person, we are all unique, and have our own DNA.  Females should not eat the same foods, or some types of food as men.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

 

Archived

 

Patricia Carrothers

 

Dir. Personalized Healthcare and Preventative Medicine

 

312-972-9355

 

healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

 

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

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Top Five Warning Signs That Your Young Adult Might be in Trouble

top-five-warning-signs

Top Five Warning Signs that

Your Child/ Young Adult is in Trouble

 

What causes people to make choices that could destroy their future, and why do they give

in to peer pressure? Could your child be headed down a dangerous path? Heed the

following warning signs:

 #1 warning sign: Isolates from the family.

 

If your once social child/ adult  starts spending an inordinate amount of time away

from home or locked in his or her room, this is a red flag. If your child/young adult  starts withdrawing from you or your spouse, there’s a reason. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to identify what’s behind the change.

 

 

 

 

#2 warning sign: An extreme shift in mood.

 

Is your child/ young adult  garrulous and friendly one moment, then taciturn and angry the

next? Don’t just chalk it up to growing pains.  he or she may be hanging out with the wrong crowd,

or experiencing changes — hormonally, neurologically or socially.

One thing to do is not to let it just go, because they get bigger, they get stronger,

they get more rebellious. It’s never too late.

 

 #3 warning sign: He or she starts abusing drugs or alcohol.

 

Young adults often start experimenting with drugs and/or alcohol unbeknownst to their folks.

If you suspect your child is using drugs, know the signs to look for.

 

 #4 warning sign: Family history of alcoholism and drug abuse.

 

There clearly is a higher incidence with teens if they’ve had this history in their family.

Maybe it’s genetic; maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s just that the modeling is there.

 

 #5 warning sign: Taking risks.

 

Don’t chalk your young adult truancy, vandalism or petty theft up to boys being boys, or kids never grow up. When your family member just seems to throw caution to the wind, not care about consequences — all around bad sign, It indicates a number of things, one of which is that they don’t have the ability to connect their choices with their consequences.

 

Other

warning signs to look out for:

 

Declining grades, using street or drug language, a diminished interest in hobbies and a

lack of appreciation for family values.

 

You can’t be in denial about what’s going on. Don’t kid yourself that these bad

things just happen to other people’s kids. Know what’s going on with your

child. Make sure they understand the consequences of their actions.

Make sure they’re living consistent with the values you hold so important.

 

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article

P Carrothers- PM

 

312-972- WELL  (9355)

 

A Tiny Does of This Can Protect Against Cancer, MS, and Depression

melatonin

A Tiny Dose of This Can Help Protect Against Cancer, MS, and Depression

 

How Melatonin May Benefit Depression, Autoimmune Disorders, and Cancer

 

The hormone melatonin plays many important roles in your health, from helping you sleep better to strengthening your immune system, slowing down brain aging, reducing migraine attacks, protecting bone mass, and preventing cancer.

 

Lack of sun exposure during the day combined with artificial lighting late into the night disrupts your biological clock and hence, your melatonin production, and this disruption can provoke a number of adverse health effects.

 

In fact, melatonin has been the subject of preclinical research on over 100 different disease applications, many of which go hand in hand with your need for sleep.

 

Melatonin for Sleep and Beyond

 

Your master biological clock resides in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of your brain (SCN), which is part of your hypothalamus. Based on signals of light and darkness, your SCN tells your pineal gland when it’s time to secrete melatonin, and when to turn it off.

 

In scientific studies, melatonin supplementation has been shown to help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep, experience less restlessness, and prevent daytime fatigue.

 

Keep in mind that you may only need a very minimal dose. I recommend taking only 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg to start, and adjusting upward from there. Taking higher doses, such as 3 mg, can sometimes make you more wakeful instead of sleepier, so start low and adjust your dose as needed.

 

Melatonin has also been found to reduce the effects of jet lag when traveling across multiple time zones.1 And children suffering with eczema, a condition that oftentimes prevents good sleep, may also get more shut-eye with melatonin supplementation,2 according to recent research.

 

Interestingly, melatonin also helped dampen the severity of the eczema, hinting at its anti-inflammatory effects. However, the benefits of melatonin go far beyond sleep. Three specific areas I’ll address in this article are its role in depression, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.

 

Normalizing Your Circadian System Helps Alleviate Depressive Symptoms

 

Your melatonin level inversely rises and falls with light and darkness, and both your physical and mental health is intricately tied to this rhythm of light and dark. When it’s dark, your melatonin levels increase, which is why you may feel tired when the sun starts to set.

 

Conversely, when you’re exposed to bright artificial lighting at night, including blue light emitted from TVs and electronic screens, you may have trouble falling asleep due to suppressed melatonin levels.

 

Light exposure when you wake up at night can also be problematic as I explain in my video above. However you don’t have to stumble around as red and orange wavelengths will not suppress melatonin production.

 

You can use a red light to guide you to the bathroom. If you have a clock in your bedroom make sure it has a red LED display. Blue would be the worst as it is the one that shuts down melatonin most effectively.

 

Winter Blues SAD

 

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD, also called “the winter blues”) is associated with lack of sun exposure, and scientists generally recommend full-spectrum light therapy over SSRIs like Prozac or Zoloft for this condition.

 

Interestingly, recent research suggests light therapy may be preferable even for major depression, outperforming Prozac in those with moderate to severe depression. One of the reasons it works so well likely has to do with the fact that bright light helps reset your biological clock, or circadian rhythm.

 

Melatonin supplementation can help do this to a certain extent as well, but not as effectively as exposure to bright light during daytime. Light may also work in a way similar to antidepressants by regulating neurotransmitter function.

 

Light Therapy — More Effective Than Prozac

 

The study3,4,5,6,7 in question set out to compare the effectiveness of light therapy alone and in conjunction with the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac).

 

The eight-week long trial included 122 adults between the ages of 19 and 60, who were diagnosed with moderate to severe depression. The participants were divided into four groups, receiving:

 

Light therapy (30 minutes per day upon waking using a 10,000 lux Carex brand day-light device, classic model) plus a placebo pill

Prozac (20 mg/day) plus a deactivated ion generator serving as a placebo light device

Light therapy plus Prozac

Placebo light device plus placebo pill (control group)

In conclusion, the study found that the combination of light therapy and Prozac was the most effective — but light therapy-only came in close second, followed by placebo.

 

That’s right, the drug treatment was the least effective of all, and LESS effective than placebo! At the end of the study, remission was achieved by:

 

Just over 19 percent in the Prozac only group

30 percent in the placebo group

Nearly 44 percent in the light therapy only group

Nearly 59 percent in the active combination group

How Melatonin May Aid in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

 

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder that, like SAD, has been linked to vitamin D deficiency from lack of sun exposure. Interestingly, recent research suggests that a drop in autumn and winter relapses may be linked to peak melatonin levels, which occurs during these darker months.

 

Conversely, spikes in relapses occurring during spring and summer — which tend to be less common but do occur — may be related to decreased melatonin levels. The research,8 led by neuroscientist Mauricio Farez at the Dr. Raúl Carrea Institute for Neurological Research, looked at 139 MS patients living in Buenos Aires.

 

Thirty-two percent of them experienced a reduction in relapses during fall and winter, compared to spring and summer. As reported by Scientific American:9

 

“Past research has shown that melatonin can have a protective effect against MS and that shift work, which disturbs melatonin production, can increase the risk of developing the disease. According to the authors, this research is one of the first to bring together epidemiological evidence with results from both human cells and animal models …

 

[And it] may help to resolve a ‘seasonal paradox’ — MS flare-ups should decrease during warmer, brighter months when people receive more exposure to sunlight and thus produce more vitamin D, which also has anti-inflammatory properties. But some studies, including this one, show that relapses increase in the spring and summer pointing to the possibility that other environmental factors, such as melatonin levels, are involved.”

 

To test their hypothesis, mice with autoimmune encephalomyelitis (the animal model of MS) received daily injections of melatonin. As a result, clinical symptoms were reduced, and harmful T cells, which are pro-inflammatory, were reduced, whereas regulatory T cells were increased. Similar effects were shown in petri dish experiments. As noted in the featured article:

 

“Melatonin regulates pathways central to the immune response, so these results may pertain to other autoimmune diseases, particularly where seasonal flare-ups occur, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis …”

 

Melatonin’s Role in Fighting Cancer

 

Cancer is another area where melatonin plays a major role. The evidence suggests it may be an important adjunct to cancer treatment,10 as it also helps protect against the toxic effects of radiation therapy. Cells throughout your body — even cancer cells — have melatonin receptors, and melatonin is in and of itself cytotoxic, meaning can induce tumor cell death (apoptosis). It also:11

 

Boosts production of immune-optimizing substances such as interleukin-2, which helps identify and attack mutated cells that lead to malignant cancer

Inhibits development of new tumor blood vessels (tumor angiogenesis), which slows the spread of the cancer

Retards cancer progression by activating the cytokine system, which helps inhibit tumor growth, and by stimulating the cytotoxic activity of macrophages and monocytes

By its antioxidant action it also limits oxidative damage to DNA

Inhibits tumor growth by counteracting estrogen. (At night, when melatonin production peaks, cell division slows. And when melatonin latches onto a breast cancer cell, it has been found to counteract estrogen’s tendency to stimulate cell growth)

Melatonin has a calming effect on other reproductive hormones besides estrogen as well, which may explain why it seems to protect most effectively against sex hormone-driven cancers, including ovarian, endometrial, prostate, testicular and breast cancers12 — the latter of which has received the greatest amount of scientific attention. Some of the studies on melatonin for breast cancer include the following:

 

The journal Epidemiology13 reported increased breast cancer risk among women who work predominantly night shifts

Women who live in neighborhoods with large amounts of nighttime illumination are more likely to get breast cancer than those who live in areas where nocturnal darkness prevails, according to an Israeli study14

From participants in the Nurses’ Health Study,15 it was found that nurses who work nights had 36 percent higher rates of breast cancer

Blind women, whose eyes cannot detect light and therefore have robust production of melatonin, have lower-than-average breast cancer rates16

When the body of epidemiological studies are considered in their totality, women who work night shift are found to have breast cancer rates 60 percent above normal, even when other factors, such as differences in diet, are accounted for17

Melatonin May Improve Outcomes for Lung Cancer Patients

 

Other cancers may also benefit. In 2004, the Life Extension Foundation collaborated with Cancer Treatment Centers of America on the first clinical trial evaluating melatonin’s effect in patients with lung cancer.

 

The results,18 which were published in conjunction with the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting, found a tumor response in just over 29 percent of those receiving melatonin at night, compared to just under 8 percent of those receiving it in the morning, and 10.5 percent of placebo recipients. As reported by Life Extension Magazine:19

 

“European clinical studies indicate that in patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer, five-year survival and overall tumor regression rates were higher in patients concomitantly treated with melatonin than in those treated with chemotherapy alone. While no patient treated with chemotherapy survived after two years, five-year survival was achieved in 3 of 49 patients treated with chemotherapy and melatonin.

 

The researchers hope that similarly promising results could eventually convince mainstream medical practitioners to administer melatonin in combination with standard cancer treatment regimens to patients in earlier stages of cancer treatment.”

 

The Importance of Light and Dark for the Synchronization of Your Body Clocks

 

Melatonin production is stimulated by darkness and suppressed by light, which is why your levels should be highest just prior to bedtime. This perfectly orchestrated system allows you to fall asleep when the sun sets and awaken refreshed with the sunrise, while also providing potential anti-aging and disease-fighting benefits.

 

If you’re having trouble sleeping, which is a signal that your melatonin production is off, I suggest making sure you’re sleeping in total darkness and to turn lights down at least an hour or so before bedtime. Also, avoid watching TV and using computers and other electronic gadgets at least an hour prior to bed.

 

All of these devices emit blue light, which will decrease your melatonin if you work past dark, so ideally you’d want to turn these items off once the sun goes down. If you have to use these devices you can wear yellow glasses that filter the blue wavelengths out and/or use free software like f.lux.

 

To light rooms at night, use “low blue” light bulbs that emit an amber light instead of the blue that suppresses melatonin production. An equally important factor is the quality of light you’re exposed to during the day. Without sufficient sunlight during the day, your circadian clock may fall out of sync.

 

Most incandescent and fluorescent lights emit very poor-quality light. What your body needs for optimal functioning is the full-spectrum light you get outdoors, but most of us do not spend much time outside to take advantage of this healthy light.

 

Using full-spectrum light bulbs in your home and office can help ameliorate this lack of high-quality sunlight during the day, but cannot fully replace it. So do make an effort to go outside for at least 30 to 60 minutes each day during the brightest portion of the day, i.e. right around noon. This will help “set” your circadian clock and help you sleep better.

 

For Optimal Health, Make Sure You Sleep Well

 

Remember, when your circadian rhythms are disrupted, your body produces less melatonin, which means it has less ability to fight cancer, and less protection against free radicals that may accelerate aging and disease. So if you’re having even slight trouble sleeping, I suggest you review my “33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep” for more guidance on how to improve your sleep-wake cycle.

 

If you’ve made the necessary changes to your sleep routine and find you’re still having trouble sleeping, a high-quality melatonin supplement may be helpful.

 

The amount of melatonin you create and release every night varies depending on your age. Children usually have much higher levels of melatonin than adults, and as you grow older your levels typically continue to decrease. This is why some older adults may benefit from extra melatonin.

 

The same goes for those who perform night shift work, travel often and experience jet lag, or otherwise suffer from occasional sleeplessness due to stress or other reasons. Start with a dose of about 0.25 to 0.5 mg, and increase it as necessary from there. If you start feeling more alert, you’ve likely taken too much and need to lower your dose.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived : JM

312-972-WELL

 

Fast Food Identified, With Others as a Significant Source of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals

dehp

“gender-bending” chemicals causing males of all species to become more female “

Fast Food Identified as a Significant Source of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals

 

 

Fast food contains many ingredients that compromise health, but did you know these convenience meals also come with an extra serving of endocrine-disrupting chemicals? According to recent research, people who eat drive-through hamburgers and take-out pizzas have higher levels of phthalates in their urine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected data on nearly 8,900 Americans of all age groups between 2003 and 2010 as part of a nationwide survey on health and nutrition. Participants reported everything they’d eaten in the past 24 hours and provided a urine sample.

While other studies have investigated exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals from processed food in general, this is the largest study looking at exposure specifically from fast food meals.1,2,3

“Fast food” was broadly defined as food from restaurants without table service and/or those with takeout or drive-through service. So besides McDonalds , Pizza Hut, and similar establishments, it also includes sandwich shops, Starbucks, and other “casual dining” restaurants. As reported by Time magazine:4

“The new report,5 published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that people who ate more fast food also had higher levels of two substances that occur when phthalates — which make plastic more flexible — break down in the body. “

Fast Food Consumption Significantly Increases Phthalate Levels in Your Body

The two phthalate metabolites identified in this particular study were:6

  • Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), a highly lipophilic (fat-soluble) chemical that is loosely chemically bonded to the plastic, allowing it to leach out into other fat-containing solutions in contact with the plastic.

Animal studies show that exposure to DEHP can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system, particularly the developing testes of prenatal and neonatal males.

  • Di-isononyl phthalate (DiNP), a commonly used plasticizer in flexible PVC products.7While DiNP has been considered harmless from a health and environmental perspective, more recent research suggests it may in fact have similar effects as DEHP and other phthalates.

For example, a 2015 study8 linked both DEHP and DiNP to increased insulin resistance in adolescents.

Approximately one-third of the respondents reported eating fast food in the past 24 hours, and according to the authors, “that alone tells you the public health impact of this type of food preparation.”9

Those who got at least 35 percent of their calories from fast food had nearly 24 percent higher levels of DEHP and 39 percent higher DiNP in their urine compared to those who had not consumed any fast food in that time frame.

In those who ate some fast food, but got less than 35 percent of their calories from it, DEHP and DiNP levels were still nearly 16 and 25 percent higher respectively.

Avoiding Fast Food Can Be a Simple Way to Cut Phthalate Exposure

As noted by the authors, many scientific and clinical bodies, such as the Endocrine Sociery , now suggest reducing exposure to phthalates — especially during pregnancy.

The problem is they’re so widely used, making avoidance difficult. According to this research, simply abstaining from fast food is one way you can significantly reduce your exposure.

Personal care products are another major source of phthalates that are within your control. Pregnant women and young children are at particularly high risk when it comes to these kinds of chemicals. As noted by CNN:10

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a report11in 2013 stating that high levels of exposure to phthalates could lead to adverse reproductive outcomes in women.

Research has linked these chemicals with increased risk of fibroids and endometriosis, which can cause infertility, and reduced IQ and behavioral problems in children exposed in the womb. High phthalate levels have also been linked with diabetes risk in women and adolescents…

‘This study shows that fast food may be an especially important source of phthalate exposure,’ said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D. director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program.”

Phthalates From Plastic Gloves, Conveyor Belts, Packaging — It All Adds Up

The researchers point out that one reason fast food exposes you to higher levels of plasticizing chemicals is because workers also use plastic gloves when handling each and every ingredient, and that’s a source of phthalate contamination too, over and beyond the actual packaging.

Japan banned vinyl gloves for use in food establishments back in 2001 due to their phthalate content. In the U.S. however, use of vinyl gloves has actually increased over the years due to the rising prevalence of latex allergies.

While additional research needs to be done to identify which foods pose the greatest risk, the study did find that meats and grain-based food items — even if they were not from a fast food restaurant — tended to result in higher phthalate exposure.

The exact reason for this is still unclear, but it could be related to the way they’re processed, or because the fats they contain bind phthalates more efficiently. That said, fast food as a category had the strongest association with elevated phthalate levels by far.

Researcher Ami Zota notes that previous studies have compared phthalate levels in food before and after packaging, showing that levels rise 100 percent after being packaged. This clearly demonstrates these chemicals do leach out of the plastic and into the food.

Moreover, if the food is packaged when hot, the migration of phthalates is sped up. Findings such as these are hotly refuted by the chemical industry which, despite all the evidence to the contrary, still maintains that phthalates are both safe and relatively stable within the plastic.

Chemical Industry Insists Decades’ Old Safety Levels Are Adequate

Both the National Restaurant Association and the American Chemical Society responded to the study in question saying the phthalate levels found in fast food are “well below” levels the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deems potentially harmful to human health.12

However, EPA safety levels for DEHP have not been revised since 1988. And, according to study author Ami Zota: “The same range of concentrations measured in this [group] overlaps with the range of concentrations that have been measured in some of epidemiological studies that find adverse health effects,” so EPA levels may simply be too lenient.

In fact, some researchers suggest there may be NO safe level of phthalates in humans. Dr. Leo Trasande, an associate professor of Pediatrics and Environmental Medicine who has researched phthalates in food, told Civil Eats:13

“No studies in humans have found a safe level of phthalate exposure. We know there are effects of low level exposure. For example, the levels found in this new study are comparable to those previously linked to blood pressure increases14 and metabolic effects15 in children.”

Health Risks Associated With Phthalates

Phthalates are one of the groups of “gender-bending” chemicals causing males of all species to become more female “These chemicals have disrupted the endocrine systems of wildlife, causing testicular cancer, genital deformations, low sperm counts and infertility in a number of species, including polar bears, deer, whales and otters. Scientists suspect phthalates may affect human fertility and reproduction in similar ways.

Animal studies have also linked phthalate exposure to a wide range of other health problems, including the following (see chart below)16,17,18 The reason for their diverse effects has to do with the fact that they mimic natural sex hormones. This is particularly problematic in children who are still growing and developing, as the glands of your endocrine system and the hormones they release influence almost every cell, organ, and function of your body.

Besides being instrumental in sexual function and reproductive processes, your endocrine system also plays a role in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism.

Reduced IQ in children19,20 (phthalates may affect the activity of aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen, which plays an important role in brain development) “Decreased dysgenesis syndrome” involving cryptorchidism (undescended testicles), hypospadias (birth defect in which opening of urethra is on the underside of the penis instead of at the end), and oligospermia (low sperm count)
Interference with sexual differentiation in utero Enlarged prostate glands, testicular cancer, breast cancer, and uterine fibroids
Impaired ovulatory cycles and polycystic ovary disease (PCOS) Numerous hormonal disruptions and metabolic disease
Early or delayed puberty Disturbed lactation
Toxicity to developing male reproductive systems21,22 Neurodevelopmental delays, inattention, hyperactivity, and symptoms of autism23
Miscarriage and preterm birth Allergies and respiratory problems24

Phthalates Are Everywhere

Phthalates are among the most pervasive of all known endocrine disrupters. According to EPA estimates, more than 470 million pounds of phthalates are produced each year.25

They’re primarily used to make plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more flexible and resilient, but they can also be found in air fresheners, dryer sheets, and personal care products like shampoo, shower gels, lotions, and makeup. Their prevalence in personal care products is thought to be the reason why women tend to have higher levels of phthalates in their system than men.

Furniture, upholstery, mattresses, and wall coverings can also contain phthalates. They’ve even been detected in infant formula and baby food (likely because they migrated from the packaging materials). They are also used as “inert” ingredients in pesticides.26

Considering how ubiquitous they are, avoiding phthalates entirely may be near impossible. Being mindful when shopping for food, household, and personal care products can go a long way toward minimizing your exposure, but the risks these chemicals pose really demand a more universal response.

As Zota told Time magazine:27 “Our study helps shed light on one potential way that people can reduce their exposure to these chemicals through their diet, but it also points to a broader problem of widespread chemicals in our food systems that will require many different types of stakeholders to get involved in order to fix it.”

Tips to Help You Avoid Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

To limit your exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals like phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA), keep the following guidelines in mind when shopping for food, personal care and household products.

Avoid fast-food restaurant fare and processed goods. Eating a diet focused on locally grown, ideally organic, whole foods cooked from scratch will significantly limit your exposure to not only phthalates and BPA but also a wide array of other chemicals, including synthetic food additives and pesticides. Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Besides phthalates, avoid those containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two toxic glycol ethers that can compromise your fertility and cause fetal harm.
Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans; be aware that even”BPA-free” plastics  typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad for you as BPA. Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics.

EWG’s Skin Deep database28 can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.

Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap as it too contains phthalates that can migrate into your food (especially if you microwave food wrapped in plastic). Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one or glass doors.
Use glass baby bottles and drinking bottles. Replace feminine hygiene products  (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives.
Filter your tap water for both drinking and bathing. If you can only afford to do one, filtering your bathing water may be more important, as your skin absorbs contaminants .

Under the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for DEHP of 0.006 mg/dL, or 6 ppb.29

Note that the Safe Drinking Water Act regulates DEHP levels only for public water supplies, not for well water.

Look for fragrance-free products. One artifical fragrance  can contain hundreds — even thousands — of potentially toxic chemicals, including phthalates.

Avoid fabric softeners  and dryer sheets, which contain a mishmash of synthetic chemicals and fragrances.

If you have PVC pipes, you may have DEHP leaching into your water supply. If you have PVC pipe from before 1977, you will definitely want to upgrade to a newer material.

This “early-era” PVC pipe can leach a carcinogenic compound called vinyl chloride monomer into your water. Alternatives to PVC for water piping include ductile iron, high-density polyethylene, concrete, copper, and PEX.30

Consider replacing vinyl flooring  with a “greener” material. Also avoid soft, flexible plastic flooring, such as those padded play-mat floors for kids (often used in day cares and kindergartens), as there’s a good chance it is made from phthalate-containing PVC.
Read the labels and avoid anything containing phthalates. Besides DEHP, also look for DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate), DEP (diethyl phthalate), BzBP (benzyl butyl phthlate), and DMP (dimethyl phthalate).

Also be wary of anything listing a “fragrance,” which often includes phthalates.

Make sure your baby’s toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething rings and anything your child may be prone to suck or chew on — even books, which are often plasticized. It’s advisable to avoid all plastic, especially flexible varieties.

 

 

 

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Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article : JM

312-972-WELL

 

Avoid Endocrine Disturbing Hormones

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Avoid Endocrine Disturbing Hormones

Task Force Urges Everyone to Proactively Avoid Endocrine-Disrupting Hormones

Based on a review of more than 1,300 studies, an Endocrine Society task force recently issued a new scientific statement on endocrine-disrupting chemicals, noting that the health effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals are such that everyone needs to take proactive steps to avoid them. The statement also calls for improved safety testing to determine which chemicals may cause problems.
The task force, which is made up of doctors who actually treat patients with hormone-related problems, warn that endocrine-disrupting chemicals can have an impact on subsequent generations, and they urge infertility doctors to advise their patients to avoid hormone disruptors to improve their odds of successful conception and a healthy baby. Doctors also need to warn pregnant women and parents of young children about the risks associated with common chemical exposures.
At present, there are some 85,000 chemicals in use in the US, and no one knows exactly how many may act as hormone disruptors as the vast majority of these chemicals have not undergone safety testing. As noted by one of the members of the task force, even if only 1 percent of these chemicals cause hormone disruption, that would equate to about 850 different chemicals, making avoidance difficult. That said, among the chemicals most well-known for their hormone disrupting potential, even at low doses, are:
· BPA/BPS, found in plastics, the lining of canned foods, and cash register receipts
· Phthalates, found in soft plastics, vinyl flooring, perfumes, soaps, shampoos, and cosmetics
· Certain pesticides
· Triclosan, found in a wide array of antimicrobial products, such as soaps and hand sanitizers
Tips to Help You Avoid Toxic Chemicals

Considering all the potential sources of toxic chemicals, it’s virtually impossible to avoid all of them. However, you CAN limit your exposure by keeping a number of key principles in mind.
· Eat a diet focused on locally grown, fresh, and ideally organic whole foods. Processed and packaged foods are a common source of chemicals such as BPA and phthalates. Wash fresh produce well, especially if it’s not organically grown.
· Choose grass-pastured, sustainably raised meats and dairy to reduce your exposure to hormones, pesticides, and fertilizers. Avoid milk and other dairy products that contain the genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST).
· Rather than eating conventional or farm-raised fish, which are often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury, supplement with a high-quality krill oil, or eat fish that is wild-caught and lab tested for purity, such as wild caught Alaskan salmon.
· Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans, as chemicals can leach out of plastics (and plastic can linings), into the contents; be aware that even BPA – free plastics ,typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad for you as BPA.
· Store your food and beverages in glass, rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap.
· Use glass baby bottles.
· Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware.
· Filter your tap water for both drinking AND bathing. If you can only afford to do one, filtering your bathing water may be more important, as your skin absorbs contanimants. To remove the endocrine disrupting herbicide Atrazine, make sure your filter is certified to remove it. According to the EWG, perchlorate can be filtered out using a reverse osmosis filter.
· Look for products made by companies that are Earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic, and GMO-free. This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, baby items, furniture, mattresses, and others.
· Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove contaminated house dust. This is one of the major routes of exposure to flame retardant chemicals.
· When buying new products such as furniture, mattresses, or carpet padding, consider buying flame retardant free varieties, containing naturally less flammable materials, such as leather, wool, cotton, silk, and Kevlar.
· Avoid stain- and water-resistant clothing, furniture, and carpets to avoid perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).
· Make sure your baby’s toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething rings and anything your child may be prone to suck or chew on — even books, which are often plasticized. It’s advisable to avoid all plastic, especially flexible varieties.
· Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Avoid those containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two toxic glycol ethers that can compromise your fertility and cause fetal harm.
· Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics. EWG’s Skin Deep database21 can help you find personal care products that are free of phthlates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.
· Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one or glass doors.
· Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives.
· Look for fragrance-free products. One artificial fragrances can contain hundreds — even thousands — of potentially toxic chemicals. Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets, which contain a mishmash of synthetic chemicals and fragrances.
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Health and Wellness Associates
Archived Article
312-972-WELL

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