What are hormone disruptors
Eva Luna - Women's Health Coach
Have you heard about things like parabens in tumors? What about phthalates in urine, UV filters in breast milk or fragrances in body fat? Researchers are increasingly finding chemical substances from products in our bodies. It sounds like something from a sci-fi film, but unfortunately, it is the truth. In this article, we will tell you more about these so-called endocrine disruptors and what you can do about them.
Endocrine Disruptors are Chemicals that Mess up Your Hormones
Your body is exposed to about 80,000 toxins every day - in your bathroom, kitchen, living room, and even in your bed. Some of these toxins are known as endocrine disruptors and they can mess up your hormones.
So if you’re experiencing strange headaches, PCOS complaints, skin problems, fertility problems or even serious illnesses, endocrine disruptors found in your home, garden, kitchen or personal care products could be to blame.
Personal Care Products and Endocrine Disruptors
Skin care products contain all kinds of substances. Many are needed to create a desired result: soft, clean, radiant or hydrated skin, a fresh scent, or shiny hair. But to make these products long-lasting, easy to apply or nice smelling, many (chemical) ingredients are added.
Unfortunately, many of these substances affect your hormones. That is why they are called endocrine disruptors. In your body they disrupt the production, transport, binding and breakdown of hormones. This causes your body to act as if it is producing more or fewer hormones than it should.
This is exactly what you don't want because hormones that are out of whack can cause all sorts of side effects. Your hormones regulate just about everything in your body. They control all kinds of important processes: your menstrual cycle, appetite, and even your mood.
What Happens to Your Body?
Your body can react strongly to endocrine disruptors. Sometimes your body reacts in ways you would never expect. So if you’re having a bad reaction to a product, it might make sense to just use less, right? Unfortunately, even small amounts of a single product can have a big impact. Also, most people use many products, so this creates a so-called cocktail effect.
A well-known example that you might have been hearing a lot about lately is parabens. Parabens are in a lot of products because they help certain products maintain a longer shelf life. Research has shown that this commonly used substance has a mild estrogenic effect in mice and as a result, parabens have been linked to some cases of breast cancer. Brands are therefore increasingly marketing products without parabens.
How Do You Know What Products Contain Endocrine Disruptors?
Endocrine disruptors are in almost everything. Here are a few examples:
- Your plastic tupperware container or bottle;
- Food such as meat, fish, fruit and vegetables,
- Processed food;
- Somevarieties of medicine
- In the ground (via groundwater through waste runoff);
- Your beauty products such as deodorant, nail polish, (color) shampoo;
- Some cleaning products
What can Endocrine Disruptors Do to Your Body?
It’s not as easy as blaming your shampoo for your ongoing migraines. Endocrine disruptors are more complicated than that. There are many types of endocrine disruptors and as you may have noticed from the list above, they are in almost everything.
Did you know that endocrine disruptors, also known as hormone disruptors, can affect your fertility and the quality of sperm cells? The hormone disruptor known as BPA is associated with abnormalities in sperm cells. Another well-known endocrine disruptor, phthalates, has a negative impact on sperm quality. In fact, research has shown that an average man's sperm count has decreased by 50 percent in the past 70 years!
There are also increasing cases of breast cancer and infertility issues and many experts believe that hormone disruptors play a role here.
Hormone disruptors can also disrupt your metabolism. Hormone disruptors increase the risk of diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
In general, your hormones also have a major effect on your metabolism. For example, your metabolism will slow down the week after your period, leaving you less hungry than the weeks before. Your metabolism will speed up just after ovulation, causing your body to require extra calories.
Guud to know: Read more about how food affects your cycle in our blog post called Hack Your Cycle With Food.
Hormone disruptors (like phthalates) increase children's risks of learning, attention and behavioral disorders. Especially prenatal (before birth) exposure to phthalates can contribute to attention problems in children.
Do you want to know more about how to prepare for a healthy pregnancy? Read our blog post on: ‘A Healthy Cycle and Pregnancy thanks to Guud Woman’.
Why Aren’t Hormone Disruptors Banned
Strangely enough, the rules for the food we eat are strictly observed, but little attention is paid to what you put on your body. Personal care products are the least strictly regulated and tested.
Cosmetic products do not have to list all their ingredients. The mandatory listing is only for a dozen fragrances, while one perfume can contain up to three hundred different chemicals.
What Can You Do to Minimize Your Intake of Hormone Disruptors?
The fact is, hormone disruptors are everywhere. They are impossible to avoid completely. But the guud news is that it is possible to protect yourself. Research shows that young women who made changes to their lifestyle had less phthalates, parabens and xenoestrogens in their urine after just three days.
Here are a few key things to think about:
- Avoid plastic. Use glass instead. Especially when heating your food.
- Wash your fruit and vegetables and vary your food. Use cast iron pans.
- Opt for natural or ecological cleaning products
- Opt for natural scents (essential oils). Try to avoid perfumed products. Try to buy safe brands for your beauty products (see below)
- Wash all your clothes and bedding before using it. Ventilate your house twice a day, and clean it regularly
Also keep this rule of thumb in mind: Products that have a strong smell, have a nice color or have a long shelf life often contain the most chemicals.
Finally, use an app like the Yuka app. This app has a database of 500,000 products. After scanning the barcode, the app gives your product a score, taking into account, among other things, hormone-disrupting substances.
What Common Hormone Disruptors Should I Avoid?
The Antivenom Foundation conducted research in which 111 popular and well-known care products were examined. Sixty percent of these products contained one or more hormone-disrupting substances.
Dive into your bathroom cabinet and check your products for these substances:
- Benzyl alcohol
- Sodium Benzonate
- Bisphenol A, S, F (BPA, BPS, BPF)
- Synthetic perfume
- Phthalates (Phthalates)
- Mineral oils
- Polyethylene Glycol (PED)
- Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLS)
- Diethanolamine (DEA)
- Propylene Glycol
- Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFAS)
Have you had a look at your products? Your cupboards are probably almost empty! Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives. Here’s a list to help you out:
- Cleaning products: Brauzz, Yokuu
- Shower Gel, Shampoo and Conditioner: Wondr & Rowse. It is best to choose a solid shampoo.
- Skincare: Maiwe & NAAO
- Make-up: Madara & ILIA
- Toothpaste: Boka & Weleda
- Sunscreen: Drunk Elephant Salt & Stone, Le Rub
- Deodorant: Ray & The Lekker Company
And What about Guud supplements?
Guud supplements contain only the very best, natural ingredients. Our packaging meets the strict guidelines of the FASFC, the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain.
You can read more about our supplements in our blog: What to Look for When Buying Supplements.