For centuries, we have said it: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
But when it comes to estrogen in your body, it turns out there is no match. This kind of mimicry is responsible for sending your endocrine system into SOS.
Xenoestrogens, or estrogen mimickers, were thought up by the giants of the chemical, industrial, and agricultural industries, and first released into our environment and our world only 70 years ago. In a 4.5 billion year history of the earth, 70 years is infinitesimal. Right now, xenoestrogens are like a big question, an experiment we’re thrusting on ourselves and our planet. We cannot imagine the full consequences.
But we have an idea, an idea backed by science, including the Endocrine Society, a “global community 18,000 strong” committed to “advancing hormone research.”
Now, let me be clear: naturally generated in the human body, estrogen is not only good, but vital: estrogen plays an important role in the reproductive functioning of both women and men, is needed for bone growth and even blood clotting. We cannot live without it.
The problem with xenoestrogens, designed in the lab to mimic naturally-occurring estrogen, is that they disrupt our bodies’ innate biochemical processes: essentially, they make us sick. Really sick.
When xenoestrogens are released into the body—and we’ll get into how in just a moment—they make our endocrine system go haywire. Instead of the proper hormones doing their jobs by binding to receptors, which then triggers a chain reaction in which different tissues and organs in our body respond, these xenoestrogens block the receptors or bind to them themselves, causing major disruption and miscommunication.
And the problem is that this is not a short-term issue: xenoestrogens are not biodegradable, meaning they do not readily break down in our bodies or get burned off by exercise and sweating. They build up with accumulating strength in our bodies, and get stored in our fat cells.
The result, on a cellular level, is crossed signals, premature cell death, hormones being changed from one hormone to another, and fake hormones competing with essential nutrients, like iodine for your thyroid.
Zooming out on a global scale within your body, this means significant rises in hormone-induced cancers like breast, prostate, and testicular cancer.
It means infertility, endometriosis, miscarriages, irregular periods, and early onset puberty.
It means lower sperm counts and lower sperm quality.
It means thyroid dysfunction, hair loss, allergies, diabetes, and breast and ovarian cysts.
This is not ok. And this is not natural.
So where are these xenoestrogens coming from?
They’re in our makeup.
In our skincare products.
In our food.
In our plastics.
In our insecticides.
In our sunscreen lotions.
In our non-stick coated pans.
In our furniture and carpets.
In our birth control.
In our old paint.
In our seafood.
In our water.
What can you do?
In terms of what you put on your body, read labels.
Avoid products with ingredients like this:
parabens, methylparabens, propylparabens, ethylparabens, butylparabens
4-hydroxy benzoic acid
FD&C Red No. 3 (erythrosine)
And choose beauty products that truly embody beauty: skincare that honors your skin and our earth by being packaged in glass, not plastic.
Besides being non-biodegradable and, therefore, remaining in our earth forever after it’s thrown away, plastic contains xenoestrogens that will leach into the product, and then onto your skin, and then into your body.
Beyond those suggestions, may we use this knowledge to be advocates: xenoestrogens do not belong in our bodies or our environment. Let’s speak out for a better, safer way.