GOTTA LOVE THOSE HORMONES
Let’s start with the endocrine system. Which, most likely you never think about. In fact, probably even know about. The endocrine system is a network of glands and organs that produce, store, and secrete hormones. Hormones are the chemical messengers that swim throughout our bloodstreams signaling every cell and organ what they are supposed to do to keep our bodies working the way they are supposed to. It’s not just that hormones are key to keeping us healthy. We simply couldn’t live without them. When something interferes with or disrupts how they function, we’re beyond out of luck. We don’t want to trash talk hormone disrupters, but well…they deserve it. So here’s the story…
GOTTA HATE THOSE HORMONE DISRUPTERS
Chemicals are an essential component of our daily lives. We know chemicals aren’t so great. But some chemicals, known as endocrine disruptors, can have harmful effects on the body’s endocrine (hormone) system. Chemicals that interfere with hormone actions—even at low doses– can knock your whole system out of balance. Endocrine disrupter chemicals (EDC’s), or hormone disrupters as they are more commonly referred to, have been around for a long time. Over the last 70 years, more than 80,000 chemicals have been released into the environment through human activity. Yes, you’ve got the zeros right. Because of inadequate health and safety laws, more than 85% of these chemicals have never been assessed for possible effects on human health. But many have, which we’ll get to in a minute.
HORMONE DISRUPTERS; THEY’RE EVERYWHERE AND THEY LIKE IT THERE
They’re lurking where we can least suspect it. We’re being exposed to them in countless ways, and most of the time, we don’t even know it. They’re in our food (that supposedly good-for-you fish you ate), personal care products (that shampoo promising to leave your hair healthy and shining), cosmetics (not so beautiful), pharmaceuticals, pesticides (well, we all know those are baddies), soil, water and probably no surprise, plastics. To put it into perspective, global production of plastics grew from 50 million tons in the mid-1970s, to over 300 million tons today. They’ve got names you have trouble even pronouncing; BPAs, dioxin, atrazine, phlatates, perchlorates, fire retardants (PBDEs), lead, arsenic, mercury, perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), organophosphate pesticides, glycol ethers…
And the worst, is that hormone disrupters are very stable. In other words, they don’t break down quickly. They often hang around doing their dastardly hormone-imbalancing deeds for years. Scientists from around the globe have found that endocrine-related diseases and disorders are on the rise. A United Nations Panel formed to look into them, has called hormone disrupters a “global threat”.
EVEN POLAR BEARS SHOULD BEWARE
Just to put their far-reaching effects into perspective, decades-old chemicals may be threatening polar bear fertility. As if between climate change, human conflict and habitat loss they didn’t have enough to worry about. It turns out these vulnerable conservation icons also face a more unlikely threat: industrial chemicals that were banned almost 40 years ago. PBC’s (more about them below) reach them in long-range transport by air and ocean currents.
Polar Bears have hormones, too.
- Hormone disrupters are especially skilled at turning things upside down. Here are just a few examples:
- Increasing or decreasing the production of certain hormones
- Imitating hormones
- Interfering with hormone signaling
- Promoting premature cell death
- Competing with essential nutrients
- Binding to essential hormones
- Accumulating in organs that produce hormones
- Hormone disrupters have different effects on everyone, but they may be associated with:
- Sexual development
- Impaired immune functions
- Cognitive, behavioral, and other brain development problems
- Learning disabilities
- Severe attention deficit disorder (ADHD)
- Deformations of the body (including limbs)
- Various cancers, including cancer of the breast, prostate,
- Thyroid conditions
- Lower IQ
- Cardiovascular disease
- Before you run for the Valium, remember, these are pretty big “ifs and cans”.
START CLEANING UP YOUR HORMONE ACT HERE
Choose phthalate-free packaging, drink filtered tap water, dust and vacuum often, turn your nose up at fragrances, think twice about plastics, kick cans to the curb, be on constant pesticide alert…couldn’t hurt, except who can really live that way? But here’ what you need to know. If the damage has been done and your hormones have been constantly hit and hurled out of balance, giving up sushi and that expensive bottled water –even if it has vitamins and electrolytes, isn’t going to cut it. But take heart, there’s help. It’s very difficult to measure many of these chemicals in humans, and there aren’t biochemical tests (like you could really take them) for most of them. What you can test, is if your hormones are in a healthy balance. And to check them, you want the most expert and experienced hormone pros you can find; Denver Hormone Health. The medical professionals at DHH, can pinpoint where your hormone levels aren’t where they’re supposed to be, and with personalized care can get them back on track. And you feeling the best you can be. All percolates aside. Call Denver Hormone Health for an appointment now.