One of the major areas that I focus on with my clientele is hormone balance. So many of the major symptoms of ill health are tied to the function of these critical chemical messengers. Mental clarity, memory, energy, weight control, sleep, happiness, bone strength, digestive function not to mention sexual health and reproduction are all intimately tied to the balance of this complex symphony.
What is surprising to me is just how many of my patients have serious hormone problems. I’m seeing it in both men and women and it is starting in teenagers. If it seems like you’re noticing more and more people who you know with hormone issues, you are correct.
In fact, here are some really scary findings from a 2017 study by Shanna Swan, a reproductive epidemiologist at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, highlighted in her book “Count Down”.
- Between the years 1973 to 2011, human males sperm counts have dropped by 59.3%
- A significant portion of the population won’t be able to conceive children without technical assistance by the year 2050.
- This decline in sperm count is the result of dangerous man-made “endocrine-disrupting chemicals” (EDCs) that are now everywhere in our environment.
- Swan notes that humans already meet 3 of the 5 criteria for an endangered species.
Endocrine disruptors, which are widespread in plastic products, are similar in structure to natural sex hormones such as estrogen, thereby interfering with their normal functions — and more.
According to Pete Myers Ph.D, the future of humankind could ultimately be at risk:
“Your hormones have been hijacked. Your body’s astonishing, finely calibrated signal system — a system that controls everything from your weight to your fertility to your mood — has been scrambled by loosely regulated chemicals manufacturers use in a myriad of ways including in consumer products.
These hijackers — known to scientists as ‘endocrine-disrupting chemicals’ — are threatening our existence as a species. Driving this problem are chemical companies focused only on cheap plastics and regulators unwilling to do anything about it.”
In addition to the dramatic decrease in male sperm counts and concentrations and their overall lowering levels of testosterone, we are seeing a corresponding increase in female fertility problems ranging from miscarriages and birth defects to a decline in egg quality and quantity.
In some parts of the world, the average twenty-something woman is less fertile today than her grandmother was at age 35. This is a really huge problem!
Today, these chemicals are so common that exposure to them has touched each and every one of us. An analysis published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in March of 2015, estimated that EDC exposure will likely cost the European Union $209 billion a year in actual health care expenses and lost earning potential. And the evidence is mounting. Hundreds of studies have confirmed over and over again that EDCs disrupt hormones in a manner that harms human health.
Examples of EDCs:
- Bisphenol A (BPA) – found in food can linings and cash register receipts
- Phthalates – found in plastics (PVC products, vinyl shower curtains) and cosmetics (perfumes, nail polish, lotions)
- Flame retardants, solvents, lubricants (PCBs, PBBs, and PBDEs)
- Pesticides (sprayed on conventional fruits and vegetables), insecticides
- Heavy metals – cadmium, lead, arsenic, mercury
This 2015 report also linked EDCs to reproductive health issues, hormone-related cancers, prostate disorders, thyroid disease, and neurodevelopmental issues. The truth is, we all live in an ever-increasing toxic environment. More than 80,000 chemicals are introduced into the world each year. We are exposed to pesticides, herbicides, chemical solvents, xenobiotics, and industrial chemicals of all kinds through the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. These toxins accumulate in our bodies and contribute to the total toxic load that can cause a variety of health problems. Keep in mind that our indoor environment is likely more toxic than our outdoor environment.
This information is sobering, isn’t it? What sort of world are we leaving for our children and grandchildren? I don’t even know what sort of effect you or I can make on this massive environmental collapse but we can make a difference in our own homes and families by following some basic principles.
Tips to Help Avoid EDCs:
- Eat organic produce (join your local CSA or ask your grocer to stock organic)
- Buy free-range, organic meats to reduce exposure to added hormones and pesticides
- Buy products available in glass containers rather than plastic or cans when possible
- Store food in glass containers, especially if reheating in the microwave
- Cookware: replace non-stick pans with glass, ceramic, stainless steel, or cast iron
- Drink filtered water
- Use a shower head with a filter
- Avoid products labeled with “fragrance,” including air fresheners, as this catch-all term may include phthalates commonly used to stabilize the scent and extend the life of the product.
- Use glass baby bottles instead of plastic. Breastfeed exclusively for the first year, if you can, to avoid plastic nipples and bottles altogether.
- Cash register receipts are heat printed and often contain BPA. Handle the receipt as little as possible and ask the store to switch to BPA-free receipts.
- Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets; make your own to reduce static cling
If you or a loved one think you may be dealing with a hormone issue, please contact our office. We utilize the most advanced laboratory testing for hormone health available on the market today and our comprehensive, holistic treatment approach gets to the root of these issues safely and effectively.