Hormonal imbalance is one of the major factors behind many common health issues we face such as weight gain, mood problems, trouble sleeping at night, muscle pain, low libido, and even infertility. This is why it is important to consider our hormonal health in the same way we ought to consider other areas of our health like heart and mental health.
However, not many people think about their hormones – let alone they think about how toxins can affect their hormones (and even their health in general)! But if you want to achieve optimal health, then you must think about your hormonal health – and by hormonal health, we meant “balancing” your hormone levels.
In this article, we are going to talk about hormonal health, what hormonal imbalance is and how it hurts your health, how toxins contribute and worsen your hormonal imbalance – and eventually, why it is important to reduce, if not eliminate, toxins in your body if you want to achieve optimal hormonal health.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Hormones, Hormonal Balance and Hormonal Imbalance
Now say that three times fast…
Before we talk about how toxins affect your hormone health, let’s first talk about what hormones are and what do we mean by hormonal balance and hormonal imbalance.
Hormones are basically “messengers” that are produced and secreted from your endocrine glands. Hormones travel to their respective organs and tissues through your bloodstream. Once they reach their designated organ or tissue, they “tell” that organ what to do (or what not to do) and when to do or not to do it.
This is basically the reason why hormones play a key role in certain parts of your health like your mood, weight, and sleep. Together with other things, it’s your hormones that “tells” you when to feel sleepy (and when to feel awake); when to feel relaxed and when to feel stressed; when to feel high desire for sex and when to feel little desire for it, and so on.
Of course, outside factors influence your hormones, too. The environment you live in, the chemical reactions that happen inside your body, and above all, the very lifestyle that you live affect the way your hormones work. For example, if you don’t properly manage your stress, it can lead to increased cortisol levels, which is our “stress hormone”. In turn, increased cortisol levels can worsen our stress.
Now that we know what hormones are, let’s talk about hormonal balance and hormonal imbalance.
Simply put, hormonal balance is a state when the levels of our hormones areas exactly what they should be. On the other hand, hormonal imbalance happens if one or some hormones exists too much or too little at a given time. If this happens, it will cause an “imbalance” in your overall physical and even mental state. If you have too much cortisol, this can leave you too stressed. If you have too little insulin, your body won’t be able to process its sugar properly, hence it can cause diabetes.
In other words, hormonal imbalance is bad for you because it literally “imbalances” your overall health. If there’s a hormonal imbalance, your body won’t be able to work effectively and efficiently as it should. Therefore, achieving hormonal balance is important – and one way to do that is by reducing or eliminating as many toxins as possible.
How Toxins Affect Your Hormone Health
Toxins are bad substances that we (mostly, unknowingly) get from our everyday surroundings – from the furniture, we buy to the fumes from cars we inhale and even to the foods we eat.
Toxins affect our health and cause hormonal imbalance mainly in two ways:
- Toxins mimic specific hormones (and oftentimes, even replacing and overpowering them). This increases the level of that specific hormone even if the toxin is a counterfeit hormone. Hence, it causes hormonal imbalance.
- Some toxins disrupt our endocrine system, the one responsible for hormone production. This can lead to increased or decreased production of certain hormones. It’s for this reason that they are called “endocrine disruptors”, and we will talk more about that later.
Normally, toxins won’t do much damage to our bodies. This is because our body has its detoxification system, our liver. The liver cleanses our body of toxins and other harmful substances. Under proper circumstances, the liver can cleanse most or all of the substances we get.
However, as more and more toxins are introduced to the body, the liver can’t cope up with all of them. Eventually, the liver fails to remove many toxins in our body. In turn, these remaining toxins will cause hormonal imbalance among other harm they can bring. It is therefore important to actively cleanse and detoxify ourselves from toxins if we want to achieve as much hormonal balance as possible.
6 Most Common Endocrine Disruptors
Endocrine disruptors are toxins that disrupt your endocrine system, causing it to increase or decrease the production of certain hormones. Eventually, the increased or decreased production of hormones will lead to hormonal imbalance. Therefore, learning what endocrine disruptors are, where they usually come from, and how to avoid or reduce contact with them is one way to reduce or stop hormonal imbalance in your body.
While there are a few varieties of endocrine disruptors, six of them are present in almost any environment – furniture, car fumes, and even the cosmetics we use. It is important to know these 6 endocrine disruptors so we can know how to avoid them.
1) Bisphenol A (BPA)
Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most common endocrine disruptors we have around. They are mainly used in producing certain plastics, but you can also see them in products like canned goods, plastic bottles, and even cash register receipts.
BPA is linked to cancer, especially breast cancer, and problems with reproductive health. BPA is also linked to obesity.
Aside from being an endocrine disruptor, BPAs are also xenoestrogens – chemical compounds that mimic estrogen. Hence, BPA can cause hormonal imbalance by “increasing” estrogen level even though the estrogens at question were not real.
2) PFAS chemicals
PFAS chemicals are a group of more than 4,700 chemicals. They’re often found in kitchenware (especially non-stick products), food packaging (including fast food packaging), waterproof clothing and possibly even drinking water.
For Americans at least, PFAS are found in the blood of most Americans tested according to the CDC. This is how we are exposed to these chemicals.
PFAS chemicals are linked to thyroid disease, cancer, development defects, and weak immune systems.
Phthalates are chemicals commonly found in toys, plastic wraps, PVC plastics, and other certain plastic products. Phthalates notably harm the male reproductive system as it is linked to lower sperm count and reduced sperm mobility. It is also linked to miscarriages.
Perchlorate is an endocrine disruptor that specifically disrupts your thyroid gland by reducing its iodine intake, a mineral that our thyroid gland is needed to produce thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are responsible for metabolism regulation and, for infants and young children, the thyroid gland is crucial for their brain and organ development.
Like PFAS chemicals, perchlorate also contaminates drinking water. Worse, perchlorate possibly contaminates food as well.
Atrazine is a contaminant that can be found in water systems across around 27 states in America. For animals, researchers discovered that even low levels of atrazine can turn male frogs into female frogs. For humans, recent studies linked atrazine to certain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, prostate cancer, and leukemia, especially for children and teens.
6) Flame retardants
Flame retardants are endocrine disruptors that are commonly found in upholstered furniture, foam cushions, electronics, and insulation. Aside from disrupting hormone levels, flame retardants are also linked to health problems such as cancer, attention- and IQ-deficit in children.
Flame retardants, especially the most toxic ones, are already phased out in the US. However, they are replaced by alternatives that are poorly studied and can harm our health.
How to Eliminate Toxins For Better Hormonal Health
After understanding how toxins cause hormonal imbalance (not to mention the major diseases they can cause), it makes sense to eliminate (or at least reduce) the number of toxins we get inside our body. Here are some ways to eliminate toxins in our body:
- Eat high-quality organic food such as meat, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. Organic foods mostly do not contain any toxins or hormones, and therefore, they’re good for your body and hormonal health.
- Drink plenty of water to replenish your body. But before drinking water, be sure to filter it out to cleanse it from possible toxins or simply drink filtered water. Reverse osmosis is a good process in filtering out certain toxins.
- Use natural products if possible. Most products contain moderate to high levels of toxin. Whenever possible, use natural or organic products as they contain little or no toxins at all.
I hope you enjoy this post and congratulations on making it to the end! I know I can be long-winded, but I hope I simplified this information as much as possible. Feel free to shoot me an email or a message on Instagram if you have any questions or just want to talk.
P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about hormone health, check out a few of my other articles on hormone health here:
- Stress And Your Hormones: 6 Hormones That Your Body Releases Under Stress
- Post-Birth Control Syndrome: 10 Symptoms & How To Heal From It
- Gut Health And Hormones: The Relationship That You Should Know About
- Post-Birth Control Syndrome: 10 Symptoms & How To Heal From It
- Cycle Syncing: Improving Your Health By Getting To Know Your Menstrual Cycle