Cottage Cheese and Man-Boobs. They are not only unsightly and unattractive, they are signs of much greater health issues and an obvious manifestation of estrogen dominance in the body. Some of the main causes may not be what you think. In the article below, by Melissa H. Hoff DDS, outlines many of the ill effects of environment toxins, called xenoestrogens.
Your Environment’s Effects on Fat Storage and Health
These days, we are increasingly bombarded with information about all the things in our modern environment wreaking havoc on our bodies. The term xenoestrogen is one of those terms you have probably heard frequently, on the news, in publications, and probably even more often at the…….gym? Why? What are these xenoestrogens? Xenoestrogen literally means foreign estrogen. It is defined on www.mediLexicon.com as any of the by-products of industrial or chemical processing that have estrogenlike effects. Xenoestrogens are mistaken by the body as estrogen, a hormone normally found in the body of both male and females. They are endocrine disrupters that ask the body to perform functions that under normal circumstances the body would not facilitate.
So why are they a hot topic at CrossFit Wilmington? One of the main effects of Estrogen is to cause the body to store fat. So the issue is xenoestrogens can act on the same estrogen receptors in your fat to cause your body to store and retain that fat. In essence they are “posers”, mimicking estrogen. For kids, it’s the reason they are reaching puberty so early. For women, this is the reason it’s so hard to lose that stubborn 5 to 10 pounds that keeps you from getting your ripped physique. For men, it is the cause of “man boobs” and excessive lower body fat storage. Coach CharlesPoliquin would add it is the reason you are sobbing uncontrollably during Oprah or starting conversations with “we need to talk….”. http://www.charlespoliquin.com/Blog/tabid/130/EntryId/94/Top-10-signs-that-if-you-are-a-male-you-badly-need-to-take-some-anti-estrogen-formula.aspx
This may seem like an odd topic for a dentist to be writing about however, before I became involved with teeth I worked as a microbiologist for one of the largest chemical companies in the world. I performed EPA testing on most of the handsoaps, sanitizers and disinfectants used in restaurants, healthcare facilities and processing plants today. I learned a great deal about chemicals and their effects on microbes, and more importantly, the human body. That part of my career first made me aware of the adverse effects of chemicals contained in products we use every day. Yet it wasn’t until the last year that I have researched the topic more thoroughly. Only then did I begin to take steps to protect myself from xenoestrogens found in almost every hair, make up and body care product and cleaning agent sold in the United States.
I recently became a certified Biosignature Modulation Practitioner and learned a great deal more on what I consider one the major health risks we face in the United States. An entire portion of the Biosignature course is dedicated to estrogen, its roles in the body, conversion and detoxification pathways, the ill effects of xenoestrogens, and how to address and correct these issues. Attending Poliquin’s Biosignature Modulation Seminar further raised my awareness and it led me to do more to clean up my environment and eliminate my exposures to xenoestrogens. Additionally, my Biosig Test showed I was holding fat in the areas (your butt and legs) associated with not clearing xenoestrogens from the body. That really inspired me to get moving on getting rid of xenoestrogens.
I have to warn you, I have found it may seem impossible and slightly overwhelming to try to eliminate them completely from your life. Here are several ways you can easily change your lifestyle and environment my to reduce the onslaught of xenoestrogens:
1. Stop using plastic containers for food and beverages. Most plastics contain BPA and phthalates, both are estrogen-like chemicals. BPA was developed in 1891 and originally was used as a synthetic estrogen replacement in 1936. Prior to that, during WWI, BPA was found to make plastics clear and shatter resistant. Several recent animal studies have shown that BPA is associated with many detrimental health effects: “mammary and prostate cancer, genital defects in males, early onset of puberty in females, obesity and even behavior problems such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder” (Hinterthuer, Just How Harmful Are Bisphenol A Plastics?, 2008). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated that the main problem with using BPA in plastics is that the chemical leaches from the material over time. Ultimately, BPA ends up in the foods we ingest. The CDC states that 90% of us have detectable levels of BPA in our bodies.
Phthalates are plasticizers also found in food packaging (cans and plastic packaging) and plastic storage containers. They too can seep into your food and be ingested. More on phthalates in a moment.
Tips on limiting exposure to BPA and phthalates:
- Look for microwave safe containers. Plastic containers with the number 3 or 7 in the recycling triangle are likely to have BPA.
- Do not heat your food in plastic. Place it on a plate for heating. Heating increases the rate BPA migrates into your food.
- Use metal or glass water bottles and tempered glass baby bottles.
- Use glass food storage containers or at the very least, BPA free plastic bottles.
- Eat more fresh food and less canned food.
- Avoid bottled water if possible. They may be cold when you purchase them, but could have been sitting on hot trucks or storage rooms for days.
More tips can be found at www.hhs.gov/safety/bpa/ orhttp://www.silentspring.org/pdf/our_research/six_steps.pdf
2. Use Shampoos, Conditioners, Body Washes, Lotions, SUNSCREENS and Deodorants that are free of phthalates and parabens. Phthalates (mentioned briefly above) are preservatives found in most brands of personal hygiene products. Essentially, phthalates allow for products to stay on the shelves longer because they decrease microbial growth and degradation of the products (www.ewg.org/chemindex/term/480). Phthalates are suspected to limit testosterone production in boys, causing malformations in development. Some research even suspects phthalates have a direct link to abdominal obesity and insulin resistance in men (Stahlhert, M.D., M.P.H.). So how do you know if you are using products with phthalates? Look on the label of ingredients. The majority of the time phthalates are denoted with abbreviations. Look for dimethyl phthalate (DMP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), Diallyl phthalate (DAP)……the list goes on. For a complete list of the most common phthalates go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phthalate.
Parabens are also found mostly in cosmetics and personal hygiene products such as shampoo, soaps, etc. (www.ewg.org/chemindex/term/563). They too are preservatives to prevent contamination and increase shelf life in these products. Parabens have been linked to breast cancer and traces of parabens have been detected in biopsies of breast cancer tumors.http://thegoodhuman.com/2007/06/21/what-are-parabens-and-why-should-you-avoid-them/
For the chemical names of parabens go to this link: http://www.chemicalland21.com/lifescience/foco/PARABENS%20(METHYL,%20ETHYL,%20PROPYL,%20BUTYL).htm
I bet you are thinking “I don’t actually eat these things so how can they really affect me?”. You might think it is perfectly fine to put lotion on your skin that has these chemicals. You would be horribly wrong. 60% of these toxins are actually absorbed directly into the body. Toxins absorbed subcutaneously bypass the liver where ingested toxins are typically metabolized and detoxified. By entering subcutaneously, their potency is significantly increased.
Tip: Go to www.ewg.org and put your product into their database to easily determine if your current products are safe for you and your family. You can also peruse their favorites. Beware!! Just because something says All Natural or Organic does not mean it does not contain these chemicals. Research them first!!
3. Switch teflon cookware to cast iron or ceramic skillets. You are probably cooking with the correct oil to get your good fats, but are you using the correct cookware to cook your paleo meals? “Nonstick” pans, while convenient, are coated with perfluorochemicals. These pots and pans if heated over 500 degrees can emit toxic fumes and have long been suspected to contaminate foods when they begin to chip and peel.
- Use cast iron or ceramic skillets for cooking
- Avoid microwave popcorn as these same chemicals are used in the linings of the bags.
- If you decide to continue using your “nonstick” pans, discard them once they begin to chip and peel.
4. Filter your water. Our water is “contaminated with agricultural run off, including many pesticides, and fertilizers containing xenoestrogens, and urine and manure from animals fed growth hormones.” http://kerryg.hubpages.com/hub/Reducing-Exposure-to-Xenoestrogens
- Purchase a water filtration system. A filter purchased from a local department store is not going to filter all of these contaminants from your drinking water, but is a good start. It would be better to purchase a reverse osmosis water filtration system (more expensive and requires installation).
- Do not drink bottled water. Most are not regulated and could also be contaminated with chemicals from the plastic.
It may be impossible to eliminate your exposure to xenoestrogens completely. I was a little flippant in the introduction about the effects xenoestrogens can have on your life. In all seriousness, they can cause a myriad of health issues ranging from cancer to infertility. I urge you to make these changes to improve your and your family’s health.
The above are just a few areas that I decided to focus on changing. My advice would be to pick a couple of the above mentioned items and focus on changing them. As it becomes a routine for you to use that particular product, move on to changing something else. Most of the recommendations only require you to change the brand of a product or easily install a water filter with no change in your daily habits or lifestyle. When you decide to buy new shampoo, go to www.ewg.org and check to see which are free of parabens and purchase a recommended brand. As your cookware needs to be replaced, why not purchase a cast iron or ceramic instead?
There are diet changes and specific supplements that can help facilitate clearance of these toxic metabolites from the body. Meeting with Tony or Tanner is definitely recommended to learn about the specific supplements used and stay tuned for a post regarding these protocols.
As with anything you do, the better effort you put into it means the better results you can expect. In this case, a few slight changes can give you a healthier, less toxic, and leaner life in only a few weeks.