Avoid Xenoestrogens

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We know that testosterone is the male hormone and estrogen is the female hormone. But have you ever heard of xenoestrogens? Probably not, so that’s what we’re going to discuss. We’ll talk about what they are, why you should avoid them, and most importantly–how you can avoid them.

jacked-dude“Xeno” is a prefix based on the Greek word “Xenos”, meaning stranger. Estrogen of course refers to the female hormone. So put the two together and you literally have “stranger estrogen,” which in reality, isn’t far from the truth. Xenoestrogens are in fact, novel, industrially made compounds that in the body, have effects similar to those of estrogen. In men, testosterone is of course the dominant hormone but we actually have estrogen in our bodies as well. In women, it’s just the opposite–they are dominant in estrogen but have testosterone as well.

In men, high levels of estrogen can cause reduced levels of testosterone, fatigue, loss of muscle tone, increased body fat, loss of libido and sexual function and an enlarged prostate. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to grasp that high levels of estrogen in a man are not a good thing. And if you think about the literal meaning of the word “xeno” (stranger), combined with the fact that they’re “industrially made,” then a guy could logically make the assumption that xenoestrogens are not going to be something you want in your body.

In our bodies, naturally-produced estrogens interact with larger molecules known as receptors. This interaction between the two effectively “switching on” the hormone associated with the receptor molecule. Basically, “hormone A” is cruising along in the body not doing much of anything at all. But once it encounters estrogen, the function (whatever that may be) of “hormone a” is turned on, becoming active. When the estrogen is natural and in balance, this is a good thing because  that’s the way things are supposed to happen and functions that we want–the ones that lower our risk of prostate cancer or osteoporosis–are activated and we live our lives happy and healthy.

scorpion-backIn contrast, when xenoestrogens enter the body, because they look and act just like estrogen, they interact with the same larger receptor molecules, activating the same functions as natural estrogen. But the xenoestrogens don’t stop there. They often times activate other receptors and are thought to work synergistically, effectively making the impact of the xenoestrogen far more profound than that of naturally-produced estrogen. And this of course can lead to all sorts of troubles.

In fact, xenoestrogens have been implicated in a range of medical problems and conditions. Unfortunately, little research has been done to actually measure the risk–at least in humans. There have been a number of studies done that document changes that have occurred in wildlife resulting from their exposure to xenoestrogens from sources such as runoff.

There have been a number of studies done on animals in places where levels of xenoestrogens are thought to be high. Among the animals they have studied, they’ve found: emasculated males, decreasing sperm counts, very low levels of testosterone and high levels of estrogens in both sexes. There have also been reports of sexually-related birth defects such as unusually small or non-functioning gonads and in some cases, total reproductive failure.

You can see very clearly that xenoestrogens are something to avoid. Below is just a partial list of some of the places you’re most likely to encounter them and run the risk of ingesting them in one form or another:

     

  • Organ chlorines, which are used to manufacture pesticides, in dry cleaning, the bleaching of feminine-hygiene products and in manufacturing plastic;
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  • BHS A (butylated hydroxyanisole), a preservative used in processed foods;
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  • Parabens, phenoxyethanol and stearal konium chloride, all of which are found in many skin creams and lotions as well as in some soaps and shampoos;
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  • Bisphenol-A, a breakdown of polycarbonate, is used in many plastic bottles. It’s found in the lining of many food cans and juice containers;
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  • Benzophenone-3, homosalate, 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor, octal-methoxycinnamate, octal-dimethyl-PABA, which can be found in many sunscreen lotions; and
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  • Just about any pesticide, herbicide or fungicide.

Again, this is just a partial list of products that contain xenoestrogens. In this day and age it’s difficult to avoid them entirely, but there are plenty of steps you can take to minimize your exposure. Steer clear of industrial chemicals, solutions, preservatives and artificial ingredients as much as possible. Avoid processed foods, vegetables treated with pesticides and meat from hormone-enhanced animals.


Submitted by DMorgan on Sun, 09/19/2010 - 8:44pm.

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