During the January 11, 2020 program, we got a wake-up call from Anthony G. Jay, PH.D. about a class of chemicals that are assaulting our bodies and brains. Dr. Jay is a Mayo Clinic researcher and the author of Estrogeneration: How Estrogenics Are Making You Fat, Sick, and Infertile. The quick review below is not a substitute for listening to that show and certainly not for reading his book.
What Xenoestrogens are. There are an increasing number of “endocrine-disruptor” chemicals in our air, food, water, consumer products and environment. (Even some foods such as soy can imbalance hormones.) They can mess with any of our hormones—for example, the thyroid. The category we discussed was xeno-estrogens. “Xeno” means “foreign”. As you know, “estrogen” is a hormone (messenger in the body) that is commonly thought of as for females. Actually, during most of the month, men have about the same blood levels as women. When hormones get out of balance, bad things can happen. Hormone-dependent breast cancer is perhaps the best known example and fake estrogens can have that effect. As the name of Dr. Jay’s book implies, these chemical impersonators can cause many more problems for both genders. The toxic xeno-estrogens can also block receptors for the real thing and interfere with normal benefits.
The problems they cause. We could start with the environment. Xenoestrogens are making whole communities of certain wildlife infertile and killing coral reefs. In humans, the chemicals are linked to Alzheimer’s, cancers (breast cancer up 250% since 1980), depression, diabetes, early-onset puberty, endometriosis, infertility (fertility down 50% since 1960), “man boobs” (even in toddlers), miscarriage and obesity (doubled since 1980). Birth control pills are hormones used to upset the balance on purpose. It appears that high estrogen levels reduce testosterone, which in addition to supporting cardiovascular health and muscle strength in both genders, also improves libido. These compounds affect the way our genes behave and that information is passed along to many future generations. That process is called “epigenetics”.
Sources of xeno-estrogens. Common sources that we discussed on the show are the plastics in water bottles, the linings of cans and paper cups and packaging. BPA is a well known member of this class and it is also sprayed on the paper used for register receipts. Beware of products claiming to be “free of BPA because they may have simply substituted BPS or one of the other BP line that have the same effects. Look at the recycling codes for a clue. Avoid #1. Better numbers are 3, 4 and 5. Avoid storage of foods and beverages in plastic and certainly don’t microwave food in plastic.
Food additives like red food color and food contaminants such as many pesticides (especially on grains) and herbicides (think Roundup) have estrogenic effects. So, whole, natural, organic food is best. Dr. Jay says to avoid soy foods (unless fermented) because they are too strong a source of plant estrogens. Body care products (e.g. sunscreen, shampoo, and creams) with fragrances, parabens and other additives have estrogenic effects. They are a big problem because they absorb into circulation with no chance of being detoxified in the gut. Also, watch out for laundry detergent and household cleaning products. Wash new clothing because it might have been treated with these chemicals. Marijuana smoked is estrogenic, but not the edibles. This website has a list of sources (and the site I thank for the graphic) and here is another site.
Removing xeno-estrogens from our bodies. The best place to start, of course, is to avoid taking more in. We should also remember that fat cells make estrogen which, even though natural, adds to the estrogen load. Eating a lot of good green foods is a positive start on detox (and weight loss). Dr. Jay says that the Far Infrared Sauna is a big help. Use a water filter because the compounds are now in tap water. Exercise regularly. When Dr. Jay is on the next time we’ll ask him more about detoxification.
“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” Often attributed to Benjamin Franklin