Living—let alone thriving—in our toxic world can be awfully tricky.
While there are all sorts of nasty pollutants worthy of our concern, one class of chemicals is particularly worrisome: endocrine disruptors.
These noxious chemicals adversely affect the functioning of your hormones, the “messenger molecules” that coordinate nearly every complex process in your body. The importance of the endocrine system (and the hormones it produces) simply cannot be overstated—it regulates growth, metabolism (including nutrient absorption), fertility and reproduction, immune function, sleep and other circadian rhythms, mood, behavior, and the coherent functioning of nearly every tissue in the body. For this reason, health experts have warned that endocrine disruptors can be linked to almost every major health issue that we face.
Unfortunately, there’s a vast array of endocrine-disrupting substances that have planted themselves firmly in our industry-laden culture. They show up in cleaning products, industrial agriculture applications, cosmetics, and even food.
But the most widespread endocrine disruptor of all is bisphenol-A (BPA), a form of “fake estrogen” that hijacks the endocrine system and causes massive long-term health problems. The acute toxicity of this terrible substance is now openly acknowledged—but very little is being done to prevent it from saturating our environment.
Too little too late?
As evidence began to mount against BPA, it quickly became common knowledge that BPA-free plastic is the way to go. These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a water bottle without a “BPA-Free” sticker slapped on it.
While this kind of initiative is a step in the right direction, it’s far from being a comprehensive solution. For starters, accumulating evidence suggests that the BPA alternatives used in many water bottles may be just as toxic and endocrine-disrupting as BPA itself.
This allegation points to a frightening truth: that all plastics may be inherently problematic (not just types that contain BPA). And even if we assume for a moment that someone manages to produce a truly non-toxic water bottle—what about all the other ways in which plastic is used?
This thought is frightening precisely because plastic is an enormously important pillar of industrial society; it’s used for just about everything. This means that even if you swear off your personal use of plastic (especially BPA-containing plastic, and receptacles used for eating and drinking), you’ll still be affected by the massive amounts of BPA that industry inevitably pumps into the environment.
Researchers from the University of Missouri found that industrial sites all over the country release worrying quantities of BPA directly into our air and water. It’s able to bind to dust and other particulates, and thus can disperse itself across vast distances. It’s also been discovered in tap water (so much for trustworthy public water treatment). Researchers have even shown that handling cash register receipts—which are saturated with BPA—can lead to elevated BPA levels in your bloodstream.
And these steadily rising BPA levels have been strongly correlated with a whole host of degenerative conditions, including systemic inflammation, obesity, infertility, diabetes, asthma, compromised lung function, lung cancer, breast cancer, reproductive cancers, birth defects, calcification of the pineal gland, compromised gut flora, immune suppression, and more.
What you can do to fight back
While it’s nearly impossible to avoid BPA and other endocrine disruptors altogether, there’s still plenty you can do to protect yourself.
Eat and drink wisely. Avoid all conventional and GMO foods, which are often treated with endocrine-disrupting pesticides. Don’t buy fruits and vegetables that are wrapped in plastic (even if they’re organic), and avoid plastic food containers and cooking implements whenever possible. In fact, just avoid plastic altogether whenever possible; at the very least, avoid plastic items with a No. 3 or No. 7 recycling label. Drink purified water (even bottled water isn’t always safe).
Use hormone-balancing foods and supplements. BPA causes a build-up in excess estrogen within the body, which thus disorients the entire endocrine system. By incorporating naturally hormone-balancing foods into your diet, you can help restore your endocrine system to order. Try maca root (if you choose just one food, make it this one), turmeric, burdock, rhodiola, tulsi, beet root, cordyceps mushroom, reishi mushroom, and lion’s mane mushroom. For extra, more acute estrogen-balancing support, try these supplements: SAM-e, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), DIM, and quercetin.
Use detoxification practices. All of the foods and supplements listed above are already wonderfully detoxifying, but incorporating even more cleansing practices into your life will help ensure that you’re protected. Practice semi-regular fasting, use healing clays, eat an all-around detoxifying diet, exercise regularly, take cold showers, and spend more time in saunas.
Support your pineal gland. The pineal gland is the center of a master detoxification system in the body, so it’s in your best interest to help it help you. Detoxification practices, avoidance of fluoridated water and toothpaste, avoidance of mercury-contaminated food and dental fillings, and forms of meditation that develop the awareness of the “third eye” are all incredibly helpful.
It could be some time before our society mends its toxic ways. In the meantime, following the advice above will help you stay protected from the unavoidable onslaught of BPA and its endocrine-disrupting cousins.