Xenoestrogens are molecules found in the environment that mimic the action of estrogen in the body.
They do this because the xenoestrogen molecules look very similar to our body's own estrogen molecules, so the xenoestrogens are able to bind to our body's estrogen receptors and can cause several effects on our bodies, some may be beneficial & some detrimental to our health.
There are both natural & synthetic xenoestrogens.
Natural xenoestrogens are also known as phytoestrogens and come from foods we consume that have some beneficial effects in the body.
Synthetic xenoestrogens include environmental toxins & synthetic hormones and are considered to be endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), EDCs are suspected to be associated with altered reproductive function in males and females, increased incidence of breast cancer, abnormal growth patterns and neurodevelopmental delays in children, as well as changes in immune function.
Common sources of these synthetic xenoestrogens are pesticides, herbicides, plastics, cosmetics, and beauty products (such as nail polish and perfume).
Some synthetic Xenoestrogens to watch out for include:
BPA & BPS
And much more!
Although we can’t fully avoid xenoestrogens, it’s important to try and limit exposure where we can.
This would include using glass food containers instead of plastic (and ensuring not to heat or freeze plastic containers), getting receipts emailed to you instead of handling a printed-out receipt, using a reusable stainless steel or glass water bottle, using reusable produce bags at the grocery store, using skincare, cosmetics & cleaning products without phthalates & parabens.
For more tips, visit the Environmental Working Group website: https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news/5-ways-protect-your-hormones-toxic-chemicals
Author: Dr. Samantha Allen, ND