It’s a fact of modern life that environmental estrogens are everywhere these days.

These estrogenic chemicals (estrogen mimickers) are endocrine disruptors (they disrupt hormone signaling) and can also mimic estrogen in their structure. Toxic estrogens can take the place of your healthy estrogens in your estrogen receptor sites, yielding an overall more powerful net estrogenic effect in your body. We love healthy estrogen levels, but more of a good thing isn’t always better!

This phenomenon is one of the biggest factors impacting our hormonal health, increasing rates of health concerns like infertility, breast cancer, and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). Even without causing a namable syndrome or disease, xenoestrogen exposure can still promote estrogen dominance, a common condition where the levels of estrogen in the body outweighs the relative amount of progesterone available to balance it.  Estrogen dominance commonly shows up in your body as things like PMS, breast swelling and tenderness, heavy menstrual bleeding, fibroids and cysts, or weight gain around the hips and thighs.

Xenoestrogens can be found in shampoo, conditioners, lotions, air fresheners, household and industrial cleaning agents, and even in your food!

Here is how to reduce estrogen exposure and estrogen mimickers:

1 Filter your drinking water   

Trace amounts of estrogens from Oral Contraceptive Pills have been found in city water supplies, but over 90% of the estrogen found in drinking water actually comes from run off from animal manure.  These make it to your tap, so unless you filter your water, you may be drinking a dose of estrogen daily. Bottled water isn’t any better, especially if it’s in BPA containing plastic. In other hormonal news, chemicals like Organochloride and Fungicide in water have also been shown to cause hypothyroidism.

2 Limit processed foods

As though we needed one more reason to ditch processed foods, estrogen-laden BPA is a common ingredient in found in the lining of packages which can soak into the foods stored inside of them. BPA is found in the linings of cans (including canned beverages), plastic windows on food boxes, hot beverage lids, and others types of food packaging.

3 Limit dairy and choose wisely

All dairy contains hormones, naturally—think about it, this is breast milk used to feed baby cows, so just like post-partum human breast milk, it is naturally chock full of hormones. If you tolerate dairy, choose organic since this ensures that no hormones or antibiotics were used to treat the cows. Choose grass-fed for an extra nutritional bonus.

4 Use glass, stainless steel, or silicone food storage containers and drinking vessels

Plastic food containers may contain bisphenol A. Never heat plastic containers or wraps in the microwave; heating plastic causes estrogens to leach into your food. But so does freezing food in plastic, so avoid that also.

5 Choose organic when possible

Fruits and veggies grown with pesticides are literally sprayed with estrogen. If you can’t buy all organic, prioritize organic for the foods found on the “Dirty Dozen” list.

6 Minimize soy products

A few of the proven health risks that soy-researcher Kaayla Daniel mentions in her extensive book on the subject, The Whole Soy Story are:

  • Soy formula contains as much estrogen as 4 birth control pills, which can vastly alter hormone balance in babies and can predispose them to cancer later in life.
  • Soy consumption has been linked to infertility, breast cancer, kidney stones, and immune system impairment.
  • Soy isoflavones can lower thyroid function.

7 Eat brassicas and flax seed every day

Flax seeds contains powerful little plant chemicals called lignans that are actually phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogens). Phytoestrogens have a weaker overall effect than the estrogens that we produce in our body, so they can be used to help block excess estrogen from estrogen receptors in women with estrogen dominance. In women with low estrogen, flax can help boost levels. Flax also has anti-cancer properties and supports digestive and cardiovascular health.  Broccoli, bok choy, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and collard greens are all Brassica family vegetables. Brassicas contain a natural compound called IC3 that is a potent antioxidant and helps clear excess estrogen from the body.

8 Avoid using chemical pesticides and fertilizers

In studies, Women who used pesticides experienced 60-99% increased odds of longer menstrual cycles, missed periods, and mid-cycle bleeding compared with women who never used pesticides.  Using non-toxic products for household cleaning is similarly important.

9 Ditch your nonstick pans

The perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) used to make products grease- and waterproof is an environmental estrogen. When the cookware is heated, PFOA can seep into your food. Nonstick pans also release chemicals that block thyroid hormone receptors.

10 Avoid phthalates in your cosmetics and body-care products

Phthalates disrupt both estrogen and testosterone receptors. These are mainly used in fragrances, and the FDA doesn’t require them to be labelled on personal care products. Using fragrance-free and organic products helps to limit exposure. While these are still allowed to be sold in the US, the EU has banned their use proactively since 2004.

11 Avoid hand sanitizers and handling receipts.

Both contain BPA that can absorb through your skin. Hand sanitizer contains alcohol which helps the BPA to absorb in greater rates.

Are you concerned that you have symptoms of Estrogen Dominance and estrogen mimickers or looking for information on how to reduce estrogen? Let’s talk about it!