The word “xenoestrogen” just looks like a typo to most people. Either that, or they think it’s the thing responsible for the feminine charms of Xena the warrior princess.
Sadly, xenoestrogens are not nearly that fun. In fact, there’s little in our modern world that silently impacts our health so dramatically.
But we say enough’s enough. No more silence on this important topic. You need to know the role that xenoestrogens are playing in your hormonal health, and we’ve got the answers right here.
What Are Xenoestrogens?
Xenoestrogens are non-estrogen substances that have an estrogen-like effect on the body. The modern industrialized world is awash with these substances. The impact on our hormonal health has become undeniable.
The consequences of xenoestrogen presence in our environment are beginning to stack up. Research links these chemicals to cancer and disease. Hormone balance has been impacted. Fertility struggles abound. And menopause has become increasingly difficult and symptom-plagued.
What Do Xenoestrogens Do In The Body?
Xenoestrogens are chemically different than real estrogen, but they are structurally alike enough to successfully interact with cell receptor sites. Our estrogen presence increases when artificial estrogens interact with our cells.
It helps to form a mental picture of what happens on the cellular level, and in order to do that, you have to have a basic understanding of how hormones work in the first place.
The Estrogen Dominance Problem
Xenoestrogen presence is a huge factor in estrogen dominance. What’s estrogen dominance you say?
Estrogen dominance is an imbalance that occurs between estrogen and progesterone during menopause. The core of the problem is that elevated estrogen levels become drastically imbalanced with falling progesterone during the declines of menopause.
Xenoestrogens have been critical in the current prevalence of estrogen dominance. Declines in progesterone levels during menopause are nothing new. It’s estrogenic chemicals that are driving the uptick in estrogen dominance.
Where We Find Xenoestrogens
This is the part that’s most surprising. We find these disruptive chemicals all around us. They are in everyday products that we use without a second thought. The extreme prevalence even impacts our air and soil and water.
So if you’re prone to obsession, or already thinking about building your own cabin in the woods, maybe just skip this part.
A huge portion of the xenoestrogens we’re exposed to (hormone-mimicking substances of all kinds really) are due to our extensive use of petrochemicals. In “What Your Doctor May Not Be Telling You About Menopause,” Dr. John Lee writes:
“We live in a pervasively petrochemical world. Our machines run on petroleum fuels, many of our buildings are heated with petroleum oil, and thousands, maybe millions of products, including plastics, microchips, medicines, clothing, foods, soaps, pesticides, and even perfumes, are made from petrochemicals or contain them. While these substances have undeniably improved our quality of life, the price we pay is pervasive petrochemical pollution of the air, water, soil, and our bodies.”
Xenoestrogens abound in our foods, cleaning supplies, plastics, Styrofoam, and a frustratingly long list of personal products.
What Can You Do?
Outside of abandoning civilization completely, avoiding xenoestrogens entirely, isn’t really possible. The good news is that the impact of these chemicals is cumulative, and avoiding the worst sources can make a big difference.
Some good broad guidelines include:
- Avoid foods that are treated with pesticides.
- Minimize the use of plastics, especially as food containers.
- Opt for meats that have not been treated with hormones.
- Choose non-chemical cleaning products when possible.
- Know what is in your health and beauty products.
Womeninbalance.org has put together a great resource to help you identify the chemicals to avoid, and provides some general advice for minimizing your exposure. Click here for their helpful guide.
Lastly, a compound called DIM (short for battles our over-saturation. DIM is short for Di-Indolyl Methane, and can is actually common in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. This compound promotes our body’s own natural estrogen metabolism, and helps to restore balance, and rid you of excess potent estrogens.
We’ve paid for progress with xenoestrogen exposure. The more we learn about the impact of these chemicals on our health, the greater our desire will be to limit exposure as a society.
But until then, we have to be responsible for our own health. The key is knowing what our bodies are exposed to, and how to react.