All About Estrogen
Estrogen is a hormone produced in the ovaries and supports bone health and strength. Estrogen attaches itself to fat cells, and the more fat cells that are there in the body the more estrogen is produced.
Until 1980, the use of growth hormones in farm animals, both endogenous (produced within) and exogenous (originating externally - injected /in feed etc), was completely prohibited in Denmark, Greece, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. The five other EU member countries, including the second and third largest beef producers, France and the United Kingdom, permitted their use. (The use of growth hormones was particularly common in the U.K., where beef production was heavily industrialized.) in 1980, and the commissioning of a major scientific study was carried out into the use of estradiol, testosterone, progesterone, trenbolone, and zeranol in 1981.
Japanese researchers revealed in a recent study that "The high estrogen concentrations in Japanese chicken, USA chicken, and USA beef have been attributed to the residue of external estrogen in the feed given to the livestock. The nearly zero level found in Japanese beef and Brazilian chicken is considered to be natural endogenous amount without estrogen supplementation. The estrogen levels in meat are much lower than those of contraceptive pills (0.035 mg/tab). Even so, when considering lifetime exposure to meat containing higher level of estrogen than human fat tissue, estrogen intake from daily meat consumption cannot be disregarded as a factor governing human health. Consequently, dietary estrogen intake from meat might promote estrogen accumulation in the human body and could be related to the incidence of hormone-dependent cancers"
The labeling of estrogen-only products in the U.S. now includes a warning that unopposed estrogen, without progesragen, therapy increases the risk of endometrial cancer and breast cancers. These warnings are based on reviews of data, and on January 8, 2003 the United States Food and Drug Administration changed the labeling of all estrogen and estrogen with progestin products for use by postmenopausal women to include a new boxed warning about cardiovascular and other risks.
Estrogen in food and water and its environmental effects on wildlife
Estrogens are among the wide range of endocrine-disrupting compounds because they have high estrogenic potency. When this specific estrogen disruptive compound makes its way into the environment, studies have now shown that along with the other effects, it also causes male reproductive dysfunction to wildlife. The estrogen excreted from farm animals makes its way into fresh water course systems. During the germination period of reproduction, fish are exposed to low levels of estrogen which has been shown to cause reproductive dysfunction to male fish.
Estrogen mimicking compounds
There are many other artificial chemical compounds that mimic estrogen. This article details more of these: -
Women and their exposure to Paraben in Shampoo, Cosmetics and Household Products
Some hair shampoo and cosmetic products have estrogens and others contain phytoestrogens. Paraben mimics estrogen and is regularly added to cosmetic products as a preservative. There are case reports of young children developing breasts after exposure to the shampoos containing chemicals containing and acting as estrogen. There have been many studies carried out globally and I would ask the readers of the following articles to make up their own mind in terms of the 'safe levels' of any such ingredients. All I do ask is that you become more aware that synthetic estrogens seem now to be introduced in many areas of our lives and seemingly there seems currently to be no clear indication on products to show this.
Numerous studies have shown that bisphenol A leaches from plastics and resins when they are exposed to hard use or high temperatures (as in microwave ovens and dishwashers). Because bisphenol A is used in so many common products that we use every day, such as baby bottles, reusable water bottles, microwaveable containers, and the protective coating inside most food and beverage cans. Most people in developed countries are exposed almost continuously to some level of bisphenol A. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the European Food Safety Authority maintain that it is virtually impossible for most people to experience an unsafe level of BPA exposure in their daily lives.
In a 2004 study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found BPA present in the urine of 93% of those tested, and also concluded that many Americans are exposed to bisphenol A at levels above the safety threshold set by the EPA. The CDC data also revealed that children are more heavily exposed to BPA than adolescents who, in turn, had higher concentrations than adults. In addition, the National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has concluded that there is definitely reason to be concerned that BPA may cause developmental problems in children’s brains and hormonal systems.
There are many things you can do to help yourself limit your exposure to the above mentioned chemicals, and I hope the above information has at least made you aware of what the industrial world is exposing EVERYONE to everyday. You can probably think of many more, but here are a few things you can do to help yourself: -
- Read packaging and ingredients on products purchased
- Favour products in glass jars
- Hand pick fruit and vegetables and steer clear of anything pre-packed in shrunk wrapped plastics
- Try non-dairy substitutes (note Soy contains artificial estrogens!)
- If possible, buy milk products in glass bottles
- If possible use organic butter and not margarine in plastic tubs
- Try and source organic farm products where possible
- Increase intake of vegetables from the brassica family
- Increase your fibre intake
- Try to look out for non-phytoestrogen products and avoid products containing paraben for you and your family(please see below)
Non-Phytoestrogen Products and How to Look for Paraben Free Products