The Hormone Disruptor Epidemic: Why It Matters and How to Protect Yourself

hormone disruptors title

Your Hormones Under Siege: The Truth About Endocrine Disruptors and How to Fight Back

Do you often feel fatigued, experience mood swings, or have trouble losing weight? You might be surprised to learn that these issues could be linked to your endocrine system and its exposure to hormone mimics, also known as endocrine disruptors.

Your endocrine system, one of the Five Master Systems in my bestselling book and program “The Alkaline Reset Cleanse,” plays a crucial role in maintaining your overall health by regulating hormones. Unfortunately, hormone mimics can interfere with this delicate balance, leading to a wide range of health problems.

By understanding what hormone mimics are and how they affect your body, you can eliminate this risk of metabolic acidosis, and the devastating effect that these endocrine disruptors have on your health.  From digestive disorders to increased cancer risk, and weight gain to chronic fatigue – they not only directly impact your health, but also destabilize those delicate balances throughout your body. 

But, you can take control of your well-being and restore harmony within your endocrine system by recognizing and then removing these hormone mimics. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the world of hormone mimics, their impact on your health, and how you can follow the alkaline life to support your endocrine system and live with more energy and vitality. We’ll cover:

  • An easy-to-understand overview of the endocrine system and why it is so essential to be balanced
  • How the alkaline diet and diet-induced acidity interact with the endocrine system (why being acidic messes your hormones)
  • What endocrine disruptors are, and how they work
  • The 12 most important endocrine disruptors to avoid
  • HOW to avoid them
  • And your steps to make this happen and make it stick

Let’s dive in and learn how to shield your body from these harmful substances!

What is the Endocrine System?

The endocrine system is a complex network of glands and organs that produce, store, and secrete hormones. These chemical messengers play a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions such as growth, metabolism, reproduction, mood, and stress response. 

It has a big role to play in the body, touching upon practically every function that dictates your health.   As I explain in depth in The Alkaline Reset Cleanse, when the endocrine system is unbalanced, this has huge and far-reaching impacts on the other four of the Five Master Systems (digestive, detoxification, pH buffering and immune systems)

The main components of the endocrine system include the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, pancreas, and reproductive organs (testes and ovaries).

The hypothalamus, located in the brain, serves as the primary link between the nervous system and the endocrine system. It plays a critical role in maintaining the body’s homeostasis by producing hormones that regulate the secretion of other hormones from the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland, also known as the “master gland,” releases hormones that control the activity of other endocrine glands and organs.

The thyroid gland, situated in the neck, produces hormones that regulate metabolism, energy production, and growth. The parathyroid glands, located close to the thyroid gland, secrete hormones that help maintain calcium levels in the blood. The adrenal glands, positioned on top of the kidneys, produce hormones that regulate stress response, blood pressure, and metabolism.

The pancreas has dual functions as both an endocrine and exocrine gland. As an endocrine gland, it secretes insulin and glucagon, which regulate blood sugar levels. The reproductive organs, testes in males and ovaries in females, produce sex hormones responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics and the regulation of reproductive processes.

A well-functioning endocrine system is vital for maintaining overall health and well-being. However, exposure to hormone mimics or endocrine disruptors can interfere with the delicate hormonal balance, leading to a wide range of health issues. By understanding the endocrine system and its role in our health, we can better appreciate the importance of protecting it from harmful substances and the benefits of adopting an alkaline diet.

The Relationship Between Diet, pH, and the Endocrine System

Here’s a handful of examples as to how pH and the endocrine system are intricately linked (note: this is just scratching the surface):

  1. Impact on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism: A diet high in acid-forming foods, such as processed foods, refined sugars, and animal products, can lead to a state of chronic low-grade acidosis in the body. This acid load can negatively impact the endocrine system, particularly the pancreas and its ability to produce and regulate insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels by allowing glucose to enter the cells. When the body becomes less sensitive to insulin due to an acidic environment, it can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance disrupts glucose metabolism, causing higher blood sugar levels and placing additional stress on the endocrine system.
  2. Effect on thyroid function: The thyroid gland, a vital component of the endocrine system, produces hormones that regulate metabolism, growth, and energy production. An acidic diet can interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients such as iodine, selenium, and zinc, which are necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Iodine deficiency, for example, can lead to the underproduction of thyroid hormones, a condition known as hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism can cause fatigue, weight gain, and mood disturbances, among other symptoms. By creating an imbalance in thyroid hormone production, an overly acidic diet can disrupt the endocrine system and contribute to the development of thyroid-related disorders.
  3. Impact on parathyroid function and calcium regulation: The parathyroid glands, which are part of the endocrine system, play a crucial role in regulating calcium levels in the bloodstream by secreting parathyroid hormone (PTH). A diet high in acid-forming foods can disrupt the body’s pH balance, leading to increased acidity. To compensate for this acidic environment, the body may release calcium from the bones, as calcium is an alkaline mineral that can help neutralize excess acid.The parathyroid glands sense the decrease in blood calcium levels and respond by increasing the production of PTH, which stimulates the release of even more calcium from the bones, as well as the reabsorption of calcium in the kidneys and increased absorption of calcium from the intestines. This process can lead to a continuous cycle of bone demineralization, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and other bone-related issues. An imbalanced diet-induced acidity can thus disrupt the endocrine system by overstimulating the parathyroid glands and causing long-term harm to bone health.

The 13 Most Common & Damaging Endocrine Disruptors

There are endocrine disruptors everywhere, and many, many more than we are featuring here.  However, as with everything…there is the 80/20.  80% or more of the hormone disruption you will face will come from 20% or less of the hormone disruptors out there!  In fact, when you look at #13 below – this is likely responsible for at least 50% of it.

  1. Bisphenol A (BPA): Found in polycarbonate plastics, food packaging, canned food linings, and thermal paper receipts. BPA can mimic estrogen and interfere with the endocrine system.
  2. Phthalates: Used as plasticizers in products like PVC pipes, vinyl flooring, and personal care products. Phthalates can disrupt the production and function of testosterone and other hormones.
  3. Parabens: Commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics, personal care products, and some pharmaceuticals. Parabens can interfere with estrogen function and potentially affect reproductive health.
  4. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs): Found in non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, and food packaging. PFCs can interfere with thyroid hormone function and metabolism.
  5. Atrazine: A widely used herbicide that can contaminate drinking water. Atrazine has been linked to hormonal disruption, reproductive issues, and an increased risk of certain cancers.
  6. Dioxins: Environmental pollutants produced as byproducts of industrial processes such as waste incineration and the production of chlorinated chemicals. Dioxins can disrupt hormone function and have been linked to reproductive, developmental, and immune system problems, as well as an increased risk of cancer.
  7. Perchlorate: A chemical found in rocket fuel, fireworks, and some fertilizers. Perchlorate can contaminate water supplies and disrupt thyroid hormone production.
  8. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs): A class of flame retardants used in various consumer products, including electronics and furniture. PBDEs can interfere with thyroid hormone function and have been linked to neurodevelopmental issues in children.
  9. Organophosphate pesticides: A group of pesticides used in agriculture that can disrupt the nervous system and have been linked to hormonal imbalances and developmental issues.
  10. Triclosan: An antimicrobial agent found in some soaps, toothpaste, and personal care products. Triclosan can interfere with thyroid hormone function and has been linked to antibiotic resistance.
  11. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): A group of industrial chemicals that were banned in the 1970s but persist in the environment due to their stability and resistance to degradation. PCBs can disrupt thyroid hormone function and have been linked to neurological issues and an increased risk of certain cancers.
  12. Diethylstilbestrol (DES): A synthetic estrogen that was prescribed to pregnant women between the 1940s and 1970s to prevent miscarriages. Although no longer in use, DES exposure has been linked to reproductive issues, such as an increased risk of breast cancer and fertility problems in the daughters of women who took the drug.

Special Mention: Pesticides

Pesticides are widely used in agriculture to kill bugs and protect crops, but they have a proven hugely detrimental effect to our health, in so many ways. Many pesticides have been found to act as endocrine disruptors, interfering with hormonal signalling and function, which can lead to a range of health problems. Some of the ways pesticides can impact the endocrine system include:

  1. Mimicking hormones: Some pesticides can act as hormone mimics, binding to hormone receptors and triggering abnormal responses in the body. This can lead to hormonal imbalances, reproductive issues, and an increased risk of hormone-sensitive cancers.
  2. Blocking hormone receptors: Certain pesticides can bind to hormone receptors without activating them, preventing the natural hormone from binding and exerting its effects. This can result in hormone resistance and the disruption of normal endocrine function.
  3. Altering hormone production and metabolism: Some pesticides can interfere with the production, transport, and metabolism of hormones, leading to imbalances and disruptions in the endocrine system.

Common endocrine-disrupting pesticides include organophosphate pesticides, neonicotinoids, carbamate pesticides, and atrazine.  However, special mention, of course, has to be made to one in particular: Glyphosate.

Glyphosate is a widely used herbicide, particularly in conjunction with genetically modified (GM) crops, such as Roundup Ready soybeans, corn, and cotton. It is the active ingredient in the popular weedkiller Roundup, which is produced by the Monsanto Company (now owned by Bayer). Glyphosate is dangerous, and this is proven beyond doubt. 

Already BANNED in many countries, and being phased out rapidly in others, this is the chemical that Bayer has already agreed to pay out over $10bn in lawsuits to over 100,000 people due to it causing cancer.  

The problems with it are many, but the three most pressing are:

  1. Cancer risk: The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015. This classification was based on evidence from human studies, showing a clear link between glyphosate exposure and the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.   This study shows that regular exposure to glyphosate DOUBLED the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  Incredible. 
  2. Gut microbiome disruption: Glyphosate has been shown to affect the gut microbiome, altering the balance of beneficial and harmful bacteria. This disruption can potentially lead to digestive issues, immune system dysfunction, and other health problems. Further research is needed to understand the impact of glyphosate on the human gut microbiome.
  3. Thyroid disruption: This review study in Frontiers Journal showed clear and concerning evidence that glyphosate and glyphosate based herbicides had an incredibly detrimental effect on the thyroid, and significantly impacts the body’s ability to store and utilise selenium.  
  4. Plus the Environmental concerns: The widespread use of glyphosate has raised concerns about its effects on the environment, particularly on non-target plants, soil health, and aquatic ecosystems. Glyphosate can contaminate surface water and groundwater, affecting aquatic organisms and potentially leading to the development of glyphosate-resistant weeds, known as “superweeds.”

Must Watch!  Interview with Ocean Robbins

Each month in my alkaline membership The Alkaline Base Camp, I interview a leading expert (plus give recipes, Q&A calls, live coaching and more!), and a few months back I interviewed bestselling author, and creator of the Food Revolution Network, Ocean Robbins.  We talked in depth about pesticides and glyphosate in particular.  I highly recommend checking out the interview below.

And if you want to know more about being a member of The Alkaline Base Camp, where you get access to me personally as your coach, click here.

IMPORTANT: Even Tiny Amounts Can be Devastating

Even the smallest amounts of endocrine disruptors can lead to devastating consequences because these chemicals can interfere with the body’s hormonal signaling system at extremely low concentrations. Hormones themselves are effective at very low levels, typically in the range of parts per billion (ppb) or even parts per trillion (ppt). This means that even trace amounts of endocrine-disrupting chemicals can have significant effects on the body, particularly if exposure occurs during critical periods of development.

The timing of exposure to endocrine disruptors can be crucial, especially during prenatal and early postnatal development, when the endocrine system is particularly sensitive to hormonal disturbances. At these stages, the body is undergoing rapid growth, cell differentiation, and organ formation. Exposure to endocrine disruptors during these critical periods can result in permanent changes to the endocrine system and its 

functions, potentially leading to a wide range of health issues later in life.

Moreover, the effects of endocrine disruptors can be non-linear, meaning that even low doses of these chemicals can cause unexpected or disproportionate effects compared to higher doses. This phenomenon, known as “low-dose effects,” can make it challenging to predict the impact of endocrine disruptors on the body, as their effects may not follow the typical dose-response relationship observed with many other toxic substances.

Additionally, endocrine disruptors can have additive or synergistic effects, where the combined impact of exposure to multiple chemicals can be greater than the sum of their individual effects. This is particularly concerning, as people are often exposed to a mixture of endocrine-disrupting chemicals from various sources, such as food, water, personal care products, and the environment.

In summary, even the smallest amounts of endocrine disruptors can lead to devastating consequences due to their ability to interfere with hormonal signaling at very low concentrations, the critical timing of exposure, the potential for low-dose effects, and the additive or synergistic impact of multiple chemicals. This highlights the importance of minimizing exposure to endocrine disruptors and supporting the endocrine system through a healthy lifestyle and diet.

Into ACTION: How to Get Endocrine Disruptors OUT of Your Life 

Quit Sugar Webinar Banner

Making conscious choices and adopting healthy habits can help you minimize exposure to endocrine disruptors and protect your hormonal balance. Here are some detailed strategies to avoid these chemicals and create a healthier environment for you and your family:

Diet and Nutrition

Choosing organic produce is a crucial step in reducing exposure to pesticides. Organic fruits and vegetables have lower levels of pesticide residues, making them a safer option for you and your family. Similarly, when purchasing meat and dairy products, look for hormone-free or organic labels to ensure that you’re consuming products that are less likely to contain hormone residues or be treated with endocrine-disrupting chemicals. 

Now, I know this isn’t always possible either financially or access-wise, so referring to the EPAs ‘Clean Fifteen & Dirty Dozen’ list here (updated annually) is a good choice.  It lists the twelve most pesticide-heavy fruits and veg, and the fifteen that are least affected.  

There are ways you can clean pesticides from veggies (the most effective being strong ionized water from a water ionizer – read more here in my Guide to Alkaline Water), but if you focus on trying to get the dirty dozen organic, you will go a LONG way to reducing your pesticide load.

Focusing on whole, unprocessed foods instead of processed ones can further minimize your exposure to additives, preservatives, and packaging materials that may contain endocrine disruptors. Additionally, be cautious with canned foods, as the lining often contains BPA. Opt for fresh, frozen, or jarred alternatives instead.

Household Products and Beauty Products

‘Regular’ household cleaning products (dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, oven cleaner, surface cleaner, etc), body care products (shampoo, deodorant, soaps, etc.), and beauty products (makeup, perfumes, aftershave, etc.) are all absolutely filled with endocrine disruptors that are proven to be hugely detrimental to your health.  

Simply ditch them.

There are fantastic natural alternatives out there now (there were not when I first had this realization to ditch them back in 2004), and these are all now much more affordable than they used to be.  It is a really simple swap, requires no extra effort, and in most cases no extra cost either.

Another plug for the Chanson ionizers here is because the pH 3 water it can produce is certified antibacterial and anti-microbial, meaning it can replace a LOT of your household cleaning products.  As a spray, the pH 3-4 water is also an incredible moisturizer, toner, and makeup remover, which can also help reduce the signs of fine lines and wrinkles.  It’s also fabulous for rosacea, acne, eczema, and psoriasis.  Again, you can check out more info on this in the Definitive Guide to Alkaline Water here.

Water and Air Quality

Installing a high-quality water filter in your home can help remove contaminants, including endocrine-disrupting chemicals like atrazine and perchlorate.  I have covered this in a LOT of depth in my free Definitive Guide to Alkaline Water here.  

By improving your indoor air quality through the use of air purifiers with HEPA filters, you can reduce airborne particles and dust that may contain endocrine disruptors.

Lifestyle Choices and Birth Control

Adopting specific lifestyle choices can further reduce your exposure to these harmful chemicals. Regularly dusting and vacuuming your home can help eliminate household dust, which often contains endocrine disruptors. Washing your hands frequently with regular soap and water can remove traces of these chemicals you may have come into contact with throughout the day. When handling thermal paper receipts, which often contain BPA, limit your contact and wash your hands afterward. Staying informed about the latest research on endocrine disruptors and making educated choices about the products you use daily can also significantly contribute to creating a healthier environment for yourself and your family.

When storing food, avoid using plastic containers, particularly when heating food, as the heat can cause chemicals like BPA and phthalates to leach into your meal. Instead, use glass or stainless steel containers that don’t pose the same risks. 

Regarding birth control, hormonal contraceptives can impact your endocrine system. This isn’t a topic I am going to be judgemental on, or make any recommendations at all as it is incredibly complex and personal, but it is definitely part of the consideration that some contraceptives can be unbalancing to the endocrine system. 

And of course…living the Alkaline Life…

If you want to remove or reduce many of the most damaging endocrine disruptors and help your body to heal, repair, and rebalance, then living alkaline is, of course, the way to go! 

If you are concerned that you may have a hormone imbalance, I strongly recommend you check out my bestselling Alkaline Reset Cleanse book here.

And head straight to my next guide: 11 Ways to Balance Your Hormones (the Alkaline Way)

Let’s do this,
Ross


order the alkaline life

Ask Me a Question or Leave a Comment Here - I'd Love to Hear from You

*

«