6 Ways to Complete an Environmental Estrogen Detox
Estrogen is a vital hormone that helps support the reproductive organs. Its metabolism is linked to diet, lifestyle, and genetic makeup.
Just like our bodies, our surroundings too carry varying degrees of estrogen. Plastic containers, nail polish, receipts—our households feature more of the hormone than most people know. And while the body can absorb these environmental estrogens (also known as xenoestrogens) in the same way it can produce estrogen naturally, it’s important to maintain a sense of balance.
This is because estrogen dominance—that is, the dominance of estrogen over progesterone—can lead to undesired health effects.1,2
This is where an environmental estrogen detox may serve you. There are a number of steps you can take to help reduce the amount of estrogen in your environment:
- Use only skincare and household products with naturally derived ingredients.
- Take a look at the ingredients your favorite products contain. Many makeup, skincare, and even sunscreen brands rely on environmental estrogens like parabens and phthalates to achieve the results they promise. To stabilize your estrogen levels, search for alternatives that feature only naturally derived ingredients. The same applies to scented candles and air fresheners.
- It’s true as well for laundry and other cleaning products. Many fabric softeners and household cleaners, for instance, contain petrochemicals that may serve as environmental estrogens. To address this, search for organic household products whenever possible. Typically, products with fewer ingredients listed on the label are less likely to contain xenoestrogens.
- Assess your furniture.
- Many home furnishings include xenoestrogens as well. Brominated flame-retardants (BFRs) are the most common and can be found in mattresses, carpets, electronics, and more.
- However, since the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences determined that BFRs disrupt the endocrine system,3 you may want to shop for BFR-free furniture. Focus your search on ecofriendly companies that offer pieces made with only naturally derived ingredients. Steer clear of finishes and varnishes that contain chemicals, which may also act as environmental estrogens and potentially throw your hormonal balance out of whack.
- Avoid storing food in plastic containers.
- While convenient, plastic containers—along with water bottles, bags, and other items made from plastic—include chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body.4 Two of these chemicals, bisphenol-A (BPA) and bisphenol-S (BPS), are especially detrimental in extreme temperatures. In particular, high heat can cause BPA and BPS to break down and leach into foods and liquids. Substitute plastic containers with glass or stainless steel to keep environmental estrogens at bay.
- In addition, you may want to avoid canned goods, as cans tend to feature plastic linings. The National Work Group for Safe Markets, in a 2010 study, determined that more than 90% of the cans it tested contained BPA.5 Receipt paper contains BPA as well, so say “no thank you” to unneeded receipts plus think about emptying your receipt drawer to further reduce the xenoestrogens in your household.
- Use a water filter.
- The tap water in your area could be harboring environmental estrogens like fluoride, chlorine, and other chemicals. In a 2008 study across nine states, the U.S. Geological Survey found municipal water to contain 85 manmade chemicals.6
- That’s no small amount. Purchase a quality water filter to stay hydrated while keeping xenoestrogens at bay.
- Eat organic produce, meat, and dairy products.
- Some farms feed their livestock drugs containing estrogen. This is meant to induce weight gain in the animals and increase the amount of meat these farms can sell. To avoid consuming meat and dairy products containing estrogenic drugs, choose grass-fed and organic options whenever possible.
- Similarly, make an effort to purchase organic produce, which contains lower levels of pesticides that act as environmental estrogens.7 And even if you do pick up organic produce, be sure to rinse your fruits and vegetables in filtered water as an extra precautionary measure.
- Exercise on a regular basis.
- Physical activity is another effective way to counter the effects of estrogen dominance and complete an environmental estrogen detox. Research indicates that regular exercise reduces estrogen levels significantly.
- A 2011 study revealed that premenopausal women who performed five hours of aerobic exercise per week lowered their estrogen levels by 19%.8 In addition, a study conducted in 2013 revealed that aerobic exercise can help the body metabolize estrogen.9
These are just some of the steps you can take to help lower estrogen levels in your environment and body. Note that an estrogenic detox is best completed by making small, conscious changes.
Submitted by the Metagenics Marketing Team
- Travis RC, Key TJ. Oestrogen exposure and breast cancer risk. Breast Cancer Research: BCR. 5.5. 2003:239-247.
- Schulster M et al. The role of estradiol in male reproductive function. Asian J Androl. 2016;18(3):435–440.
- Birnbaum LS et al. Brominated flame retardants: cause for concern? Environ Health Perspect. 2004;112(1):9–17.
- Yang CZ et al. Most plastic products release estrogenic chemicals: a potential health problem that can be solved. Environ Health Perspect. 2011;119(7):989–996.
- No silver lining: an investigation into bisphenol A in canned foods. National Work Group for Safe Markets. http://www.ej4all.org/contaminatedwithoutconsent/downloads/NoSilverLining-Report.pdf. Published May 2010. Accessed March 29, 2018.
- Martins C. Sample concentration and analysis of human hormones in drinking water. Thermo Fisher Scientific. http://nemc.us/docs/2015/presentations/Mon-High%20Performance%20Liquid%20Chromatography%20in%20Environmental%20Monitoring-16.8-Martins.pdf. Published 2015. Accessed March 29, 2018.
- Nicolopoulou-Stamati P et al. Chemical pesticides and human health: the urgent need for a new concept in agriculture. Front Public Health. 2016;4:148.
- Kossman DA et al. Exercise lowers estrogen and progesterone levels in premenopausal women at high risk of breast cancer. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2011;111(6):1687–1693.
- Smith AJ et al. The effects of aerobic exercise on estrogen metabolism in healthy premenopausal women. Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. 22.5. 2013:756–764.