Plastics and Hormone Balance By Jill Davies
In women (of all ages) it can cause fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, difficult periods, P.M.S, low fertility and post-menopausal issues. Whilst in men it is connected to low sperm count, prostate issues and much more. In both, it will affect mental health problems, depression, immune complications, and increases in allergies.
Hormone-like chemicals, what are these?
‘Xenoestrogens’ occur in everyday objects and not just plastics but also in generalised pollution, the air we breathe, the water we drink, pesticides, drugs and more. Most of these ‘hormone disruptors’ don’t degrade and will persist in the environment for decades and centuries as we now know. So as it is impossible to avoid them altogether, it is important to know and practice as many lifestyle choices as possible to vastly reduce their uptake. These endocrine disturbing ‘oestrogen mimickers’ have far-reaching effects as these foreign chemicals can literally‘re-program’ our cells. This is how they eventually cause so much disruption and potential issues or disease in the body. This is especially so with the very young where the endocrine system (the network of glands that controls growth) affects metabolism, brain growth, muscle development and more.
Creating more Progesterone for Women
In women, leaving a dominant or oestrogen overload in the body is a bit like leaving a hormone bully unopposed to run riot. Stopping and opposing it is vital. This is done by encouraging and enabling our pituitary glands to create this vital opposition by producing more progesterone and thus helping to normalise oestrogen levels. It does and will make dramatic and discernible differences. For women, a simple choice is to start taking the herb Agnus Castus, its berries in fact.
Agnus Castus [Vitex Agnus Castus] (Verbenaceae)
Agnus castus berries exert a subtle hormonal effect in the brain which leads to increased levels of neurotransmitters, dopamine and melatonin. [And there has been much clinical research into these aspects]. This, in turn, promotes a better regulation and balance of generalised hormone production. Be it for the menstrual cycle, fertility levels, fibroids (and other) or the menopause. It particularly helps re-balance ‘excesses’ of oestrogen by revising progesterone levels through the pituitary gland.
Creating less oestrogen in Men
A plant that can act as an anti-oestrogenic for men is Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens). Often called a ‘reproductive amphoteric’ it will normalise reproductive functionality by helping to prevent the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotesterone is a ‘bad’ form of testosterone, as it lowers proper and important amounts of testosterone.
Your Liver also Desperately needs your Help
Your liver needs to be able to metabolise and clear out excess oestrogen so these don’t re-circulate constantly causing even more problems. So you must enable your liver to work as well as it can to achieve this. The correct foods and herbs will help enable and empower the liver to change excess oestrogens into a water-soluble form and therefore be more ‘excretable’ from the body. Bitter and sour foods like lemon, watercress, turmeric and olives will help and of course liver herbs like milk thistle, artichoke and rosemary. Supporting the liver on a gentle daily basis is advisable and doing twice yearly liver cleanses is a lifestyle MOT ‘must’ which can be stepped-up for critical situations. Our ‘Milk Thistle and Dandelion’ formula is part of our cleanse routine or for more vigorous support. Otherwise, our ‘Lemon and Artichoke’ Concentrate is a good daily support and especially if you wish to avoid the small amount of alcohol present in the ‘Milk Thistle and Dandelion’ tincture. Or if you simply wish to use different plants intermittently. Otherwise, a simple route is to chew a teaspoon of milk thistle seeds on a daily basis (ask for samples). [For liver cleansing see details on our detox and cleanse page with our 1 day, 5 day or the gentler and longer 28-day liver cleanse].
Food specifically rich in Oestrogen Removers
- Any citrus fruits are good but especially lemons. Lemons contain‘d-limonene’ (in the essential oil) which detoxifies oestrogen. (We use lemons within the liver drink in our liver cleanse drink for this reason).
- Consume cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale; mustard, watercress and horseradish (try our ‘Onion and Horseradish Concentrate). Cruciferous or cabbage family plants have naturally occurring chemicals common to their basic genes that are literally lifesavers, e.g. indole-3-carbinols, sulforaphane and other glucosinolates. These chemicals work by helping to switch off and excrete carcinogens, whilst aiding the overall excretion of unwanted oestrogen. (Both John Hopkins in Maryland USA and John Innes, Norfolk in the UK have done extensive research in this area and you can google this if you are interested).
- Sprout (or buy pre-sprouted) your own cruciferous or cabbage family plants. Eating large amounts of cabbage family greens can be a pleasure and important for the fibre that they possess but there is another way of consuming large quantities quite easily. And that is by eating the sprouted version. Each seed sprout contains as many highly prized phytochemicals as an entire plant. At a meal, we could realistically consume 50 sprouts quite easily. They might be radish or cabbage for instance. Sprouting is simple but not many people do this nowadays. I like radish, mustard, broccoli, and cabbage (red and green) and with three tiers on my sprouter, this is easy. But my efforts are sporadic and during busy phases, in my life, I resort to buying the pre-sprouted. But when home sprouting, the peak of the sprouts highly desirable ‘glucosinolate’ levels are after 6 days, 3 days of which are as a ‘sprout’. So harvest and consume around this time frame (according to heat levels and season) but when sufficiently sprouted.
- Algae’s are also helpful for detoxifying xenoestrogens and other toxins out of the body. But you need to choose ‘clean’ algae’. Dr Schulze’s Superfood Plus has algae in it which are thankfully grown in covered tanks (in Hawaii) fed by volcanic water which so far show no sign of containing plastic xenoestrogen particles.
Finally, Keep Calm and Carry on!
It’s very important not to overly worry about all this. Do what you can in ways you are able, stressing your nervous system and adrenals won’t help! For women this is especially important as during the pre-menstrual phase adrenal activity alters and (due to increased oestrogen activity) this can make already weak and jittery adrenal glands much weaker (lower in co corticoid hormones), which in turn produces the well-known sugar and salt cravings, fatigue, depression and more. So go gently on yourselves.
Siberian Ginseng is the best adrenal and nerve replenisher I know and can help reduce these physical and emotional see-saws. Our EnergiRevive Powder can really help, ask for a sample.
Plants, the planet and our plastics, we can make a difference!