Man boobs, bingo wings and cancer
According to functional medicine expert Dr. Bob Rakowski, living on earth is a risk for toxic oestrogen exposure. As humans, we are swimming in a sea of chemical estrogens.
The ill effects of oestrogen on the body don’t just come from the environment. The ineffective way we metabolise oestrogen is directly linked to prostate and cancer risk. It also produces poor body composition causing man boobs, bingo wings and inhibits weight loss. Read on.
What is oestrogen
Oestrogen is a hormone that is produced primarily in the ovaries in women and in the testes in men. For men, it plays an important role in sperm production and bone maintenance. Oestrogen is also produced by other tissues in both men and women, including fat and the brain. The amount of oestrogen needed by humans to support these functions is very small, and people tend to have excess oestrogen in their systems for two reasons.
First, an enzyme called aromatase that is found in tissues throughout the body will turn testosterone into oestrogen. Aromatase is found in body fat meaning that people with more fat will produce more aromatase and therefore have higher oestrogen levels and lower testosterone.
Secondly, humans have excess oestrogen because of the huge amounts of chemical oestrogens we are exposed to in our daily lives. Let’s take a look where all this is coming from…
Limit chemical oestrogen or xenoestrogen exposure
Avoid all meat that is non-organic including chicken, turkey, lamb, red meat and pork. These foods contain oestrogen hormones in non-organic feed fed to the animals, and these hormones deposit themselves in every area of the animal’s body. You are at the end of the food chain and shall digest this as well.
All dairy products that are not organic contain oestrogen and prolactin hormones. An excess of prolactin, a lactating hormone that can shut off your thyroid, is a sign of bad health. You can suffer a drastic fall in testosterone, causing a serious imbalance.
Avoid ingesting oestrogenic pesticides and growth hormones. These should be swapped for organic fruits and veggies. The non-organic varieties often have petroleum-based pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers in them.
Bisphenol A – BPA
We are primarily exposed to BPA through our ingestion of contaminated food and water. It can leach from the food containers and cans, especially when they’re cleaned with harsh detergents or are heated to high temperatures. Older water pipes are coated with BPA and we regularly handle many types of products that contain it as well, such as electrical equipment, sports equipment, paints and adhesives. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that mimics the effects of oestrogen in the body. In humans, BPA has been positively associated with an increased risk of ovarian dysfunction and obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and prostate cancer, as well as an alteration of gender differentiation in the brain.
How to avoid BPA
- Use glass containers to store anything that you will be eating or drinking.
- Don’t microwave food in plastic containers and don’t use a microwave to start with. Period. If you’re going to store your food in plastic containers, don’t cook your food in them. Heating it up causes the chemical to leach into the food.
- If you don’t need a receipt, leave it. In fact, ask the cashier to not even print it. Almost half of the paper receipts contain BPA and there’s evidence that cashiers have very high BPA levels. Say “no thanks” to receipts.
- Avoid bottled water. Instead of a plastic bottled water choose filtered tap water in a glass bottle.
- Avoid plastic utensils. Use metal instead.
- Use a French press or ceramic drip to make coffee instead of a plastic coffee maker. These can leach quite a lot of bisphenols into your beverages.
- Eat fewer canned foods. Opt for fresh or frozen foods or those that are packaged in glass or cardboard containers.
- Food packed in plastic. Avoid edible products that are either packed in plastic or smell like plastic. You can buy the best organic produce in the world, but if it’s wrapped in plastic it is detrimental. Anything that has a vinegar or acid environments like lime juice or vinaigrette salad dressing makes it even worse.
Watch your water!
Tap water is often loaded with oestrogens thanks to people who flush medications down the drain or toilet. As I said, stay away from bottled water. Buy a water filter such as a Brita, and carry bottles that are BPA free and filter water such as Bobble.
Plastic shopping bags
Use cloth or paper bags over plastic when you can.
Non-organic cleaning and personal care products
Chemical cleaners contain toxins and oestrogen-mimicking compounds. Use natural personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion. These are the same as cleaning products – don’t trust it just because it says “natural” on the label. Look for DBP, DEP, DEHP, BzBP, and DMP in the ingredients; all of these are chemical oestrogens.
Reduce natural oestrogen production
Processed soy foods are extremely oestrogenic, especially if they are fractionated or processed. Look out for soy milk and food containing soy isolates or soy isoflavones. Generally speaking, anything that is not fermented needs to be avoided because it will have a high phytate content. Phytates bind to essential minerals and prevent them from being absorbed by your body. Fermented soy, such as Edamame beans, can be okay because fermentation reduces the phytate content.
Sugar and Yeast
Sugar and yeast both signal the body to shift into a defense mode. Too much of either substance can cause insulin resistance along with an imbalance of oestrogen and progesterone. Unfortunately, people who are oestrogenic often have big cravings for sweets and are attracted to oestrogenic comfort foods.
Alcohol promotes oestrogen in a way that is more complicated and devastating. It both increases oestrogen levels, decreases testosterone levels and shuts off your body’s defences, causing your body to suffer an imbalance. The body’s ability to regulate itself suffers as a result. Even moderate alcohol consumption (other than Sardinian, Spanish and certain French wines) has been shown to increase the risk of prostate and breast cancer.
The more fat you have, the more oestrogen you’ll have because fat tissue increases levels of the aromatase enzyme that turns testosterone to oestrogen. Decreasing body fat and building lean mass are key to cancer prevention and oestrogen detox.