As humans, we are exposed to a multitude of toxins each and every day, which surprise, surprise, have an impact our nutrients status, and therefore the wellbeing of our whole being.
Toxins are present in our water, our food, our soil, and our air. They are used as ingredients in our personal care products, our cosmetics, and our cleaning agents. Luckily, there's a lot we can do to reduce our daily exposure to toxins by buying chemical-free and natural cleaning products and cosmetics. And yet, some exposure each day is often unavoidable.
Over time, without proper care, these toxins and their metabolites can affect our ability to absorb, store and use the nutrients we do get from our food. The toxins then accumulate and have detrimental effects on our entire body and also our brain health.
But what about our ancestors?
Traditional peoples lived in a relatively pristine environment. Let’s face it, organic food didn’t exist, because that’s all there was! But even if we could disregard the quality of the food our ancestors had access to, compared to now, we still need to address the packaging our food comes in, the sprays and pesticides we use on our produce and the sprays we use to clean our kitchen and living spaces to clean up after ourselves.
We know environmental toxins block enzyme function and increase the need for antioxidants (found in superfoods like blueberries, liver, leafy greens and cacao) minerals and vitamins needed by the liver for detoxification. The modern world is full of environmental toxin exposure, from PCB’s and Dioxins from plastics to heavy metals mobilised in the soil by acidic fertilisers – they are simply everywhere. You cannot escape them.
What does toxin exposure mean for our health?
Oestrogen is a hormone that both men and women have, although it is more commonly a hormone that is imbalanced in women.
Oestrogen Dominance is a term used to describe a condition where a person can have deficient, normal or excessive oestrogen, but has little or no counterbalancing hormone to mitigate its effect in the body.
Many factors such as stress, our food choices, exposure to toxins and the state of our organ function affect our hormones. The key point to consider with regards to nutrient status is people with Oestrogen Dominance need more nutrients to assist the liver in clearing the dominance and supporting detoxification of the chemicals we are exposed to.
People with toxin overload require more nutrients to support detoxification.
Why is Oestrogen Dominance so common?
The problem is largely environmental. In our environment, we have Oestrogen-mimicking chemicals we are exposed to, and our body is less able to deal with Oestrogen. These mimic-oestrogens are called xenoestrogens.
They’re found in PCBs - man made chemical compounds - such as BPA in plastic water bottles, parabens and phylates in skincare products, makeup and sunscreen.
This is a problem because these xenoestrogens sit on Oestrogen receptor sites in the body and create an excess of Oestrogen in relation to our other hormones.
Normally our bodies would process this extra Oestrogen through our liver. But because of nutrition choices, stress and liver-loaders such as alcohol and caffeine, our liver function is compromised and we can’t clear it.
At the BePure Clinic, common signs of Oestrogen Dominance include.
- Man boobs
- Increased body fat in the upper chest and obliques.
- Longterm associated risk of prostate cancer
- Puberty is happening earlier due to all the xenoestrogens in our environment. Clinically we’ve seen girls as young as 9 starting their periods.
- Heavy periods in girls aged 13/14.
- Use of hormonal birth control to assist with heavy menses. Subsequently, this masks the symptoms of the heavy period and women coming off the pill in their late twenties to start a family are presenting with endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Weight gain, especially around the hips and stomach
- Increased PMS
3 Tips for reducing toxin exposure
Avoid all plastic bottles and containers with food and water. Plastics contain petrochemical molecules such as PCB’s and dioxins. This will drastically reduce your exposure to xenoestrogens.
A note about plastic: It is really difficult to avoid all plastic altogether. School classrooms, new cars and playgrounds all contain plastic. Mail arrives with plastic on it and most shopping bags are plastic as well. It is literally all around us. We aren’t suggesting you need to be perfect. Small changes can reap big results. The biggest factor to change is the containers we use to carry our food and drink before we ingest it. Let’s face it, we don’t eat playgrounds!
Empty glass jars or stainless steel lunch boxes are great options. You can also purchase some reusable bags to take to the supermarket or farmers market.
Here’s a few sources of plastic you might not have thought about. Tinned food – most tins these days are lined with plastic. Non-stick frying pans – teflon is a plastic. Box wine – has a plastic bladder which breaks down from the acidity of wine. Plastic kettles… gets you thinking doesn’t it.
Use natural skincare and makeup. If using sunscreen opt for a paraben free variety. Safecosmetics.org has compiled a handy list of chemicals to look out for when choosing your personal care products. You can find it here.
Eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables – These are vegetables like broccoli sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens, radish, bok choy, brussel sprouts and watercress. These support the liver and are especially rich in di-indolylmethane (DIM), which help mop up excess Oestrogens. Try and eat some of these foods at least once a day.
Eat spray-free produce – Many pesticides and herbicides are oestrogenic. Again meaning they mimic Oestrogen in the body. This is why they are so highly associated with increases in breast cancer – as the breast tissue is highly sensitive to hormone levels. Grow your own where possible.
Reduce or eliminate soy from your diet as they are also oestrogenic. If you still want to consume soy products, choose fermented soy such as miso, tamari sauce or natto.
3. Add nutrients back in
It’s impossible to avoid every environmental toxin in our modern world. We have an inbuilt detoxification system to help us process this; our livers. The problem lies with the level of toxic load and nutrient deficiencies our livers are dealing with. Providing our liver with appropriate nutritional support can help your body process the raft of chemicals and environmental toxins we are exposed to.
Taking a high-quality, high strength bioavailable multivitamin such as BePure One with a range of key nutrients we commonly lack, helps underpin your dietary choices. Because of deficiencies in our soil, even eating a healthy diet can still leave us lacking in vital nutrients. This is why I’ve put specific nutrients into BePure One to help with detoxification from xenoestrogens. Nutrients such as broccoli sprout extract, spirulina, B vitamins and selenium were chosen specifically to help support your liver.