There’s far more to your hormone imbalance than too much soy.
Products that you’re using every day contain hidden toxins that cause hormone imbalance.
In my previous post, I discussed the best diet for estrogen dominance. If you haven’t already, be sure to check it out. In it, I describe the most common food sources of estrogen. And how to avoid them.
In this post, I’ll dive into the hidden causes of hormone imbalance. I won’t discuss food or diet – even though food is a cause of hormone imbalance – since everything you need to know about foods and hormone balance/imbalance is found in my previous post.
A word to the wise before starting this post:
If you notice any ingredients that contain the word -phen- or -benz- be wary. In all likelihood, this substance has a high probability of causing hormone imbalances.
Hidden cause of your hormone imbalance #1 – Lavender oil
That’s right, lavender. I’m looking at you, essential oil distributors. The scent so commonly associated with relaxation may actually be a hidden cause of your hormone imbalance.
Two studies have shown that young men chronically exposed to lavender oils early in life actually led to the development of gynecomastia. (1, 2) FYI gynecomastia is man-boobs. This occurs when men have far higher levels of estrogens than testosterone circulating in their bodies.
Lavender oil is one contributor to high levels of estrogen and thus hormone imbalance. Especially when it is inhaled through a diffuser – which is commonly the case in North American households.
Your skin typically acts as a barrier to estrogen absorption. But when you inhale diffused essential oils like lavender, the estrogenic compounds go straight to your lungs and into your bloodstream. Diffused lavender essential oil could be a hidden cause of your hormone imbalance.
Avoid diffusing lavender essential oils. I’d also strongly encourage you to avoid cosmetics and household products containing lavender. Items like dish or laundry soap, skin creams, and soaps are commonly scented with lavender. Avoid!
Hidden cause of your hormone imbalance #2 – Marijuana
In many parts of North America, marijuana use has been growing in popularity. Spurred on by the recent legalization of marijuana in Canada and many states, cannabis has become far easier to obtain. In many locations today, purchasing cannabis is as easy as purchasing beer.
Like soy, the cannabis plant contains phytoestrogens. But you don’t smoke soy. And it’s the smoking of marijuana that really amps up the hormone imbalance effects. (3)
Just like diffusing essential oils, smoking marijuana allows the phytoestrogen direct access to your bloodstream via the lungs. There’s very little filtering going on here. Which results in higher levels of estrogens in circulation. Not good!
If you’re dealing with a hormone imbalance like estrogen dominance, backing off on marijuana consumption is most certainly good practice!
If you need cannabis for a health-related concern, opt for edibles. Getting your digestive tract involved will help to lower the estrogenic effects.
Hidden cause of your hormone imbalance #3 – Herbicides
You’re familiar with glyphosate (Roundup), right?
This herbicide is no stranger to headlines. Most recently, glyphosate was found to be a causal agent in the development of cancer. (4) I’m not here to perpetuate the glyphosate is bad belief. I think that’s been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
While glyphosate has been hogging all the popular press, another, dangerous herbicide has continued to fly under the radar. The herbicide in question is known as Atrazine. Next to glyphosate, Atrazine is the most popular herbicide used in the United States.
Yet Atrazine has been banned in Europe since 2004. (5)
Because Atrazine interacts with your hormone system. (6) And not in a nice way. Atrazine is highly estrogenic. Meaning it artificially increases your estrogen levels – a surefire way to cause hormone imbalance.
In fact, Atrazine is so potent that it can chemically castrate frogs. Even in small doses. Just imagine what that stuff will do to your hormones!
If you live in a nation that allows Atrazine, it’s time to go organic. Look for the clean fifteen and dirty dozen foods released each year. This list clearly illustrates which foods contain the highest levels of herbicides and pesticides.
If you’re dealing with a hormone imbalance, I’d encourage you to opt for organic varieties for all of your foods.
Hidden cause of your hormone imbalance #4 – Soap
Earlier, I said that your skin helps to act as a barrier to hormone-mimicking substances in the environment. That still holds true. It’s far worse if these hormone disruptors enter your bloodstream directly, like when you diffuse lavender oil or smoke weed.
But when you cover your skin with potent hormone disruptors every day, you’re going to experience a hormone imbalance. It’s inevitable.
That wonderful sudsy feeling from your soap is caused by an alkylphenol (APE). You’ve probably never heard of APEs. That’s because manufacturers are not required to list APEs on their ingredient lists.
There are many many different types of APEs. Different soap manufacturers use different types of APEs. But all APEs are similar in their chemical structure and it’s this structure that becomes very problematic to your hormone system.
APEs have strongly estrogenic properties. (7) Meaning that regular use is most certainly going to contribute to a hormone imbalance. In fact, these substances are so estrogenic that they’ve recently been banned in both China and the European Union.
For those readers looking to get pregnant, you’ll want to be especially wary of APEs. APEs transfer from mom to baby while in-utero above tolerable daily limits. (8) Perhaps even more alarming, APE exposure may result in implantation failure, pregnancy loss, or other complications. (9)
The solution here is to opt for organic, non-sudsing soaps. Or, you can always import your soap from Europe!
Hidden cause of your hormone imbalance #5 – Sunscreen
As I’m writing this blog, I pull out my two most recent sunscreen purchases. The medical ingredients include two chemicals I know are estrogenic:
Gah! Even sunscreen is affecting my hormonal health!
You should check your sunscreen. I’ll bet it contains at least one or two medical ingredients containing the words benz or phen.
In one study of oxybenzone, small amounts of this estrogenic compound were able to significantly reduce the number of fertilized eggs that hatched in rainbow trout. (10)
Now, I know, we’re not fish. But when it comes to hormone alterations, fish are often the canaries in the coal mine. If a substance affects the fish’s endocrine (hormone) system, there’s a really high likelihood that it’s going to affect yours.
Make sure your next sunscreen purchase is organic or mineral. Check the ingredients list closely. If you see any words with benz or phen in them, put that sunscreen back on the shelf.
Hidden cause of your hormone imbalance #6 – Food coloring
I feel like a broken record every time I repeat the adage that if you want to feel better, you need to eat real food. Regardless of which diet camp you belong to, all of them will agree on one thing – eat real food. If your food doesn’t rot, don’t eat it.
If you do this one thing, you’re 80% of the way there. For most of you, this is enough change to start experiencing positive health benefits.
And this leads me to artificial food colorings… AKA Red Number 3 and Red Number 40. You don’t see artificial dyes in real food (except for farmed salmon). Perhaps more apt, nature does not add artificial dyes. Humans do.
All those vibrant red colors you see in candy, that’s artificial food coloring at work. They work on an evolutionary weakness. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolutionary pressures have refined your eye’s ability to pick out bright colors.
In nature, bright colors are either a deadly warning or a sure sign of ripe fruit just waiting to be devoured! Either way, your genes know to pay close attention to bright colors. Marketers know this. Which is why candy is all colors of the rainbow. No one wants to eat beige candy.
As you probably know, when humans meddle with the food supply, things tend to go awry. Corporations care about profits. Not the health of their consumers.
The corps making red dyes are ridiculously profitable! One study showed that 40% of all products in a US grocery store contained red dyes. (11) Produce was the only area of the grocery store that didn’t contain any artificial dyes!
96% of candy contained artificial dyes.
94% of fruit-flavored snacks contained artificial dyes.
And 90% of drink mixes and powders contain artificial dyes. (12)
Now, this would be fine if artificial colorings were benign. But they’re not. Much like everything else I’ve mentioned so far, artificial food colorings disrupt your hormones. And not in a good way.
In fact, Red Number 3 is so dangerous that it’s been linked to breast cancer! (13)
Why is it linked to breast cancer?
Because red dyes affect your hormones. They’re estrogenic. Meaning they artificially increase your estrogen levels.
If you want to eat processed foods, look for ones that usebeet juice or spirulina for colour. These are natural ways to change the color of foods that won’t cause hormone imbalances.
Hidden cause of your hormone imbalance #7 – The Birth Control Pill
I’m sure it isn’t a surprise to find the birth control pill on my list. A lot of these pills contain a substance known as EE2. Obviously, EE2 is estrogenic – it was made to mimic the estrogen hormone.
In 2009, 63% of married women were taking oral contraceptives. (14) Worldwide, more than 100 million women are using these drugs.
EE2 is excreted through urine and feces. (15) As more and more women are taking birth control pills, the amount of estrogen in the water supply increases. Unlike bacteria, estrogens pass right through a water-treatment facility’s filters and into rivers, lakes, and your drinking water. (16)
As I mentioned earlier, in the context of hormones, fish are the canaries in the coal mine. If hormones are affecting a fish population, you can be certain that there will be upstream effects on humans.
No surprise that EE2 affects fish populations. It affects sexual development and the reproductive capacities of fish. (17) At the time of this writing, we don’t know how estrogens in drinking water affect the reproductive capacity of humans. But I can’t imagine it’s anything positive.
If you’ve been debating the purchase of a water filter, I hope this last section is enough to convince you to pull the trigger on that purchase!
Best practices to improve your hormone imbalance
The environment you live in is not fit for balanced hormones. There are far too many products you’re exposed to every day that mimic estrogen. if you want to balance your hormones, you need to take action against synthetic estrogens!
Below I offer a list of introductory steps you can take towards hormone balance tomorrow:
- Stop diffusing lavender oil.
- Any other essential oil will do.
- If you enjoy the consumption of cannabis, do it in moderation.
- Consider using edibles instead of vaporizers or smoking.
- Familiarize yourself with the dirty dozen and clean fifteen foods.
- Always purchase organic versions of the dirty dozen.
- Opt for natural versions of soaps and sunscreens.
- Eat food that rots.
- Avoid all the artificial dyes you can!
- Purchase a water filter to limit your exposure to estrogens in your drinking water.
Ok, there you have it, everything you need to know about hidden causes of hormone imbalance!
Now, I want to hear from you!
What substances in your environment have you found to alter your hormones?
Leave your replies in the comments section below!