Your thyroid and endocrine system are made up of a complex web of organs which interact with each other, causing physiological changes in the rest of your body. These endocrine glands are critical to the healthy function of your body.
For example, the adrenal glands balance your water levels, help regulate your heart rate, and affect your response to stress. The ovaries and testes regulate reproduction and maintain female and male characteristics, respectively. Your thyroid gland sets your metabolism to maintain your energy, body temperature, and weight. Your endocrine glands produce chemicals called hormones, and that’s what lets them do what they do. But these aren’t the type of chemicals you usually hear about. These chemicals support the health of our bodies. Endocrine glands will send out hormones to certain parts of your body to help support normal bodily functions. One of these hormones is called adrenalin. It comes from your adrenal glands, and helps to maintain your blood pressure, blood sugar, heart and breathing rate, and blood flow to your extremities. These functions are very important to how the body responds to stress. If the adrenalin in your body, or any other hormone for that matter, is prevented from working correctly, you could end up with some serious health issues! So what can stop these hormones from working?
The Bad Chemicals
Some human-made chemicals are what we call “endocrine disruptors” because they can block the normal function of your body’s endocrine hormones. This is how chemicals imbalance your thyroid and endocrine system in a few different ways:
- By mimicking the signals of your hormones
- By blocking the signals of your hormones
- By interfering with your glands’ ability to make hormones
So where are these nasty chemicals found?
Endocrine disruptors are found in many industrial solvents and lubricants. These are released in industrial waste, often persisting for a long time in the environment. But industrial waste aside, many of the things we use every day without thinking are full of these endocrine disruptors. Cutting them out can make a big difference in your overall health.
- Plastics, especially water bottles.
- Pesticides, like Monsanto’s Roundup.
- Pharmaceutical medicines.
- Cosmetics and household cleaners.
These products often include harmful endocrine disruptors. The list is too long to mention, but it includes some names you may be familiar with, like BPA and DDT. Industrial processes often use mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and lead as well. They act as endocrine disruptors and can have other toxic effects.
What Can I do?
The good news is that it’s not too difficult to reduce the amount of endocrine disruptors your body comes in contact with. Buy organic foods, avoid using plastic containers with BPA or phthalates, and use personal care and cleaning products with natural ingredients. But most important, read the label! As far as cleaning products go, in Canada companies are not required to list all of the ingredients on the label (crazy isn’t it?). So if a product is not listing its ingredients, don’t use it! Here’s a list of some of the worst endocrine disruptors:
- Glycol ethers
Your endocrine glands are your life. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you. For more info on how important these glands are, check out my previous articles on the thyroid and the adrenal glands.
Until next time, this is Dr. Pat Nardini, putting “Your Wellness First!”