What I sometimes see is elevated levels of DHEA and other hormones in women that are not on supplements. Where are these hormones coming from? I often check thyroid and adrenal hormones for symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, and mood changes. Estrogen and Progesterone levels are also evaluated for insomnia, hot flushes and peri-menopausal symptoms.
There are several body products that have hidden endocrine disruptors which raise hormone levels in women (and men). Endocrine disrupting chemicals are substances in our environment (heated plastics, pesticides, etc), water, food, and personal care products that interfere withe the production, transport, metabolism, binding and elimination of hormones. These chemicals ultimately effect the balance of the body and can cause symptoms as I mentioned above, in addition to obesity, diabetes and certain cancers.
So when I see elevated hormones I recommend a detox program which consists of healthy exercise, lots of water (half your body weight in ounces), and healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids and flax seeds). I encourage dark leafy vegetables and colorful fruits with lean proteins. Avoid sugars, alcohol and processed foods. I will add a liver detox supplement to help clear liver pathways to flush out toxins. Healthy bowel movements are also important for detoxing.
Then we start investigating….
What body products, cosmetics, shampoos and other topical products are you using? Here is a common list of what to avoid that could be raising your hormone levels and risk for hormone imbalance and other chronic health illnesses.
- Parabens (propyl-, Isopropyl-, Butyl-, and Isobutyl)- are used as preservatives in many products. Parabens were detected in breast tumors in a published study in the Journal of Applied Toxicology in 2004. The estrogenic activity in the body while using these products are very low but it is worth making sure you are not using several products on a daily basis that may accumulate.
- Placental Extracts- contain estrogen, estrone and progesterone as contaminants. They are found in shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, astringents and skin creams. Some common ingredients that may be derived from human or animal placenta’s are hyaluronic acid, collagen-elastin complex and glucosaminoglycans. I recommend getting hyaluronic acid naturally in foods since it’s a carbohydrate found naturally in our bodies tissues and helps support skin cell renewal, skin elasticity and collagen production (which is why many synthetic anti-aging creams have this in it). Foods highest in hyaluronic acid are root vegetables (sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips and carrots), bone broth, organ meats (pork, poultry, beef, lamb and especially liver), and soy products.
- Benzophenones- are UVA sun filters. These chemicals are mainly in sunscreens. The majority of studies have tested positive as a weak environmental estrogen. These chemicals accumulate in fatty tissue and are also linked to allergies.
- Fragrance- has hormone disrupting effects. It is also connected to headaches, dizziness, asthma and allergies.
- Petrochemicals- such as mineral oil is used as an emollient and lubricant because it’s cheap and easily accessible. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it has been classified as a carcinogen and can be contaminated with xenoestrogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). These chemicals are known to activate estrogen receptors and may cause proliferation of certain breast cancer cells.
- Lead- is a known carcinogen and hormone disruptor. It is found in certain eyeliners, hair dye and lipsticks. See your practitioner and get tested to see if you have hidden hormone imbalances that may be causing symptoms or leading to chronic illness.