Let’s face it, menopause is no laughing matter. I know firsthand how hot flashes feel like. Difficulty concentrating, feeling like I want to crawl out of my skin, dressing in layers and waking up drenched in sweat at night and the like are all part of symptoms of menopause.
Often, physicians and gynecologists prescribe estrogen replacement as part of measures to manage the condition. However, women need to be empowered with the information you will soon discover in this piece in order to protect their health.
Importance of detoxifying estrogen
Estrogen, like other hormones, needs to be detoxified. The gene CYP1B1 enzyme is involved in phase I detoxification, called “hydroxylation.” The CYP1B1 enzyme is high in endometrial, breast and lung tissue. As studies have shown, gene mutations of CYP1B1 can lead to the toxicity of estrogen (1) and it can increase the risk of breast cancer as well as endometrial cancer.(2)
What is important are the different metabolites of estrogen. The 4OHE1 estrogen metabolite can lead directly to DNA damage and incorrect DNA replication. On the other hand, the metabolite 2OH E1 does not lead to DNA damage.
Moreover, it is not enough to find out if other family members are suffering from or have had breast cancer. However, it is very important to know if a woman has:
CYP1B1 gene variants
Other gene variants
How much of the different metabolites of estrogens are being produced
You need to see gene mutations as a genetic weakness which has increased risk factors and could lead to serious health conditions. Perhaps, too, you have heard about epigenetic, which is the influence of gene expression through environmental influence and lifestyle. We can change how genes are being expressed by what we eat and the way we live.
Nowadays it is easy to order your own gene test. Gene mutations can be tested through 23andme and the metabolites through a comprehensive urine hormone test.
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References:Association of CYP1B1 gene polymorphisms and the positive expression of estrogen alpha and estrogen beta with endometrial cancer risk. Zhu ZY1, Mu YQ, Fu XM, Li SM, Zhao FX. (1)Estrogen metabolism and risk of breast cancer: a prospective study of the 2:16alpha-hydroxyestrone ratio in premenopausal and postmenopausal women.Muti Pl, Bradlow HL, Micheli A, Krogh V, Freudenheim JL, Schünemann HJ, Stanulla M, Yang J, Sepkovic DW, Trevisan M, Berrino F. (2)
Toxins are present in the environment, drinking water, food, food containers and maybe cleaning products. Toxins can also be found in chemical ingredients that are used in personal care products. Care products we use every day such as shampoo, conditioner, hair styling products, body lotion, make up, foundation, facial creams, perfumes, and shaving cream have toxin in them. These chemicals can have impact on your body because your skin easily absorbs whatever you rub onto it – body lotion or magnesium gel.
There are certain chemicals which are often used in personal care products that could affect your health. These personal care products that contain some dangerous chemicals need be avoided. Let us look at some of these chemicals that could be hazardous to your health.
There are certain chemicals that made up Parabens and these include Methylparaben and Propylparaben. These two chemicals are found in hair products, shaving cream, body lotion and cosmetics as antimicrobial preservatives. They act as endocrine disruptor and they interfere with estrogen activity and bind to alpha and beta estrogen receptor in female. Besides, these two chemicals increase the risk of breast cancer. They cause breast cancer because parabens mainly accumulate in breast tissue.
Phthalate has Ethylparaben, 4-Hydroxybenzoic acid and many other chemicals that could be dangerous. Phthalates are used in plastic bottles because they soften the material. Every personal care product that is sold in soft containers is being contaminated with phthalates. Phthalates are also found in frequencies, paint pigments and flooring as well as in plastic milk containers.
Phthalates are also endocrine disruptor with estrogenic activity. Women who suffer from endometriosis often times have elevated levels of phthalates as well as children on the autism spectrum. Phthalates are linked to birth defects, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
These chemicals that made up Phthalate can decrease male fertility by lowering sperm count and testosterone. However, it is important to remember that the law in the USA does not require full disclosure of fragrance mixtures. Therefore, it is hard to know if the products you are purchasing contain phthalates or not. Phthalates are fat-soluble. Foods such as butter, milk and cheeses stored in plastic container have higher amounts of Phthalates than foods that do not contain fats.
Bisphenol-A, also called BPA, is found in food containers especially food cans with epoxy lining. It can also be found even on some sales receipts. BPA is present in plastic containers with the #7 recycling code as well as in water bottles and sometimes in water supply pipes.
BPA exposure can occur through store receipts and personal care products. It often bypasses liver metabolism and thereafter enters the bloodstream directly. BPA is an endocrine disruptor with estrogenic activity. Foods such as butter, milk and cheeses stored in plastic container have higher amounts of BPA than foods that do not contain fats.
When BPA get into foods, it can cause a higher than normal risk for type II diabetes, interfere with infertility, increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, prostate and testicular cancer.
Perfluorinated Compounds PFC’s
These are teflon chemicals which repel oil and water and are basically indestructible. They are found in food packaging such as fast food wrappers, and of course in cookware coated with PFC’s. Furniture, carpets and clothing can be treated with PFC’s to become stain-resistance.
Effects of PFC’s on animal
PFC’s are hormone disruptors. Several studies conducted on animal revealed abnormal thyroid and testosterone levels after exposure to certain PFC’s. Other animal studies found that PFC’s can cause certain types of cancer such as kidney and testicular cancers.
According to pubmed, “Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the hormone system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immunological effects in mammals.” Further studies found that even substances that were banned a long time ago can be detected in the body of almost every tested animal and human. This can be explained by the fact that endocrine disruptors are highly lipid soluble which leads to their bio accumulation in adipose tissue. Estrogen disruptor acts on estrogen receptor sites in the cell nucleus as well as changing the expression of genes by binding to DNA.
Why chemicals are difficult to remove from the body
The liver is the number one detoxification organ in humans’ body. It works in two phases to get rid of waste products to keep us healthy. Phase I is the Hydroxylation phase where molecules such as hormones, neurotransmitter, drugs and toxins become activated. The enzyme CYP450 converts such molecules and those can act as carcinogens and free radicals.
In Phase II detoxification the liver inactivates and detoxifies the substances from Phase I. The waste products are sent via the bile into the intestines and can get re-absorbed into the liver. This is the stage it gets difficult to remove chemicals from the body.
Problems with the detoxification process can occur when we lack phytonutrients because we eat a poor diet. Fried foods, processed foods are especially harmful to the body. What we need are fresh vegetables and fruits, grass fed beef and free roaming chicken for proteins, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Another reason why chemicals are difficult to get rid of has to do with gene variations that we are born with, which down or up regulate enzymatic activities. These enzymes metabolize estrogens.
Metabolism of estrogens is a complex process and can be monitored with a combination of gene test and a urine hormone test which also measures the metabolites of estrogen and other hormones.
What can you do to reduce your exposure to toxins?
Buy cotton clothing and wash them before wearing.
Get natural flooring such as wool carpet.
Purchase organic foods and wash them in a solution of vinegar and water before eating.
If you are looking to get more information on how to reduce toxins generally, login to www.ewg.orgThe Environmental Working Group’s
Charles, Ak, Darbre, Pd. Combinations of parabens at concentrations measured in human breast tissue can increase proliferation of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. J Appl Toxicol. 2013; 33(5); 390-8
Dodge LE, Williams PL, Williams, Missmer SA, Souter I, Calafat AM, Hauser R, Associations, between paternal urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations and reproductive outcomes among couples seeking fertility treatment. Reprod Toxicol. 2015; Oct 6
Lin J, Chen W, Zhu H, Wang C. Determination of free and total phthalates in commercial whole milk products in different packaging materials by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. J Dairy Sci. 2015; Oct 7
Naraanan KB, Ali M, Barclay BJ, et al. Disruptive environmental chemicals and cellular mechanisms that confer resistance to cell death. Carinogenesis. 2015; 36; S89-110
Urinary Paraben Concentrations and Ovarian Aging among Women from a Fertility Center / Kristen W. Smith Irene Souter, Irene Dimitriadis, Shelley Ehrlich, Paige L. Wiliams, Antonia M. Calafat and Russ Hauser