What are Xenoestrogens?
Xeno comes from the Greek word for foreign, and xenoestrogens are environmental compounds such as plastics and certain foods that imitate estrogen in the body. These estrogen-producing substances can suppress gonadotrophins, or sex hormones and potentially have a negative impact on both male and female reproductive health – especially in estrogen-sensitive conditions such as endometriosis or adenomyosis.
Some of the main culprits to avoid are:
• plastic cups and containers that are not BPA free • foods reheated in plastic or styrofoam containers • Shampoos, lotion, soaps, cosmetics, toothpastes that contain paraben or phenoxyethanol
It’s postulated that some phytoestrogens, or plant-based estrogens may be an age old mechanism of plants producing estrogen to fend off their herbivore predators by rendering them infertile. The following foods have naturally occurring estrogen and should be minimized while pursuing fertility treatment:
Lavender • Sage and rosemary • Red Clover • Alfalfa Sprouts • Tea tree oil (melaleuca) • Sunflower seeds and Sunflower oil • Pomegranate – The Greeks used this plant as a contraceptive • Dates • Fennel • Licorice • Oregano
You certainly don’t have to live in a bubble (especially a plastic bubble made from BPAs) to get pregnant, but being mindful of how much exposure you have to xenoestrogens may help to optimize your fertility pursuits.
Hughes CL (June 1988). "Phytochemical mimicry of reproductive hormones and modulation of herbivore fertility by phytoestrogens". Environ. Health Perspect. 78: 171–4.
Alleva E, Brock J, Brouwer A, Colborn T, Fossi MC, Gray E, Guillette L, Hauser P, Leatherland J, MacLusky N, Mutti A, Palanza P, Parmigiani S, Porterfield, Santi R, Stein SA, vom Saal F (1998). "Statement from the work session on environmental endocrine-disrupting chemicals: neural, endocrine, and behavioral effects". Toxicol Ind Health 14 (1–2): 1–8.
Brock J, Colborn T, Cooper R, Craine DA, Dodson SFM, Garry VF, Gilbertson M, Gray E, Hodgson E, Kelce W, Klotz D, Maciorowski AF, Olea N, Porter W, Rolland R, Scott GI, Smolen M, Snedaker SC, Sonnenschein C, Vyas NB, Welshons WV, Whitcomb CE (1999). "Statement from the Work Session on Health Effects of Contemporary-Use Pesticides: the Wildlife / Human Connection". Toxicol Ind Health 15 (1–2): 1–5.
Massart F, Parrino R, Seppia P, Federico G, Saggese G (June 2006). "How do environmental estrogen disruptors induce precocious puberty?". Minerva Pediatr. 58 (3): 247–54.
Charlier C. Effects of environmental pollutants on hormone disturbances. Bull Mem Acad R Med Belg. 2006;161(1-2):116-24; discussion 124-6.
contributed by Caylie See, L.Ac., FABORM