Updated: Aug 22
We've spoken a lot about hormones, but not how toxins affect these.
Testosterone levels have been dropping for decades, while estrogen levels have risen sharply. And thyroid is a huge problem.
Hormonal imbalances are no longer just being deficient in one or another hormone.
There are exact chemicals in the environment, in our food, air, and water, which didn’t exist before, chemicals that block hormones from being created, block them from being able to communicate their instructions to a cell, disrupt their normal actions, or impersonate them entirely.
And while this affects muscle-building significantly, its effect goes far beyond this.
In this article we cover what's happening and what you can do about it.
HOW HORMONES OPERATE IN OUR BODIES
We know that hormones are messenger chemicals. They pass on instructions.
They do this through tiny points on each cell called hormone receptors.
These receptors are kind of like chemical keyholes, with the hormone being the key. And the key and keyhole are very exact.
When a hormone comes along, the hormone receptor reads its chemical signature, recognizes what the hormone is, and allows it to deliver its message.
If you work out, growth hormone and testosterone are released to instruct the cells to take in amino acids and start replicating to build new muscle fibers.
To make energy or burn fat, thyroid is released to regulate this process.
After ovulation, progesterone is released to ready the system for pregnancy.
Easy-peasy… If we have nothing coming in and causing trouble.
The problem is, we do have things interrupting this process. And every year, the amount and type of them coming into our bodies increase.
These are added hormones in our meats, pesticides and herbicides that come in through food and water, plastics from bottled water and even our clothes (absorbed through our skin), toxins in the air, in our personal care products or in the materials of our house.
HORMONE-DISRUPTING CHEMICALS AND WHAT THEY DO
While not all of these chemicals cause hormonal trouble, a significant number do.
Your hormones are part of what’s called the Endocrine System.
And these hormone disruptors are often referred to as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, or EDCs, as in they disrupt, in one way or another, the natural functioning of the hormones within your body.
These chemicals can do many things.
They can mimic specific hormones, tricking our body into thinking that they’re real hormones.
Or, while some aren’t close enough to real hormones to trick hormone receptors, they can be close enough to “fit” in the “keyhole” and get stuck there, blocking a real hormone from communicating with the cell.
Others can increase or decrease the levels of hormones in our blood by affecting how they’re made, broken down, or stored in our bodies.
They can even change how sensitive our bodies are to different hormones, so if we’re given a hormone to take when very deficient, it doesn’t have the effect that it should.
When we look around us today, we can see this.
Endometriosis, a condition where cells inside of the uterus grow outside of it, has been rising for years; testosterone levels are the lowest they've been and fertility clinics are in every city; puberty is occurring earlier and earlier for young women and men.
But this also causes trouble with our energy levels, through thyroid disruption, and our ability to build muscle or lose body fat.
And it can slow or prevent our ability to recover from workouts, or heal from injuries and illness.
TYPES OF HORMONE-DISRUPTERS AND WHERE THEY COME FROM
Soy, marijuana and BPAs (chemicals from plastics like water bottles) are great estrogen imposters.
They can make a cell think it’s received an estrogen-like message and take the action it would take in that case — which will always include building fat and raising insulin levels for men and women.
So we see men who use a lot of soy protein when working out, or drinking only from plastic water bottles, begin to grow breast tissue.
This is an estrogen activity, but it also lowers testosterone levels.
Or, we see women becoming estrogen dominant despite an overall healthy diet, low in sugars. This is from these chemicals.
Soy is in most processed foods these days, and our children are growing up on it as a food source at the same time as these hormones are directing their physical development.
We also have PFAS (so-called “forever chemicals” because they stay in our body and build up) and glyphosate, a weed killer used on GMO crops.
Each of these wreak havoc on our hormones, disrupting a hormone's ability to pass on a message, and even the ability of the body to produce the hormone in the first place.
But there are many more, and new ones are coming every year.
As of just 2009, there were over 60,000 chemicals used in the US, most of which get into our water supply, and… only 91 of them were regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Now, I’m not saying that all 60,000 of them will harm your body.
I wouldn’t know, because over 90% of them have never been tested to find out what their effect is on our body.
But I know we didn’t have any of them just 60 or 70 years ago. And we didn’t have a fraction of the trouble we have hormonally now, either.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST HORMONE DISRUPTERS
One of the very first things to do is stop eating processed foods.
Many of the ingredients in these foods are hormone disrupters, along with the plastic wrappers they come in.
Some of these foods even require us to heat them in the microwave with the plastic wrapping still on them. This is the best way to leach these chemicals from the plastic into the food itself.
Don’t drink from cheap plastic water bottles. Look for BPA-free plastic water bottles.
Get a reverse-osmosis water filter for your kitchen and only drink from that.
These are the best water filters when it comes to removing these chemicals from our water, something that no city filtration system comes close to doing.
Do your best to eat only organic foods and meats that are 100% grass-fed, or, if not organic, then at least keep away from the Dirty Dozen and look into the Clean 15, fruits and vegetables where chemicals are very minimal.
Look for organic or EWG-approved personal care products that don’t contain harmful hormone-disrupting toxins.
Beyond this, study up on the subject as you can. It may seem overwhelming at first, but there are a surprising number of affordable options to live a chemical-free life.
DETOXING & REPAIRING OUR DETOX PATHWAYS
Lastly, we need to both fix the damage done, and repair our body’s ability to remove toxins.
Metal-Free truly is one of the very best detox products there are, both in effectiveness and gentleness. It even operates as one of the most powerful antioxidants to reverse damage done to cells by these toxins.
PerfectAmino allows our cells to regenerate and heal our detox organs.
Probiotic helps build up beneficial bacteria that work to break down these harmful chemicals.
And Multi Complete supports the entire detox pathway and cellular systems.
I highly recommend taking these if you aren’t already. They can be quite effective.