The endocrine system is where all the hormones are being secreted throughout the entire body. These hormones then travel through the bloodstream to head to their proper locations, whether it is the organs, the brain, the muscles, or the joints, hormones help the body to function normally and that each system is doing its jobs correctly. When there are disruptors or pathogens that can enter the body and affect the hormone levels signal, it can cause a variety of issues and cause the body to develop chronic illness and be dysfunctional. In this 2 part series, we will be taking a look at what are endocrine disruptors and how they affect the body as well as how estrogen is metabolized in the body. Part 2 will be taking a look at estrogen, its two pathways for detoxification, and strategies to detox the body from endocrine disruptors. By referring patients to qualified and skilled providers who specialized in hormone wellness services. To that end, and when appropriate, we advise our patients to refer to our associated medical providers based on their examination. We find that education is the key to asking valuable questions to our providers. Dr. Jimenez DC provides this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
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What Are Endocrine Disruptors?
An endocrine disruptor is an exogenous substance or mixture that can alter functions of the endocrine system and consequently causes adverse health effects in an intact organism, its progeny, or sub-populations. Studies show that endocrine disruptors are made from both natural and man-made chemicals that can either mimic or even interfere with the body’s hormones. In February 2013, UNEP and WHO released the report State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals – 2012 which identifies concerns, including evidence in humans, laboratory animals, and wildlife that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can result in adverse effects and highlighted that an important focus should be on reducing exposure to these chemicals.
Since endocrine disruptors can be found in everyday products like plastic bottles, containers, and other items, they are slower to break down when they are in the environment, and over time they can be extremely hazardous causing potential health problems in individuals. With these chemicals or factors, they can cause changes in DNA methylation which not only result in changes in estrogen receptor reactivity but also produce a higher ratio of the 4 and 16 hydroxylated estrogen derivatives that are more genotoxic to the body.
Endocrine Disruptors & Fertility
When the body has been exposed to endocrine disruptors, it can actually affect the fertility rate for both males and females. When endocrine disruptors affect fertility production, the effects on reproduction correlate with altered DNA methylation patterns in the germline. The ability of an environmental factor like endocrine disruptors can reprogram the germline and promote a transgenerational disease state has significant implications for evolutionary biology and disease etiology. Studies show that when females are exposed to endocrine disruptors it can cause infertility, improper hormone production, and menstrual cycle abnormalities. For males, however, studies show that endocrine disruptors can mimic endogenous hormones in the male body causing a low sperm count and potential transgenerational effects.
Another study has found that the exposure of endocrine disruptors on both male and female fertility during the critical preconception period can affect the reproductive hormones and the embryo characteristics. This means that endocrine disruptors can affect both males’ and females’ fertility rates and can affect the embryos.
Endocrine Disruptors & Insulin Resistance
Since insulin resistance is decreased tissue response to the insulin-mediated cellular action, endocrine disruptors can cause an effect on the insulin levels in the body. Studies have found that when there is early exposure to endocrine disruptors, it can cause many metabolic changes that can alter the glucose metabolism and even increased pancreatic secretion and insulin resistance. Other studies even showed that most endocrine can imitate estrogen and beta cells in insulin-sensitive tissues that can generate pregnancy-like metabolic states that are characterized by insulin resistance and even hyperinsulinemia.
The Metabolism of Estrogen
The female body has two hormones that make sure that everything is working properly. There are estrogen and progesterone and these two hormones not only help the reproductive system but also help control the metabolism, heart rate, and puberty. Studies show that when there are unused estrogen hormones in the body, it is metabolized through the liver. It goes through two phases, phase 1 and phase 2 pathways that allow estrogen to be detoxified and excreted from the body. This will allow the 2-OH and the 4-OH estrogen metabolites to go through a further detoxified process known as methylation. Methylation is a form of alkylation with a methyl group that can regulate gene expression and RNA processing for the body. So the hormone estrogen goes through this process so that way the body can function normally and even make sure that the hormone levels are regulated.
All in all, the body needs a functional system to provide the individual with optimal wellness. When there are disruptors that are affecting the body, it can cause unwanted pathogens to enter the body and cause the hormone signals to be dysfunctional. When this happens, the hormone signals can either underproduce or overproduce, causing chronic illnesses to develop over time and cause the individual pain. By changing a person’s lifestyle, the body can begin to heal and regulate the hormone signal properly.
Admin, MI. “Science Review: Estrogen Metabolism: Metagenics Institute.” Metagenics Institute | Your Trusted Health, Nutrition, and Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Resource, 14 Jan. 2020, www.metagenicsinstitute.com/ce-education/science-sheets/estrogen-metabolism.
Alonso-Magdalena, Paloma, et al. “Endocrine Disruptors in the Etiology of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.” Nature Reviews. Endocrinology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 5 Apr. 2011, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21467970/.
Green, Mark P, et al. “Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: Impacts on Human Fertility and Fecundity during the Peri-Conception Period.” Environmental Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 30 Dec. 2020, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33385395/.
Professionals, NIEHS. “Endocrine Disruptors.” National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 24 Jan. 2022, www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine/index.cfm.
Rattan, Saniya, et al. “Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors during Adulthood: Consequences for Female Fertility.” The Journal of Endocrinology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5479690/.
Rotondo, Eleonora, and Francesco Chiarelli. “Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Insulin Resistance in Children.” Biomedicines, MDPI, 28 May 2020, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7344713/.
Sharma, Aditi, et al. “Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Male Reproductive Health.” Reproductive Medicine and Biology, John Wiley and Sons Inc., 14 Apr. 2020, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7360961/.
The information herein on "Detoxifying Strategies For Endocrine Disruptors | Part 1" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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