There is a STRONG link between exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and vitamin D deficiency

Image: There is a STRONG link between exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and vitamin D deficiency

It seems that the sky’s the limit when it comes to the toxic effects of BPA and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals. BPA and similar chemicals are known for their deleterious effects on the endocrine system,  cardiovascular system, and their ability to cause infertility and more. But recent research has shown that the hazards of BPA and other endocrine disruptors can even cause vitamin D deficiency — which can cause a whole host of other health issues.

Time and time again, big businesses manage to get their toxic chemicals approved by governing officials. And it is only after these toxins have become persistent in our environment, and exposure has become inevitable, that the true, sinister nature of these poisons is revealed.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D is an extremely important nutrient that is responsible for many functions in the body. In addition to promoting bone health, vitamin D is highly regarded for its brain and immune system benefits. Consequently, deficiency in this nutrient is quite the concern. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an array of problems, including deficits in brain function and increased mortality risk. Vitamin D deficiency is something you want to avoid, to say the least.

A study by the Endocrine Society has shown that in addition to all the other ill effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) like BPA, these toxins can cause vitamin D deficiency, too. Published in 2016, the Society’s examination of over 1300 studies on EDCs also found links to infertility, obesity, diabetes, neurological problems and hormone-related cancers, among other ails.

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Lauren Johns, MPH, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the study’s first author, commented on the research.

“Nearly every person on the planet is exposed to BPA and another class of endocrine-disrupting chemicals called phthalates, so the possibility that these chemicals may even slightly reduce vitamin D levels has widespread implications for public health,” she explained.

“Vitamin D plays a broad role in maintaining bone and muscle health. In addition, low vitamin D levels have been implicated in outcomes of numerous conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer,” Johns added.

Based on the team’s findings, people exposed to large amounts of EDCs are more prone to vitamin D deficiency — with women being more strongly affected than then men.

Professor John D. Meeker, MS, ScD, and senior author of the study, stated that more research is needed to understand how EDCs disrupt vitamin D levels. Meeker posited, “[B]ut it is possible that EDCs alter the active form of vitamin D in the body through some of the same mechanisms that they use to impact similar reproductive and thyroid hormones.” However, this is only a theory so far.

Hidden danger: EDCs are everywhere

As Natural Health 365 reports, EDCs like BPA are everywhere. There are over 85,000 manufactured chemicals on the market today, and many thousands of those are EDCs. BPA can be found in everything from water bottles to dental fillings, and is also used in medical devices, eyeglass lenses, sports equipment and and array of electronics. And that’s just one chemical — there are many other hormone-disrupting chemicals out there.

Phthalates, for example, are used in a litany of products, including personal care products, cosmetics, food packaging and more. Phthalates are also known for their ability to disrupt endocrine function and other adverse effects. Some ways you can reduce exposure to these compounds include choosing products that are BPA- and phthalate-free. Selecting glass, ceramic or other natural materials over plastic when possible is another tip.

Why Everyone Should Care About Endocrine Disruptors

You endocrine system is an information superhighway that regulates your bodily functions. It releases hormone “messengers” through your body’s glands to stimulate and regulate everything your body does to keep you alive.

Understanding endocrine disruptors is a first line to balancing your endocrine system and hormone functions.

What are endocrine disruptors?

Endocrine disruptors and man-made chemicals that alter, mimic or block hormone production or the system that carries them. You can call these external stressors, while your internal stressors that affect the system are rooted in negative emotions, fear, trauma and stress.

Where can endocrine disruptors be found?

You might be surprised at how common they are, and that you’re exposed to them every day. They can be found in:

  • common household cleaners
  • yard, garden and farm chemicals
  • personal care products
  • preservatives
  • artificial and “natural” flavors in processed food products
  • parfum, “natural” fragrance, or anything “unscented.”

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council some of the proven endocrine disruptors include dioxin, PCBs, DDT, and other pesticides.

Some of these disruptors are surprisingly abundant in your internal and home environment. Here are some of the most common ones, along with the products that often contain them:

  • Bisphenol: BPA, BPS in plastics and in the lining of canned goods.
  • Triclosan: “antibacterial” products that interfere with thyroid hormones.
  • Phthalates (DBT, DEHP): haircare products, lotions, some plastic food containers, vinyl.
  • Perfluorinated chemicals: Teflon, Gore-Tex, PFOS, PFOA, as well as anything “stain-resistant,” make-up, nail polish and (surprise) dental floss.
  • Parabens: butyl-, methyl-, ethyl-, and propyl-parabens act as synthetic estrogen.
  • Sodium lauryl sulphates (SLS): a foaming agent in personal care and cleaning products.
  • Fluoride: blocks proper absorption of iodine by the thyroid gland as well as affects the pineal, parathyroid and pancreas. It causes dental and skeletal fluorosis.

These are some of the major culprits, and by no means is this a complete list. There are more than 80,000 chemicals and pesticides on the market in the U.S. that have never been tested for safety, and they’re in everything from food packaging to your clothes, your furniture, carpets and cabinetry.

Why should you care?

These chemicals are in the air you breathe and many water supplies in the US. They affect everything in the food chain from plants, fish, birds and the mammals that eat them (that means you).

Even with the EPA in place, there isn’t proper testing done on chemicals to determine toxicity or the effects on the population. The government takes the stance that many of these chemicals are GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) … until proven otherwise.

The general population doesn’t have the resources to prove these chemicals are safe and government feels its a burden that is too much for industry to bear.

What can you do?

Start by getting rid of the plastics in your life and cleaning up your personal care products (including sunscreen) by replacing them with ones that don’t have parabens or SLS. Here are a few other rules of thumb that can help you eliminate some of the worst endocrine disruptors on the market today:

  • Don’t buy anything stain-resistant or Teflon.
  • Buy fresh or frozen instead of canned. There are a few companies that don’t use BPA-lined cans, such as Muir Glen and Eden Foods.
  • If it smells like plastic or vinyl, it’s off-gassing and your body is absorbing that through your skin (your largest organ) and your lungs.
  • Don’t purchase or use anything anti-bacterial which are in most personal care products to protect us from germs and microbes. Watch out it is in toothpaste now as well. Plain old fashioned non-detergent soap is good enough to fight most germs.
  • Use bamboo cutting boards instead of plastic. They are naturally anti-microbial.
  • Use fluoride-free dental products and water that you drink, cook with and bathe in.
  • Start swapping out your cleaning and laundry supplies for soaps instead of detergents.

Don’t try to attack this all at once. As you can afford, start replacing things that you use or that you are in contact with the most.