For better or for worse – our hormones control our chemistry. When it comes to estrogen, we usually have a love/hate relationship with her. She causes havoc as she flits about across the month, but when she is missing…………………… we miss her, BIG TIME. We tend to
- Accumulate extra pounds, because we eat more
- Wear a few, more wrinkles
- Lose bone density, putting us at risk of osteoporosis and
- Become more vulnerable to heart disease, as we no longer benefit from “the estrogen effect”.
So despite her moods, having her around is good. The longer the better.
What makes estrogen pack up and leave ?
If you answered – genetics, you’re right. The age when menopause hits, is one of those things, that “runs” in families. But what genes do you need to inherit, to keep the baby making factory running, long term ? Science suggests, your OVARIAN RESERVE is the make or break factor. And ovarian reserve is determined by more than just genetics, everything else matters.
- Your reproductive history,
- your stress levels,
- your insulin levels
You get the picture. …………….. Researchers from Washington University is St Louis, wondered if exposure to “endocrine disrupting chemicals”, might also cause hormonal upsets in the ovary, impacting when menopause arrives.
Looking for the cat in the hen house
To test their idea, the team enlisted the help of 1442 women who had gone through menopause. The average age of the ladies in this study, was 61 – none of them were using estrogen-replacement therapies or had had surgery to remove ovaries. Each women was asked to provide details of when she had experienced her last period, as well, as to provide a urine and blood sample.
The team then analysed these samples – looking for man-made chemicals.
They were particularly looking at chemicals with long half-lives i.e. chemicals that take FOREVER to break down, since these chemicals are a reflection of long term exposure to pollutants. Included in their list of chemicals were :
- Dioxans/furans and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – these are industrial combustion by-products
- Phthalates – these are chemicals found in plastics, household items, pharmaceuticals and personal care products
- Polychlorinated biphenyls – better known as PCBs
- Phenolic derivatives – which include phenols and industrial pollutants
- Pesticides, like DDT
Ultimately the analysis looked at 111 chemicals and correlated these levels, to the age of menopause.
Who is in the hen house
The team found huge variability in the levels of the different chemicals. Not a big surprise. Just like genetics, our “exposomes” (our chemical exposures) are all different. This is a reflection both of where we’ve lived and what we’ve been up to…………….careers, diet and habits all impact our chemical exposures.
Within the variability, patterns emerged. Women with more of these endocrine disrupting chemicals were more likely to experience an earlier menopause – menopause could arrive 3.8 years earlier. That is a lot earlier ! Detailed analysis, suggested specific chemicals were trouble makers. The researchers identified 15 chemicals — nine PCBs, three pesticides, two phthalates and a furan in the menopause “inducers”. Fortunately, many of the especially bothersome chemicals have been banned. But they’re lifers – they’re going to be part of the environment for years to come.
Protecting the hen house ?
Most of these chemicals are ubiquitous – they’re in the soil, water and air we breathe. Avoiding them is pretty near impossible. They’re likely to be more prevalent in BAD neighbourhoods, but even “nice” neighbourhoods don’t escape them. Ouch ! But, it is not destiny…………..
Our behaviours can impact our exposures to many of these chemicals.
By limiting your exposure now, you can improve your body chemistry in the years to come !
You can be metabolically healthy and obese. You cannot be metabolically healthy with a specific profile of POPs. Are POPs the cause of obesity ?
Iron accumulates inside the human body, especially the brain. Iron and oxygen don’t mix……. the combination leads to rusty parts and serious breakdowns.
Lungs respond to air pollution by attacking it as if it was a bacterial invasion, but the inflated immune response becomes a problem for the rest of the body.
Want to create BETTER BODY CHEMISTRY ?
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