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Weight Loss and Endocrine Disruptors

Weight Loss and Endocrine Disruptors

by Laura J Hieb, ND on September 21, 2022

What are endocrine disruptors and what do they have to do with weight loss?

Endocrine is another word for hormone, so endocrine disruptors are hormone disruptors.

And, as we have seen, hormones have A LOT to do with metabolism. Especially our thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones and reproductive hormones.

So what are endocrine/hormone disruptors?

They are chemicals in our foods, body care products, cosmetics, perfumes, air fresheners,  cash register receipts, toys, flame retardants, pesticides, (laundry) detergents and other cleaners, food in cans, and plastics: water bottles, food packaging and storage containers.

Endocrine disruptors enter our bodies through what we eat and drink, what we breathe and what we put on our skin--sounds a little like last week's blog!

Endocrine disruptors interfere with our body's ability to manage our hormones. Some of them decrease or increase normal hormone levels.  Others mimic the body's natural hormones. Others alter the natural production of hormones.

Xenoestrogens (that is, synthetic estrogen-like substances that come from outside the body) can bind to estrogen receptor sites in the body and exert estrogenic effects. This can affect the unborn (female fetuses contain all the eggs they will have as women), as well as children going through puberty, which can have long-reaching effects for their health throughout their lifetimes.

Parabens are commonly found in perfumes and cosmetics as synthetic preservatives. They are endocrine disruptors and xenoestrogens. They disrupt the endocrine system by interfering with both hormone production and secretion of hormones in the body, and by exerting estrogenic effects.


BPA aka bisphenol A is found in the white linings of cans that contain foods we eat. It is also found in cash register and credit card receipts (at my clinic, we use BPA-free credit card tape), and in water bottles and many plastic food storage containers.

BPA can have negative effects on our brains, especially those of children, which in turn has a negative effect on their behavior. There are possible health effects on the brain and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.

There is also research suggesting a possible link between BPA and  type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Diabetes is caused by the inability of the pancreas--an endocrine gland--to secrete insulin (a hormone). So BPA may interfere with insulin levels.

Common endocrine disruptors found in laundry detergents are NPEs, aka NonylPhenol Ethoxylates, --also called the 'Gender Bender'. This is because it mimics estrogen in your body, leading to hormonal imbalances and possibly even cancer.

Standard cleaning products are often full of endocrine disrupting chemicals such as chemicals made from chlorine, like bleach and carbon tetrachloride. These chemicals are also toxic to our very good friend, the liver.


To be continued...