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  • Danielle D'Amico

The Impact of Hormones on Our Health



The endocrine system is comprised of many different organs and glands such as; adrenals, thyroid, pancreas, ovaries, pituitary, pineal, thymus and even the GI tract.


These different organs or glands use hormones to communicate and regulate various functions of the body like; moods, metabolism, reproduction, circadian rhythms, hunger, satiety, lipogenesis, cognitive function and much more.



An imbalance in your endocrine system can affect your; heart, brain, immune system, circulation, detoxification abilities etc. Disruption here can be a culprit to any disease.

The most common hormone imbalances involve one or more of these well known hormones; Insulin, cortisol, leptin, thyroid hormones, sex hormones (DHEA, testosterone, progesterone, estrogen), melatonin, dopamine, ghrelin, growth hormone, oxytocin, prolactin, and PTH (parathyroid hormone).


For this article I will mostly be covering steroid hormones (sex hormones) and the implication they have on our overall health, in the world today. Just in the last few years I am seeing younger and younger clients with these hormonal imbalances; infertility, PCOS, estrogen dominance, birth control induced menopause, hypogonadism in males (deficient sperm production), gynecomastia (breast development in males), virulism (masculinisation of females), early menstruation (7-8yrs old) and endocrine cancers. All increasing our risk for; heart disease, obesity, psychiatric problems and no doubt gender identity struggles and abnormal sexual desires.




Beware of these ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS


There is a strong correlation with the toxins in our environment and conventional foods contributing to this imbalance. These things have all been implicated in disrupting our hormones; xeno-estrogens, toxicants (chemicals, plastics, metals) pharmaceuticals, food (like conventional animal products, GMOs, articifial ingredients etc), stress, EMFs, and light imbalances.


1. Xeno estrogens-a type of xeno-hormone that mimics estrogen in the body. Blocking and binding to our hormone receptors without serving the proper function. These include:

  • Skin Care containing parabens (and others)- makeup, sunscreen, lotions, shampoos etc.

  • Plastics: BPA, phytalates, DEHP, PBDEs, PCBs

  • Food dyes and preservatives like FD&C, red #3 and BHA

  • Building material – wood, carpets, new furniture (contain the above and other chemical disruptors like adhesives and flame retardants)

  • Pesticides and insecticides

  • All these sources can contain xeno-estrogens: tap water, cleaning products, canned foods, dental sealants, receipts, air fresheners, laundry products, furniture, hair dyes, nail polish, perfume, medical devices, toys, printers



2. Toxicants- Over 80,000 new chemicals have been introduced since the industrial revolution. Thousands of new chemicals approved by FDA and EPA every year, with very little safety studies. Our environment and bodies are overwhelmed.

  • Pesticides and herbicides (including glyphosate)- loaded with chemicals that are endocrine disruptors and carcinogenic

  • Mycotoxins (mold) – which mimic estrogen and testosterone- found in peanuts, coffee our homes..

  • Heavy metals like mercury, aluminum, arsenic, lead and even iron…Found in our food, our cookware, medicines (vaccines), toys, water and our air.



3. Stress-A serious endocrine disruptor and it directly initiates our fight or flight response increasing cortisol and or adrenaline starting the cascade of hormone signaling with the thyroid, insulin, leptin and more. The excess activation of this response can lead to a variety of endocrine issues. Do you wonder why zebras don’t get ulcers? They only activate this response when in actual fight-or-flight from a predator. Modern humans are addicted to stress and this if often THE biggest underlying factor to declining health.


4. Foods- Loaded with lots of the above chemicals and toxins and or other specific concerns.

  • Excess coffee a common American habit, the overload of caffeine has been shown to increase our estrogen levels.

  • Sugar is an obesogenic (fat promoting) compound and not only affects leptin and grehlin but estrogen and testosterone as well.

  • Artificial ingredients and preservatives (BHT, BPA, DDT, Nitrates)= lower testosterone (alcohol, chewing gum, baked goods..).

  • GMO- among the many detriments of GMOs it is also an endocrine disruptor

  • Conventional animal products: Non organic animal products are loaded with pesticides, GMOs, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives and other additives. These animals are full of almost all the endocrine disruptors listed in this article that we then consume and burden our bodies with.

  • Non-organic foods- can contain a potential 3,000 different toxins, best to just eat organic rather than learning each individual toxin.

  • Herbs- Can be used for direct support to low levels of hormones if monitored -maca, wild yam, black cohosh, tribulus, fenugreek, coleus forskohil, stinging nettle, horny goat weed, muira, saw palmetto and cordyceps.



5. Pharmaceuticals- including vaccines especially gardasil (linked to infertility, endometriosis and endocrine cancer), psychiatric drugs, birth control, PPIs, heart medication, prednisone and a long list of others. I wouldn’t doubt that all pharmaceuticals have some impact on our hormones.



Guess where you can find nearly all of these endocrine disruptors? WATER—local municipal tap water studies have found over 300 chemicals and pollutants including heavy metals like; lead, perchlorate, cadmium, and chromium-6. Even if your not drinking this tap water but bathing in it, that will seep right through your skin. Our bodies our made up of 60% water, along with air these 2 source of life are what we consume the most of and should be of the highest quality for optimal health. Having pure drinking water and filters in place for bathing is essential. Full house filtration systems are even better.


I think these imbalances have significant effects on gender identity, sexuality and psychiatric health (28% of the population). Suicide is a leading cause of death in the US with and increase of about 60% in the last 20 years (145% increase in 2020 alone). There has been an increase of anti-depressant usage by 400% in 20 years. LGBT community increases by 5% every year since early 2000 and a new study found that millennials are the “gayest generation.” I have no personal issues with same sex marriage or relationships and fully support that choice. I just want to point out these facts and how hormone imbalances could be a part of this shift. Teenagers today have less interest in dating and lusting over each other than in past decades, a time when sexual hormones are raging.


The worst contributor to the hormone imbalance is birth control -from usage to new formulations, they all have an impact on our health with side effects and endogenous suppression that can and does lead to long-term endocrine issue.


My sister passed away in 2013 (at 31 years old) from a very large pulmonary embolism( blood clot) in her lungs. It was likely caused from the new estrogen based birth control that she was on, which had a high risk of such side effects. It was later pulled from the market due to multiple deaths and lawsuits.


67% of all women currently use a hormone based contraceptive (pill, IUD, patch, implants, injectable, vaginal ring). These different types come in a variety of formulations with progesterone, estrogen or both. They are used to confuse the body to prevent pregnancy. They do this by; Suppressing of ovulation (via pituitary), increase mucous around the cervix to block sperm entry, actual suppression of egg release via ovaries and a thinning of the uterine lining to prevent the egg from implanting. Many of these birth controls are now being used to completely eliminate the female cycle, with no menstruation. Silencing these natural signals can lead to serious issues and health problems long term. These exogenous hormones promote elevations of estrogen in the body keeping them at high levels all month long getting the body to think that it is already pregnant. Depending on your bodies ability to metabolize and methylate that excess estrogen it can lead to genotoxic byproducts that are extremely detrimental.


Some side effects from birth control include the following; nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, water retention, migraines, depression, blood clots, mood disorder, acne, post-birth control syndrome, loss of libido, inability to orgasm, increased breast cancer risk, increased blood pressure, increase candida infections, weight gain, altering the gut microbiota, increase oxidative stress, negative impacts on immune health and contribute to a variety of nutrient deficiencies (robbing your body of these; magnesium, zinc, selenium, folate, B2, B6, B12 vitamin C and vitamin E) .



All of these side effects contribute to our psychological health and women are told by their prescribers “its all in your head,” there is not proper informed consent about these dangers, if there was my sister would still be alive.


New research has found that kynueric acid is reduced in females taking oral contraceptives. When this pathway is disrupted can have significant impacts on our health particularly the brain and immune system creating more neurotoxin byproducts that raise inflammation (high CRP) which is often higher in women on the pill than not, this can set the stage for disease and now correlated to an increased risk of autoimmune diseases.


I think there are safer ways to prevent pregnancies and I think the long term risks of birth control significantly outweigh the benefits. Other options include; male condoms, female condoms, diaphragms, cervical cap, natural family planning fertility awareness, calendar method, temperature method, mucous method, male vasectomy.


What about menopause? When a women transition into menopause the adrenals take over the responsibility from the ovaries and that shift should be fairly easy, the debilitating menopausal symptoms are often an indication that the adrenals are struggling to handle that take over and there are healthy ways to support this transition with more ease.


Since addressing these sex hormones is part of our healing program, I think testing is very important via serum (blood testing) and urine testing (DUTCH), especially if someone is taking exogenous hormones. We can see the different patterns and I can help calculate the impact it is having on peoples health. The benefit of urine testing is we can see the metabolites at the peak of production (the level of different estrogens and how they are being metabolized) with the diurnal pattern (the fluctuations that happen through the day). We can see how well the body is methylating the different byproducts of these hormones and the level of inflammation potential.



We have to be more conscience of what we allow in our body and the role they have on our health. To support our endocrine system better we need to; clean up our diet (especially water), avoid xeno-estrogens (buy clean products and furniture), DETOX the body, support the liver, reduce EMFs exposure and prioritize self care and stress reduction.


I cant and would not tell you to stop taking your prescription birth control. I recommend you discuss these options with your doctor and you decide what is best for you and let them know the route you want to take.



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References:

https://www.brainkart.com/article/Disorders-of-Sex-Hormones_16279/

https://grassrootsfunctionalmedicine.com/blog/12-signs-hormone-imbalance/

https://www.fwdfuel.com/foods-that-cause-hormonal-imbalance/

https://drjockers.com/12-ways-to-balance-hormones-to-beat-autoimmune/

https://www.thedailybeast.com/millennials-are-the-gayest-generation

https://drbrighten.com/does-birth-control-stop-periods/

https://drbrighten.com/beyond-the-pill/

https://womeninbalance.org/2012/10/26/xenoestrogens-what-are-they-how-to-avoid-them/

https://kellybroganmd.com/new-research-birth-control-pill-depression-and-autoimmunity/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/503844-how-does-caffeine-affect-estrogen-levels/