5 Easy Ways To Avoid Endocrine Disruption: A Doctor Explains

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Endocrine disruptors—they're everywhere. They mess with your hormones, blocking or promoting estrogen as well as other hormones, throwing off the natural balance. In some cases, they affect the levels of your hormones. In other cases, they affect the function of your hormones.

If we encountered them only once in a while, there would be little cause for concern. But because they're so ubiquitous, most of us are receiving constant low-grade exposure, and that's no good for hormonal health.

While it's tough to completely purge all toxins from your life, you can significantly cut your exposure by making smarter choices. With a few simple swaps you can give your endocrine system the vacation from toxins it needs to support your hormonal health, along with the rest of you. Here's how to clean up your life:

1. Give your bedding an organic upgrade.

The bedding you nuzzle all night long isn't as fresh and clean as you think it is. Your sheets and comforters—particularly if they're synthetics or synthetic blends—have been manufactured with an array of toxic ingredients, including endocrine-disrupting chemical solvents, flame-retardants, and even formaldehyde.

Switching to bedding made of organic, untreated fibers that have been organically processed is an excellent way to instantly reduce seven to eight hours of nightly exposure. Ideally, your bedding should be Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified.

If switching bedding to organic items all at once isn't feasible, then transition one piece at a time, replacing worn-out items with cleaner, greener alternatives. In the meantime, you can start the switch-over (and add a bit of a physical barrier) by covering old blankets and comforters with organic, untreated duvet covers.

2. Clean up your mattress.

They say we spend up to a third of our lives in bed—so the mattress you're sleeping on really matters. As with bedding, traditional mattresses can contain a veritable witches' brew of dangerous chemicals, which we breathe in all night long.

My advice? Get a new mattress as soon as you can, and upgrade to the cleanest, greenest one you can afford. Take a look at eco-friendly suppliers like Keesta, Lifekind, Omimattress, Naturepedic, and Dax Stores. Or consider an organic futon as an economical stopgap measure if you're not yet ready to invest in a higher-end model.

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3. Invest in a healthier pillow.

Trade those petroleum-based foam and synthetic pillows for cleaner, more natural options. You might want to do the same with down pillows, which, though comfortable, often feature feathers that have been treated with bleach, formaldehyde, and chemical anti-allergens.

Instead, try resting your head on pillows made of buckwheat, organic cotton, organic wool, kapok fibers, or natural rubber. Cover your greener pillow with organic cotton pillowcases, and you'll snooze cleaner, breathing in the night air rather than a toxic cloud.

4. Install a shower filter.

It's easy to absorb disruptive chemicals through your skin, so lessen the load by installing a water filter that attaches to your bath and showerhead. Better yet, consider adding a whole house filtration system to cover all your faucets and help to remove a significant percentage of common disruptors like chlorine, ammonia, atrazine, arsenic, perchlorate, and heavy metals.

At a minimum, be sure to filter all drinking water and let water run for a minute or two (till it runs very cold) to flush the line before filtering. To find the right filter for your water and budget, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Water Filter Buying Guide.

5. Use green personal care products.

Please, take it easy on the industrial cleansers while showering! Unless you've got a very dirty job, you don't actually need to soap every last germ off your body—nor should you.

Instead of covering yourself in antibacterial soaps, shampoos, and body washes that are loaded with harsh chemicals, faux fragrances, and detergents, switch to a mild, organic soap and "clean" personal care products. Use them all sparingly so as not to strip your skin of the good bacteria that keeps skin problems at bay, and always steer clear of products containing parabens, phthalates, DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine), sodium lauryl sulfate, and sodium laureth sulfate.

Need help finding healthier personal care products? The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is a fantastic resource.

Ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.

Frank Lipman, M.D.

Pioneer in Functional Medicine
For Dr. Frank Lipman, health is more than just the absence of disease: it is a total state of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing. Dr. Lipman is a widely recognized trailblazer and leader in functional and integrative medicine, and he is a New York Times best-selling author of five books, How to Be Well, The New Health Rules, Young and Slim for Life, Revive and Total Renewal. After his initial medical training in his native South Africa, Dr. Lipman spent 18 months working at clinics in the bush. He became familiar with the local traditional healers, called sangomas, which kindled his interest in non-Western healing modalities In 1984, Dr. Lipman immigrated to the United States, where he became the chief medical resident at Lincoln Hospital in Bronx, NY. While there, he became fascinated by the hospital’s addiction clinic, which used acupuncture and Chinese medicine to treat people suffering from heroin and crack addiction. Seeing the way these patients responded so positively to acupuncture made him even more aware of the potential of implementing non-Western medicine to promote holistic wellbeing. As a medical student, he was taught to focus on the disease rather than the patient, and now as a doctor he found himself treating symptoms rather than the root causes of illness. Frustrated by the constraints of his training, and the limitations in helping his patients regain true health, he began a journey of discovery to search for the path to meaningful long-term health and wellness. He began studying nutrition, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, functional medicine, biofeedback, meditation, and yoga. Dr. Lipman founded the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in 1992, where he combines the best of Western medicine and cutting edge nutritional science with age-old healing techniques from the East. As his patient chef Seamus Mullen told The New York Times, “If antibiotics are right, he’ll try it. If it’s an anti-inflammatory diet, he’ll do that. He’s looking at the body as a system rather than looking at isolated things.” In addition to his practice, he is also an instructor in mbg's Functional Nutrition Program.
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Frank Lipman, M.D.

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