What in the World are Xenoestrogens?

In becoming a mother I became even more scrutinizing about the things I choose to bring into my home, to feed my daughters and myself and to slather onto our skin. Ofcourse, I have always been health conscious (thats my job!)… but I must admit, there were things I just didn’t know, I didn’t know! Knowledge is power they say….. many people I encounter in both a clinical setting and a social one, have no idea what a xenoestrogen is. More importantly, where do they come from, how do they affect our health and how in world do we go about beginning to avoid them? Viola – my inspiration for this post!

So…. What in the world is a xenoestrogen? 

‘Xeno’ literally means foreign. Xenoestrogens are man-made compounds that are able to mimic the role of estrogen in the body. Xenoestrogens are endocrine (hormone) disruptors, they are able to attach themselves to the estrogen receptors in the body and interfere with our own natural hormone balance. I think it really goes without saying…. these are things we should be concerned about. Our hormones are meant to be synthesized by our own bodies and act in a natural rhythm to keep our systems functioning at their optimal.

Xenoestrogens are not biodegradable, so they can build up in fat tissues and have un-intended affects in the body. Their accumulation can be related to a variety of endocrine related disorders including:

·      Early puberty

·      Infertility

·      Reproductive Cancers (breast, prostate, testicular)

·      Endometriosis

·      Obesity

·      Painful Periods/PMS

How Do I Identify a Xenoestrogen and Where are they Found? 


There is a very long list of chemicals that are classified as xenoestrogens. Some of the more common ones include:

Personal Care Products:

·      4-Methylbenzylidene camphor

·      Benzophenone

·      Parabens

·      Phenoxyethanol

Plastics and Flame Retardants:

·      Bisphenol A (BPA)

·      Phthalates

·      Polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs)

·      Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)


·      Butylated Hydroxyanisole (a common preservative in processed foods)

·      Many pesticides used in conventionally grown fruits/veg can act as xenoestrogens

·      Erythrosine / FD&C Red No. 3

·      Phenosulfothiazine (Red Dye)

How can I Reduce My Exposure? 

  1. Choose Organic produce, meat and dairy whenever possible to avoid exposure to pesticides, herbicides, synthetic hormones and fungicides. If you cannot choose all organic, stick to organic with the Dirty Dozen foods and choose local, seasonal produce.


  1. Say No to Plastics by replacing plastic food storage with glass and choosing glass or stainless steel water containers.


  1. Use Natural Body Care, Sunscreens + Make-Up as these are a large portion of our daily exposures. Read the labels on things like: sunscreens, shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, make-up products, toothpaste, deodorant, nail polish etc.


  1. Replace Household Cleaners with natural alternatives. There are many great natural alternatives to conventional all-purpose cleaners, laundry + dish detergents, deodorizers etc. Even a quick google search will turn up lots of vinegar based cleaning  supply recipes!

5. Drink  Filtered Water out of non-plastic containers!


3 Tips to Detox your Body!



Embrace those Cruciferous Veggies! Broccoli, cabbage, kale and brussel sprouts all belong to the cruciferous family. These veggies are high in a compound called indole-3-carbinol (IC3) which supports the body’s clearance of excess estrogens.


Add in Some Ground Flax Seed. Flax seeds contain lignans, which will bind with estrogens in the digestive tract and help the body to eliminate them rather than re-absorb them.

Start your Day with Lemon Water! Have a glass of filtered water with freshly squeezed lemon each morning. This promotes healthy liver detoxification. Our liver is an integral part of our ability to clear out toxins from the body.

Interested in naturopathic medicine?



Photo credit 1: zone41 via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Photo credit 2: smith_cl9 via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Reminder: this post is not meant to be construed as medical advice, but only as informational and based on personal experience. You should never enter into any treatment protocol/supplementation/exercise without the advice of a licensed naturopathic doctor or other health care practitioner. For more clarification on this please refer to the disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

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