Hormone disruptors

Could Your Sunscreen Disrupt Your Hormones?

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Dangerous Ingredients that May Be Lurking in Your Sunscreen

Most types of sunscreen contain toxins that can easily penetrate the skin and cause inflammation, hormone imbalances, and increased toxic burden. Fortunately, there are safer options that still protect from harmful sun rays. Learn how to read your label and discover where to buy safer sunscreen.

Sunscreen 101

As we head into summer, it’s important to remember the impact of the sun’s rays on our skin. Though some sun is good for us (hello, vitamin D!), too much exposure can age our skin, burn us, and leave us at a higher risk for skin cancer.
 
Most of us have likely experienced a bad sunburn and are determined to protect ourselves better this year. So we turn to sunscreen in an effort to keep ourselves safe. But what if our sunscreen itself is dangerous?
 
Most sunscreens on the market contain chemicals that quickly penetrate our skin and disrupt our hormones. Since our skin absorbs much of what we put onto it, we need to guard against slathering ourselves with toxin-laden chemicals. Sunscreen can also provide a false sense of security. Some sunscreens may actually cause more harm than good!
 

Sunscreen Toxins to Avoid

Before you cover yourself or your kids with sunscreen, grab your bottle and check the ingredients for these endocrine-disrupting chemicals:

  • Oxybenzone - This chemical is included in many sunscreens because it absorbs and filters UV rays. However, it also penetrates the skin rapidly and mimics estrogen in the body, leading to hormonal imbalances and potential infertility. (1)

  • Octinoxate - This is another inexpensive UV filter, making it a popular choice for many sunscreens. Unfortunately, it is also a potent endocrine disruptor, posing problems for the thyroid and reproductive systems, among others. It is also linked to cell death and difficulty clearing toxins from the body. Octinoxate also causes complete coral bleaching at low doses. In other words, snorkeling with this sunscreen during a tropical vacation contributes to a weakened, diseased state in coral reefs. (2)

  • Retinyl palmitate - Retinyl palmitate is a form of vitamin A and a popular choice for sunscreen because it is believed to slow skin aging. The problem is this chemical breaks down in sunlight, creating extra free radicals and leading to skin problems, even skin cancer. Additionally, retinyl palmitate is a powerful reproductive toxicant, which is, again, easily absorbed through the skin and can lead to hormonal imbalances.

  • Parabens - These chemicals are included in sunscreens because they delay bacterial and fungal growth. They are, however, also linked to endocrine disruptions, possibly leading to breast cancer and other hormonal difficulties. Again, this is not something we want to be inviting into our bodies!

  • Fragrances - These are also commonly found in sunscreens. They are added to make the product more appealing, but they can also cause hormonal disruption and toxin build up. If you see the word “fragrance” on a label, it could include any number of toxic chemicals that legally don’t have to be listed individually. (3)

As you might imagine, slathering our bodies with these chemicals throughout the summer can lead to or worsen hormonal imbalance and create a heavier toxic load for our bodies. Fortunately, we have other choices to help keep us safe from sunburn and hormone-disrupting chemicals.

The Issue with Spray Sunscreen

When it’s time to apply sunscreen, it’s easy to grab an aerosol can and spray on the sunscreen. However, this can cause lung irritation.
 
To make it easier to use as a spray, the sunscreen is broken down into even smaller molecules that fill the air around us as we spray the skin. We (and anyone else around us) end up breathing the chemicals in the air, giving us even more exposure to the chemicals. Now we get them through our lungs and our skin! The use of aerosols has even been linked to a higher risk of breathing problems like asthma.

So if you choose a spray sunscreen, make sure it’s a natural one, and don’t use on yourself or your kiddos if it causes any breathing irritation.

Also, realize that a spray sunscreen does still need to be rubbed in to work most effectively!

Staying Safe in the Sun

Fortunately, we have many options when choosing how to protect ourselves from the sun!

  • Choose a mineral-based sunscreen made with non-nano zinc oxide. Mineral-based sunscreens protect our skin by reflecting and scattering the sunrays. Make sure to pick a sunscreen that uses non-nano zinc oxide, as the regular nanoparticles of zinc are small enough to penetrate the skin and cause problems. (See below for our favorites.)

  • Reapply sunscreen every few hours. Sunscreen does not last all day! Make sure to re-apply frequently if you are out in the sun for long periods of time.

  • Cover up. We can protect our skin by wearing long sleeves, using a hat, and taking other precautions to avoid direct sunlight as needed.

  • Eat a healthy diet. It shouldn’t be a big surprise that our skin will be healthier and less likely to burn quickly when we eat better! Make sure to include healthy fats, antioxidants, and an abundance of vitamins and minerals.

Protect Yourself with Safe Sunscreen

Daily Protection

DeVita brand sunscreen offers a Solar Body Moisturizer and a Solar Protective Moisturizer for the face. These sunscreens go on light and smooth for everyday use. 

My skin is acne-prone and DeVita sunscreens have never clogged my pores. It doesn't feel like you are wearing a sunscreen at all with these products! I apply them on first thing in the morning.

In addition to 19% micronized zinc oxide (it’s non-nano), they contain ingredients that support your skin like aloe, grape seed extract and vitamin C. 

Fun in the Sun

If you are planning a day at the pool or the beach, you need a stronger product to withstand the elements. When I’m going into full sun exposure,  I turn to Beautycounter’s line of water-resistant products.

Beautycounter offers a line called Countersun with a lotion, a stick and a spray sunscreen. Beautycounter is always free of synthetic fragrance, parabens, and 1,500 other harmful or questionable ingredients. 

Their sunscreens are reef safe, so you can take them to Hawaii, and you can even pack the spray in a checked bag!

In addition to sunscreen, Beautycounter offers skin care, hair care and makeup that perform like any high-end product, but without disrupting your hormones or exposing you to heavy metals.


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Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP, is trained in functional health coaching and has worked with thousands of women over her career since 2004. She is the founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative llc and HormoneDetoxShop.com.

Grab Bridgit’s list of 5 Easy Detox Swaps for Women’s Health to start clearing out the toxins and reset your system to feel better today!

Taming Fussy, Hormonal Skin with Megan Schwarz

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Megan Schwarz is an attorney turned female hormonal health advocate, with a specialty in skin care. She offers clients dietary, lifestyle, and hormonal support focused on inflammatory skin issues such as hormonal acne, dermatitis, and hyperpigmentation. In this episode, we are going to focus mainly on the internal aspects of skin issues.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 02:15 Introducing Megan Schwarz
Min 05:50 The connection between stress, healthy skin & ovulation
Min 10:05 The androgens
Min 12:45 Treating clients with skin issues
Min 16:55 Adult acne & PCOS
Min 19:20 Using the birth control pill for acne control
Min 23:35 The gut & liver
Min 24:40 Good skin care tips
Min 30:50 Megan's resources

To learn more about Megan Schwarz, visit her website here and follow her on social media:
Facebook 
Instagram 

Resources:

Webinar: Beautycounter - Choosing Best Products for Your Skin Type

Beautycounter products - non-toxic line of beauty products

Here's a video version of the interview with Megan Schwarz:

Is Your Gut Messing up Your Hormones?

If you have not yet joined our community, be sure take our "Is a Gut Infection Causing Your Hormonal Imbalance" quiz here, and come on board!

We have lots of valuable, free resources for women's health we share weekly.

Bridgit Danner,

Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative

Overcome Weight Loss Resistance with Karen Martel

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Karen is a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach and weight loss expert from Canada. She is a health leader and researcher determined to revolutionize nutrition for modern women. In this episode Karen and I talk about some of the causes of weight loss resistance like stress, hormones & indigestion.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 02:30 What is weight loss resistance?
Min 04:10 Karen's personal experience with weight loss resistance
Min 09:20 Testing to get to the root cause
Min 10:40 Karen's passion in nutrition & helping women
Min 14:35 Causes of weight loss resistance
Min 20:35 Karen's personal meal plans & health coaching
Min 23:50 Weight loss resistance case scenarios
Min 28:00 The ketogenic diet & being in ketosis
Min 33:40 Karen's resources
Min 36:25 Connecting with your health coach

To learn more about Karen, visit her website here and follow her on social media:
Facebook 
Instagram 

Resources:

On Track program 
Free recipe ebook "Paleo for Hormone Health Cookbook"

Check out our summit recordings and programs at our shop.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you have not yet joined our community, be sure take our "Is a Gut Infection Causing Your Hormonal Imbalance" quiz here, and come on board!

We have lots of valuable, free resources for women's health we share weekly.

Bridgit Danner,

Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative

How Your Digestion Affects Your Hormones with Bridgit Danner

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I'm your guest in this episode where I talk about steps involved in the digestion process and how your digestion affects hormone production and detoxification. This is an excerpt from a training I did about digestion and hormone health.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 01:20 Steps in the digestion process
Min 03:45 What can hamper digestion
Min 07:10 The large intestine & its functions
Min 08:35 Symptoms of indigestion
Min 10:28 How hormones are made & the nutrients required
Min 13:30 Inflammation
Min 14:35 The immune system
Min 16:15 How to support your digestion
Min 17:50 Using essential oils

Private Coaching with Bridgit

Apply to be a coaching client with Bridgit and we'll reply with availability and pricing. Bridgit can see you no matter where you live as all appointments are by video chat, but supplement and lab testing access depends on where you live.

Apply Here.

Resources:

Take the survey here for a chance to win a 14 day detox kit valued at $150

TAKE OUR FREE “IS A GUT INFECTION CAUSING MY HORMONAL IMBALANCE?" QUIZ BELOW.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you have not yet joined our community, be sure to grab our hidden Hormone stressors quiz here, and come on board!

Thanks for listening,

Bridgit Danner,

Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative

The Parasite Hormone Connection

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Do you think parasites have nothing to do with hormones? Or that parasites are very rare and only found in places like rural Africa?

You would be wrong on both counts. In this article, I'll explain:

  • What is the connection between hormones and parasites

  • What are the symptoms of a parasitic infection

  • Why are parasites so common

  • What you can do about it

 

The Link Between Parasites and Hormones

A parasite is dictionary defined as “an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense.” 

You might be thinking, “well shouldn't my body prevent parasites?” You are right; it should but it doesn't always succeed. Parasites can enter through the skin or the vagina but the most common area of entry is the mouth.

When you eat something or put your hands in your mouth you expose yourself to potential parasites and their larvae.  Parasites are found in soil and feces and do a great job of spreading themselves around.

When you swallow a parasite, your stomach acid should burn off the pathogen. However many of us have low stomach acid production from a thyroid condition, because of aging, or because we were eating on in a rush and we didn't get our bodies into “rest and digest” mode.

If a parasite survives the stomach it can live in the intestines or move to other areas of the body. Parasites can remain for decades. You may also be wondering, “isn't it somewhat normal to have parasites?”

According to Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman in her book Guess What Came to Dinner?, some amount of parasites could make for no noticeable symptoms. It really depends on the type and quantity of parasites and the strength or weakness of the host.

You are the host and the environment you create in your body helps determine if a parasite finds a good home or not. If your intestines are out of balance because of eating inflammatory foods, leaky gut, antibiotic use, other infections, or eating a high-sugar, high-refined flour diet you are providing a welcoming home for a parasite.

So now you understand how having a parasite is indeed possible. But why would this affect your hormones?

Having a parasite will cause inflammation in the gut and a potential loss of nutrients going to you, the host.

Hormones stay in balance through:

  • Production

  • Clearance

  • Communication

Parasites will contribute to the overall poor environment in the gut. And your gut is an important location for hormone production and clearance.

The nutrients you absorb in the gut are the ingredients to make hormones: B vitamins, amino acids, fats, etc. That's why I consider it not only very important to eat nourishing foods, but also to take high-quality supplements to 'mind your gut'.

Parasites can contribute to an imbalanced bacterial environment in your gut. (Other contributors are sugar, alcohol, white flour, genetically-modified foods, and antibiotics.) That imbalance can lead to a re-activation of used estrogens getting back into circulation in your body, possibly increasing your risk of breast cancer. (source)

In a healthy gut, used hormones that have been rendered inactive in the liver will be expelled in the intestines through the bile. In an unhealthy gut, an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase will be produced, making estrogen active again. This happens within a set of gut bacteria called the estrobolome.  

Dr. Izabella Wentz, in her book Hashimoto's Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back, connects many parasites to the "triggering and exacerbating" of the autoimmune thyroid condition Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. These include: Giardia lamblia, Dientamoeba fragilis, Toxoplasma gondii, Entamoeba histolytica, Blastocystis hominis, Bartonella henselae and Cyrptosporidium.

Hormones are made in response to the needs of your body. If your body is chronically fighting an infection in your gut and dealing with the inflammation there, hormones will be made to combat that stress, namely stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

As a woman, you want a balance of stress hormones and more restorative hormones in the Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) family like estrogen and testosterone. If your body is making a lot of cortisol in comparison to DHEA, you could have symptoms like overwhelm, low sex drive, infertility and loss of muscle massMenopause and peri-menopause can be more difficult.

The above are just a few ways that parasites and an unhealthy gut can lead to hormonal problems.

Symptoms

The symptoms of a parasitic infection are numerous. This list is by no means a way of diagnosis but rather examples of the diverse ways that a parasite could manifest:

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Gas and bloating

  • Muscle pain

  • Anemia

  • Autoimmune diseases

  • Skin rashes

  • Insomnia / Waking up too early

  • Anxiety

  • Fatigue

  • Teeth grinding

  • Frequent colds and flu

In this article, I am focusing on parasites but we often see parasites in our clients like Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and candida. Parasites can also help house and protect things like Epstein-Barr virus, mold mycotoxins, and Lyme infection. So in complex cases is often important to clear the gut of these pathogens.

But sometimes our clients are fairly healthy have lots of good habits, they are just stuck in one area of their health. They can't get pregnant or they're chronically bloated. These are cases where we've been able to address the gut and get good results overall.

According to the Center for Disease Control, millions of people in the United States are affected by parasites every year. How much of a problem parasites depend on who you ask. The colleagues of mine who treat complex cases are quite convinced of the efficacy of parasite treatment. You can hear my interview with parasite expert, Dr. Todd Watts here, and you can register for the Parasite Summit here (and more information is below).

Parasitic infections do seem to be on the rise because of these factors:

  • International travel

  • Contaminated public water supply

  • Household pets

  • Daycare centers

  • Eating at restaurants

  • Food imported from other countries

  • The use of antibiotics

  • Factory farming (including farmed fish)

 

A Personal Story

When I was in my early twenties I lived in a village in South America. All the pathogens there were new to my body and even though I tried to drink clean water I got very sick a few times. After that, I lived in Mexico and while there I was chronically constipated. I didn't know much about parasites back then but I suspected them I looked into getting a test run but opted for a kit I could buy at the store to clean parasites in my colon. Later my boyfriend at the time, who also lived in South America, passed a long worm out of his stool.

I forgot about parasites for a while but during a stressful time in Chinese medicine school, I developed IBS that would not go away. I attributed it to stress. If my diet is “really perfect” with all fresh, clean foods my digestion can be pretty stable. But cheating at all on corn chips or a beer would make me have loose stool again. This pattern went on for many years and I even had to stool test and treated H pylori infection with still no improvement.

One of my parasites that came out in my stool.Trust me, I was really grossed out when I first saw this too. Toothbrush somehow makes this picture grosser. I did not touch it to my toothbrush, just put it on top of bag for size comparison.

One of my parasites that came out in my stool.Trust me, I was really grossed out when I first saw this too. Toothbrush somehow makes this picture grosser. I did not touch it to my toothbrush, just put it on top of bag for size comparison.

This past summer I interviewed Dr. Todd Watts office about parasites. Perhaps with that awareness in the back of my mind, I noticed a parasite in my stool the next day. I quickly ordered a stool test from a leading company we use and the test came back positive for a type of parasite.

I have been treating my parasite and, though I'm just beginning, I have passed another worm and some larvae which, while gross, is also pretty exciting to know that I am getting something out of my body that was likely stressing it for a long time. I know that my white blood cell count has been low for years and no one was able to explain it but I think this helps explain it.  

Besides coming back from South America with a probable parasite I also came back with a lackadaisical attitude about sanitation. I thought that here in the US we were too paranoid about cleanliness. We have also learned in the last decade a lot about the microbiome and we are often encouraged to 'eat dirt and go barefoot.’

After reading Guess What Came to Dinner? by Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman, I have quite a different perspective. We DO want to be clean and careful to prevent parasites. It is much easier to prevent parasites then test and treat for them later.

Prevention Tips

Luckily there is a lot we can do to prevent parasites:

  • Always wash hands prior to eating

  • Keep your fingernails short and scrub under them with a brush

  • When you use a public toilet seat squat over it rather than sitting on it

  • At home, keep your bathrooms clean and sanitize toilet seats and bowls*

  • Keep the interior or your car clean*

  • Avoid kissing your pets or letting your children do so

  • All family members should wash their hands after petting the family pet

  • Pick up pet waste and don't let your kids play in areas where they can be exposing themselves to residual pet waste

  • Get a report on your local water quality and drink only filtered water (Filters need to be very fine a size of 3 microns or under to filter microorganism cysts.)

  • While hiking, never drink out of streams and carry a fine pore filter of 3 microns or under while camping

  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables before eating

  • Be very careful with cooking meats and fish to ensure that any larvae in them are killed

  • Cook beef to an internal temperature of 160° f

  • Cook chicken, lamb and pork to 170° f

  • Cook fish until flaky and do not cook in a microwave

  • Avoid eating raw Pacific salmon and rockfish (Flash frozen fish are safer.)

  • Eat fiber such as raw nuts, beans, greens berries; these sweep your colon

  • Avoiding sugars and simple starches that parasites thrive on

  • Avoid swimming in freshwater lakes

  • Always sit on a towel in a sauna

  • Be aware that public mud baths and spas can carry the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis (This happened to me the only time I used a mud bath!)

  • If you are pregnant or immunocompromised, avoid changing your cat's litter box and have someone else and household do it

* Please note that you don't need to use potent chemicals for cleaning.  You can use potent essential oils instead!  Dr. Mariza Snyder is my to-go resource on essential oils, and her book, Smart Mom's Guide to Essential Oils: Natural Solutions for a Healthy Family, Toxin-Free Home and Happier You has many great cleaning recipes.

If you would like to learn more about parasites, I encourage you to attend the Parasite Summit hosted by Dr. Jay Davidson. This event is an eye-opening journey into parasites and their effects on health, hormones, detox and more!

Learn more here.

 

Accurate testing for parasites cannot be conducted at your local doctor's office. The technology is just available in this setting and paradigm. We do conduct these tests with our private clients and develop protocols to help them eradicate gut pathogens. If you are interested in talking to us more about it you can check out our coaching options here.

 

To Your Health! 

Bridgit

Living Low Tox with Brodie Welch & Alexx Stuart

Alexx Stuart is the founder of Low Tox Life and she’s our guest this week talking to Brodie Welch about toxins and good eating habits.

Click here to download an mp3 of "Living Low Tox with Brodie Welch & Alexx Stuart".

Here's what you'll hear: 

Min 03:00 Introduction to Alexx Stuart

Min 06:10 Alexx's introduction to naturopathy

Min 09:45 Fragrances, phthalates & hormone disruptors

Min 14:50 The skin & absorption of chemicals

Min 17:00 3 steps to reducing toxin exposure & Alexx's recommended products

Min 25:50 Other sources of toxins

Min 30:00 Substituting plastics to reduce toxin exposure

Min 31:15 Endocrine disrupting chemicals

Min 33:30 Alexx Stuart's work & coaching programs

Min 34:30 Thrive - improving children's eating habits

 

Brodie Welch is the host of the podcast ‘A Healthy Curiosity’. You can find her on her website here and on social media:

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Twitter

To learn more about Alexx Stuart, visit her website here and follow her on social media:

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

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If you have not yet joined our community, be sure to grab our hidden Hormone stressors quiz here, and come on board!

Spark Case Review

Click here to learn about our Spark Case Review for help with auto-immunity and digestive health.  

This episode was originally featured on Brodie Welch's podcast "A Healthy Curiosity" here.

 

Thanks for listening,

Bridgit Danner, Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative