Dr Dingle's Blog / estrogen

Environmental Estrogens and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC's)

Environmental Estrogens and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC's)

Since the 1980's, there has been a growing amount of research toward the potential interaction between these environmental estrogens and wild animals, with a number of reports detailing the emergence of 'feminised wildlife’ around the world, and a range of adverse effects in humans including decreased sperm count, increased cases of testicular cancer and testicular abnormalities, increased breast cancer in men and women and premature or precocious puberty. Other adverse health outcomes linked with EDC’s include headache, migraine, depression, gastrointestinal disturbances, insomnia, changes in breast tissue and in vaginal bleeding. More chronic symptoms affect the cardiovascular system, the skin (itching, rash, abnormal pigmentation), the gallbladder, and tumours particularly of the breast but also uterus, cervix, vagina and liver. While other studies have shown increases in the organ weight of estrogen-sensitive tissues such as the uterus, and calcium and bone metabolism are all examples of the estrogenic effects. Even how we age and age at menopause can be affected by these chemicals. In support of this at least one professional and very conservative group, the Endocrine Society, has concluded that sufficient evidence now exists linking endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) to adverse human reproductive effects, including possible epigenetic and trans-generational effects.

Unfortunately, our babies are being born pre-polluted with chemicals detectable in their blood, in the placenta and in amniotic fluid because of exposure to these chemicals during pregnancy and throughout the mother’s life. The placental barrier has been shown to allow these chemicals to cross, as many of them have been measured in human fetal cord blood, fetal serum, human amniotic fluid and even newborn stools (meconium). Exposure to these chemicals before birth poses a serious health risks to developing fetus, infants and young children as shown by the increasing adverse effects including negative birth outcomes, childhood obesity and increasing intellectual disabilities. It is believed that current levels of environmental estrogen exposure results in lower birth weights, smaller head circumferences, poorer neuromuscular maturity and visual recognition, delays in psychomotor development, short term memory problems, and growth retardation in newborn babies. Fetal exposure to these environmental estrogens are suspected of disrupting thyroid functioning, sexual differentiation of the brain in foetal development and cognitive motor function and cause anxious behaviour. They are also able to bind to neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, neuroepinophrine and dopamine enabling estrogens to influence the body's central nervous system (CNS). Environmental estrogens have also been shown to effect the body’s immune system.

Studies have found strong links with exposure to excessive levels of estrogen in males with penis abnormalities, lower libido, congenital anomalies, failure of the testes to descend and testicular cancer, reduced penis size and increased embryo mortality.

What is most concerning regarding control of these chemicals is that there are no indications given or regulations set regarding the minimal age at which they should be used or exposed to them. Increasingly, pregnant mothers, infants, pre-pubescent and pubescent children are being exposed to a large number of products containing these chemicals, with no research to show that exposure is safe during these critical periods of development.

Equally strong is the evidence that these same chemicals can cause some of the most common cancers: prostate and testicular cancer in men and breast cancer in women. One of the most troubling is their association with breast cancer. Breast cancer is the major cancer affecting women in the Western world and one of the most disturbing and well documented current trends is the alarming increase in breast cancer incidence over the past few decades. Fifty years ago the risk rate was one woman in 20; today it is one in 8 and approximately two-thirds of breast tumors are estrogen receptive, and environmental estrogens like parabens, phthalates and BPA are known to bind to estrogen receptors. Estrogen-dependent cancers, such as breast cancer, are known to be highly responsive to estrogens for growth. Even more disturbing is the increase in numbers of young girls developing breast cancer.

 

https://www.drdingle.com/collections/book-sales/products/dangerous-beauty-1

 

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Essential Sleep (Part 3)

Essential Sleep (Part 3)

Sleep problems

Many sleep problems but by far the biggest is sleep deprivation and poor sleep. However too much sleep can also be a problem. Over sleeping may also be a problem. In one study sleeping 10 hours or more also increased the mortality rates by one and a half times.

 Sleep Deprivation

Sleep is as important to the human body as food and water, but most of us don't get enough sleep. Dysoninia (poor sleep) related sleep disorders alone are broken into Intrinsic, Extrinsic and Circadian‑Rhythm sleep disorders including disorders such as but not limited to: "Psychophysiologic Insomnia, Sleep State Misperception Idiopathic Insomnia, Narcolepsy, Recurrent Hypersomnia, Idiopathic Hypersomnia...Restless Legs Syndrome & Intrinsic Sleep Disorder NOS" (MSM, 2001, pp. 27).

Risk factors for sleep related illness are diet, lifestyle, occupation, stress and grief, amongst many others (Helmanis, 2006 pp. 24‑25).

Almost 90 per cent of Australians suffer from some type sleep disorder at some stage of their lives. Of these, 30 per cent suffer from severe sleep disorders. Very few people regularly enjoy the amount, or quality of sleep that they need. The estimated economic costs to the country from this are between 3 and 7 billion dollars annually. There are also huge, unmeasured physical, psychological, emotional and social costs.

Insomnia

Causative factors for insomnia may be multifaceted but generally include some psycho physiologic hyperarousal or emotional distress. Other precursors may be pain, movement disorders, psychiatric disorders, circadium rhythm dysfunction, medication and substance abuse (Billiard and Bentley, 2004). In some cases, the risk of insomnia is subject to a genetic bias. However, specific physiologic indicators for the familial influence have not been fully identified (Parkes and Lock, 2009).

 Insomnia is the difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep or both resulting in inadequate quality or quantity of sleep (Tomoda et al, 2009). Insomnia can manifest itself by many symptoms from not being able to sleep at normal hours and low quality and quantity of sleep to sleeping but not finding it refreshing. Other symptoms may include daytime sleepiness, frequent waking, early morning waking and difficulty retuning to sleep (Cureresearch.com, 2005).

Most adults have experienced insomnia or sleeplessness at one time or another in their lives (Straker, 2008). It is estimated that insomnia effects around 30-50% of the general population with 10% experiencing chronic insomnia (Straker, 2008). It has been estimated that in the US that 70 million people suffer sleep problems, and of these, 30 million suffer chronic insomnia (Stahura and Martin, 2006). Recently a survey showed that 1046 of the 2000 adults surveyed experience at least one night of lost sleep due to insomnia symptoms; the survey also concluded that insomnia is a growing issue of concern (Goolsby, 2006).

Insomnia generally affects women more than men and the incidence rate tends to increase with age (Straker, 2008).

There is a clear correlation of age to insomnia (Curless et a!. 1993). A number of surveys have reported between 28% and 64% of post menopausal women suffer from insomnia (Hachul de Campos et al. 2006).

Insomnia can be classified into three categories transient, short-term and chronic insomnia (Tomoda et al, 2009). Transient insomnia are symptoms lasting less than one week, short term insomnia are symptoms lasting between one-three weeks and chronic insomnia are those symptoms lasting longer than three weeks (Tomoda, 2009).

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes overwhelming and severe day time sleepiness (Retsas et al, 2000). Pathologic sleepiness is characterised by the fact that it occurs at inappropriate times and places (Retsas et al, 2000). These daytime sleep attacks may occur with or without warning and can occur repeatedly in a single day (Edgar et al, 2006). People who suffer from Narcolepsy often have fragmented night time sleep with frequent brief awakenings (Edgar et al, 2006).

Narcolepsy is typically characterised by the following four symptoms:

Excessive daytime sleepiness (90%)

Cataplexy: A sudden and temporary loss of muscle tone often triggered by emotions such as laughter. (75%)

Hallucinations: Vivid dreamlike experiences that occur while falling asleep or upon wakening. (30%)

Sleep paralysis: Paralysis that occurs most often upon falling asleep or waking up. The person is unable to move for a few minutes. (25%) (Retsas et al, 2000)

Interestingly, regular night time sleep schedule and scheduled naps during the day is required for favourable outcomes (Edgar et al, 2006).

Sleep Apnoea

Sleep apnoea affects over 12 million Americans with it being more prevalent in men than women (Sjosten et al, 2009).  Sleep apnoea not only deprives sleep from the individual but their partners too (Yip, 2001). Sleep apnoea is defined as frequent and loud snoring and breathing cessation for at least 10 second for five or more episodes per hour followed by awakening abruptly with a loud snort as the blood oxygen level drops (Sjorsten et al, 2009).   People with sleep apnoea can experience anywhere between 5 apnoeic episodes per hour to several hundred per night (Sjorsten et al, 2009).

Symptoms of sleep apnoea are:

Excessive daytime sleepiness

Morning headaches

Sore throat

Intellectual deterioration

Personality changes

Behavioural disorders

Obesity

(Yip, 2001)

Obesity is the major cause of sleep apnoea often losing weight is all that is need to treat this disorder (Yip, 2001).

 

Part 3 and more coming

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Essential Sleep (Part 2)

Essential Sleep (Part 2)

The benefits of sleep include:

Feeling rested;

Being physically and mentally alert;

Having more energy;

Making fewer mistakes (including causing accidents);

Feeling psychologically and emotionally recovered;

and to experience:

Improved cognitive function;

Improved memory;

Higher stress tolerance and resilience;

Increased productivity;

Normal body balance;

Healthier weight;

Reduced risk of CVD, diabetes and cancer;

Living longer; and

Feeling healthier. 

during sleep the mind is cataloguing our memories and deciding what to keep and what to throw away it is making memories stronger. It also seems to be reorganizing and restructuring memories.

It’s not possible to learn something new when you sleep, like a foreign language, but you can reinforce something you already know.One study found that students learned to play a series of musical notes better after listening to them during a 90-minute nap. The research shows that memory is strengthened for something you’ve already learned. Rather than learning something new in your sleep.

A review of studies on sleep found that we tend to hold on to the most emotional parts of our memories.

Getting enough sleep is associated with energy, joy, optimistic thinking and coping with negative emotions. 

Stages of Sleep                                                                           

Sleep Stage

Brain Waves

Common Characteristics

Frequency

Type

 

 

Stage 1

NREM

 

 

4 to 8

 

 

Alpha

& Theta

 

Transition between sleep and wakefulness

Eyes begin to roll and close

Consists of mostly theta waves with some brief periods of alpha waves (similar to waves of wakefulness)

Stage lasts 5-10 mins

 

 

 

Stage 2

NREM

 

 

8 to 15

 

 

Theta, Spindles,

k-complexes

 

Brain wave peaks become higher

Spontaneous periods of muscle tone mixed with periods of muscle relaxation

Heart rate  and temperature decrease

Stage last 5-10 mins

 

 

Stage 3

NREM

 

2 to 4

 

Delta, Theta

 

Deep Sleep or Delta sleep

Very slow brain waves

 

 

Stage 4

NREM

 

0.5 to 2

 

Delta, Theta

 

The last of deep sleep before REM begins.

Consist mostly of Delta waves

 

 

 

Stage 5

 REM

 

 

 

≥ 12

 

 

 

Beta

 

Beta waves have a high frequency and occur when the brain is active when asleep and awake.

Frequent bursts of rapid eye movement (REM) and muscle twitches.

Increase in heart and breathing rate

Vivid dreaming occurs here.

(Cook and Nendick, 2007)

Circadian Cycle

When a person falls asleep and wakes up is largely determined by their circadian rhythm, a day-night cycle of about 24 hours. Circadian rhythms greatly influence the timing, amount and quality of sleep (Lockley et al. 1997).

Literally hundreds of circadian rhythms have been identified in mammals (Campbell 1993). Among the numerous systems and functions mediated by the circadian timing system are, hormonal output, core body temperature and metabolism. The circadian clock is believed to sit in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) located in the hypothalamus of the brain. It was thought that processes now linked with circadian timing e.g. sleep wake cycles, were due solely to environmental cues, for example solar activity, it is now recognised however that these biological rhythms are regulated by factors inherent to the organism (Campbell 1993). A circadian rhythm displays a 24 hour cycle of wakefulness and sleep synchronised with the world’s night/day clock (Mansuy et al, 2003).  Everyone’s cycle will vary depending on behavioural and psychological factors (Mansuy et al, 2003).  The most typical pattern will be low alertness in the mornings as we wake, to highly alert mid afternoon (Swain et al, 2007).

The natural circadian rhythm in the body, which maintains a regular sleep-wake cycle, makes important contributions to physiological processes and psychological health. The normal rhythm is reset daily by the influence of bright light in the morning. Shift-workers, who may work at night and sleep in the daytime, and blind people may have difficulty maintaining a normal sleep-wake cycle because the natural environmental cues are miss-timed (Morris 1999). Studies show that shift work is one the greatest influencing factor causing an alteration in an individual’s cycle along with sleeping disorders (Baulk, 2008).  Altering the circadian cycle can lead to periods of decreased alertness leaving people extremely vulnerable to accidents and injuries (Andersen et al, 2009).

Our sleep patterns appear to be polyphasic. In one experiment, subjects were exposed to 14 hours of darkness; then they remained in a state of quiet rest for about two hours before falling asleep.  They then slept for four hours, awakened from a dream, spent another two-hour period in quiet rest, and then fell asleep again for four hours more.  The subjects awoke at 6 a.m. each morning from their dream sleep and then spent two hours in quiet rest before arising at 8 a.m.  These subjects followed their own natural rhythms, sleeping for eight hours with blocks of time at quiet rest (Wehr, S.E, 1996).  This polyphasic sleep appears to be a pattern in many mammals.  We experience hypnagogic imagery – a state described as dreaming, drowsy, floating, wandering – every night just before we fall asleep.  Every night before we go to sleep we spend a few minutes in a state of relaxed wakefulness characterised by drifting thoughts and alpha brainwaves.

Another interesting method for lessening the impact of sleep deprivation was through a study that found there were certain hours better to sleep through the night. A new Stanford University study on the science of sleep deprivation suggests that early­ morning sleep is more restful than a middle‑of‑the‑night nap. In a study of two groups of men they found that early‑morning sleepers scored higher on wakefulness tests and on measures of sleep efficiency. (Stratton, 2003) Although this study shows that there may some advantages to when you get your sleep it is more an avoidance of the problem rather than a solution.

We are also influenced not just by sleep but also our perceptions of its quality. If we think we’ve had a wonderful sleep last night, we feel and perform better, even if our sleep was actually the same as usual. In this study researchers randomly told some people they’d had better sleep than others after they were hooked up to some placebo brain sensors). When they were given a cognitive test the next day, those who’d been told they slept the best also did the best in the test.

 

Part 3 and more coming

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Europe says BPA (bisphenol A) is an endocrine disruptor and needs to be regulated more heavily

Europe says BPA (bisphenol A) is an endocrine disruptor and needs to be regulated more heavily

BPA has received a lot of media attention over the last decade, primarily the effects of this chemical on our reproductive health and infants.

This week the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has classified bisphenol A, a chemical found in many common plastic products, as an endocrine disruptor and a ‘substance of very high concern’ due to its “probable serious effects to human health which give rise to an equivalent level of concern to carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic to reproduction substances”.

France banned BPA in baby bottles in 2010 and in food containers in 2012. The new European classification for BPA follows a proposal by the French food security agency (ANSES) from February this year. ECHA’s member state committee, made up of representatives from all 28 EU countries, agreed the change unanimously on 16 June.

But nothing in Australia?

Despite its widely known health effects BPA is still used in a variety of consumer products containing epoxy resins, polyester-styrene, and polycarbonate plastics. It is added to various plastics in many different consumer products including plastic bottles while epoxy resins are used as protective coatings for metal food and beverage cans. It is found in every can and most plastic bottles unless they are labelled BPA free. Bisphenol A is extensively used in the food-packaging industry so even food take away wrappers may be contaminated with BPA. It is also found in thermal paper for receipts and fax, however, human exposure occurs mainly from the direct contact of food with Bisphenol A containing plastics. Other exposure routes that are of particular concern are Bisphenol A leaching from babies’ feeding bottles, and Bisphenol A BPA leaching from dental fillings and sealants. In one study BPA was detected in 15 conventional samples, including dish and laundry detergent, tub and tile cleaner, soaps, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, nail polish, and sunscreen. Overall, human exposure to BPA is frequent and widespread, and more than 90% of individuals have detectable amounts of BPA in urine as reported by studies around the world. In a study in the USA BPA was found in 92.6% of urine samples from 2,517 people across the country.

BPA was first reported to impact the reproductive system of female rats in the 1930s. Since then there have been hundreds of published studies showing BPA effects in animals even at very low levels (μg/kg/d) and at levels we would normally be exposed to on a daily basis. It appears that these low levels may even be more of problem on health that much higher levels.

I have written extensively on this in my new book Dangerous Beauty

https://www.drdingle.com/products/dangerous-beauty-pre-release

Read more →

Europe says BPA (bisphenol A) is an endocrine disruptor and needs to be regulated more heavily

Europe says BPA (bisphenol A) is an endocrine disruptor and needs to be regulated more heavily

BPA has received a lot of media attention over the last decade, primarily the effects of this chemical on our reproductive health and infants.

This week the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has classified bisphenol A, a chemical found in many common plastic products, as an endocrine disruptor and a ‘substance of very high concern’ due to its “probable serious effects to human health which give rise to an equivalent level of concern to carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic to reproduction substances”.

France banned BPA in baby bottles in 2010 and in food containers in 2012. The new European classification for BPA follows a proposal by the French food security agency (ANSES) from February this year. ECHA’s member state committee, made up of representatives from all 28 EU countries, agreed the change unanimously on 16 June.

But nothing in Australia?

Despite its widely known health effects BPA is still used in a variety of consumer products containing epoxy resins, polyester-styrene, and polycarbonate plastics. It is added to various plastics in many different consumer products including plastic bottles while epoxy resins are used as protective coatings for metal food and beverage cans. It is found in every can and most plastic bottles unless they are labelled BPA free. Bisphenol A is extensively used in the food-packaging industry so even food take away wrappers may be contaminated with BPA. It is also found in thermal paper for receipts and fax, however, human exposure occurs mainly from the direct contact of food with Bisphenol A containing plastics. Other exposure routes that are of particular concern are Bisphenol A leaching from babies’ feeding bottles, and Bisphenol A BPA leaching from dental fillings and sealants. In one study BPA was detected in 15 conventional samples, including dish and laundry detergent, tub and tile cleaner, soaps, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, nail polish, and sunscreen. Overall, human exposure to BPA is frequent and widespread, and more than 90% of individuals have detectable amounts of BPA in urine as reported by studies around the world. In a study in the USA BPA was found in 92.6% of urine samples from 2,517 people across the country.

BPA was first reported to impact the reproductive system of female rats in the 1930s. Since then there have been hundreds of published studies showing BPA effects in animals even at very low levels (μg/kg/d) and at levels we would normally be exposed to on a daily basis. It appears that these low levels may even be more of problem on health that much higher levels.

I have written extensively on this in my new book Dangerous Beauty

https://www.drdingle.com/products/dangerous-beauty-pre-release

Read more →

Toxic Teflon

Toxic Teflon

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are persistent synthetic chemicals that are widely used in industrial applications and often detectable in humans. Some PFASs have a long half-life (how long it takes for half of the chemical to break down and be eliminated from the body) in humans. For example, the half-life of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA- which is used in the production of teflon), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS) has been estimated at 3.8, 5.4, and 8.5 years, respectively. That is, they will be in your body for a many years even after one exposure.

In rats, PFASs can interfere with the estrous cycle and have been linked with reduced fecundity, indicated by increased time to pregnancy (TTP) and risks of infertility. Dysfunction of menstrual cycle is a major cause of infertility and lower fecundity. Animal and human evidences suggest that PFASs affect formation of steroid hormones and hormone levels manifesting in altered menstrual cycles such as prolonged lengths. A recent epidemiologic study suggested that menstrual cycles may be lengthened in women with the highest serum concentrations of PFOA in comparison to those with the lowest concentrations.

In this study of PFASs in 950 pre-pregnant women with higher levels had increased odds of self-reported history of irregular menstrual cycle, long menstrual cycle and levels were negatively associated with self-reported history of menorrhagia. The study concluded that certain PFASs are associated with abnormal menstruation in humans. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP1203

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Phthalates one step closer to being banned in Europe.

Phthalates one step closer to being banned in Europe.

In 2015 The EU banned the use of 4 phthalates (butylbenzyl phthalate (BBP), di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)) but companies could seek—and have obtained—continued-use authorizations if there are no safer alternatives. However, very recently on June 20 2017, the EU went further and voted to remove the chemicals from consumer products that contain the phthalates at levels greater than 0.1% by weight by getting rid of any exemptions.

Phthalates are industrial chemicals often used to soften plastics in toys, household items such as food containers, and medical devices as well as construction materials, floorings, paints, lubricating oils, wood finishes, detergents, industrial plastics, pharmaceuticals, and as a plasticizer for polyvinyl chloride products. Phthalates have been increasingly added to cosmetic products such as perfumes, lotions, hairsprays, moisturisers, nail polish, deodorants, and ingredients in makeup, shampoos and soaps. They are used primarily at concentrations of less than 10% as plasticizers in products such as nail polishes (to reduce cracking by making polished nails less brittle) and hairsprays (to help avoid stiffness by allowing them to form a flexible film on the hair) and as solvents and perfume fixatives in various other products. Phthalates produce oily textures in lotions and they contribute to making skin feel soft and helping lotions penetrate deeper into the skin.

Some phthalates are included in personal care products because of their ability to hold colour, denature alcohol, and fix fragrance. Phthalates are also used as a fragrance base and as components of fragrances to make scents last longer. If a product’s label lists “fragrance” or “parfum,” it’s possible, even probable, that it contains phthalates (and parabens), as companies are not required to disclose fragrance components. Fragrance has emerged as the strongest predictor among PCPs of urinary concentrations of certain phthalate metabolites. In a 2012 study, the highest concentration of one particular phthalate was found in fragrance/perfume and car air freshener. Other products with high concentrations include car interior cleaner, tub/tile cleaner, bar soap, shaving cream, and lipstick. Interestingly, three different phthalates were found in so-called “alternative” products. These compounds may have been introduced as substitutes for the better-known anti-androgenic (testosterone) phthalates, even though they are also endocrine-disrupting chemicals.[2] An “alternative” shaving cream contained five different phthalates, illustrating the potential for simultaneous exposures to multiple phthalates, which act cumulatively and may act synergistically. What is worrying is that none of the products that were tested had “phthalate” on the label—including personal care products, which by law are required to list phthalates unless they are part of a secret fragrance ingredient. However, the conventional nail polish sample with measurable phthalate contained a product labelled “phthalic anhydride copolymer” which is just another phthalate. Phthalates are seldom listed on product labels in most countries because current regulations do not require listing individual fragrance components. It is obvious now that products marketed as “natural” may also contain phthalates, even though the consumer believes them to be “chemical-free.”

 

http://cen.acs.org/articles/95/i26/European-Union-further-restricts-four.html

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