Plastics were obtained from natural sources found in nature; gas, oil, minerals, coal, and plants. For example, rubber was made out of a rubber tree! The first synthetic plastics were derived from cellulose in 1800, and in order to make them more durable, they heated up the process with chemicals. Current raw materials from plastics can come from thousands of sources, even salt! but the most common ones are made from the hydrocarbons extracted from oil, coal and natural gas. Let us understand how does plastic affect our hormones.
Our ability to have children (and even to have sex) is reduced by the constant consumption of chemicals made from petroleum. Referring to the book ¨Our Stolen Future¨written by the Dr. Theo Coldburn, it shows how the lower quality in sperm count and hormonal imbalance is linked to these environmental factors. As Dr. Atreya Smith states in his Ayurvedic Nutrition book; ¨Ayurveda see both, men and women prone to accumulate toxic substances in the reproductive system. Since the body is seeing as a progressive development of tissues, each one nourishing the next one. Any foreign matter such petrochemicals would accumulate in the reproductive tissues (among other things) causing even fertility.¨
How do petrochemicals harm us?
Often the effects are manifested in children or grandchildren of contaminated adults. Petrochemicals are everywhere, from medicines to food, cleaning products, etc. Dr. Atreya Smith states that even if is hard to believe, the plastic wrap that you use to cover your food with, could be adding minute particles or harmful petroleum molecules in your food, and yes, this is probably the case. These products have a hormone-like an effect on the body and are called ¨xenobiotics, the ones with specific estrogen-like effect are called ¨xenoestrogens¨.
Looking from a biochemical point of view, the cell has a porous wall that allows the nutrients to enter and contribute to the cellular metabolism. These cells have receptacles (special doors) that welcome the nutrients or chemicals into the cell. Hormones have their own door to enter the cells. Since petrochemicals have the hormone-like effect, they block the doors to the normal hormones. They are acting either as a hormone or starving the cell of the hormone whose door they are blocking. Besides the endocrine system (hormone system), other normal hormone function like digestion or anti-inflammatory responses can be also affected.
How does plastic affect our hormones?
Hormones help control every function in the body. Petrochemicals tend to have a ¨estrogenic¨effect on the body, but other can act like testosterone. The estrogenic strength of the chemicals is bigger than anything occurring normally in the body. One of the main trouble is that the body lacks the ability to recognize them as invading hormone. Even though it can self-regulate, eliminating the excess of hormones from the bloodstream and also increasing them if needed.
Many of the menstrual problems come from an excess of estrogen and low progesterone. If the estrogen does not cause directly issues, often inhibits the production of progesterone (the hormone that has the balancing action on estrogen). Therapies that counteract the chemical residue in the body help to relieve symptoms.
How do you try to avoid plastics? Do you buy in bulk? do you store in glass containers?
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