Endocrine Disruptors (EDC’s)
Our endocrine system is like a communication network. It’s made up of a series of glands that communicate with the rest of the body. The glands tell different cells in our body to do something by releasing specific instructions via chemicals (hormones) in the bloodstream. The system is complex and functions in a sort of lock and key system. Your endocrine system is made up of “locks” called hormone receptors. Hormones moving through your body fit into those locks and act like “keys” which turn on and off various signals and functions within the body, binding with a receptor which reads and carries out the instruction. The instructions given depend on what the body needs to maintain hormonal balance. For example, the ovaries and pituitary glands need to secrete the correct amount and balance of hormones to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle. These hormones act as messengers and regulate everything from metabolism, mood, nervous system function, immune functions, sex drive, sleep, and appetite.
Many of the chemicals we encounter every day very closely resemble our own natural hormones and actually act as synthetic hormones or ‘messengers’. Unfortunately, there are now many artificial ‘keys’ called Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) that start to mimic and negatively affect and disrupt our natural receptors. They may also react with the hormone and change its function. As the artificial keys move through your body, they engage those hormone receptor “locks,” and will start to turn on or off the hormonal signals in our bodies. This intern, throws our entire system out of balance.
EDCs are mostly man-made and found in pesticides, plastics, additives or contaminants in food, and in personal care products.
Some endocrine disruptors are oestrogen’s. Some endocrine disruptors can imitate oestrogen’s in their behaviour but aren’t actually oestrogen’s. Some are natural. Some are man-made.
For a full list of Endocrine disruptors click here.