Hormones Matter TM

Could This Be a Contributor to Weight Gain?

February 13, 2012  |  Tim Dannehy

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BPA

There has been a lot of news about Bisphenol A (BPA) lately, so I want to talk about what this chemical is, where it is found and how it can have a negative impact on your health.

What is BPA?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to manufacture polycarbonate plastics. This type of plastic is used to make water bottles, compact disks, plastic dinnerware, plastic toys and plastic food packaging. BPA epoxy resins are used in the protective linings of canned food and aluminum beverage containers.

A recent study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology showed that BPA is also found in a wide variety of paper products, including napkins, toilet paper, food wrappers, newspapers and cash register receipts. Levels found in these products are 100 to 1 million times higher than those found in food products. That is not a typo.

A study done by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) tested urine levels of 2,517 participants ages 6 and older. CDC scientists found BPA in the urine of nearly all of the people tested, which indicates widespread exposure to BPA in the U.S. population.

Those that suffer the greatest consequences of BPA exposure are pregnant women, infants and children.

Low levels of BPA exposure, like those found in food products, are associated with behavior problems in children, infertility, diabetes, early onset puberty, thyroid dysfunction, weight gain and polycystic ovarian syndrome. BPA is a known endocrine disruptor with estrogenic activity.

What is an endocrine disruptor?

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that either mimic or block our bodies’ natural hormone signals. BPA is a xenoestrogen. That means it mimics the hormone estrogen in our bodies. This can lead to an increased risk of early onset puberty in children.

Early puberty is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer later in life.

BPA has also been shown to adversely effect thyroid hormone levels. A study done at the University of Michigan showed that as urine BPA levels go up, thyroid hormone levels go down. This may lead to low thyroid function and weight gain.

BPA has been linked to high blood levels of the hormone insulin. High insulin levels are a sign of insulin resistance and a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Insulin also tells the body to store fat, making it very difficult to lose weight under these conditions.

How to limit exposure to BPA?

Although completely eliminating exposure to BPA may not be possible, there are steps you can take to reduce your family’s exposure to this chemical.

Eat fresh, local, WHOLE foods and avoid products like canned soups and vegetables.

A recent study evaluated the effect of a fresh food diet on levels of BPA in the body. Participants were placed on a diet of organic fresh foods that were not packaged in cans or plastic. Remarkably after only 3 days on this diet their Bisphenol A levels dropped by 60%.

  1. Do not heat plastics in a microwave. This releases BPA into your food. Use only glass containers to microwave food. Even if the label says that the container is microwave safe that only means the container is safe, not you. Whether the plastic contains BPA or not, ALL plastics contain chemicals that have estrogenic activity. These chemicals leach from the plastic into your food, and disrupt your hormones.
  2. Avoid cash register receipts. Ask for an email receipt if possible or wash your hands after handling, especially if you have young children. Of all the paper products tested, these contained the highest amount of BPA. BPA receipts have been banned in Japan, but not the U.S. and other countries. Although BPA absorption through the skin is limited, hand to mouth contamination is a concern, especially in children. Do not allow children to put any paper products in their mouths. They will, more than likely, be getting a large dose of BPA.
  3. Eat as much organic raw fruits and vegetables as possible. Not only are they free from BPA and pesticides, they give your liver the vitamins and phytonutrients necessary to detoxify and eliminate the BPA that you are exposed to.
  4. Avoid plastic water bottles. Drink your own filtered water in a stainless steel water container. It is better for your health and the environment. If you must buy bottled water, drink it completely and do not expose it to high temperatures or sunlight as these conditions increase BPA concentrations in the water.

BPA exposure cannot be avoided, but you must limit your exposure to maintain good health.

Stay healthy my friends.

To read more about the Tim, visit his website: My Wellness Consultant