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Endocrine Disruptors Linked to Diabetes and Numerous Health Issues

as previously shared in Natural Awakenings Lowcountry Edition

According to the Endocrine Society-- a 100-year-old international professional organization dedicated to the field of endocrinology and metabolism-- “Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are chemicals that mimic, block or interfere with hormones in the body’s endocrine system.” Unfortunately, most people are exposed to many of these chemicals every day. They are implicated in a multitude of health problems, including obesity and diabetes.

In animal studies, common EDCs such as dioxins, phthalates, and pesticides and bisphenol A (BPA), have caused insulin resistance and altered beta-cell function. Beta cells in the pancreas are responsible for insulin production. Insulin then acts like a key and interacts with insulin receptors or the “lock” on the doorways of the body’s cells that allow glucose to enter and be used for fuel by our cells. This evidence suggests that exposure to EDCs may be a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.

EDCs are found in everyday products, such as plastics, metal cans, toys, cosmetics, pesticides and thermal paper receipts. They are also used in processed foods. To avoid BPA and phthalates in food, choose fresh foods over frozen and canned. Don’t purchase frozen “steamer” bags. Remove frozen food items and cook in a dish or pot. Never heat food in plastic crockpot liners. “Microwave safe” plastic containers only mean a product won’t melt. It has not undergone any food safety testing. When using canned items, look for “BPA-free” lining. Also, store food in glass or food-grade stainless steel containers. Avoid plastic foam food containers or any plastic food item container with a recycle code of 3, 6, or 7. Finally, drink filtered water out of a glass or stainless-steel bottle and skip the plastic water bottles. These steps will benefit personal well-being and Mother Earth.

Our environment can greatly influence our health. Educating oneself about many of these harmful chemicals and avoiding exposure can have a positive effect on health and the health of the planet.

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