Health Impact of Xenoestrogens

Xenoestrogens are manmade chemical compounds that resemble the natural estrogen secreted in the human body. “Xeno” means foreign and xenoestrogens represent foreign estrogens. These chemical compounds mimic the effect of the natural estrogen present in the human body. We are bombarding these harsh chemicals in our body every day and they cause serious health problems in both men and women. They are present in foods, cosmetics, medicines, plastics, household products, herbicides, insecticides, birth control pills, sunscreens and many other products that we come in contact with.

Xenoestrogens are a group of heterogeneous chemicals that are prepared synthetically and found in different products that we use every day. These differ from phytoestrogens because xenoestrogens are manmade and phytoestrogens are obtained from plants. These hormones like compounds are known for over many years. It has been discovered that these chemicals are now entering into our body though various sources and affecting our health by acting as natural estrogen. Research shows that xenoestrogens are harmful for our body and can cause severe illnesses. 

Our endocrine system secretes various hormones for normal functioning of the body organs. Hormones refer to the chemical messengers of our body that regulate different functions. Xenoestrogens are the chemical compounds that disrupt the normal functioning of hormones in our body. It is found that these chemical compounds can cause reproductive changes, developmental hazards and carcinogenic effect on our body. These compounds are a primary cause of reproductive health problems in both women and men because they attach to and over-stimulate estrogen receptor sites. This causes changes in estrogen-sensitive tissues like the breasts, uterus and prostate.

Estrogen is a group of different hormones that stimulate the functioning of female reproductive system. They travel through blood stream and reach reproductive organs to stimulate their functioning. Main organs that are affected by the secretion of estrogen include ovaries, uterus, breast, liver, heart and brain. Xenoestrogens can cause a rapid increase in the level of estrogen in our body to create imbalance of hormones. Women above 35 years of age are prone to suffer from PMS, menopausal symptoms, weight gain, PCOS, and other female related health issues due to estrogen overload. Research studies indicate that xenoestrogens act as free radicals and can cause proliferation of cells thus producing breast or uterine cancers.

Health impacts of Xenoestrogens
Breast cancer
Xenoestrogens consist of organochlorines which are concentrated in cancer cells. Surrounding healthy cells are free from xenoestrogens. These chemical compounds are toxic to our body cells and behave similar to the estrogen normally secreted in our body. Xenoestrogens break up quickly and prevent natural estrogen from binding to the cells. Hence, normal estrogen is prohibited from doing its normal function. According to Feminist Women's Health Center, xenoestrogens move inside the receptor cells and disturb the division and growth of the cells, thus causing abnormal growth of the breast cells resulting in breast cancer.

Natural estrogen acts on ovaries, uterus and breast tissue for stimulating these organs to function normally. According to, when the amount of xenoestrogens increases in the body, it stimulates the growth of uterine tissues, breast tissues and ovarian cells. It may produce various cell proliferating diseases such as ovarian cyst, endometriosis, and fibrocystic breast disease and ultimately results in infertility. Xenoestrogens are also responsible for producing miscarriages as it reaches the foetus through placenta.

A study was published by "Proceedings of the National Academy Of Sciences of the United States Of America" in the year 2000 stated that xenoestrogens are also responsible for producing disturbance in the secretion of insulin hormones from the islets of langerhans of the pancreas. This disruption of islets of langerhans can cause lower production of insulin thus resulting in high blood sugar or diabetes.

Birth defects
According to, xenoestrogens break the placental barrier and reach developing foetus thus causing harm to the baby. It may cause serious birth defects as xenoestrogens may reach baby through the mother’s milk. A 2005 study by Belcher and coworkers found that even very low levels of a xenoestrogen can affect fetal neural signaling more than higher levels (PMID 16123166).

In men excess xenoestrogens increases the rise of prostate cancer through the same process that occurs in a woman’s breast. It increases the potential for conversion of estrogen to 16-alpha hydroxyl estrone—a carcinogen. Xenoestrogens contribute to the death of testicular tissue in men and boys, depression caused by testosterone suppression, premature aging, infertility and obesity.

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Steps to reduce exposure to xenoestrogens
The basic and foremost step to reduce the amount of xenoestrogens is to avoid as much as possible. You may include phytoestrogen in your diet, which are naturally found in plants and produce positive effects on the cells of the human body.

Detoxify your body regularly to eliminate excess of toxic substances.

Drink more amounts of water as it is a natural liquid that helps in flushing out harsh chemicals from our body.

Avoid heating of food in plastics as they may introduce xenoestrogens in your food during the heating process. In place of plastic containers try using glass or ceramics.

Try to use natural personal care products, including cosmetics, household products, and fertilizers, oils that are without any added chemicals and only consist of herbs or natural ingredients.

Avoid processed foods, decrease amount of fats, increase intake of proteins to boost up your immune system. Organic foods are recommended, which are free from hormonal ingredients.