Hormones & Chemicals – Small Doses Matter

close up childs face blue eye

Did you know that there are around 70,000 chemicals in the US that exhibit hormonal effects in the body? Yikes! Couple chronic toxic exposure with poor eating habits, too much sugar and processed foods, not enough exercise, stress of everyday life, and we’ve got a recipe for some seriously out of balance hormones.

This hormonal imbalance is likely at the root of most people’s weight problems, infertility, reduced sex drive, increased cancer risks, and could very likely be a significant factor in increases in childhood diseases and developmental and behavioral problems.

Although I’m not the hormonal excerpt that Andrea Nakayama is (this is why I love our partnership – we compliment each other so well!), I do find myself talking about the hormonal system quite a bit it relates directly with our chronic toxic exposure and this relationship is one of the most important to understand when considering chemical exposures.

Usually, when we think of chemical exposures, we think that the bigger the exposure this bigger the risk…. that getting a tiny drop of toxic waste on you isn’t going to have as bad an impact as say, bathing in it. Turns out in many cases, that’s not even close to being true… As the saying goes: “anyone who thinks they’re too small to make a difference has never fallen asleep with a mosquito in the room!”

The idea that more is worse than less dates back to the mid early 1500’s, when Paracelsus, dubbed the “father of toxicology” wrote:

“All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose permits something not to be poisonous.”

or, more simply put: “the dose makes the poison”

The entire field of Toxicology is based on the premise that the bigger the dose the bigger the impact. When testing for the relative toxicity of a compound, toxicologists start with really high doses and work their way down the dose scale looking for something called LOAEL or NOAEL (Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level) or (No Observed Adverse Effect Level). When they stop seeing adverse effects in lab animals, they usually build in a factory of “safety” and set the “safe exposure level” based on those figures. And most of the time, the testing stops there… they don’t bother testing for effects below the point at which they no longer observe them.

not so little rat in a cage


There are a few problems with this methodology though:

First: They’re looking for ADVERSE effects – these tend to be big, obvious effects like cancer, enlarged organs, altered behavior, or death.

Second: These animal studies are typically short lived (along with the animals themselves), meaning for the sake of being able to complete their lab testing in a reasonable amount of time, they compress time so to speak, and often don’t allow the animals to reach “old age” or to reproduce for multiple generations, thus missing the opportunity to see more subtle, longer to manifest symptoms.

Three: They rarely bother to test for effects below that LOAEL or NOAEL levels.

But as it turns out there are some very very profound effects being seen at teeny tiny doses, far far below what’s normally tested. This is especially the case for chemicals that are capable of impacting our HORMONES (ahh… finally, getting to the juicy part!).

Our hormonal system was designed to respond to tiny, infinitesimal doses of hormones in the body… chemical messengers that are being shot through our system in parts per trillion levels. Birth control pills, capable of having profound intended effects like regulation menstruation, can also have profound unintended effects.

And birth control is being delivered into the body in absurdly small doses. These are like the mosquito in the bedroom when you’re trying to sleep – seems really small, and inconsequential, but turns out they’re not. Those teeny tiny doses matter.

Those 70,000 chemicals I mentioned before that are capable of exhibiting hormonal effects? We’re being dosed with them every day, in teeny tiny amounts. Amounts that are capable of having profound impacts on growth, development, hormonal balance… It’s very likely that these daily doses play a huge role in throwing our hormonal balance out of whack. They’re not the only thing responsible, but they’re definitely not helping.


I don’t mean to yell…I just can’t stress how important this is for our health & wellness!.

Our hormonal system is delicate… it’s supposed to be. Keeping it balanced and working for us rather than against us is something, in this day and age, that doesn’t just come naturally. We need a little help getting back on track. If you feel that your hormones are out of whack (tell-tale signs: weight gain, thinning hair, infertility, thyroid disorders, breast or ovarian cancers, frazzled moods….you know what I’m talking about!), then you should consider being part of EstroZen, a 3 week, hormone balancing detox run by my good friend and colleague Andrea Nakayama of ReplenishPDX. This detox is all about addressing the things in your life (including chemicals – this is done by yours truly) that contribute to hormonal imbalance.

This group detox start on October 20th… If you’re reading this post after the 20th- don’t worry – EstroZen will run again! I hope to see you in this program and can’t wait to help you pull out some of the worst chemical toxins that are responsible for throwing your hormones out of balance!

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