I’ve got my arm in a sling at the moment, so have taken a moment to reflect on strong bones, the importance of calcium and exercise, and… skincare. Yep!
Did you know your bones are part of your endocrine system? When we think of our endocrine system and the hormones it produces, we tend to think along the lines of our pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands, and sex hormones generally jump to mind too. There are other glands that produce hormones, but also entire organs with different primary functions that do a little endocrine-pumping on the side. Bones are a great example of this.
Bones provide support, protection and are the source of your blood cells. Bones also produce hormones, which regulate complex biological processes all around the body. Osteoblasts (a type of bone cell) secrete a protein hormone called osteocalcin which stimulates the proliferation of insulin-producing ‘beta cells’ in the pancreas, increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin, increases the uptake of glucose by skeletal muscles thus improving capacity for exercise, protects against obesity and glucose intolerance, and reduces fat stores.
It puts a whole new light on the benefits of healthy bones – yes, we want to avoid osteoporosis, but wow, look at all the extra benefits healthy bones bring to our health and well-being!
It’s not just our bones, either. So many different parts of our body play a role in hormone production, and those hormones are responsible for managing our metabolism, reproduction, our response to stress and other important functions.
Messing with our hormones can sometimes have effects all over the body that are completely unexpected, not necessarily obvious in their source and not proportional to the level of exposure. This is why you’ll find recommendations about avoiding endocrine (or hormone) disruptors from time to time in the media. This isn’t internet hysteria, or paranoia. There are solid scientific, evidence-based reasons for avoiding these chemicals.
Some endocrine disruptors are hard to avoid, but there are a whole lot that are super-easy to avoid. You just need to know what to look out for and make simple changes. See, for example, this article written by the Environmental Working Group which has some handy tips about avoiding endocrine disruptors.
Skincare and haircare can contain a lot of endocrine disruptors. If it all seems like hard work and you don’t want to think about it, then you’re not alone. That’s why the Y natural team spends so much time researching this stuff and making luxurious, super-healthy products, so you don’t have to do the hard yards yourself.
That said, if you’d like to build up your knowledge, we’d love to help, so here’s a handy starting point for endocrine disruptors to avoid in personal care products:
- Parabens and other preservatives that act in a similar way to parabens. It’s easy to spot paraben on an ingredients list, eg ethyl paraben, methyl paraben, butyl paraben and propyl paraben. Parabens are toxic petrochemicals that may cause dermatitis, allergic reactions and rashes; they’re also hormone disruptors, linked to cancer and known to release formaldehyde (a cancer-causing chemical, or carcinogen) as they degrade. Avoid butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) at all costs, as well as butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), DMDM hydantoin and imidazolinyl urea.
- “Fragrance” or “parfum” in an ingredient list typically denotes a chemical cocktail of up to 200 different chemicals, most or all of which are man-made. These chemicals are known to cause the majority of allergic reactions with cosmetics and skincare products. Artificial fragrances almost always contain phthalates, which are there to help make the fragrance last longer. We’ve written about these before -the World Health Organisation has lots of information that points to phthalates being involved in deformities of the sex organs of baby boys, childhood leukaemia, childhood obesity, childhood asthma and other problems any parent would not wish upon their child. Please avoid artificial fragrances, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
There are others, but this is a good start 🙂
I’m going to stop typing now, to rest this pesky arm of mine. I’ll be back soon though,so in the meanwhile, be healthy and happy, take care of your bones and we hope your skin is looking fabulous!