Hormone Havoc and how to bring them in
The body represents the most magnificent and complex chemical factory ever
designed. All body functions, strong immune response, and general good
health depend on a proper balance of hormones. Prostate and breast cancers
are considered to be hormone dependent.
In the past 55 years synthetic chemicals have become pervasive in our
society and all over the globe. We have a pretty good understanding ofjust
how damaging they are to wildlife, and are beginning to recognize similar
negative impact on human health.
In 1945 diethylstilbestrol (DES) was introduced as a prescription drug for
pregnant women to prevent miscarriage. DES mimics the action of natural
estrogen, but like other synthetic estrogens can have a dark side.
Prior to its administration to pregnant women it was known to cause
reproductive damage to ranch mink who had been fed offal from chicken
treated with DES. This was not enough of a warning to prevent it from being
given to pregnant women. It was only after children born to these women
began to develop reproductive disorders and unusual cancers as they reached
puberty and young adulthood that the drug was pulled off the market in 1971.
It continued to be used to fatten up poultry and beef cattle well into the
80s, after which it was replaced by similar hormone mimicking chemicals.
The long range effects of DES are a grim reminder of what can happen when
humans are exposed to synthetic chemicals which interfere with the body's
production and metabolism of its own natural hormones. These dangers are
easily carried over to the next generation where the damage can be subtle
and undetected but with devastating effects.
Estrogen mimics don't just affect women. Men make estrogen too, though in
smaller amounts compared to testosterone, and men are just as vulnerable to
any substance that interferes with the body's natural balance of these two
important horinones which can have a negative impact on prostate health.
Hormones in Meat
Outspoken critic of the cancer industry, Dr. Samuel Epstein had an article
in the Los Angeles 7Ymes, 3/24/97 offering the following scenario of meat
"When US and Canadian beef cattle go to feedlots, hormone pellets are
implanted under the ear skin,* a process that is repeated at the midpoint of
their 100 day fattening period. The hormones increase the weight of the
cattle, adding to profits by about $80 p/animal.
"The most common hormone in current use is estradiol, a potent cancer
causing and gene damaging estrogen. The FDA maintains that residues of
estradiol and other hormones in meat are within 'normal' levels, and has
waived any requirements for monitoring and chemical testing."
In response to a European Union ban of American beef, "The FDA!s claims of
safety were endorsed by a 1987 report of two LJN bodies, the Food and
Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization .... The joint
committee that prepared the report ... relied heavily on outdated scientific
citations,...claiming the hormone residues in legaRy implanted cattle are
low that eating treated meat could not possibly induce any hormonal or
The truth revealed in "confidential reports to the FDA, obtained under the
Freedom of Information Act, showed high hormone residues in meat products,
even under ideal test conditions. Following a single ear implant of Synovex
S, a combination of estradiol and progesterone, estradiol levels in
different meat products were up to 20 fold higher than norinal.
"In real life the situation may be much worse. An unpublicized random USDA
survey of 32 large feedlots found that as many as one half the cattle had
visible illegal 'misplaced' implants in muscle, rather than under the ear
skin. This would result in very high local concentrations of hormones, and
also elevated levels in muscle meat at distant sites. Such abuse is very
hard to detect.
"Responding to European concerns, the USDA recently claimed that, based on
standard residue monitoring programs, drug levels in violation of
regulations have not been detected in meat products. However, of 130 million
livestock commercially slaughtered in 1993, not one was tested for estradiol
or any related horinone.
"These hormones are linked evermore closely to the escalating incidence of
reproductive cancers in the US since 1950 55% for breast cancer, 120% for
testicular cancer and 190%(!) for prostate cancer.
"The endocrine disruptive effects of estrogenic pesticides and other
industrial food contaminants known as xenoestrogens are now under intensive
investigation by the federal regulatory agencies. But the contamination of
meat with residues of the far more potent estradiol remains ignored. "5
Govemment cannot be relied upon to. protect citizens.
The Skinny on Fat
Population stuclies indicate that high fat diets involving red meat
consumption increase prostate cancer incidence and accelerate its growth.
High blood levels of alpha linolenic acid, from animal fat, are markers for
prostate cancer risk.'
In addition to the hormones which are administered to cattle in feedlots,
the animals take in additional estrogenic compounds from pesticide treated
feed. Atrazine, an herbicide used in corn cultivation, has been found to
cause enlargement of the prostate and can lower testosterone levels. It has
also contributed to mammary tumors in laboratory rats. According to Dr.
Sherry Rogers, an expert on environmental illness, "It should come as no
surprise that the epidemic use of pesticides has contributed to the increase
in prostate cancers over the last twenty years. "7
The estrogenic mimicking chemicals are petroleum derivatives and are lipid
soluble, attaching to fat and bioaccumulating up the food chain, with humans
receivmg the largest doses of all. Meat lovers should consider eating
Because hormone mimicking chemicals are not easily flushed out of the body
as are natural estrogens, they can interfere with many of the body's natural
functions from alertness to immune suppression.
These chemicals are everywhere pesticides, fungicides and insecticides are
used on our food, in our homes, yards, schools, and places of business. They
are in detergents and personal care products. Even plastic has estrogenic
properties which can transfer to fatty food (like meat and cheese) around
which it is wrapped. Heating food in plastic containers in the microwave
should be avoided for this reason.
According to the Pesticide Education Center in San Francisco, numerous
studies show an association between pesticide exposure and certain types of
cancer such as prostate and testicular cancer in workers occupationally
exposed to pesticides. Pesticides that are classified as organochlorides
create havoc in both males and females by disrupting the endocrine system.'
Chemicals do not just disappear after they are used, contrary to what
manufacturers may say. The active ingredients often break down into
metabolite products that can be even more dangerous than the original
chemical and last indefinitely in the environment polluting our drinking
water, as well as the air we breathe.
Dr. Janette D. Sherinan of Alexandria, Virginia advocates for women with
breast cancer to have a fat tissue biopsy to determine what chemical
residues they may be harboring. This could be very useful for prostate
cancer patients to determine what chemical residues they may be harboring as
well, since dioxins, polyhalogenated biphenyls, dibenzofirans and otbers can
increase the formation of dihydrotestosterone in the prostate.
The risk factor for cancer may not be the animal fat itself, but all the
chemical toxins stored in the fat, which then bioaccumulate in the fat of
meat eating consumers.
Exposure to heavy metals and other pollutants can also increase risk.
Prostate cancer is particularly common among welders, battery manufacturers,
rubber workers, and workers frequently exposed to cadmium, a toxic heavy
Immune System Under Attack
Our immune systems are under additional attack from over the counter and
prescription drugs. Cortisone depresses the immune system by design. It
doesn't matter if it is used topically, oraUy, or by injection. It stops
pain, inflammation, swelling, itching, and a long fist of other symptoms by
blocking the body's normal inimune response.10
Drug induced nutrient depletion is a serious problem in this country. Acid
blockers, anti depressants, blood pressure medications, estrogen,
tranquilizers, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, cholesterol lowering drugs,
and oral anti-diabetic medications can cause nutrient depletion by
interfering with absorption and assimilation. Some drug induced deficiencies
can increase risk of osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer."