How Plastics Harm Thyroid Gland and Tips to Reduce the Harm.
Inside - Do you know that plastics that you use on daily basis might be the reason for your thyroid disorder? In this article, you will understand how plastics can harm your thyroid and what should you do about it.
According to American Thyroid Association, approximately 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid problem. And almost 12% of the US population is likely to develop thyroid problems during their lifetime. This escalation in thyroid problems - not only in the US but globally - is partly attributed to the widespread use of plastics in our daily life.
In recent years, the use of plastic has exponentially grown a lot. Plastics are everywhere in our life. From the water we drink to the food we eat, it's hard to avoid them. But did you know that they can also affect your thyroid health?
The chemicals found in plastics have been linked with a variety of health problems including hormonal imbalances and weight gain. And because plastic is used so much in packaging, many people don't realize just how much they're exposed to these harmful substances on a daily basis.
Did you know - Even the metal products we use like food cans, bottle tops, or water lines are also extensively coated by epoxy resins which in turn contain BPA in it.
Recent research shows that this plastic is actually destroying the thyroid gland. But how is it happening? Why do Plastics harm your thyroid? - Simply read on to know about why plastic destroys the thyroid gland and how it does it.
BPA in Plastics
Plastic is a form of synthetic material. The word plastic comes from Greek, meaning something that can be shaped or molded into different forms. The most common examples of plastics are 1) Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET for short), 2) High-density polyethylene (HDPE), 3) Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE).
For decades this has been fairly under the radar and over the last decade or so there's been more awareness as to just how harmful plastics really are.
Plastics, without any doubt, have many chemicals in them. One of the main chemicals used in certain plastics is BPA or Bisphenol-A.
Researches prove that this BPA has the ability to seep into food items when in contact for a longer time. These BPA can cause health effects like reproductive disorders, weight gain, thyroid disorders, and other hormone imbalances.
Another important fact is that these harmful chemicals and toxins in plastic can also affect the brain function of a person. For example, BPA actually changes the way your neurotransmitters - such as serotonin - function in the brain.
And this is not all about BPA: there are literally thousands of chemical compounds used in plastics that you should know about.
BPA - the endocrine disruptor
Recent studies prove that this Bisphenol A or BPA in plastics is, in fact, an endocrine disruptor.
Endocrine disruptor means this BPA in plastic can affect the endocrine system of a person. The endocrine system is responsible for controlling things like mood, energy levels, digestion and weight management, sex drive, metabolism, and overall well-being.
The thyroid, one of the most important endocrine glands, is heavily affected by BPA. BPA found in plastics harms our thyroid by disrupting its normal functioning. It has been demonstrated that BPA destroys your thyroid glands in 2 ways.
BPA Interferes with the Thyroid Hormone Production
BPA is said to greatly interfere with the proper production of thyroid hormones in our body.
There was a research study done where they did a mass study checking the levels of BPA in people. They compared it with their thyroid levels.
What they found was that the higher the amount of BPA levels in people's body, the lower the amount of thyroid hormone. So basically BPA levels are destroying your thyroid hormone or not letting a thyroid gland produce thyroid hormones normally.
Eventually, our thyroid gland may not be able to function properly.
BPA disrupts the thyroid hormone-receptor complex
The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones whose sole purpose is to bind to its receptor on various cells in our body. These two molecules - a hormone and receptor, are known as a "hormone/receptor complex".
When this hormone/receptor complex binds, it activates certain genes which leads to a particular action (like metabolic rate).
This BPA in plastic can actually connect to these receptors. As a result, thyroid hormone will not be able to connect to the receptor, thus disrupting the normal functioning of the thyroid hormone. This can be devastating for your thyroid health and metabolism. If this process is not properly working, then you may have problems losing weight or gaining weight and eventually develop many other health issues as well.
BPA affecting children
Of all the problems caused by BPA in plastics, its effect on children is so shocking. The reason is that the concentration of BPA is much higher in children compared to adults. This means, younger the child, the worse the effect of BPA on them.
And this explains why there is a huge increase in thyroid disorders in young children.
Ways to reduce plastic exposure
With all these said, it is now evident that reducing the use of plastic is more than necessary. But the real question is, How to reduce plastic exposure?
Here are a few tips you can follow:
Switch to glass or steel containers
Of course, this requires more effort and money but it is better than nothing. And the best part is glass and steel are perfectly safe for storage.
This should be a better option than using those high-BPA plastics to store your food products.
Stop using plastic water bottles
Stop buying packaged plastic water bottles. These plastic bottles with water might have been sitting on the shelf for several months. This means you will be drinking several months of seeped BPA along with the water.
Instead, invest in a good quality water filter that will filter all the unnecessary chemicals, and that way you don't have to use bottled water.
So, choose stainless steel or aluminum water bottles instead of plastic bottles. Take your own water on these bottles instead.
Choose BPA free alternatives
With increasing awareness about the problems of using plastic products, the availability of BPA- free plastics has increased. It can be a great alternative for regular low-grade plastics. It can be replaced in every place like food cans, baby bottles, water bottles and so on.
Also, when you shop at grocery stores, there will usually be an indication on some products saying "may contain trace amounts of BPA" on the box. So when buying such products, make sure they do not have this statement on the label since it most likely contains BPA.
Try Ceramic products
Ceramic products can be a good alternative to plastics. Like plastics, ceramics too come in various designs. So, for those who look for aesthetics in every kitchen and dining utensils, ceramics can be a great choice. Also, ceramics are non-porous, unlike plastics. This means that food poisoning or bacterial growth is no longer a concern.
Also, because ceramics are very durable, they can be used for centuries without any problems.
Avoid Plastic Food wraps
Food wraps or cling wraps have become an important part of our routine food packaging which we wrap around food and store it in the refrigerator. The use of these wraps has become widespread due to their convenience and time-saving benefits as well.
But these plastic wraps are a health hazard since they contain small amounts of BPA which seeps into your food when heated.
So, to protect your health, avoid using plastic wraps and instead use food-grade aluminum foil or natural bee wax paper for storing your food.
Plastics have become a vital part of our lives. It is high time we understand BPA is one of the main reasons why thyroid problems are on a rise. This makes it harder for people to stay healthy and feel healthy
For anyone who wants to avoid many serious problems caused by plastics, what you better do is avoid using plastics as much as possible. If not just eliminate plastics, find an alternative way that can be safe and good for your health. Just remember: reducing the use of plastics can be a great step to start healing your thyroid and other health disorders.
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