Vitality

Your Hormones Are Affected Daily By Things You May Not Expect

The functioning of the body is highly dependent on hormonal balance, particularly if you happen to suffer from conditions like thyroid disease. Even when you take measures to ensure a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine, you may be exposed to everyday things that can affect the production of your hormones. Here are five of them that may surprise you:

Beauty Products

Studies have pointed out some cosmetic products may contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals. If you suffer from thyroid disease or endocrine conditions, in particular, it is recommended you avoid products with ingredients such as formaldehyde, lead, oxybenzone and more.

These disruptors may be present in everyday makeup such as lipstick, sunscreen, nail polish, eye makeup, etc. You may also be exposed to them if you make regular trips to the beauty salon. For example, formaldehyde has often been used in permanent hair straightening treatments despite numerous associated health risks.

Physical Touch

Experiencing human touch in the form of hugs, hand-holding, massages and cuddling can set off receptors, releasing a hormone called oxytocin. Matt Hertenstein, an experimental psychologist at DePauw University in Indiana, noted it also reduced stress hormones. Similar to our responses to pleasant smells and tastes, a soft or friendly touch "makes the orbital frontal cortex light up, just like those other rewarding stimuli," he said.

Smartphones

Hormonal suppression can also be added to the long list of health risks linked to excessive use of smartphones. While all kinds of light can affect hormones, the light emitted from electronic screens (known as blue light) is twice as powerful in suppressing them.

Blue light can reduce the levels of melatonin in your body, which is the hormone that influences circadian rhythms. In the long run, this can cause a build-up of neurotoxin and increase the risk of depression. 

Hand Sanitizer

Studies suggested excessively pumping antibacterial sanitizer to clean your hands may actually end up doing more harm than good. Overuse can weaken your immune system by altering the balance between good and bad bacteria.

Triclosan, an ingredient often found in sanitizers, was suspected to negatively affect thyroid hormones and potentially lead to hypothyroidism. In addition, reports have found exposure to sanitizers (as well as deodorizers, disinfectants, and sterilizers) may also be linked to the development of thyroid cancer.

Travel

Traveling can affect the hormones melatonin and cortisol. 

"Even subtle changes to your daily pattern—waking up early one day and then sleeping late the next—can have a small effect on your melatonin levels," said Dr. Anita Mitra, a gynaecologist with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. "So it’s less the flight and more that the flight has taken you to another destination and time zone."

When these levels change, they can affect testosterone in men. On the other hand, women may face changes in their period cycle due to disruption of the ovulation schedule.

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