We've established the importance of hormones—they regulate everything from fertility to mood and can even influence your weight. But despite our efforts to balance our hormones via food and supplements, there's a third influence at play that's arguably the most pervasive: lifestyle. "Our environment has a huge effect on our hormones," said Burt Webb, MD, to Bustle. "It can throw your hormones off by causing your organs to alter their production of hormones."
We don't suggest you live your life according to your hormones, but understanding the many factors at play can significantly improve the quality of your day-to-day. As Sara Gottfried, MD told MyDomaine, "When your hormones are in balance, neither too high nor too low, you look and feel your best." Here are the environmental factors to be aware of when trying to balance your hormones at home:
A study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that plastic actually releases chemicals that have a similar effect on the body as estrogen. BPA, specifically, can actually cause cancer if exposure reaches chronic levels.
GMO Foods + Fabrics
GMO stands for genetically modified organism, which is a scientifically engineered organism not found in nature. The jury is still out on the safety of genetically modified foods, but studies have linked GMO foods with hormonal imbalances and infertility. Fabrics can also contain GMO cotton derivatives, including clothes and linens.
Many couches contain a compound to make them fire retardant, said Sara Gottfried to our sister site Byrdie. Unfortunately, "These chemicals have been directly associated with endocrine disruption and have even been shown to impact thyroid function in pregnant women."