We've known for several years now that Bisphenol A, better known as BPA, can result in some harmful effects on our health. This chemical is a man-made compound used to make plastics, and has been available since the late 1950s. Today, it is nearly impossible to avoid BPA in our daily lives, as it is found in everything from our personal care products, to the lids on our Starbucks coffee cups, all the way down to the dental floss we use to keep our teeth clean.
BPA is known as a xenoestrogen, a compound with similar chemical properties as the hormones in our bodies. It can be found virtually everywhere, including in human tissues, due to its widespread use and ability to accumulate in body tissues.
Once in the body, BPA mimics estrogen, interacting with estrogen receptors that promotes changes in cell growth and cell death, which has potential to contribute to the development or progression of cancer.
BPA affect genetic expression and gene signaling; because of this, BPA has been linked as a risk factor in prostate cancer and breast cancer.
In 2017 alone, we observed even more emerging research on the health risks of BPA:
Thyroid: Exposure to BPA altered the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis in female rats, affecting hormone signaling, possibly with effects on the pituitary and thyroid glands. The same results were also found to be true for BPA-free compounds, Bisphenol-F and Bisphenol-S. In other words, BPA-free plastics may not be any safer than BPA itself.
PCOS: When women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) were studied, comparing BPA levels between two groups shows significantly higher level in PCOS group compared with control group without PCOS. These results indicated a link between BPA and the progression of PCOS.
Brain: BPA negatively impacts behaviors and endocrine functions. Neurotoxic effects appear to include impaired learning and increased anxiety.
Research: Common Sources of BPA
Research: Getting BPA Out of Your System
BPA is notoriously difficult to remove from the body once it's there! To protect yourself from the harmful effects of this synthetic compound, here are some strategies to try:
Reducing Your Exposure
Avoid canned foods, fast food, pizza, and decline or go paperless when it comes to register receipts. This means home-cooked meals and fresh, whole foods!
Discontinue drinking or eating from plastic, even BPA-free alternatives, which carry many of the same health risks as BPA. Go back to basics with glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bottles and cookware.
Especially avoid the combination of plastic + heat. Do not drink your coffee out of cups with plastic lids and steer clear of bottled water that has been exposed to heat, which happens often when the bottle has been sitting in a hot car.
One study found that the bacteria, Bacillus pumilus, from kimchi helped to break down BPA in the body. (1) If you're not impressed yet, the probiotics in kimchi were also found to also degrade and eat up chlorpyrifos, a harmful insecticide.
Take a probiotic capsule
In another study, two particular strains (which can be found easily in broad-spectrum probiotics), Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei, reduced the body's absorption by increasing the excretion of BPA in feces. (2)