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Have you heard of BPA—otherwise known as bisphenol A?
Prenatal exposure to BPA is associated with breast cancer and prostate cancer in adult life.
BPA is a material that is used in plastic and packaging. It’s literally everywhere.
Beneficial probiotics, from fermented foods like kefir made from the Kefir Starter, can help the body detoxify dangerous BPA found in plastics, cans, and pipes. Probiotic bacteria can bind to BPA and reduce high levels in the bloodstream.
The Reality of BPA Dangers
You’ll find BPA in:
- Dental sealants
- “White” composite dental fillings
- Water bottles and baby bottles
- Sports equipment
- The lining of water pipes
- The lining of cans that hold canned foods and drinks
- Sales receipts
BPA isn’t only in plastic bottles, lined cans, and pipes. It’s in your food and drinking water too.
BPA can move from plastic into its surrounding environment, affecting your hormones and—if you are pregnant—your growing baby.
The Bad News: A Fraud That Ruins Your Hormones
In 2010, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) told the public about the hazards of BPA to unborn babies, infants, and children. (1)
Other animal studies point out that BPA may affect:
- Levels of testosterone—if your mother was exposed to BPA during pregnancy or if you were exposed to BPA during puberty
- Your metabolism—increasing your risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes
- Your gut—making it inflamed
BPA is a hormone disrupter, or “weak environmental estrogen.” (2)
It binds to the receptors for reproductive hormones, like estrogen. Wherever you find these receptors, you can bet that you will also see the harmful effects of BPA.
For example, there are hormone receptors in:
- Breast tissue
- The prostate gland in men
- The brain
- The gut
The problem is that when BPA binds to hormone receptors, it doesn’t act like those hormones. BPA makes breast tissue more sensitive to estrogen. In men, it interacts with androgen receptors, affecting the health of the prostate gland.
Prenatal exposure to BPA is associated with breast cancer and prostate cancer in adult life. Recent studies also show an association between prenatal BPA exposure and chronic inflammatory disorders in adult life—like insulin resistance and heart disease. (3)
In boys, BPA can inhibit the onset of puberty. (4) In girls, it can speed it up. (5)
If that’s not bad enough, BPA exposure in utero has also been linked to inflammatory bowel disease. (6)
The Good News: Probiotics Break Down BPA
If BPA is everywhere, and if it affects so many systems in the body, how are we all still standing?
The reality is that even toxins have a shelf life. This includes heavy metals, pesticides, and hormone disrupters like BPA. Eventually, an enzyme or a group of bacteria come along and break down the toxin.
Fortunately, many of the bacteria that get rid of BPA are the bacteria that we find in probiotic foods.
For example, in 2007 researchers found that the probiotics in a traditionally fermented food called kimchi were able to help the body detoxify BPA. (7) In 2008, scientists found that probiotics bind to BPA, limiting the amount of BPA from food and water that makes its way into your bloodstream. (8)
You can minimize the damage caused by BPA by:
- Avoiding canned food and making meals at home with fresh, whole foods.
- Avoiding all Even “safe” BPA alternatives have a similar chemical structure and a similar effect on the body. (9)(10)
- Not taking a receipt from the ATM machine or clerk. (11)
- Adding probiotics foods (like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir) to every meal.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
It's impossible to avoid BPA. It can be found in dental sealants, receipts, water bottles, baby bottles, water pipes, and canned foods and drinks. As BPA moves from plastic to the surrounding environment, it infiltrates the food and water supply. This has a dangerous effect on human hormones and a baby's development in utero.
The bad news about BPA is that it can affect fertility, testosterone levels, metabolism, and gut health, according to research. The good news about BPA is that it is possible for the body to detoxify—bacteria in probiotic foods can bind to BPA to limit the amount in the bloodstream.
Use these four important tips to minimize harmful BPA exposure today:
- Avoid canned foods and cook fresh meals at home instead.
- Avoid all plastics, even so-called "safe" BPA alternatives that may still harm the body.
- Decline receipts from store clerks and ATM machines.
- Detoxify by eating probiotics foods (like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir) at every meal.
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- FDA, U. (2010). Update on bisphenol A for use in food contact applications. FDA (ed) US food and drug administration, 1-7.
- Kitraki, E. (2014). BPA Effects In Vivo: Evidence from Animal Studies. In Plastics in Dentistry and Estrogenicity (pp. 89-114). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
- Veiga-Lopez, A., Pennathur, S., Kannan, K., Patisaul, H. B., Dolinoy, D. C., Zeng, L., & Padmanabhan, V. (2015). Impact of Gestational Bisphenol A on Oxidative Stress and Free Fatty Acids: Human Association and Interspecies Animal Testing Studies. Endocrinology.
- Ferguson, K. K., Peterson, K. E., Lee, J. M. Mercado-García, A., Blank-Goldenberg, C., Téllez-Rojo, M. M., & Meeker, J. D. (2014). Prenatal and peripubertal phthalates and bisphenol A in relation to sex hormones and puberty in boys. Reproductive Toxicology, 47, 70-76.
- Watkins, D. J., Téllez-Rojo, M. M., Ferguson, K. K., Lee, J. M., Solano-Gonzalez, M., Blank-Goldenberg, C., ... & Meeker, J. D. (2014). In utero and peripubertal exposure to phthalates and BPA in relation to female sexual maturation. Environmental research, 134, 233-241.
- Braniste, V., Audebert, M., Zalko, D., & Houdeau, E. (2011). Bisphenol A in the Gut: Another Break in the Wall?. In Multi-System Endocrine Disruption (pp. 127-144). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
- Yamanaka, H., Moriyoshi, K., Ohmoto, T., Ohe, T., & Sakai, K. (2007). Degradation of bisphenol A by Bacillus pumilus isolated from kimchi, a traditionally fermented food. Applied biochemistry and biotechnology, 136(1), 39-51.
- Oishi, K., Sato, T., Yokoi, W., Yoshida, Y., Ito, M., & Sawada, H. (2008). Effect of probiotics, Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei, on bisphenol A exposure in rats. Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry, 72(6), 1409-1415.
- Rosenmai, A. K., Dybdahl, M., Pedersen, M., van Vugt-Lussenburg, B. M. A., Wedebye, E. B., Taxvig, C., & Vinggaard, A. M. (2014). Are structural analogues to bisphenol A safe alternatives?. Toxicological Sciences, kfu030.
- Rochester, J. R. (2014). Response to “‘Everybody's plastic”: So what?’. Reproductive Toxicology, 50, 181.
- Hormann, A. M., vom Saal, F. S., Nagel, S. C., Stahlhut, R. W., Moyer, C. L., Ellersieck, M. R., ... & Taylor, J. A. (2014). Holding thermal receipt paper and eating food after using hand sanitizer results in high serum bioactive and urine total levels of bisphenol A (BPA). PloS one, 9(10), e110509.
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