Video Transcript: The Link Between Xenoestrogens and Cancer
Ty Bollinger: Now you mentioned estrogens. Is estrogen the hormone that females have and males have testosterone, or do we both have both? What is the difference between the hormones in females and males? And then I want to get to a question concerning the effect of estrogens on cancers.
Dr. Roby Mitchell: There’s no difference in the molecular aspect of the hormones that are in men and women. Women have testosterone, men have estrogen. Both have progesterone and corticosteroids and all these.
What’s different is the amount. So, women have a higher amount of estrogen, men have a higher amount of testosterone. Women have a higher amount of estrogen receptors. And men have a higher amount of testosterone receptors.
And so that’s key, that marriage between the receptor the hormone such that a woman—I can give a woman testosterone injections. She will never get as big as a man because she doesn’t have the receptors that a man has. We can put estrogen into a man and you’re not going to turn him into a woman, right, because he doesn’t have the receptors for those estrogens.
But we all have the same—we all produce the same, exact molecules as for as estrogens and testosterone and DHA and progesterone and these other hormones. It’s important that we understand for these estrogens, the human ones anyway, that again the—one of the pharmacologic characteristics of estrogen is that they make cells multiply, right. And this is very important in pregnancy, because that fetus has to grow so much. During pregnancy estrogen levels go way up and we get, again, we get exponential growth of a fetus.
Other cells, if they get exposed to higher levels of estrogen, then they can grow faster also. In breast cancer, in prostate cancer, and in other cancers if estrogen levels are elevated, or if we’re exposed to a more potent estrogen, and this is where we’re getting into environmental estrogens then that cancer can grow faster.
And it’s not necessarily that endogenous [internal] estrogens cause cancer, but they can certainly act like insulin, right? That’s the other cancer promoting hormone. They can make the fire burn hotter.
Ty Bollinger: Okay, great analogy. So it’s like more gasoline on the fire when you have a higher level of estrogen than you should have…
Dr. Roby Mitchell: Correct!
Ty Bollinger: …which lots of articles today that we’re reading about the effect of what they call xenoestrogens, which are fake estrogens in the environment. So can you talk about that a little bit in relationship to cancer?
Dr. Roby Mitchell: So that’s one of the reasons why we see such a proliferation of cancer in the West, and have seen in the West. We’re seeing it more in third world countries now. But because of our exposure to environmental and pharmaceutical estrogens, that has the effect of throwing more gasoline on the fire.
So some of the insecticides, pesticides, fungicides that we use they have an estrogen effect, right. These are what we call xenoestrogens. “Xeno” meaning foreign. So those, again, long term exposures so we have to think about estrogen exposure and lifetime exposure as we do like with radiation exposure.
So if you’re a radiation technologist, you wear a little badge on you that gives us a Geiger counter amount of radiation that you are getting exposed to over a lifetime and you get to here, in other words, to where you can’t be exposed to any more radiation.
The same thing with these estrogens, so there is a lifetime exposure of estrogen that dictates your risk for different cancers. So you are producing estrogens as a human. As a man, you’re producing estrogen, as a woman, they’re producing estrogens. Women produce more. If we go adding on top of that environmental estrogens, then that increases your lifetime exposure of estrogen.
If you take birth control pills that increases your lifetime exposure of estrogen. If you take synthetic hormone replacement after menopause that increases your lifetime exposure of estrogen. If you stay overweight with these fat cells that are born of inflammation, these growth factors, that is increasing your lifetime exposure of estrogen.
Ty Bollinger: So it’s really a cumulative effective when we’re talking about the exposure to estrogens…
Dr. Roby Mitchell: Exactly! Exactly!
Ty Bollinger: …as opposed to just one off.
Dr. Roby Mitchell: Right