If you handle store receipts or use plastics (who doesn’t?), brace yourself for some disturbing new findings about BPA (bisphenol-A), the toxin in plastics and store receipts, especially if you have thyroid or hormone imbalances.
A new study shows BPA is linked with an autoimmune reaction that destroys the lining of nerves. Autoimmune nerve sheath degeneration is connected to autism spectrum disorders, multiple sclerosis (MS), neuropathy, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.
If you already have autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, this already puts you at added risk for developing additional autoimmune reactions.
BPA and neurological autoimmunity when you have Hashimoto’s
A 2016 study found a significant link between an immune reaction to BPA and an autoimmune attack against nerve sheaths.
The important part about this study is that it’s based on immune sensitivity to BPA, not the amount of BPA in the blood.
A person can react to BPA the way people react to gluten, dairy, or other foods, developing inflammatory symptoms.
This means person may have low levels of BPA in their blood yet still have an immune reaction to it that can trigger autoimmunity. Conversely, a person may have high blood levels of BPA but no immune reaction and thus a lower risk of it triggering autoimmunity (although BPA is associated with other health disorders, too.)
Animal studies also show a high degree of correlation between BPA and autoimmunity.
If you already have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, an autoimmune thyroid condition, you are already at added risk for developing another autoimmune disease due to immune dysregulation.
BPA sensitivity and Hashimoto’s in mothers raises autism risk in children
Autoimmunity to nerve sheaths is commonly associated with autism spectrum disorders. In fact, some research has found autoimmunity to nerve sheaths in almost 80 percent of subjects with autism compared to a control group.
Other studies show subjects with autism have significantly higher levels of BPA in their blood than controls.
Most disturbing are the findings that immune reactions to BPA in mothers can be passed on to offspring, thus considerably raising the risk of autism in their children.
Other studies have shown an increased risk of autism in children born to women with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. This is why it’s so important to use functional medicine strategies to manage your autoimmune Hashimoto’s condition.
Receipts major source of BPA contamination
BPA is ubiquitous in our environment. The toxin is found in large amounts on thermal receipts used by stores, restaurants, gas stations, airlines, ATM machines, and so on. Holding one of these receipts for as little as five seconds is enough to absorb it into your bloodstream.
BPA in plastics and other products
BPA is found in many other common products as well, such as plastic food and beverage containers, toys, tin can linings, and medical products.
BPA is leached from products through heat or exposure to acidic foods or beverages.
BPA also harms hormone and thyroid health
BPA’s estrogen-like qualities have been shown to cause reproductive defects, cancer, and immune problems in animal studies. In the developing fetus, BPA can cause chromosomal errors, miscarriage, and genetic damage.
BPA is also linked to decreased sperm quality, early puberty, ovarian and reproductive dysfunction, cancer, heart disease, thyroid problems insulin resistance, and obesity.
BPA-free is no guarantee when you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism
BPA-free products are available but many unfortunately still have synthetic estrogens and pose a health risk.
How to protect your body from BPA exposure when you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism
In addition to reducing exposure to BPA as much as possible, functional medicine strategies can help protect you from the negative effects of BPA. These same strategies are also vital to managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
The goal is to keep the immune system balanced and not prone to over reacting, which can trigger chemical sensitivities and autoimmunity. Ways to do this include an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle, shoring up your glutathione reserves to protect your cells, and making use of natural compounds to support neurological and immune health.
For more information about Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and protecting yourself from toxicity, contact my office.