A strong link has been discovered between BPA and PCOS; researchers have discovered that higher levels of the endocrine disrupting chemical are associated with a higher incidence of PCOS now estimated to affect over 10% of American women. The 2011 study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) also found that women with higher BPA levels have elevated levels of male sex hormones - testosterone and androstenedione - highlighting BPA’s ability to cause ovarian dysfunction and infertiltiy.
The study observed 71 women with PCOS and 100 healthy controls who were categorized by age and body composition and BPA levels were assessed from blood. BPA levels were 30% higher in obese women with PCOS and 60% higher in lean-type PCOS women.
Lean women with PCOS have often been a puzzle to physicians as they do not have the typical hallmarks of the disease; obesity, male-type hair growth and blood sugar / insulin irregularities. In this study, lean women with PCOS had 60% higher blood levels of BPA pinpointing a possible cause of PCOS in lean women.
BPA is hard to avoid and population studies show that most of us are exposed to some level of contamination, the question is how much is too much, and how to keep exposure to a minimum. BPA leaches into our food and beverages from the plastic coated lining of canned foods and beverage containers. BPA gets into our bodies through many routes from dental sealants and composites to plastic containers, food wraps and the plastic linings of water pipes.
BPA is a known endocrine disruptor mimicking estrogen and causing hormonal imbalances. The lead researcher and co-author of this study - Dr. Evanthia Diamanti-Kandarakis, MD, PhD., emphasized that:
"Our research shows that BPA may be more harmful to women with hormonal and fertility imbalances like those found in PCOS...These women should be alert to the potential risks and take care of themselves by avoiding excessive every-day consumption of food or drink from plastic containers."
Interestingly the study researchers also suggest that as BPA triggers male hormone levels to rise the liver becomes less able to detoxify BPA creating a vicious cycle of rising androgens and escalating BPA levels. Good liver detoxification is essential for keeping your body clear of BPA.
It makes sense to exercise rigorous avoidance of BPA both when trying to conceive, during pregnancy and when feeding babies and children to avoid impairing the fertility of your offspring.
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Reference: ScienceDaily (Jan. 13, 2011)
E. Kandaraki, A. Chatzigeorgiou, S. Livadas, E. Palioura, F. Economou, M. Koutsilieris, S. Palimeri, D. Panidis, E. Diamanti-Kandarakis. Endocrine Disruptors and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Elevated Serum Levels of Bisphenol A in Women with PCOS. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2010; DOI: 10.1210/jc.2010-1658