12 quick and easy hairstyle tutorials that may just change every woman’s life

Women’s lives are getting busier and busier. We are working, going to school, raising families, trying to stay active and healthy, and maintain some semblance of a social life. We aren’t left with much time to spend on making our hair perfect every day, despite societal pressure to look cute 24/7.

It’s easy to feel jealous of our male counterparts who can stick their head under the shower, shake it off and be good to go. We’ve compiled a list of quick and easy styling hacks for the lazy girl in all of us who’d rather sleep an extra 30 minutes than have an impeccable ‘do on the daily. With these tricks, you can have the best of both worlds!

12 Ten-minute-or-less Hairstyles

1. 5-minute High Bun

2. Cute Ponytail Twist

3. One-Minute Top Knot

4. 10-Minute, No-Heat Stretch for Natural Hair

5. 8 Quick Box Braid Hairstyles

6. The Faux-Braid

7. 2 Easy Braids for Short Cuts

8. Textured Pony for Day-Old Curls

9. Overnight Wave/Curls, 5 Ways

10. 3 Styles for Short, Natural Hair

11. Twisty Bun

12. 4 Easy Headband Hairstyles for Short and Long Hair

Thanks to all of these creative hair experts, you can look cute without spending an hour on your hair each morning, leaving you with more time for yourself. You can fit in that early morning workout, use the extra hour to get ahead of your workload, prep ingredients for a healthy dinner or the day’s lunch…. or snag that extra hour of shut-eye you’ve always wanted!

The post 12 quick and easy hairstyle tutorials that may just change every woman’s life appeared first on The Hearty Soul.

Why You Should Think Twice About Letting Your Dog Lick Your Face!

Source: Why You Should Think Twice About Letting Your Dog Lick Your Face! For more content like this visit REALfarmacy.com.

If you’re like many pet owners, on some level you thoroughly enjoy your dog’s sloppy kiss or your cat’s sandpaper smooch. But there’s also that little nagging voice in the back of your head reminding you that your pet’s tongue could be depositing a virtual germ farm on your face. So is it really an […]

Source: Why You Should Think Twice About Letting Your Dog Lick Your Face! Learn more at REALfarmacy.com – Healthy News and Information.

Ylang Ylang Oil Not Only Soothes Your Skin, but Your Mind as Well

What Is Ylang Ylang Oil?

Ylang ylang oil1 is derived from the fresh flowers of the ylang ylang tree (Cananga Odorata),2 which is usually found in the rainforests of Asian and South Pacific islands like Indonesia, Philippines, Java, Sumatra, Comoro and Polynesia.

There are several grades of ylang ylang essential oil sold in the market, but ylang ylang extra oil is considered to be the best among other varieties. Because it is the product of the first extraction, ylang ylang extra oil has the highest amount of esters and the sweetest scent.3

Uses of Ylang Ylang Oil

Ylang ylang oil helps relax the body and soul and may be helpful for people suffering from insomnia, fatigue and frigidity.

This essential oil has been proven to help regulate the production of sebum, an oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands, to protect your hair and skin from drying out.4 It has many cosmetic uses, including:

Maintaining skin moisture

Clearing and healing acne

Promoting hair growth

Acting as a natural conditioning agent for your hair5

Ylang ylang oil also has antimicrobial properties that can help reduce skin irritation and redness.

Composition of Ylang Ylang Oil

Ylang ylang oil is composed of chemicals like benzyl acetate (28 percent),6 linalool (nine percent), methyl benzoate (six percent), P-cresyl methyl ether (10 percent) and 3-methyl-2-butenyl acetate (five percent).

Benefits of Ylang Ylang Oil

Ylang ylang oil can help protect against infections in the stomach, intestines, colon and urinary tract. Aside from that, using ylang ylang oil can allow you to reap the following benefits:

Antidepressant for nervous breakdowns, acute depression, anxiety, sadness and chronic stress

Antiseptic to speed up the healing of wounds and infections and to avoid sepsis and tetanus

Hypotensive to promote healthy blood pressure levels

Nervine and sedative to soothe tension and bring a sense of calm7

How to Make Ylang Ylang Oil

In order to obtain ylang ylang oil, fresh flowers from the ylang ylang tree has to undergo the process of steam distillation at various stages.

According to Easy Aromatherapy Recipes, the first extraction is called “extra” while subsequent extractions are called Grades 1, 2 and 3. Lower-grade essential oils are often combined with the extra to form a “complete” ylang ylang essential oil.

The finished product has an intensely sweet aroma and floral with watery undertones and can have a colorless to pale yellow hue.8

How Does Ylang Ylang Oil Work?

Ylang ylang oil may be used in the following ways:

Aromatically — 9 Inhale directly or put three to four drops10 into a diffuser.

Topically — When combined with milder carrier oils, ylang ylang oil may be used as a:

Massage oil:11 Combine two to three drops with coconut, grape seed, or olive oil.12

Anti-aging skin toner: Add five drops into chamomile tea, allow it to cool and apply to your skin.

Hair treatment: Add two to three drops to your regular shampoo or two to three drops into coconut oil. Massage it onto your hair and scalp. Leave for 20 minutes. Rinse with water and mild shampoo.

Is Ylang Ylang Oil Safe?

Ylang ylang oil is safe to use when taken in recommended doses. However, I strongly discourage taking ylang ylang oil internally without expert supervision and advise you to make sure that it doesn’t come into contact with your eyes.

I highly recommend consulting your physician before using this essential oil, especially if you’re pregnant or a nursing woman. Children under the age of six are advised not to use this oil as well.

Side Effects of Ylang Ylang Oil

There are no severe cases that highlight the negative effects of ylang ylang oil, however, when taken in excessive amounts, it can potentially cause sensitivity, nausea and headache.

The oil can cause skin irritation in some individuals, so I suggest diluting it with milder carrier oils and doing a skin patch test before using it topically.



Jet Lag Hurts Both Mental and Physical Performance

By Dr. Mercola

Jet lag, also known as flight fatigue, time zone change syndrome or desynchronosis, occurs when travel across time zones disrupts your internal body clock, resulting in mental, emotional and physical symptoms such as:1,2

  • Daytime sleepiness and lethargy followed by nighttime insomnia
  • Anxiety, irritability, confusion and poor concentration
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Headache, nausea, indigestion, dehydration and/or general malaise

The mental effects are fairly well-established, but recent research suggests jet lag can have a significant effect on your physical performance as well — a finding of particular importance for athletes who travel to participate in games and races.

Jet Lag Takes Toll on Physical Performance

Looking at Major League Baseball data culled from more than 40,000 games over two decades, including the players’ travel schedules, researchers found “subtle but detectable” effects when players traveled across one or two time zones for a game.3,4 As reported by Time Magazine:5

“For example, teams from eastern states who had just returned home from a game out west tended to have fewer stolen bases, doubles and triples, and were subject to more double plays, than those who hadn’t traveled as recently …

The effects are enough to erase a team’s home-field advantage … The effects of west-to-east travel were stronger than those of east-to-west travel, supporting the argument that they are due to the body’s circadian clock — not just time on an airplane or scheduling issues in general …”

According to Dr. Ravi Allada, associate director of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology at Northwestern, the reason for this decline in physical performance is likely due to the fact that your muscle cells are tied in to your circadian clock.

Hence, “it makes sense that one might see an impairment in muscle activity or muscle efficiency, as a result of this misalignment,” he says.

Helpful Tips to Minimize Jet Lag

As a general rule, your body will adjust to the time zone change at a rate of one time zone per day. To prevent athletic deterioration due to jet lag, Allada suggests baseball teams may want to make sure their starting pitchers are on location a day or two earlier when cross-country travel is required.

This would allow their internal body clocks to adjust to the local time zone, allowing them to perform at their best. Other athletes would be wise to follow the same advice — especially if you’re traveling eastward, which tends to desynchronize your internal clock more severely than westward travel.

If you cannot squeeze in an extra day or two, you could fake it by pretending you’re in your destination time zone while still at home.6

This suggestion may be particularly helpful if you’re traveling with young ones. It’s hard to rest and recuperate when you have one or more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed children rearing to go at 4 a.m. once you reach your destination.7

To do this, simply wake up and go to bed according to the destination time rather than your local time. In the morning, be sure to expose yourself to bright full-spectrum light. If the sun is not yet up, use a clear incandescent light bulb along with a cool-blue spectrum LED to shut down melatonin production.

As an example, if you were to travel from New York to Paris, start going to bed an hour earlier each day, three days ahead of your flight, and avoid bright light for two to three hours before going to bed.

This may necessitate closing the blinds or shades, and turning off all lights and electronic screens. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine. When you wake, be sure to get some bright sunlight exposure.

If it’s still dark out, use a light box or the artificial light combination mentioned above. Also be sure to shift your mealtimes accordingly.

Wear your blue-blocking glasses on the plane if you are traveling at night and continue wearing them until you get to bed. The excess blue light without the balanced red and near-infrared will seriously impair your melatonin production.

Once you get to your destination, it is best to get up close to sunrise and go outside and look in the direction of the sun. You can safely do this for about an hour after sunrise.

This will help to reset your melatonin production. If weather and circumstances allow, it would be best to do this outdoors with your bare feet on the ground.

Effects of Chronic Jet Lag Can Be Severe

Other research has investigated the health effects of jet lag by focusing on airline professionals like pilots and flight attendants, who end up struggling with jet lag on a chronic, long-term basis.8

Here, population-based studies have found flight crews have higher rates of cancer than the general population, including melanoma and cancer of the breast and prostate.

While cosmic radiation exposure is thought to be a factor that increases this risk, circadian rhythm disturbance also plays a significant role. Animal research has confirmed that chronically jet lagged mice indeed have higher rates of breast cancer than non-jet lagged controls.

Chronic jet lag also appears to speed up cognitive decline — an effect associated with elevated cortisol levels.

In one study, long-distance flight crews were found to have higher cortisol levels than ground crews, and flight crew members who had worked there the longest scored lower on memory tests compared to those with fewer years on the job.

Inconsistent Sleeping Habits May Have Similar Effects

It’s worth noting that you don’t necessarily have to go anywhere to experience the effects of jet lag. A very similar scenario is created if you stay up really late and sleep in on the weekend and then have to get up early on Monday morning.

If you have something important going on that day, say an athletic competition, written test or a presentation, your performance may suffer.

Ditto for those who work night shifts on a rotating basis. I reviewed the ill effects of working the night shift in November last year, and why you’d be wise to avoid working them if possible. If you have no other choice, then the following suggestions can help minimize the health risks:

When you get up at night, get some blue light exposure, as this will help wake you up. I suggest using a conventional clear incandescent bulb in combination with a bright cool white (blue-enriched) LED bulb.

You need both, not one or the other, as the LED will give you the blue and the incandescent the balancing red and near infrared spectrum.

Ideally, start with incandescent light immediately after getting up, thereby simulating sunrise. After half an hour or so, add the LED light, mimicking the sun´s ascent toward high noon. Using the LED light for 15 to 30 minutes will help you to establish your new circadian rhythm.

Once you feel the photonic energy boost, you can stop the LED use, since too much will do more harm than good. (Bluish LED light generates excessive amounts of free radicals if not adequately balanced by red and near infrared light.)

After this, avoid further exposure to blue light. This means using only incandescent bulbs at home and at work. Alternatively, wear blue-blocking glasses to avoid any additional exposure to LED or fluorescent bulbs.

These strategies are better than nothing, but please be aware that by working nights, you are depriving yourself of natural sunlight, which is a really crucial component for health.

The sun’s rays not only are the catalyst that allows your skin to produce vitamin D, but sunlight also plays a role in mitochondrial health, biological energy production, and is really important for healthy vision.

What About Using Melatonin?

Your master biological clock resides in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of your brain (SCN), which is part of your hypothalamus. Based on signals of light and darkness, your SCN tells your pineal gland when it’s time to secrete melatonin and when to turn it off. Melatonin is often recommended when traveling across time zones to help reset your internal clock.

According to a government survey, 3.1 million Americans report using melatonin supplements for jet lag and insomnia. However, it’s important to realize what you’re really doing here. More than being a simple “sleep hormone,” melatonin is a biological marker for darkness. Routinely exposing yourself to bright lights and simply taking melatonin is inadvisable. As reported by The Guardian:9

“Researchers at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who originally patented synthetic melatonin as a sleeping aid in 1995, reported the ideal dose to be between 0.3 mg and 1 mg, and argued that prolonged use of larger doses could change how the body responds to the hormone, potentially undermining sleep.”

That said, if you’re traveling or rotating on and off the night shift, it can definitely be useful for helping you realign your internal clock.10 According to a 2002 Cochrane Database review,11 people who traveled across five or more time zones who took melatonin close to bedtime at their destination experienced less severe jet lag symptoms compared to placebo.

The greatest benefits were reported by those traveling eastward, those crossing the greatest number of time zones, and those taking doses closer to 5 mg (which is FAR more than typically recommended). Epileptics and those taking warfarin (a blood thinner) need to beware they’re at increased risk for harmful side effects when taking a melatonin supplement.

Ancient Trick to Eliminate Jet Lag


In the short video above, originally taped in 2009, cardiologist Dr. Lee Cowden explains a simple technique that can help minimize jet lag. Here’s a summary of the steps:

1. The day of your trip, set your clock to match the local time at your destination (depending on the time of your flight, you may have to do this a day ahead)

2. At 11 a.m. (the local time at your destination), stroke your heart meridian three times on the left and three times on the right.
Your heart meridian begins just to the outer side of your nipple, up through your armpit and down the ulnar aspect (inner side) of your arm, down the outside of your pinky. Once you reach the end of your pinky, gently press into the base of the fingernail (heart point in Traditional Chinese Medicine). For a demonstration, please see the video above

3. At noon, repeat the heart meridian strokes

Before and after boarding the plane, take a high-quality, broad-spectrum antioxidant. Astaxanthin may be an ideal choice, as it also helps shield against cosmic radiation exposure, provided you’ve been taking it for at least three days ahead of time.

Once you reach your destination, take a fast-acting sublingual melatonin along with a slow-release oral melatonin around 10 p.m. (or just before bedtime if you go to bed earlier). Keep in mind that only a very small dose is required — typically 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg to start with, and you can adjust it up from there.

Taking higher doses, such as 3 mg, can sometimes make you more wakeful instead of sleepier, so adjust your dose carefully. Also be sure to stay well-hydrated, whether you’re flying or driving to your destination. Your brain controls sleep and it functions best when fully hydrated.

Optimal Health Depends on Optimal Sleep

Remember, when your circadian rhythm is disrupted, your body produces less melatonin, which means it has less ability to fight cancer, and less protection against free radicals that may accelerate aging and disease. Suffering from jet lag due to occasional travel is not going to have any significant long-term effects, but can certainly deteriorate your mental and physical functioning over the following day or two.

If you’re expected to perform at your best — either mentally or physically — it would be wise to take steps to re-synchronize your body clock to the local time at your destination, either by giving yourself a couple of extra days to reacclimatize, or by altering your wake-sleep schedule while still at home. Using melatonin and strategies such as the heart meridian stroke demonstrated above can also be helpful.

If you’re chronically jet lagged, either from shift work or frequent travel across time zones, you can minimize the health risks by working with artificially-created light and dark exposure — bright light when you’re supposed to be awake, and darkness when you’re supposed to be asleep.

Can You Make Time Pass More Quickly?

By Dr. Mercola

People tend to think of time as moving along a fixed linear pathway, but in reality time, including how fast or slow it moves, is all a matter of perception. This is why watching a movie you love may feel like it flies by, while to another person who finds the movie boring, it moves tediously slow.

Other peculiarities have also been observed, such as how time seems to move faster as you get older and it’s possible to lose track of time entirely if you’re engrossed in a task.

Likewise, when French geologist Michele Siffre conducted an isolation experiment in the 1960s, it showed that our perception of time can change depending on our circumstances.

He lived in a dark cave, alone, for two months, but when his team came to get him he thought he’d only stayed for 35 days.1 Further, when he counted off an estimation of 120 seconds while living in the cave (via a phone that only worked one way), he counted for a full five minutes.2

In an interview with Cabinet magazine, Siffre said, “I psychologically experienced five real minutes as though they were two … There was a very large perturbation in my sense of time … My psychological time had compressed by a factor of two.”3

‘Time Doesn’t Exist Outside of Our Own Experience of It’

It’s interesting to note that when Siffre was asked what he thought caused the dramatic disconnect between actual time and his perceived psychological time, he said:4

That’s a big question that I’ve been investigating for forty years. I believe that when you are surrounded by night — the cave was completely dark, with just a light bulb — your memory does not capture the time. You forget.”

In some ways, what he experienced is similar to what happens when you’re immersed in an activity you love and suddenly realize you lost track of the time. In The Atlantic, senior editor James Hamblin, MD, wrote:5

“We conceptualize time through metaphors that project it along a straight line — before and after, long and short, earlier and later — as a function of how our perceptions relate to other perceptions. In the same way, the accuracy of any given clock is only relative to other clocks.

Because time doesn’t clearly exist outside of our own experience of it, there are ways to manipulate that experience.”

He used Siffre’s experience with time after sensory deprivation as one example, as well as the hallucinogenic drug peyote, which is known to cause changes in sense of time such as time passing more slowly, as another. Being diagnosed with a terminal illness can also change your perception of time.

“I can’t generally advise spending years on peyote or full-time isolation in a cave,” he noted. “The most practical examples of manipulating time perception come from the common observation that the more we think about time, the slower it goes.” Hamblin wrote:6

“In his treatise The Principles of Psychology, William James wrote, ‘A day full of excitement, with no pause, is said to pass ‘ere we know it.’ On the contrary, a day full of waiting, of unsatisfied desire for change, will seem a small eternity.'”

Depression Slows Down Time, ‘Flow’ Makes You Lose Track of It

Alan Burdick, author of “Why Time Flies,” revealed that when you’re busy, you tend to sense time as going faster than when you’re bored. Similarly, a study on more than 800 people revealed people with depression reported a slower subjective experience of time.7

As for why depressed people may feel time is dragging, it could be due to a slowing down of the internal clock or because they have difficulty being in the present moment or entering a state of consciousness known as “flow.”8

Flow, according to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is the secret to happiness and occurs when you are completely absorbed in an activity (often one that involves creativity).9

When you’re immersed in flow, your sense of time becomes distorted because nearly all of your brain’s available inputs are devoted to the activity at hand, Csikszentmihalyi states.

If you’re depressed and unable to fully give your attention to the present moment, and as a result find time is agonizingly slow, mindfulness-based therapies may be very helpful, particularly in cases of a depressed perception of time.10

Interestingly, mindfulness can also be harnessed to slow down your perception of time while helping you to appreciate your surroundings.

How Busy You Are May Alter Your Perception of Time

If you’re too busy, flying through your daily routines on autopilot mode, you may feel like your day is over in the blink of an eye.

Neuroscientist David Eagleman, Ph.D., adjunct professor at Stanford University, explained that your mental engagement changes your perception of time, and when you’re engaged in mundane activities your brain isn’t taking in much new information.

As a result, time seems to pass quickly.11 One of the areas of the brain responsible for emotion and memory is the amygdala.

The more detailed the memory the longer the moment appears to last. This is one of the reasons why it can feel forever when you’re stuck in traffic, but your memory of the event will be that it passed quickly, as you didn’t lay down any new memory.

This is where mindfulness comes in, as by helping you stay in the moment, it can seemingly slow down the passage of time. Steven Meyers, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at Roosevelt University in Chicago, told The Huffington Post:12

“Mindfulness allows people to appreciate their surroundings and can lead to the feeling that time is passing more slowly. Paying attention to events that are pleasant or interesting certainly can enhance our mood and allows us to savor positive experiences.”

Mindfulness May Help You Slow Down Time

Practicing “mindfulness” means you’re actively paying attention to the moment you’re in right now. Rather than letting your mind wander, when you’re mindful, you’re living in the moment and letting distracting thoughts pass through your mind without getting caught up in their emotional implications.

You can add mindfulness to virtually any aspect of your day simply by paying attention to the sensations you are experiencing in the present moment. Techniques sometimes used to become more mindful include:13

  • Paying focused attention to an aspect of sensory experience, such as the sound of your own breathing
  • Distinguishing between simple thoughts and those that are elaborated with emotion (such as “I have a test tomorrow” versus “What if I fail my test tomorrow and flunk my entire class?”)
  • Reframing emotional thoughts as simply “mental projections” so your mind can rest

Meyers added in The Huffington Post:14

“Time can slip by because we are blindly going through the routine of our day … There are a range of remedies for this situation. Some people may feel a sense of accomplishment if they set personal goals for themselves and work towards them in a purposeful way.

Others may need to be on the lookout for certain events — like appreciating a kind behavior from another person — to punctuate time passing.”

Staying Busy May Benefit Your Brain

Keeping a packed schedule may make it feel like your days fly by, particularly if you don’t make it a point to be mindful, but doing so may offer significant benefits to your brain. Research published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience suggests that the saying “the busier the better” is true, at least as far as cognition is concerned.15

Greater busyness was associated with better cognition, particularly for episodic memory. It didn’t matter if the study participant was 5o or 89 years old, having a busier schedule was linked to improved memory and better brain processing, reasoning and vocabulary.

The researchers pointed out that busy people have increased opportunities for new learning, which has been shown to promote the retention of new neurons in the brain’s hippocampus. In addition, busyness could promote the development of neural scaffolding and consequently facilitate cognition, according to the researchers, while promoting the development of brain reserves and use of more efficient cognitive processing.16

There are downsides to being overly busy, of course, like chronic stress and burnout. Along those lines, healthy eating is often one of the first things to suffer when life gets busy, so it’s important to stick to the basics in this regard: focus on filling your plate with real, unprocessed foods, preferably organic and locally grown, and avoid resorting to convenience and fast foods, energy drinks or excessive amounts of caffeine to keep going.

However, a busy lifestyle can also be a positive one, particularly if you stay mindful and engage in activities that lead to flow. The more engaged you are, the more you may feel as though you’re living your life beyond the constraints of time instead of by them.

Stop Using ‘Non-Stick’ Teflon Pans! This is What Happens to Your Risk of Cancer, Liver and Kidney Disease

Non-stick cookware easily makes up seventy percent of all cookware sold we should not be using it. The toxic chemicals used in them should be avoided!

Your Teflon cookware is not doing you any good, in fact, you should throw it out. Teflon turns toxic at high temperatures. If for some reason it ever reaches five hundred degrees the fumes can cause people to develop flu-like symptoms and kill birds! When making Teflon a chemical known as PFOA is used and while it is supposed to ‘burn off’ in the process traces of it are still found. This chemical is a probable carcinogen. 

It has been found in several recent studies that PFOA is harmful even in minuscule amounts. This is especially terrifying considering PFOA is found in the public water systems of twenty-seven states and provides drinking water to almost seven million people. The health issues that surround PFOA and Teflon are devastating.

They have been linked to the following:

  • Early puberty
  • Low birth weight
  • Cancer
  • Thyroid disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Infertility
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Respiratory disease

Sure, food getting stuck to the bottom of the pan might be frustrating but when the possible outcomes are laid out like this I would without a doubt use something else. There are alternatives to Teflon coated cookware. You can use glass, cast iron, stainless steel, or ceramic instead. This is a big change that will benefit your whole family, make the first step in throwing our your Teflon coated pans today! For more information on this please take the time to watch the video below.

Printable List of Bottled Water Containing Fluoride

Source: Printable List of Bottled Water Containing Fluoride For more content like this visit REALfarmacy.com.

The world is slowly waking up to the fact that fluoride, a by-product of the phosphate fertilizer industry, wreaks havoc on the brain and body. Despite peer-reviewed scientific evidence against it, fluoride is still added to 70 percent of U.S. public drinking water supplies.   What’s more is that processed beverages and food, tea, and […]

Source: Printable List of Bottled Water Containing Fluoride Learn more at REALfarmacy.com – Healthy News and Information.

How BPA and BPS Are Making People Sick

By Dr. Mercola

Just when you thought you knew how dangerous bisphenol-A (BPA) was to your health, research demonstrates both BPA and substitute chemicals are able to cross the placental barrier, increasing the toxic load on a growing infant.1 When tested, over 200 chemicals were found in umbilical cord blood of newborns.2

First created in 1891 by a Russian chemist, BPA didn’t make an appearance in the manufacture of products until the 1950s, when it was used to produce resilient, and often transparent plastics.

Despite strong scientific evidence that BPA has a negative effect on health, the industry was valued at over $13 billion in 2013, and is expected to reach $20 billion by 2020.3

Today, BPA is found in countless personal care and plastic products, from the lining in canned goods to plastic wraps, water bottles and cashier receipts. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims BPA is safe for human consumption, it has been banned from sippy cups and other baby products.

Unfortunately, substitute chemicals being used to increase the strength and resiliency of plastics are probably no safer than the BPA they replaced, as they are near-identical chemical compounds.

BPA and BPS Cross the Placental Barrier Increasing Risk to Children

In 2010 researchers discovered BPA does cross the placental barrier.4,5 But, more importantly, the researchers found while the active form of BPA stays active in the developing infant, the inactive form can be converted to an active form, indicating pre-birth exposure to BPA was greater than originally anticipated.

In the movement toward removal of BPA from products, manufacturers have been using bisphenol-S (BPS) and bisphenol-F (BPF) instead. These substitute chemicals are as hormonally active as BPA and are both strong endocrine disruptors.6 Both demonstrate adverse effects on the physiological functioning of humans and rats.7

Canadian and Chinese scientists have now demonstrated what environmentalists have long believed — BPS and BPA can both cross into the placenta, affecting the pre-birth growth of infants.8 BPS had already been found in urine samples of over 80 percent of infants from China, U.S. and six other Asian countries.9

Previous studies had reported behavioral differences in rodent mothers exposed to BPS during pregnancy and in their female offspring.

The most recent study measured levels of BPS and BPA in 61 pairs of maternal and cord blood samples, proving “the first evidence that BPS crosses the human placenta.”10 BPA metabolites in cord blood were also higher than found in maternal blood.

Current biomonitoring usually relies on detection of total BPA in the urine and not the metabolites, BPA-sulfate and BPA-glucuronide. Monitoring metabolites of BPA is limited and even less is known about the metabolites of substitutes BPS and BPF. Lead author Dr. Jonathan Martin from the University of Alberta explained:

“The [fetus] has more difficulty excreting BPA than the mother. The mother can easily pass metabolites through urine, whereas the [fetus] excretes to the amniotic fluid and, to some extent, back to the mother’s circulation. The human [fetus] is known to have a different metabolic capacity.

It’s known to have a very immature glucuronidation pathway, whereas sulfation begins earlier. So it’s not uncommon for the human [fetus] to produce more of the sulfate than the respective glucuronide.”

How Endocrine Disruption Works

BPA metabolites may not have the strong estrogenic chemical activity of total BPA, but they are also not biologically inactive. Several studies have identified different types of biological activity between cultured cells and one BPA metabolite, and total BPA is a known endocrine disruptor.

Through widespread exposure and multiple effects on human cells, BPA represents a complex risk to human health.11 Exposure to rodents in the perinatal period, during the weeks just prior to and after birth, BPA had a significant effect on the neuroendocrine stress response.12

Researchers theorized this exposure may be associated with the development of stress-related disorders later in life. Endocrine disruptors work by mimicking, or partially mimicking, hormones that occur naturally in the human body. This may produce overstimulation.

Some interfere or block the way receptors or hormones are made or controlled. This interruption in the endocrine system may produce negative results in infant development or in the reproductive, neurological and immune systems of children and adults.

There is a wide range of chemicals and substances that may cause endocrine disruption, of which bisphenol chemicals are only one.

Pesticides, pharmaceutical interventions, dioxin-like compounds and polychlorinated biphenyls are just a few of these endocrine disruptors that are found in products, water supply and food supply affecting your health.

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), research demonstrates these endocrine disruptors carry the greatest risk when humans are exposed during prenatal and early childhood development.13 This is the point during which organ and neurological system formation is being completed.

Increases Long-Term Risk of Illness and Adds Billions to Healthcare Cost

While exposure during prenatal and infancy periods may hold the greatest risk, adolescents and adults are also at risk from endocrine disruptors and the subsequent health conditions that may develop.

A recent study of the healthcare cost impact in Europe demonstrated endocrine disrupting chemical contributed to the development of disease and illness.14

The study found the subsequent health care cost from only the chemicals with the highest probability of causation resulted in a cost of at least $175 billion each year. The researchers estimated a broader analysis would have resulted in a greater burden of disease and healthcare cost.

The research detailed costs related to obesity, neurological disorders, and male reproductive disorders. The study evaluated the effect of only 5 percent of the known endocrine disruptors, making this only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., microbiologist and director of the NIEHS, commented:15

“The point is that there is a wide variety of effects being seen in the general population related to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. We have increasing amount of data raising concerns about their use. We are seeing effects from [chemical] levels that are present in the general population.”

As your endocrine system is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes, it is not surprising BPA and substitute chemicals are associated with a number of different health conditions, including:

Structural damage to your brain; hyperactivity, increased aggressiveness and impaired learning

Early puberty, stimulation of mammary gland development, disrupted reproductive cycles, ovarian toxicity and infertility16

Breast cancer17

High blood pressure and heart disease18,19,20

Increased fat formation and risk of obesity

Increased prostate size, decreased sperm production, hypospadias (penis deformation),21 erectile dysfunction22 and stimulation of prostate cancer cells

Altered immune function

Preterm birth23

Diabetes

Reduced efficacy of chemotherapy treatment24

BPA and Substitutes Increase Your Risk of Obesity and Diabetes

As obesity is a primary factor in the development of many of the health conditions listed above, it is important to note that nearly 67 percent of women and 75 percent of men are either overweight or obese today. 25 These numbers represent a rising trend and significant public health risk.

While it is tempting to blame an increasing waistline on one or two factors, metabolism and weight control is complex and is dependent on different influences. In a recent study, researchers discovered that in order to maintain the same weight in 2006 as in 1988 you would have to eat less and exercise more.26

The logical conclusion is that an environmental factor more prevalent after 1988 is influencing your metabolism. Research from Health Canada demonstrated the human body doesn’t safely metabolize and excrete BPA, but instead transforms it into something that grows fat cells.27 This confirmed the results of multiple past studies linking BPA to increasing obesity.28,29,30,31

One study was also able to demonstrate BPA not only increased the number of fat cells that differentiate from pre-adiposity cells, but also increased the amount of fat inside the cells.32

Recent research now demonstrates the nearly identical BPS has some of the same characteristics. Interestingly, in this study, all cells exposed to BPS created fat, but those exposed to the least and greatest amount grew greater amounts of fat than those exposed to moderate amounts.33 Senior author of the latest study on BPS, Ella Atlas, Ph.D., of Health Canada, commented on the results, saying:34

“Our research indicates BPS and BPA have comparable effects on fat cells and their metabolism. The study is the first to show that BPS exposure can induce the formation of human fat cells.

Since BPS is one of the replacement chemicals used in consumer products that are marketed as BPA-free, it is important to examine whether BPS acts as an endocrine-disrupting chemical. This study shows that BPS and BPA have similar effects on fat cell formation, lipid accumulation and expression of genes important for lipid metabolism.”

Is ‘BPA-Free’ Meaningless?

Concerns about the health effects of BPA have caused many consumers to seek out products that are BPA-free. However, research indicates the substitute compounds used to increase the strength of plastics also interfere with hormones and pose a public health risk. In a study evaluating the risks of both BPS and a secondary substitute chemical, BPF, researchers concluded they are both as hormonally active as BPA.35

The structure between these three chemicals are remarkably similar, they provide the same stability to plastics and create similar health risks to humans.36 Study author Johanna Rochester, Ph.D., researcher at the Endocrine Disruption Exchange, commented:37

“According to pretty much all the literature there is on these two substitutes, they are hormonally active in ways similar to BPA — similar mechanisms, similar potencies.”

Products labeled “BPA-free” have also been found to leach chemicals with estrogenic activity after undergoing real world testing. Plastics labeled “BPA-free” were microwaved, exposed to ultraviolet lights and other common stressors.38 Almost all the commercially available products tested released chemicals with estrogenic activity, including those labeled “BPA-free.”

The researchers pointed out that manufacturers now have the ability to produce plastics without estrogenically active compounds in a cost-effective manner that would significantly reduce public health risks.39 So why don’t they?

Take These Steps to Reduce Your Risk

BPA is used in an amazing number of products in your home. In this short video, results from a study on canned foods is described. As it turns out, the researchers found more than just BPA. Until manufacturers place a higher value on human health than on profit, consider taking these steps to reduce your exposure to BPA and all the substitute compounds that also contain endocrine disrupting features.40,41,42

Eat Mostly Fresh Whole Foods

Processed and packaged foods are a common source of BPA and phthalates — particularly cans, but also foods packaged in plastic wrap. Real food is always your best option.

Buy and Use Glass

Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans. Store your food and beverages in glass and use glass containers if heating food in your microwave, as heat tends to increase the release of chemicals from plastic. Be aware that even BPA-free plastics typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad as BPA.

Use glass baby bottles for your infants. Never drink coffee or tea from plastic cups and replace all your plastic cups with glass. Avoid plastic utensil and don’t use drinking water packaged in plastic. Filter your own water and store it in glass containers. Don’t use plastic grocery bags from the store. Bring your own reusable canvas or cloth variety.

Avoid Plastic Wrap

If you are using it to cover a glass container, don’t allow it to touch the food and don’t use it in the microwave.

Be Careful with Cash Register Receipts

If you use a store regularly, encourage the management to switch to BPA-free receipts. I shop at Publix for my food and when I called them about the receipts it turns out they had already switched. Nevertheless, it is wise to limit your contact with all these receipts.

Use Sustainable, Certified Organic, GMO-free Products

Look for products that are earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic and GMO-free. This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, baby items, furniture, mattresses and more.

When redoing your home, look for “green,” toxin-free alternatives in lieu of regular paint and vinyl floor coverings, the latter of which is another source of phthalates. Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one. Don’t use non-stick cookware.

Choose Children’s Toys Carefully

Choose toys made from natural materials to avoid plastic chemicals like phthalates and BPA/BPS, particularly for items your child may be prone to suck or chew on.

Breastfeed for at Least a Year

Breastfeed your baby exclusively if possible, for at least the first year (as you will avoid phthalates exposure from infant formula packaging and plastic bottles/nipples). Breastfeeding has additional advantages for your child as well.

Avoid Manufactured Cleaning Products

Use natural cleaning products, or make your own. You can clean most of your home with white vinegar and baking soda. There are options for dryer sheets and fabric softeners.

Switch to Organic Toiletries

Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. EWG’s Skin Deep database can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.43

Switch Feminine Hygiene and Urinary Incontinence Products

Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) and urinary incontinence products with safer alternatives. While most ingredients in feminine hygiene products are undisclosed, tests suggest they may contain dioxins and petrochemical additives.

Opt for Fragrance-Free

Look for fragrance-free products; phthalates are often used to help the product hold its fragrance longer. Artificial fragrance can also contain dozens of potentially toxic chemicals. Avoid fabric softeners, dryer sheets, air fresheners and scented candles for the same reason.

Test Tap Water

Check your home’s tap water for contaminants and filter the water if necessary. You may also want to use an alternative to PVC pipes for your water supply.

Don’t Drink From the Hose

Teach your children not to drink water from the garden hose, as many are made with phthalate-containing plastics.

Check with the Dentist

Verify any dental sealant used is BPA-, BPS- and BPF-free