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Decoding PFAS: How Forever Chemicals Affect Hormonal Balance

Are toxins behind your patients’ hormonal imbalance?  

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have been a topic of much debate in both the scientific and healthcare communities. PFAS are known as ‘forever chemicals’ due to their unmatched ability to resist degradation in both the environment and our bodies; certain PFAS compounds can last for decades in the human body before breaking down. These man-made chemicals are pervasive toxins commonly found in our environment and homes in products like non-stick cookware and stain-resistant carpets. 

Forever chemicals are associated with several adverse health outcomes, including liver toxicity, altered immunity, kidney disease, and even cancer. A growing body of research also supports a link between PFAS and endocrine disruption.   

PFAS Containers

Chemicals like PFAS can disrupt the endocrine system and impact hormonal balance, even in low concentrations, by either mimicking or blocking natural endocrine actions. 

Endocrine disruption can impact major bodily processes, including fertility, hormone metabolism, and steroid hormone production. 

In this article, we’ll explore how PFAS can disrupt hormonal balance, affecting numerous body systems, strategies to minimize exposure, and precision testing options to help you assess PFAS and hormone levels.  

PFAS & Female Reproductive Hormones 

Reproductive organs like ovaries and testes are specifically susceptible to the endocrine-disrupting effects of PFAS because they depend on a constant stream of hormones to function properly. This is especially true during periods of vulnerability, such as fetal development, infancy, puberty, and aging. 

PFAS chemicals can interfere with estrogen and progesterone regulation in the body. These two hormones play a significant role in women’s reproductive health areas such as fertility, hormone regulation, reproduction, and diseases like breast cancer and osteoporosis.  

Some studies indicate a link between PFAS and decreased production of estrogen and progesterone among reproductive-aged women. One way in which PFAS may decrease the production of sex hormones is through molecular mimicry. Certain PFAS compounds can mimic estrogen, leading to overstimulation of estrogen receptors 

Female Reproductive

Estrogens control the female reproductive system and the development of secondary sexual characteristics by binding to specific receptors called estrogen receptors. These receptors then set off gene transcription or signaling that leads to the control of gene expression.  

An overstimulation of estrogen receptors can trigger transcription and gene expression that wouldn’t normally occur, disrupting the function of growth and sex hormones. In some studies, PFAS were also shown to block estrogen's natural activity in regions of the hormone’s receptors that estrogen does not typically bind to. 

These types of disruptions to estrogen’s normal activity are linked to the development of several psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and a slew of other issues. 

Additionally, sex hormone imbalance can potentially affect reproductive functions like puberty and fertility and even the development of breast cancer. 

Accelerating Ovarian Aging

Ovarian aging is a natural process that women undergo involving a decrease in the quantity and quality of ovarian follicles (eggs and their surrounding cells) over time.  

Several studies have shown a link between PFAS and ovarian aging. Specific PFAS compounds are linked to ovarian aging in women through increased production of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). FSH is a known marker of aging within the reproductive system, which means that forever chemicals may be accelerating the rate of ovarian aging 


Further, PFAS are linked to an earlier onset of menopause, which could significantly detriment women’s health later in life. Menopause occurs when there is no longer any ovarian function in the body. This process occurring earlier than usual can lead to various negative health outcomes including an increased risk of overall mortality, cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular death, low bone mineral density and osteoporosis, and other chronic conditions.  

PFAS & Male Reproductive Hormones 

PFAS are not only linked to the disruption of female reproductive hormones but male hormones as well. Animal studies demonstrate a link between increased PFAS exposure and changes in the levels of major enzymes involved in the production of steroids, including testosterone, gonad-stimulating hormones, and growth hormones. 

Male Infertility

This can lead to issues such as lower testosterone levels and reduced semen quality, potentially affecting male fertility and sperm count later in life. 

Disruption of Insulin Regulation

The potential harms of PFAS on the body are not limited to reproductive health. PFAS are also associated with metabolic disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 

Emerging evidence suggests that PFAS exposure may impact insulin regulation and contribute to insulin and glucose resistance, specifically in individuals who are at risk of developing diabetes. Insulin resistance is a condition that occurs when the body's cells become less responsive to the peptide hormone insulin, leading to elevated blood glucose levels. Insulin resistance is a major factor in the development of metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes. 

Insulin Regulation

Several studies have found that PFAS exposure in animals triggers hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and other conditions associated with glucose metabolism by impacting insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in the body. 

Data also reveals that PFAS stimulates insulin secretion and intracellular calcium levels by activating a specific protein known as G protein-coupled receptor 40 (GPR40). 

Studies also indicate that women specifically may be at higher risk of developing diabetes linked to PFAS. 

Thyroid Dysfunction

Thyroid hormones play a crucial role in regulating metabolism, and thyroid function can influence a wide range of mechanisms in the body, including cardiovascular health, fertility, and fetal brain development. 

Studies suggest that PFAS may disrupt the thyroid hormone system in humans, potentially impacting pregnancy and fetal-child development. Forever chemicals can affect various stages of thyroid hormone production and secretion, including iodine uptake by thyroid cells, thyroid hormone protein production, enzyme activity, signaling pathways, and more.  


Further, several in vitro studies demonstrate the harmful effects accumulation of PFAS can have on thyroid cells, including cytotoxicity and genotoxicity.  

Finally, PFAS are linked to the onset of the common thyroid condition hypothyroidism, characterized by a lower rate of thyroid hormone production. This can cause a lower rate of resting energy expenditure, weight gain, reduced lipolysis, and reduced glucose production.  

Disturbance of Adrenal Function

A final hormonal system that PFAS can impact is the neuroendocrine system, specifically adrenal function, which plays a critical role in hormone production and regulation. 

Adrenal Function

PFAS exposure can affect adrenal function by interfering with the gene and protein expression of key receptors involved in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) regulation. The HPA is the primary stress response system of the body and acts as the link between perceived stress and actual physical reactions to stress. 

PFAS exposure can decrease protein expression in the prefrontal cortex and amygdala—brain regions involved in regulating the stress response and emotional processing. The inhibition of protein expression in these regions may indicate that forever chemicals can disrupt the normal functioning of the HPA axis, potentially affecting stress responses and emotional regulation.  

Minimizing PFAS Exposure

Since PFAS are linked to many negative health effects, including altering hormonal balance in the body, reducing exposure is critical for optimal health. Although it’s impossible to completely avoid PFAS due to the chemical’s ubiquity in modern life, there are simple ways to minimize exposure.  

Water is a major source of PFAS contamination. Therefore, whole-house filters, under-sink filters, or filtering-pitcher devices can help significantly reduce PFAS exposure. The following strategies can help limit other sources of PFAS exposure:  

  • Avoid fast food and takeout containers by eating at home 
  • Avoid products with ingredients containing the words “fluoro” or “perfluoro” 
  • Replace non-stick pans with stainless steel or cast iron 
  • Avoid stain-resistant products

Non-Stick Fan

Precision Testing Options

PFAS Chemical Test 

PFAS Chemical Test-3

Assessing current PFAS levels is essential for getting to the root of hormonal imbalance and related symptoms.  

The PFAS Chemical Test detects levels of the chemical metabolites in the body, enabling you to: 

  • Identify PFAS toxicity 
  • Reveal the underlying causes of hormonal imbalance and related conditions  
  • Uncover the root cause of environmentally induced toxicity 
  • Establish risk recognition 
  • Enable solutions and interventions that will enhance toxic substance elimination and promote healing 

The PFAS Chemical panel utilizes mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography to detect and identify 21 short-chain and long-chain PFAS analytes commonly found in the human body.  

Patients can perform the PFAS urine test in the comfort of their homes, making it easy for you to assess their toxic burden status and develop personalized strategies to reduce toxic exposure and lower their overall toxic burden.  


Hormones Panel 

The Hormones Panel measures the status of steroid hormones in the human body, including patterns of imbalances and an assessment of metabolites (metabolized hormones).  

The panel will allow you to assess which specific hormones are imbalanced and gain information related to genetics, environment, nutrition, and inflammation, which influence hormone pathways, enzymes, and metabolite production. 

By testing for both PFAS and hormone levels, you can discover if toxins are at the root of your patients’ hormonal imbalance and create custom treatment plans to promote healing.  

In addition to diagnostic testing, you can download this Toxicity Questionnaire to further assess your patients’ toxic burden risk. 

By utilizing precision testing to assess levels of toxins and hormones, you can help protect your patients from the threats of PFAS to the endocrine and other body systems and support optimal health.  



Regulatory Statement:

The general wellness test intended uses relate to sustaining or offering general improvement to functions associated with a general state of health while making reference to diseases or conditions. This test has been laboratory developed and its performance characteristics determined by Vibrant America LLC and Vibrant Genomics, a CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited laboratory performing the test. The lab tests referenced have not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although FDA does not currently clear or approve laboratory-developed tests in the U.S., certification of the laboratory is required under CLIA to ensure the quality and validity of the tests.