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Dr. Anthony Jay: The Dangers of BPA-Free Plastics & Estrogens

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

About Dr. Anthony Jay

Dr. Anthony Jay earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Boston University’s School of Medicine, where he focused on the interplay between fats, hormones, and cholesterol. He currently works at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, researching stem cells, epigenetics, and infrared light. He is also the author of the best-selling book Estrogeneration.

We are now pleased to announce that Dr. Jay will be joining the SelfHacked Medical Advisory Board, where he will be reviewing posts within his area of expertise.

How Dr. Jay Got into Studying The Effects of Estrogens

Dr. Jay’s interest in studying estrogens started in college when a city representative warned students to filter their water because it could be contaminated with birth control medications. Dr. Jay was shocked. He had never considered that synthetic hormones could make their way into his water supply and, after learning this, started to pay closer attention.

Over the course of Dr. Jay’s science education, he came to realize that there was a serious lack of information available to the laypeople about the effects of the estrogens in their environment. He committed to researching this important topic that most people don’t know much about.

How Estrogenic Compounds Affect Our Epigenetics

A cell typically has 2 protective layers, or membranes: its outer cellular membrane that encapsulates the entire cell, and an inner nuclear membrane that encloses the cell’s DNA. This ensures that our DNA is extremely protected and that only certain compounds can reach it.

Most biological components that can enter a cell can only pass the outer membrane. However, sex hormones (like estrogen and testosterone) can also enter the nuclear membrane, where they can alter gene expression. When estrogens interact with the DNA, they can affect the expression of different genes through differential methylation regions (DMRs).

Michael Skinner has performed research showing that estrogenic compounds can significantly alter your DNA’s methylation pattern and that this can have multi-generational effects [1]. In fact, the effects of these estrogenic compounds can be seen up to 4 generations down from the original test subjects!

This gives us an idea of just how impactful these compounds can be on our epigenetics. Although some of these alterations could be beneficial, more often than not they are probably harmful.

Major Environmental Sources

Estrogenic compounds can be found in a number of everyday products. This is why it’s so important for you to pay close attention to what ingredients you are putting into – and onto your body!

Some of the major sources of estrogenic chemicals include:

  • Plastics (alternatives: stainless steel, glass, ceramics)
  • Sunscreen (you want to make sure it’s mostly made from zinc and doesn’t contain complex chemicals)
  • Personal care products (shampoo, conditioner, perfumes, etc.)

Conditions Affected By These Compounds

Estrogenic compounds that sneak into your body can have a range of harmful effects on your health. They disrupt your natural estrogen and thus can contribute to conditions such as:

  • Infertility
  • Low testosterone
  • Increases in fat
  • Depression (birth control users have an increased rate of suicide)
  • Gynecomastia (AKA “man-boobs”)
  • Breast cancer

How You Can Detox

A lot of the estrogenic chemicals that find their way into your body build up (“bio-accumulate”) in fat cells. Because of this, saunas are a great method to help you remove (“detox”) these harmful chemicals from your body. Saunas facilitate the removal of chemicals from the fat cells and into your blood, where they can finally be eliminated through the sweat glands.

Studies using sweat patches revealed that these chemicals can be removed even faster by sweating than by urination [2].

Estrogen Studies

When you try to research the various effects of estrogen, you will often be faced with a lot of misleading and contradictory information. This is because corporations are heavily influencing the scientific research available. The resulting research gives birth to contrasting positions that are created in an attempt to influence the EPA regulations on estrogens.

In this podcast, Dr. Jay discusses the truth behind the effects of estrogenic compounds on your health, and how corporations have been able to skew the results of research in their favor.

Corporate Influence on Research and EPA Regulations

You often can’t rely on research studies to give you accurate information about what estrogen levels are “safe” or what their health effects might be.

Corporations have been able to influence study results – and thus EPA regulations – by being the main supporters of research in this field. In order for these corporations to thrive, they need studies to show safe and positive results for their products. However, these studies become biased because it costs money to perform research – and big corporations are a lot more willing to back research that provides favorable outcomes for them.

A lot of the time there is significant money behind the scenes, funding research to look only at one specific aspect of estrogens, which makes it easy to manipulate a study to produce a certain result. This leads to misleading and contradictory information being presented to the public.

Establishing “Safe” Dosages: Effects vs. Toxicity

“Safe” estrogen levels are established by determining the levels that cause toxicity. The issue with this is that most people assume that a little bit of estrogen here and there isn’t going to hurt them because it usually takes a huge amount to cause visible signs of toxicity. This model is flawed because it completely ignores the epigenetic effects of low doses. Artificial estrogens can significantly affect your epigenetics even at much lower doses than the ones that cause toxicity.

In fact, scientists observing the effects of estrogens on cells often find that low doses can actually have an even stronger effect than very high doses. This is because, at high doses, cells become overwhelmed and either shut off their estrogen receptors or die from toxicity. At low doses, however, the cells are able to continue living, allowing major epigenetic effects to build up over time.

Are All Estrogens Bad?

Although estrogenic compounds have many harmful effects, they also have numerous beneficial effects. What distinguishes these positive and negative effects has a lot to do with the specific receptors they interact with.

Estrogenic compounds affect our epigenetics by imitating our natural estrogens and activating our estrogen receptors. Humans have two types of estrogen receptors: alpha and beta. The alpha receptor is generally known as the “harmful” receptor, while the beta receptor is generally known as the “good” estrogen receptor.

The Soy Controversy

There are many contradictory studies that claim soy primarily activates the alpha receptor, while others claim that soy primarily activates the beta receptor. So which is it?

It turns out that soy activates different receptors in different types of cells. Because of this, it affects people differently depending on what they are predisposed to.

In general, Dr. Jay thinks it’s safest to stay away from soy altogether. When soy estrogens are broken down in the body, some of the resulting compounds are alpha activators, while others are beta activators.

Beta Receptor Activators

Some common foods and compounds that activate the beta (“good”) estrogen receptors include:

  • Licorice root
  • Red Clover
  • Equol (a metabolic by-product of the estrogens in soy)

Stem Cell Injections

In addition to his work on estrogens and their effects on health, Dr. Jay has also established himself as an expert in the cutting-edge field of using stem cells to treat medical conditions.

Dr. Jay explains that the effectiveness of stem cell injections varies depending on each individual, but that they generally work really well (sometimes too well, to an orthopedic surgeon’s chagrin).

Although stem cell injections have proven to be effective, there are many restrictions around their use that keep them from being widely adopted by the medical community.

Resistance to Stem Cells In Orthopedics

There is a lot of resistance to the use of stem cells, especially within the orthopedic realm. Orthopedic surgeons make the bulk of their money from performing surgeries. Because of this, many surgeons discourage the use of stem cells and claim that they are unreliable as a medical treatment.

Research Goes Where The Money Goes

Stem cells cannot be patented, which has caused many researchers to shift towards using exosomes (which can be patented). Exosomes are secreted by stem cells and contain a specific component that can be used for treatment when administered properly.

Stem Cells vs. Exosomes

Take a toolbox for instance. A well-stocked toolbox carries every tool you could need to fix a multitude of problems even though each tool, on its own, can only perform one specific task. Stem cells and exosomes act very similarly to this. While the stem cell can produce a variety of different therapeutic treatments, an exosome can only do what it is specifically designed to do.

Therefore, the main drawback to using exosomes instead of stem cells is that they are not as flexible, and have to be precisely targeted for each treatment. When injecting exosomes, they might or might not be exactly what you need in your situation. But if you were to inject with stem cells instead, the stem cells would be able to hone in on the site of inflammation, identify the needs of the region, and secrete the appropriate exosomes (there are thousands – or maybe even millions – of different exosomes).

Although stem cell treatment seems to be the more effective option, current research and development efforts have shifted towards exosomes simply because there is no money to be made from developing stem cell treatments.


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Personal Care Products Dr. Jay Recommends

Dr. Jay’s Favorite Genetics Software

Dr. Jay mentioned that he is a big fan of SelfDecode and that it’s the best genetic software out there.

“You guys do the best from any I’ve seen. I’ve bought yours before we met…I’ve done Rhonda Patrick’s, I’ve done everybody’s…You guys have the best one out there…”

Joe: This was not planned and I didn’t know he used SelfDecode before the podcast.

Lights to Regrow Stem Cells

About the Author

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen flipped the script on conventional and alternative medicine…and it worked. Growing up, he suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, insomnia, anxiety, and other issues that were poorly understood in traditional healthcare. Frustrated by the lack of good information and tools, Joe decided to embark on a learning journey to decode his DNA and track his biomarkers in search of better health. Through this personalized approach, he discovered his genetic weaknesses and was able to optimize his health 10X better than he ever thought was possible. Based on his own health success, he went on to found SelfDecode, the world’s first direct-to-consumer DNA analyzer & precision health tool that utilizes AI-driven polygenic risk scoring to produce accurate insights and health recommendations. Today, SelfDecode has helped over 100,000 people understand how to get healthier using their DNA and labs.
Joe is a thriving entrepreneur, with a mission of empowering people to take advantage of the precision health revolution and uncover insights from their DNA and biomarkers so that we can all feel great all of the time.


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