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Hormones 101

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What happens when animals are regularly given synthetic hormones, and those hormones make their way into our food supply and ultimately our bodies? Read on and learn why it’s worth it to for you and your family to avoid them.

What are synthetic hormones?
Synthetic hormones are similar to hormones produced within the body, but are made in a laboratory. One of the most commonly known examples of synthetic hormones is rBST. Developed by Monsanto, rBST was created using genetically engineered E. coli bacteria. It was designed to mimic BST, a naturally occurring hormone that is produced in cattle’s pituitary gland.

organic cows on pastureHow are synthetic hormones used in food production?
Synthetic hormones, such as rBGH and rBST, are used to increase milk production in dairy cows. They can also be used to promote faster growth in cattle.

Where are synthetic hormones found?
Synthetic hormones can be found in non-organic dairy products as well as non-organic meat products.

What can you do to avoid synthetic growth hormones?
Go organic! In order to qualify for the USDA organic label, organic farmers are prohibited from using synthetic growth hormones (rBGH) on their animals. Organic standards also mandate a rigorous system for inspection, certification and verification of organic practices, all of which protect you and your family when you choose organic foods. Organic. It’s worth it!

Are synthetic hormones safe?
Studies have found links between exposure to synthetic hormones and a number of human health problems including breast and prostate cancer. Other studies have found similar links between synthetic hormones and sexual development disorders.

It’s also worth noting that both Canada and the European Union have banned the use of the synthetic growth hormone rBGH in dairy cattle based on health effects in cows as well as potential hazards for humans consuming the resulting milk.