Estrogen dominance has been showing up a LOT lately in the consultation conversations I’ve been having with clients.
It’s a stealthy hormone imbalance that often goes overlooked in typical blood test and can be related to issues such as weight gain, sleepless nights, sugar cravings, low energy, depression and insulin resistance, irregular periods and intense PMS symptoms for just the ladies. (By the way, men can get this too!)
In this post I am going to go into a little more detail about this common hormonal imbalance and what you can do about it
Stubborn weight, acne, low libido, restless sleep and struggling to build muscle are just some common characteristic when estrogen is dominating your body.
There are some important clues that are not related to symptoms as well:
Clue #1 - A possible genetic predisposition, including any estrogen driven cancers in the family blood line. About 80% of all breast cancers are “ER-positive”, meaning the cancer cells grow in response to estrogen.
Clue #2 - A Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones (DUTCH) that shows not just estrogen values, but information on estrogen metabolites (estrone and estradiol). These values can not be seen on a blood test, so they can been routinely missed.
What is estrogen dominance?
In men, it’s usually determined when estrogen levels are relatively high in comparison to testosterone. Meaning testosterone levels could be normal or low, and estrogen is high relatively high to whatever that number is.
In women, it’s commonly evaluated based upon the ratio of estrogen to progesterone, but as with men, it can also be evaluated when comparing testosterone to estrogen.
In general, when estrogen levels are relatively high to other hormones, it’s not good.
The good news is that estrogen dominance doesn’t happen overnight. It’s preventable and reversible in almost any case.
But if estrogen gets out of control, it can lead to more health issues beyond stubborn weight, acne and pain in the ass periods.
Estrogen dominance can also contribute to:
· Hormone driven cancers such as the ER-2 breast cancer
· Autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s
· Yeast and bacteria overgrowth such as Candida
So how can you keep estrogen within its normal playing field?
Making sure estrogen doesn’t start dominating the field means tackling it from a couple of different angles.
Angle #1 - Sort out estrogen sources
One of the biggest reasons why estrogen is on the rise is due to a classification of toxins known as Xenoestrogens. These toxins have the ability to mimic estrogen in the body or block hormone receptor sites resulting in elevated estrogen levels. Common sources of estrogen promoting toxins can be found in:
· Plastic food, water or other types of containers
· Lotions, shampoos, conditioners, deodorant or other personal care products
· Metal substances such as as cadmium, lead, and mercury
Aim to swap out your plastic containers for glass or stainless steel.
Other estrogen elevating sources also include:
· Non-organic foods containing pesticides (glyphosate especially) or added hormones
· Tap water (yes, even though it’s deemed “safe”) contaminated with pesticides/toxins
· Intestinal parasites, bacteria and yeast that elevate toxic enzymes and trap estrogen (yes you can have these and not know it)
· Excess body fat that absorbs, stores and synthesizes estrogen
· Synthetic hormones found in hormone replacement therapies and/or birth control
· Water damaged buildings with mold growth
· Unrelenting mental or emotional stress
Some actions you can take action to tackle these sources by eating organic, drinking and cooking with only filtered water (spring water is the best), properly addressing water leaks and mold and taking time to meditate or de-stress daily.
To sort out the synthetic hormones and/or intestinal pathogens, seek a Functional Health Practitioner (like myself) to assist you with proper and personalized strategies.
Angle #2 - Love your liver
The reality is, we can’t control our exposure to estrogen driving toxins 100% of the time. But our liver does play a major role in getting rid of excess estrogen that might be circulating in the body, and that’s something you can get behind. By supporting liver function, you can kill two birds with one stone: eliminate toxins you’ve been exposed to that might raise estrogen levels, and excrete existing excess estrogen.
To support your liver, you can:
· Take a daily liver support supplement with nutrients such as milk thistle
· Eat naturally detoxifying foods such as beets, grapefruits, lemons and dandelion greens
· Take digestive bitters before every meal
· Occasionally do castor oil liver packs, dry body brushing or an infrared sauna
Do all of the above and give more power to your liver!
Angle #3 - Eat and drink anti-estrogenic
The great news is, you can combat estrogen on a daily basis with little effort. Simply aim to eat anti-estrogenic foods, known as cruciferous vegetables, and drink clean, filtered water (from a glass or steel bottle of course!).
Some of the best estrogen regulating foods to consume include:
· Brussel Sprouts
· Bok Choy
· Collard Greens
These foods help bind and carry out excess estrogen! Take note: if you have thyroid issues, be sure to cook these vegetables to lessen the goitrogenic properties of cruciferous veggies.
By taking action from all three angles, estrogen will be neutralized and will play nicely.
However, in some cases even if you’re adamantly working to lower estrogen levels, there still might be something stopping you from getting where you want to be. Genetic predisposition comes in to play and it is best to get help from a practitioner.
If you suspect estrogen might be dominating you, and you want to get your hands on the right lab tests and resources to get it under control, then schedule a clarity to call with me to see how I can help!