What is estrogen dominance and why do we need to manage it?
Estrogen dominance refers to too much or an imbalance of estrogen in the body. The estrogen in your body comes from either endogenous sources (inside the body) or from the environment you live in.
Estrogens from exogenous sources are referred to as chemical estrogens or xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are the type, which contribute to estrogen dominance.
The presence of estrogen dominance has the potential to impact on the following
- Fat loss
- May increase cancer risk
- May alter brain transmitters
You have 3 types of estrogens in your body, including 2- and 4-hydroxyestrone and 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone, each metabolised by the liver via 3 different pathways.
- Favourable– 2-hydroxyestrone pathway
- Unfavourable – 4-hydroxyestrone pathway
- Toxic – 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone pathway
TOP 10 TIPS FOR MANAGING ESTROGEN DOMINANCE
The more body fat you have the more estrogen you have. Fat tissue contains high levels of the aromatase enzyme which coverts testosterone to estrogen. Your body works to eliminate the unwanted xenoestrogens, however poor gut health results in the reabsorption of these estrogen molecules back into circulation, further increasing your estrogen levels. Adopting a nutrient-dense diet, with appropriate carb timing and plenty of omega-3 fats will assist in reducing your unwanted estrogens.
Broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage…the list goes on! Cruciferous vegetables are high in a compound known as indole-3-carbinol which assists in flushing out estrogenic compounds and xenoestrogens. These vegetables are also rich in zinc, which plays a role in inhibiting the aromatase enzyme mentioned above. Make sure you choose organic to avoid pesticides, which are one of the biggest sources of xenoestrogens.
Always choose organic grass fed cuts. Inorganic, processed, factory farmed meat is filled with trace estrogen and synthetic hormones.
Phthalates are compounds that make plastics flexible and are also found in fragrances, cosmetics etc. They are readily absorbed through the skin and inhalation. They have a potential estrogen effect by binding to estrogen receptors and acting additively with your natural estrogens. Never heat food in plastic containers and try to drink from glass or stainless steel bottles where possible.
Chemicals present in the majority of personal care products. Parabens mimic estrogen in your body by binding to cellular estrogen receptors. Always check ingredient labels to avoid exposure to these chemicals. Your should look for:
Bisphenol-A, or BPA, is an organic synthetic compound used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics. They are found in the lining of canned goods, ink in newspapers and receipts and different varieties of plastics. Overtime BPA migrates from cans into food and leaches from plastics when heated. BPA acts like estrogen in the body, therefore is referred to as a hormone disruptor.
One of the most estrogenic plants which promotes estrogenic activity in the body. Soy is also one of the most highly sprayed GMO crops. The problem with soy comes from soy isoflavones, which need to be neutralized and eliminated from the body. These compounds, found in tofu, soy milk and other soy containing products, are problematic as they have the potential to disrupt endocrine function and promote development, growth and spread of breast cancers.
Soy also contains phytic acid and oxalic acid, which impact on mineral absorption and may deplete certain nutrients respectively.
Alcohol is detoxified in the liver just like estrogen, however because alcohol is a toxin ,and an oxidative stress to the body, it takes priority. As a result the liver is too body to metabolise your estrogens leading to an increase in estrogen levels. Alcohol also increases aromatase. Beer in particular is extremely estrogenic and best avoided to minimise estrogens.
Getting enough ‘Z’s’ at night is important for optimizing your circadian rhythm and subsequently improving estrogen metabolism. Estrogen regulation and flushing of estrogens from the body occurs while you sleep with activity being at its peak in the REM-stages of sleep.
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