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Estrogen: Its Dominating Effects and How to Fix Them

Our BINTO supplements are clinically formulated by a team of scientists and medical professionals to support hormonal balance without any fillers or unnecessary ingredients

 

Written by Ashleigh Stewart, MSACN

Many women may think it is normal to experience heavy periods, tender breasts, short menstrual cycles, or mood swings associated with premenstrual syndrome. What they may not know is that these symptoms are giving them clues about their hormonal health.It is very common for women to experience hormonal imbalances today, the most common of which is estrogen dominance.

Estrogen Dominance

When unattended to, estrogen dominance has been linked to infertility, as well as higher risks of breast and ovarian cancers in women. Endometrial cancer has also been reported as a secondary complication to dominant estrogen levels. Ultimately, estrogen dominance can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, and even cause thyroid dysfunction.

What is estrogen dominance and how do I know if I have it?

The term Estrogen Dominance was first coined by Dr. John Lee. Quite simply, estrogen dominance occurs when there is an imbalance in the ratio of estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen levels in the bloodstream have three options: than can be elevated, normal, or low. Dominance occurs if the progesterone in the body is not adequate to balance estrogenic effects. It can be caused by overproduction of estrogen from the ovaries or inadequate estrogen metabolism. Women between the ages of 30 and 40 are more likely to experience estrogen dominance.

Signs and Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

  •      Abdominal Cramping
  •      Anxiety
  •      Bloating
  •      Brain Fog
  •      Breast swelling and tenderness
  •      Cellulite
  •      Cold hands and feet
  •      Depression
  •      Difficulties sleeping
  •      Food cravings
  •      Headaches/migraines
  •      Heavy menstrual flow
  •      Irritability
  •      Lowered Sex drive
  •      Varicose Veins
  •      Weight gain

 

Diet and Lifestyle Choices

Many of your dietary choices and lifestyle habits can contribute to estrogen dominance. Here are some of the factors that may be playing a role:

 

Hormone-rich meats and poultry

Conventional protein sources such as red meat and poultry are pumped with hormones to induce animal growth and promote desirability to the consumer. These hormones are comprised of synthetic and natural components including estradiol, an estrogenic hormone. The exogenous addition of these hormones can increase levels of stored estrogen in the body that can lead to detrimental growth and development of the reproductive organs and breast tissues. These undesirable effects can trigger breast swelling and promote development of fibroids.  To reduce consumption of hormone-laden meats, it is recommended to shop locally for organic, grass-fed, grass-finished meats. Knowledge is power. So, speaking to your local butcher and inquiring about the source or feeding process of the animal allows you to select the best quality meat for your health journey.

 

Organic vs. Non-organic Foods

Some herbicides and pesticides used to maintain crops can mimic hormones in the body and lead to unwanted effects. When we consume produce treated with these endocrine disruptors, our body absorbs the chemicals that go on to bind to hormone receptors. Endocrine disruptors especially have a strong binding potential for estrogen receptors. These chemicals can either activate or inhibit hormone activity and interfere with synthesis, transport, metabolism or elimination of hormones. These effects can alter the natural production of hormones leading to an imbalanced hormonal state. Choosing organic, untreated items over non-organic produce is key in reducing effects of pesticide endocrine disruptors. Another option is to rinse produce for at least one minute prior to consumption to minimize residual pesticides.

 

 Liver Detoxification

The liver metabolizes estrogen to inactive compounds via cytochrome P450 enzymes. The inactive compounds are then released through the colon via bowel movements. Impaired liver detoxification can inhibit this process and cause estrogen to build-up. Heavy metal exposure, alcohol, medications such as proton pump inhibitors, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil & ibuprofen), vitamin B deficiencies and a low protein diet have all been linked to altered liver detoxification pathways. One way to boost your detoxifying cytochrome P450 enzymes is through consumption of sulfur-containing vegetables such as garlic, onion, broccoli, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. You can also minimize your toxic exposure by choosing aluminum-free deodorants and natural, organically based skin-care products. Women who consume more than one alcoholic drink per day have measurably higher levels of estrogen in the blood due to impaired detoxification. So, monitor your alcohol consumption carefully and opt for a deliciously crafted mocktail two nights per week.

 

 Plastics

We come into contact with plastics countless times each day. From our food and beverage packaging to our home furniture, plastics surround us. And, these plastics can contain an endocrine disrupting chemical known as Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA from plastic containers can leach onto the molecules of our food and beverages that we consume. The chemicals then cause negative effects on human health by mimicking estrogen within the body. It can imitate the structure of endogenous estrogen by binding and activating the same nuclear receptors. These disrupted pathways can alter thyroid hormone, androgen signaling, metabolism and immune function. To minimize exposure to BPA you can purchase a BPA-free reusable water bottle to carry with you throughout the day, choose products in glass jars over cans or plastic containers, opt for glass food storage containers for your at-home leftovers, and avoid heating food in plastic as heat induces the chemical leaching process.

 

High Stress

In stressful situations, the body reacts by producing the stress hormone, cortisol. In order to manufacture that hormone, the body utilizes progesterone. If the body is consistently in a state of stress, it will rapidly steal progesterone to produce cortisol and leave estrogen in excess. Stress management is crucial at this point. Incorporating yoga, mindful breathing techniques, and maintaining emotionally supportive relationships can be helpful in minimizing daily stress.

 

As previously mentioned, your body is consistently providing clues to your hormonal health through your menstrual cycle or physical and emotional symptoms. It is important to acknowledge these helpful hints and explore the possibility of hormonal imbalances. Having an excess of estrogen can potentially lead to greater risk of thyroid dysfunction, breast and ovarian cancer, or stroke.

*If you are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed, it is recommended to check-in with your medical professional and have your hormonal values evaluated. Early detection with diet and lifestyle intervention can help reduce your risk to further complications.

 

 

Ashleigh, a local to Philadelphia, is a graduate from the Masters of Applied Clinical Nutrition program at New York Chiropractic College. She currently works as a health coach for young students as she believes that longevity with a healthy lifestyle begins in early education. Through her own health issues and healing journey, she has seen how important nutrition and lifestyle choices are to women’s hormonal health. With a functional nutrition background, she sees the body as a whole component and looks to get to the underlying cause of any imbalance. She believes in consistently expanding her knowledge on women’s hormonal health and well-being and looks forward to sharing that knowledge with you.

 

 

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