Food Freedom Friday Edition 158 - Not Only For Women
Everyone, whether male or female, naturally produces the hormone estrogen in the adrenal glands and stored fat tissue, as well as the ovaries in women and the testes in men. Estrogen is necessary for many important functions such as childbearing, keeping cholesterol in check, and protecting bone health. It’s when your estrogen levels get out of balance with your other hormones that it can lead to a number of issues in both sexes.
Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
Weight gain, mainly in hips, waist, and thighs
Menstrual problems such as light or heavy bleeding
Loss of sex drive
Depression or anxiety
Causes of Estrogen Dominance
Every day we are under constant attack by environmental toxins that lead to the creation of bad estrogen metabolites, the by-products of estrogen metabolism. Hormone-mimicking xenoestrogens combined with your own diet and lifestyle habits can all contribute to estrogen dominance. The biggest culprits are:
By far one of the biggest sources of excess estrogen is our modern diet. Commercially raised animals are injected with growth hormones to make them grow bigger and faster or increase milk production. These hormones make their way into your food where they can disrupt your own natural hormone balance.
Plus, any of the pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides found on conventional produce are known endocrine disruptors that interfere with your natural hormone activity and metabolism. While they may only exist in small quantities on individual fruits and vegetables, the cumulative effect quickly adds up and hasn’t been studied enough to say what the long-term effects might be.
This is why we are so particular about the source of your food for the Metabolic Reset, and for life.
Unfortunately, our water has become heavily polluted with hormone-disrupting compounds including pesticides and fertilizers, synthetic and natural estrogens from livestock and prescription medications, and an unknown number of industrial chemicals from chemical plant runoff or the disposal of plastics and chemicals in landfills.
Coal-burning plants emit over 70,000 pounds of mercury in the into the air each year, which then settles into our water and impacts our hormonal levels (more on that below).
Filtering your water, both for drinking and household use, using reverse osmosis is your best defense.
3. Personal Care Products
Cosmetics, lotions, shampoos, soaps, toothpastes, and the numerous other body products often used contain parabens, phenoxyethanol, phthalates and other compounds that all have estrogenic activity. The average person uses 10-15 body products a day, with a total of 126 different ingredients meaning this exposure can quickly add up!
You’d think that beauty products would be regulated for safety. However, you might have been surprised to learn that they are regulated by an internal review board, so they are simply regulating themselves, leading to the inclusion of all sorts of hidden endocrine disruptors in these products you use every day.
Xenoestrogens in skin care products are especially harmful because they are absorbed directly into your tissues, and so never have the chance to be detoxified through your liver. Be wary of deodorants or other personal care products that contain an unspecified “fragrance,” as this can be virtually anything and it tends to be a catch-all term for hidden phthalates or other hormone-disrupting chemicals.
Refer to the extensive list included with Session 2 in your membership portal for what chemicals to avoid.
4. Gut Dysbiosis
Your gut microbiome regulates circulating estrogen using an enzyme known as beta-glucuronidase. When your microbiome is out of balance, these enzymes cannot properly metabolize estrogens, which leaves you more susceptible to breast cancer and other conditions caused by estrogen dominance.
5. BPA and Other Plastics
Plastic in all its forms, including in water bottles, food wrap, and storage containers, contain hormone mimicking xenoestrogens that can leach into what you’re eating or drinking and cause major problems for your health. Even products marked “BPA-free” are not safe, and in fact contain chemicals whose effects are not as well-known.
Furthermore, microwaving, dishwashing, and exposing plastic to sunlight increases the estrogenic activity of plastic even more.
You may not be aware that every time you take a receipt from the store or even your ATM machine, you are dealing a blow to your hormones. Receipts printed on thermal paper are a major source of endocrine-disrupting bisphenol-A (BPA). People who handle receipts frequently have significantly elevated levels of BPA in their urine. These xenoestrogens are getting absorbed through your skin and are more direct hit to your system.
6. Heavy Metals
Similar to plastics, heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, and mercury, have estrogen-mimicking properties. It’s even been suggested that the presence of these endocrine-disrupting elements in our environment may be behind the earlier-onset puberty that has become the norm in our modern societies.
7. Body Fat
Excess body fat (especially stored in the hips, waist, and thighs) is one of the leading causes of estrogen dominance. Not only does fat tissue absorb and store estrogen circulating in your bloodstream, it also synthesizes estrogen from your other hormones. Having high levels of estrogen cues your body to make more fat cells, which then produce even more estrogen, creating a vicious cycle.
8. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and Birth Control
Hormone replacement therapy medications and most oral contraceptives contain estrogen without the necessary progesterone to maintain proper hormone balance. The hormones used in both HRT and birth control also tend to be toxic, synthetic hormones that are not easily metabolized by the liver, leading to DNA damage and an increased risk for breast and endometrial cancer.
For more information on how to effectively and healthfully balance your hormones, book a consultation with me as an addition to your Metabolic Reset
9. Chronic Stress
When you’re chronically stressed (as so many of us are), your body begins to use the sex hormone progesterone to make cortisol. Low levels of progesterone lead to estrogen dominance.
How to Clear Your Body of Excess Estrogens
Now that you know what estrogen dominance is and where it comes from, what steps can you take to prevent it? Or if you suspect you may already be estrogen dominant, how can you clear your body of those excess estrogens and restore hormone balance?
Taming the toxins is a key component of my work with both individuals and in my programs. I formulate my approach using a three-step system of detoxification, resetting and maintaining and preventing to help you minimize your exposure and then clear the toxins safely from your body.
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the main sources of estrogen and begin taking the proper lifestyle measures to avoid them in the future, you can start feeling your best again. And you can feel even better knowing you are improving the way you look, feel and live on all levels, from the inside out!