To kip fit and full of energy, it is important to maintain hormonal balance. One of the bothersome hormonal imbalances is estrogen dominance.
It has a negative impact on the quality of your life and causes a great number of health issues. If you have high estrogen levels, this article is for you. You'll find out how to naturally rebalance your estrogen levels and gain control over your health.
There are different signs and symptoms of high estrogen for men and women. The only way to really know what your hormone levels are is to do a hormone test. There are three types of hormone test: blood test, saliva test, and urine tests.
I prefer the DUTCH urine test. It helps accurately measure sex hormones. The DUTCH test tells us the levels of the 3 different types of estrogen plus how your body is detoxifying the estrogen.
There are 3 different pathways your body can detoxify estrogen down. One is a healthy pathway while the other two can lead to increased cancer risk, cysts, and fibroids.
The DUTCH test can be done at home. The test kit will be sent straight you and you won't have to go to the doctor. You just gather the needed samples and send to our lab. As soon as your samples are analyzed, you will be given a comprehensive action plan to go with the results.
Knowing how your body detoxifies estrogen helps guide the type of treatment that you do to lower your estrogen levels.
So once you have tested your estrogen levels and you realize they are high - the next step is to improve the detoxification of estrogen.
Estrogen is metabolized by the liver and cleared out of the body through the bowel. If this process is not working optimally it can lead to either high levels of potentially toxic estrogen or reabsorbing estrogen back into circulation.
There are 3 pathways in which estrogen can be metabolized. They are the 2, 4 and 16 Hydroxy estrone pathways.
The excess estrogen causes many health problems like hormone dysregulation in women and excess body fat in men, the real danger is that the estrogen metabolized through the 4 and 16 pathways increases the risk of cancer, especially breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.
While a healthy gut can help to eliminate excess estrogens from the body, an unhealthy digestive tract which is fuelled by refined carbohydrates, processed foods, gluten, and alcohol can lead to leaky gut and an up-regulation of an enzyme called B-glucuronidase.
B-glucuronidase breaks apart the bound estrogen that is getting excreted out of the body through the intestines making it easier to reabsorb into the body.
This can be one of the biggest causes of excess estrogen in women and men. Beneficial bacteria can prevent this from happening by reducing dysbiosis as it is high levels of the bad bacteria that uncouple the bond between estrogen and glucuronic acid.
The solution to improving the elimination of estrogen through the bowel is to stick to the strict high-fiber diet. Your diet should include:
In addition, you should also focus on improving detoxification through the liver. You can enhance phase one and liver detoxification by consuming the following foods:
Other essential nutrients that are important for detoxification of estrogen include:
Dim is found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. However, in order to get enough of this nutrient, it is better to take it in a supplement form.
Insulin resistance and a higher carbohydrate diet can also increase estrogen levels. If you have excess body fat you may need to reduce carbohydrates. Although, you can still eat lots of vegetables and the other fiber-rich foods such as flaxseeds and psyllium.
This is especially important for women with PCOS and men with excess estrogen as the insulin resistance will up-regulate the aromatase enzyme causing excess estrogen.
Increasing phytoestrogens can help to reduce the effect of estrogens. The plant-based estrogens found in the phytoestrogens bind to estrogen receptors in the body, but they do not have the same effect as they are much weaker than estrogen from the body or from chemicals.
Lignans and isoflavones are the main phytoestrogens. They can help reduce the aromatase enzyme and stop testosterone being turned into estrogen, which is especially important for men's health.
The best phytoestrogens to include in the diet:
Note: It is a myth that these phytoestrogen-containing foods mentioned above will cause high estrogen levels!
We have already discussed a couple of ways to reduce aromatase enzyme: activity like decreasing body fat, reducing insulin resistance and increasing the intake of phytoestrogens.
Another way to reduce the aromatase enzyme is supplementing with the following nutrients:
Zinc is the number one inhibitor and commonly a nutrient that is deficient in men and women. It is recommended to take 20 - 50 mg of zinc a day, depending on the person.
In order to prevent any possible side effects, it is better to consult your doctor regarding the dosage of selenium, magnesium, and zinc per day.
While improving detoxification, reducing the activity of the aromatase enzyme to optimize your estrogen levels, you have to look at some lifestyle factors to reduce estrogen levels.
Reducing alcohol consumption can help reduce estrogen levels in men and women. For some people, this means reducing alcohol consumption. For other people, it may be necessary to fully eliminate alcohol for a period of time in order to improve liver function.
Estrogen's in the environment are also a major problem. They can be found in plastics (even BPA free ones!), cleaning products, personal care products, factory farmed meats.
Estrogens are so widely used by many industries, that it is extremely hard to avoid them. Nevertheless, we can reduce our exposure and improve our detoxification.
• Choose chemical-free and biodegradable laundry and household cleaning products. As an alternative way, you can create your own detergent with baking soda, washing soda, Borax, and gentle bar soap.
• Use chlorine-free products and unbleached paper products (for instance, pads, tampons, toilet paper, napkins, etc).
• Install high-quality filters in your house to clean the water from chlorine, fluoride and other industrial chemicals.
• Reduce plastic products to the maximum. Avoid plastic water bottles, food containers, and bags.
• Purchase furniture for your house carefully. Avoid furniture bathed in flame-retardants which are xenoestrogens. Instead, try to find flame-retardant-free furniture. Also, it is better to use natural latex foam cushions.
• Avoid cosmetics containing toxic ingredients like parabens and stearalkonium chloride. Instead, look for brands that are more conscious about using natural and organic ingredients.
• Try to minimize your exposure to nails polish removers. It is recommended not to leave polish on for more than 3 consecutive months.
• Choose only chemical-free organic soap and toothpaste.
• Use natural fragrances that contain essential oils, oleoresins, distillates, fractions, concretes or absolutes instead of the mixture of toxic chemicals.
• Limit processed foods that contain preservatives and dyes.
• Buy fresh foods and avoid canned foods. Ideally, try to buy locally grown in-season foods.
• Wash all the fruits and veggies and peel the non-organic ones.
• Choose organic hormone-free meat and dairy products.
• Avoid soy, which is a plant-based estrogen.
• Consume enough of fiber ( leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fruits, etc).
• If you are fond of gardening, avoid all pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
Some people have genetic polymorphisms with certain genes, which means that their ability to detoxify estrogen is reduced.
Genes in the cytochrome P450 pathway and the COMT pathway increase the risk of high estrogen, and the chance that the estrogen is going to be detoxified down the unhealthy pathway into the 4 and 16 Hydroxy estrone - rather than the healthy 2 Hydroxy estrone.
This doesn't mean that if you have these genetic polymorphisms that you will have high estrogen but you will have to work a bit harder to reduce your exposure and improve your elimination of estrogen from the body.
If you have had a sex hormone test and you find that you have high estrogen levels these are the steps you need to take.
These are the top 3 products I recommend to reduce estrogen levels.
NATURE'S WAY DIM PLUS
THORNE RESEARCH ZINC PICOLINATE
DESIGNS FOR HEALTH CALCIUM D GLUCARATE
The best way to test your estrogen levels is with the DUTCH hormone test. This test not only measures your sex hormones but also assesses how your body is detoxifying estrogen, if you have high estrogen levels. This helps implement a more specific treatment plan for you.
Furthermore,the DUTCH test assesses your adrenal function, measuring both your free cortisol and total cortisol production, which is important as high cortisol can be a cause of high estrogen.
Also, testing gut function can be an important step to working out "why" you have high estrogen. I recommend a stool test like the G.I Map test that measures beneficial and pathogenic bacteria levels, candida and parasites to assess gut function.
The G.I Map test also measures b-glucuronidase levels which when elevated can be a prime cause of high estrogen levels.
Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. As Seen
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